Words to Live By
Deadline: Monday, December 3, 2012 by 08:00

Reinforcing the lesson on thankfulness and our wonderful Thanksgiving luncheon by Student Council, I am posting a video from the American charity, United Way, on this week's blog. your assignment is the following:

1. Pick ten of the vocabulary words below that you will see in the video and define them on your blog post:

  • a nap
  • (to) deprive
  • hope
  • thankful
  • afraid
  • (to) interrupt
  • (to) tailgate
  • (to) wave
  • outrageous
  • attire
  • (to) judge
  • success
  • integrity
  • maple syrup
  • homemade
  • brownies
  • fruitcake
  • (to) nag
  • obedience
  • (to) postpone
  • reputation
  • blessings
  • (to) whistle
  • (to) advocate

2. Write a small commentary of a minimum of 100 words on what you liked or did not like about the video. What piece of advice did you like the best? Why?

Back to Africa
Deadline: Monday, November 19, 2012 by 08:00

Our African map in the classroom needs to be finished as some of your country drawings were too messy or not to scale. So if your country has not been featured on the wall, that means that is was rejected for display.

Those who do not have their African country on the wall also means they received low marks for not following directions from the previous blog post on creating a African country.

This week's blog is a blog of persuasion. Persuasion is the act of convincing or changing someone else's mind, opinion, beliefs, or actions. Take a look at the photo of the apple. How do you interpret it? Is the apple on the left persuading the apple on the right to be happy? Or is the apple on the right persuading the other apple that he or she is "happy" even when it is not the case? Both interpretations are matters of persuasion.

Now, go back to your African country and persuade me that your country is the best in the class to visit. There are over 50 African countries to choose from for my next holiday. Will I pick yours?

Your blog post this week should:

  • be a minimum of 100 words in length
  • feature the best highlights in your African country (the climate, people, food, music, sports, animals, national parks, monuments, etc.)
  • be creative and of course, persuasive!

If your country has had problems with natural disasters, famine, civil war, or political problems, you will have to be even more convincing as I may not want to go there. Show the very best side to your country for me to consider it. Remember, it does not matter how small or big your country is, there is always something you can find that could bring an adventurous tourist like me to come and visit.

Good luck to persuade me to visit your African country!


In Honor of Halloween
Deadline: Monday, November 5, 2012 by 08:00

Since witches have been the theme of our Halloween festivities for October 2012, this blog post is in connection to the symbolism behind a witch's wardrobe and appearance.

Please read the directions below carefully before you post on this week's blog.

1. The paragraphs below all connect to the secret symbolism of a witch's wardrobe and appearance.  Write the missing word in regards to an item or appearance of a witch in the blog post. (See my example post for assistance).

2. All boldfaced words are vocabulary words. Write a short definition or synonym for each word on the blog post. 

3. Can you find where I found this information? Do a search online for the article and post the following information on the blog:

  • The title of the article
  • The author of the article
  • The weblink to the article

4. Finally, write what you thought about the article and the research behind the symbolism behind a witch's wardrobe and appearance. (For example: What was the most interesting fact from the article? Did you know any of this information before? Is there a part of the article worth researching further?)

Item number one: WITCH  __ __ __ __
Some of the earliest images of witches feature them wearing brimless, cone-shaped __ __ __ __, similar to the __ __ __ __ we associate with wizards today. In pagan societies, these __ __ __ __ were reserved for shamen, who were spiritual leaders or healers who used natural herbs to cure disease. Witches were valuable members of pagan communities, because they knew a great deal about the Earth and how to use its resources.

During the Victorian era, illustrations in children's books added a brim to the witch's __ __ __ . These                 __ __ __ __ were often used to identify evil characters and the __ __ __ __ quickly became a symbol of a wicked witch.

Item number two: WITCH  __ __ __ __ __ __

In medieval Europe, everyone owned a __ __ __ __ __ to keep their home clean. __ __ __ __ __ __ weren't associated with witchraft until 1453, when a Frenchman, Guillaume Edelin, confessed under torture that he had made a pact with the Devil that allowed him to fly around on his __ __ __ __ __. During a wave of witch hysteria, investigators would torture alleged witches and try to get them to confess to flying on
__ __ __ __ __ __. Some did, no doubt to escape the torture, adding the __ __ __ __ __ to the witch legend.

Wiccans, who are modern witches, use __ __ __ __ __ __ in some ceremonies to represent the air element. A Wiccan __ __ __ __ __, known as a besom, is a rounded __ __ __ __ __ made with twigs rather than straw. Sweeping with the besom removes negative energy from a room.

Item number three: WITCH __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

The __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ is a symbol of fertility in many non-Christian faiths, including European pagan religions and some African religions. It's also a practical object that can be used to create potions.

