Just for today…

Just for today,…

challenge yourself:  explore the world!

Click HERE for your guide to world geography.


Amazon Rain Forest

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go!” – Dr. Seuss

Sahara Desert

“Everywhere’s been where it is ever since it was first put there. It’s called geography.”
– Terry Pratchett

Mauna Loa

“Can you see the sunset real good on the West side? You can see it on the East side too.”  – S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders


“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”
– T.S. Elliot

Seeing the Truth

How do stories affect us?
They help us see our own stories more clearly.

One student reflected after reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton…

The Outsiders
     She wrote, “I always thought you could be nice to everyone, even if they were “snotty.” She didn’t simply “pretend to like them.” She really did like them even though they were rude. She would say to herself, “Oh it’s just a phase. They aren’t feeling so hot today.  I’ll be nice.” As a result, people always told her that she was “the nicest person they have ever met.” She said that she “wanted to be nice and sweet to everyone.” That way she “could make friends.” She told herself that perhaps they had maybe they had “a hard life at home and all they know is to be mean.”
       “Then, reality hit me.” She decided she couldn’t be so nice anymore to people who are rude to her.  Now “if people are rude to me, I’m rude to them. I don’t mean it, but I have held my anger for so long that now I’m done.” So if someone is rude to her, she will “call them out. I got rid of all my old friends, because I realized they are the rudest people I have ever met. I got new friends who make me happy, and I don’t talk to the others. They might say the occasional ‘hey’ and I’ll say it back to be nice, but since reality has hit me I have been a ticking time bomb. I lose my temper, and just want to scream. They made me like this, the girls and boys who thought it was funny to be rude, the girls and boys who thought ‘Oh,  she’s too nice, she won’t say anything.’ Well, look at me now. Freaking out over someone tapping their pencil.”
The Call of Stories
         She wrote about how she is learning to manage her anger, and how she is learning how to be patient “…because these people think they are so great at everything they do, and I can’t handle them.” She said she needs patience “because the littlest things bug me. Like my sister, who takes forever in the morning….” She added that she is also learning how to be kind “because people are so mean and act like they are your best friend, when in reality they aren’t.  They are fake friends who suck you in.” She has decided that from “now on, I am going to roll with it and try not to be their friend.”  She is using her kind heart to let go of her anger and is spending time with people who are kind to her.

Click HERE to learn about forgiveness.
Click HERE to find novels similar to The Outsiders.
Click HERE to find questions and more writing about The Outsiders.

Living Adventurously

Summer is coming!
What kind of adventure is ahead?

Ann, an eighth grade student,
read Word to Caesar by Geoffrey Trease. 
After reading about the main character’s adventures in chapter 8,
she wrote her own paragraph….

           I love watching people. I like sneaking around the perimeters of buildings, spying on ever action, listening and memorizing ever conversation. I like appetizing on their fear: young citizens cautiously walking faster in the dark evening light and craning their necks to ensure personal safety; teenage girls pretending to receive phone calls so that it looks as if they’re preoccupied, then jumping in surprise and alarm when their phones actually ring- their alibi; and teenage boys lacking so much common sense and not realizing that it may be dangerous to be out alone in the dark because they could be being watched… And, of course, even though this interests me and fills me with amusement, I also like to nibble on something more peculiar: little kids who do not understands the well-warned phrase, “stay on the sidewalk”; young lovers displaying public affection; decrepit drunks who assume they are going home, yet in reality are hobbling into another bar; sly thieves snatching the purses of old ladies or pick-pocketing the general public. And only rarely do I spot people like me: the ones who find enjoyment in the art of secretly watching others. (Paragraph Ref.: p.95-96)

Word to Caesar

After finishing the novel, she shared her thoughts about adventure….

           History is the story of adventures: travels and travails. Paul, in Word to Caesar, has many adventures where he faces trouble; however, after overcoming the travails, he continues to enjoy himself throughout his adventure. In my opinion, I believe Paul prefers adventures of reality opposed to adventures of the mind. Paul decides to take the “’…Word to Caesar-…’” a letter from Severus to the emperor, Hadrian, consulting him on the absurd charges which were pressed against him from Bath, England to Rome (81-88). Paul decides to escape from Calvus by using his diamond ring from Severus to cut “… through the cold rigid surface of the glass…’” window to create an opening he could climb and escape through (119-122). AND, Paul also decides to take Tonia, Severus’s daughter, to Rome in order to escape from “’… the Killer and Mucius, and some more of Calvus’s gang…’” and “to find [the] wine-shop where Theodore [, her former slave, lives]…’” in order to find out the entire tale behind her father’s exile (189-207). I am led to believe Paul prefers real adventures.

           Severus, Paul’s friend, prefers adventures of the mind. He is a poet and much like a poet, he prefers adventures of the mind opposed to the adventures of reality (147). Instead of taking a more adventurous yet exposed and unpromising road, Severus decides to lead them, Paul and himself, along a safer, more civilized highway, where they enjoy the pleasant scenes of farms, estates, and orchards, as well as people who are working and relaxing (47-48). Even though he willingly jumps ashore to rescue Paul when the captain of the vessel he is on refuses to wait for him due to the nearby barbarians; he is reassured by the fact that the captain will not dare to leave him behind (29). Severus is also “…homesick for Italy, for the little farm on the Sabine Hills, for his own wife and daughter…” (87). Even this is evidence that Severus prefers the adventures of the mind. This quote implies that Severus is the type of person who is quiet; for farms seem peaceful and tranquil, and the fact that he only misses his family and home indicates that he did not leave home very much, nor did he meet his friends very often, concluding the fact: he is independent. Severus, a poet, surely prefers adventures of the mind opposed to adventures of reality..

           I, myself, enjoy adventures of the mind. In my opinion, adventures of the mind seem a lot safer than the adventures of reality. I am not risking my life or putting anything on the line by visualizing and reading about the adventures of others who risked their lives. I usually prefer to know what is going to happen to me beforehand so that I can prepare myself to endure whatever is ahead of me and heading my way And if I am on an adventure, I can’t predict what happens next – that’s why it’s an adventure! When I can’t predict what is around the corner, it can – at times – can make me anxious, nervous, or scared. Adventures of the mind will not cost me anything – they are completely free of charge! Anyone who is tight on money can enjoy this type of adventure, too. Another benefit of an adventure of the mind is the fact that it can be enjoyed in the comfort of home or any other enjoyable surrounding. I enjoy adventures of the mind because they don’t cost any money; they are free of charge. They can be enjoyed in comfortable surroundings and they come with ease.

           On the other hand, I also enjoy adventures of reality. Although it is safer and more reassuring to personally enjoy adventures of the mind, sometimes, enjoying adventures of reality is a great way to create memories and bond with others. When you enjoy adventures of the mind, you cannot always share the same memories about it with others; they might have had different opinions compared to yours. However, when you are enjoying the adventures of reality with companions, even your travails become a part of your memories of the times you had. You can always recall your first-hand experiences when you tell the story of your adventures. You don’t have to read or hear about it from someone else. Adventures of reality are great ways to bond with your companions. Even though you may have a disagreement, the experiences and memories shared together will emotionally tie you and your companions closer to each other. I enjoy adventures of reality because they give stories and memories to share, more first-hand experiences, and they tie me closer to other people.

What kind of adventure will you have this summer?

Click HERE for novels about summer vacations.

Click HERE for stories of adventure.

Celebrate the Seas

June 8th is World Oceans Day!

Hello Ocean

“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller

The Pull

“The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” Christopher Paolini, Eragon

The Silmarillion

“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

20,000 Leagues

“I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen, Caught by the Sea

Jacques Cousteau

“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau, oceanographer

The Young Man and the Sea

“[T]hen all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.” – Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, the Whale

A House for Hermit

“Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer


“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, poet

The Owl and the Pussycat

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen, writer

Alone on a Wide Sea

“The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure.” – Cornelia Funke, Inkheart


“Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void.” – Fabien Cousteau, oceanographic explorer

Saturna ridge

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

– John Masefield

“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Explore Earth's Five Oceans

‘World Oceans Day’ was officially recognized, in 2008, by the United Nations General Assembly after a proposal, in 1992, by the Government of Canada.