The association of __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __with witches stems largely from William Shakespeare's Macbeth, which opens with a trio of witches creating a mysterious potion in a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. Although much of Shakespeare's view of witches was intended only for dramatic effect, it became the popular image of witches during the Elizabethan era.

Witch's appearance:  __ __ __ __ __  and  __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __

From the beginning, literature portrayed witches as shriveled, ancient hags filled with superstition and anger at the world. Some writers describe witches as near-skeletal, with leathery skin pulled tight over their bones.    __ __ __ __ __ were a common affliction in the Middle Ages, but many people still saw them as evidence of disease or unclean living. As with witch hats, Victorian-era illustrators would use __ __ __ __ __ to represent evil people.

It's interesting to note that the Malleus Maleficarum, a handbook for the detection and prosecution of witches published in 1487, explains that witches aren't all elderly, haglike or covered with __ __ __ __ __ . Beautiful young women are among the most dangerous witches in this book, because they can lure men to their doom.

The idea of witches with __ __ __ __ __   __ __ __ __ doesn't take hold until the 20th century. The first         __ __ __ __ __-__ __ __ __ __ __ __ witch appears in the film version of The Wizard of Oz, even though the original book never describes The Wicked Witch of the West with __ __ __ __ __   __ __ __ __ . This was most likely a decision made by the filmmakers to show off the potential of brand-new color film.

The color __ __ __ __ __ has been associated with witches since the time of the Ancient Celts. In Celtic tradition, __ __ __ __ __ is the color of the fairies, with whom witches shared a strong association. Witches were depicted wearing __ __ __ __ __ as a symbol of their otherworldly nature.

Bonus House Point Challenge

For those who would like a House point challenge worth 1oo points, can you find the answers to the questions below regarding the world's largest pumpkin? Please write your answers on this week's blog post.

Thank you, Elliott, for providing the questions for this House point challenge!

1. What is the weight of the world's largest pumpkin as of October 2012?
2. In which state was the world's biggest pumpkin grown in the United States?
3. Who is the owner of the world's biggest pumpkin?
Find a picture of the pumpkin and the owner online and post the weblink on the blog post.


Countries of Africa
Deadline: Monday, October 22, 2012 by 08:00

It's time to start decorating our classroom map of Africa! Each one of you has a country that I have picked out for you below. Follow the steps carefully to know what you need to do for this blog post AND for the Africa map in the classroom.

= Blog post assignment
STEPS IN PURPLE = African map assignment in classroom

STEP ONE: Each of you has three clues that connect to a country in Africa. Read the clues and do a Google search to see if you can find the name of your country. Define each of the three words in your blog post.

STEP TWO: Once you have found the name of your African nation, you will need to fill in the blanks below on the essential information of your country for the blog:

1. Name of African Country:__________________
2. Capital: __________________
3. Population: __________________
4. Official Languages: __________________
5. Currency: __________________

STEP THREE: Can you locate your country on a world map? Find your country on the classroom African map drawn by 8th grader Piotr and trace the outline of it on a blank piece of paper. Decorate the country by drawing and coloring the official flag inside the outline (See below for two examples).

STEP FOUR: Cut out your map and write the name of the country on the opposite side. Tape a corner of the country on the large African map in the classroom so others can lift up the map to see the country's name on the opposite side. 

STEP FIVE: Find out what and where the capital of your African country is. Neatly write the capital name and a star with a circle around it (⍟) under your country map flap on the classroom African map.


BEKKHAN: Tadrart Acacus / Bazeen / Muammar Gaddafi

Carthage / Zine El Abidine Ben Ali / Arab Spring

"blue jerboa" / Pied-Noir / fennec fox

Great Sphinx / Hosni Mubarak / felucca

pastilla / Hassan II Mosque / dahir

Polisario Front / Sahrawi / Moroccan Wall

Sunni vs. Shi'a
Deadline: Monday, October 15, 2012 by 08:00

This week you are studying about the differences in the Muslim commutiy between the Sunni and Shi'a.  Look at the map  and the political cartoons below and answer the questions on the blog post.

Map questions

1. What part of the world is this map located?

2. Which country has the highest population of Sunni Muslims? of Shi'a Muslims?

3. Which country has the closest percentage of Sunni and Shi'a Muslims living there?

Political Cartoon #1

Political Cartoon #2

1. Political cartoon #1: What is the Muslim place of worship shown in the background?

2. Political cartoon #1: Who are the two groups of people praying in the picture and why are they facing in different directions?

Political cartoon #1: Why do you think there is is a big divide between the two groups praying?

Political cartoon #2: What does the expression mean, "To fight like cats and dogs"? How does this expression connect to the cartoon?

5. Political cartoon #2: Who is the man in the cartoon and which country does he represent? (Hint: Look at the flag on his jacket)

6. Political cartoon #2: Why is the man trying to keep the Sunnis and the Shi'a Muslims from fighting each other?

7. Political cartoon #2: Which country in the Middle East could be depicted in the cartoon that has conflict among Sunnis, Shi'a and a well-known superpower? (Hint: The Middle Eastern country has a 32-37% population of Sunni Muslims and a 60-65% of Shi'a Muslims)

Deadline: Monday, October 8, 2012 by 08:00

Sufism is a branch of Islam. It is a religion based on mystical communion with an ultimate reality. A follower of this tradition is generally known as a Sufi. Sufis believe they are practicing Ihsan, or perfection of worship, which was revealed to the archangel Gabriel to Muhammad.

Sufism gained followers among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 AD). Today there are approximately 10 million Sufi adherents in Turkey alone.

The Sufis have been using carefully constructed stories for teaching purposes for thousands of years. Read the story below and answer the questions that follow for the blog.

Trust in God, but tie up your camel.

There was once a man who was on his way back home from market with his camel and, as he had had a good day, he decided to stop at a mosque along the road and offer his thanks to God.

He left his camel outside and went in with his prayer mat and spent several hours offering thanks to Allah, praying and promising that he’d be a good Muslim in the future, help the poor and be an upstanding pillar of his community.

When he emerged it was already dark and lo and behold – his camel was gone!

He immediately flew into a violent temper and shook his fist at the sky, yelling: “You traitor, Allah! How could you do this to me? I put all my trust in you and then you go and stab me in the back like this!”

A passing Sufi dervish heard the man yelling and chuckled to himself.

“Listen,” he said, “Trust God but, you know, tie up your camel.”

Answer the following questions:

  • 1. What do you think is the meaning behind this Sufi story?
  • 2. Define the following boldfaced words in your own words for your post:
                prayer mat:
            upstanding pillar:

            Sufi dervish:


Arabic Sayings
Deadline: Monday, October 1, 2012

Look at the five common expressions from Arabic below. Do an Internet search for the meaning behind each of these phrases and the occasions in which you would use each of them. Post your findings on the blog.

بسم الله‎
Transliteration: Bismillah
Meaning: ________________________________________
When do you use this expression? _________________________________________________

السلام عليكم
Transliteration: As-salamu-alaykum
Meaning: ________________________________________
When do you use this expression? _________________________________________________

و عليكم السلام

Transliteration: Wa alaykum salaam
Meaning: ________________________________________
When do you use this expression? _________________________________________________

إن شاء الله

Transliteration: Inshallah
Meaning: ________________________________________
When do you use this expression? _________________________________________________

جزاك اللهُ خيراً
Transliteration: Jazakallah
Meaning: ________________________________________
When do you use this expression? _________________________________________________


Writing an email to your teacher
Deadline: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by 08:00

This week I would like all of you to write an email to my ES International School account for your blog assignment.

Some of you who are new may be asking, "Where can I find Mr. H.'s email?" If you do not remember it, click on the syllabus box in your grade's history dropbar and open up the syllabus in PDF format.

Make sure your email contains the following points:

  1. The email needs to start with "Dear Mr. Hendricks,"
  2. The first paragraph of the email must give a brief introduction of yourself, including:
    A) Your full name                     B) Your nationality 
    C) Your age and birthday      D) How long have you been a historian (or studied history in school)?
  3. The second paragraph must explain a personal goal you wish to complete this semester and how you wish to achieve it.
  4. The email should end with "Sincerely," and your first and last name.


Star and Crescent
Deadline: Monday, September 17, 2012 by 08:00

In 6th Grade we begin the semester studying the history and rise of Islam. Today, Islam is the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.

The early Muslim community normally used  simple solid color flags of black, green or white to identify themselves as believers of Islam. In the 1800s, the Ottoman Empire (which we will study this year!)  introduced the star and crescent to identify itself as an empire and its connections to Islam.

  • What do you think is the connection between the symbol of the star and crescent and the religion of Islam?

Write your thoughts on this blog in the comment box below.

Look at the flags with stars and crescents on the slideshow. These are countries today which also have historical ties to Islam. 

  • Can you name the six countries to the flags below? Write the countries in the blog comment box.

Thank you!

 Mr. Hendricks


    The rules are simple:

    1. Check this blog every Monday. Blog writing is part of your homework grade.

    2. Write a comment of 2-3 sentences or more on the weekly blog post or on another student's response.

    3. Use correct capitalization and punctuation when writing.

    4. Go back and read your comment again OUT LOUD. (This can be to your computer screen or to your dog, if you have one). Edit your mistakes.

    5. Make sure your commentary is clean and respectful.


    November 2012
    October 2012
    September 2012