The Blame Essay- An Inquiry-Based Group Project for High School English Class

This is an inquiry-based project that allows students to collaborate with their peers to create a blog, based on who they believe is to blame for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. This essay prompt encourages deep understanding; as students need analyze the characters of the play, not just recite the plot. WordPress is also an ideal technology tool to use with this project because it will amplify the voice of the student. This blog has the potential to reach so many viewers, which is very encouraging and motivating for students.  “Mainly, students who learned through inquirybased writing instruction were able to produce essays that addressed task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy. Thus, this study recommends researchers, teachers, and students to pay due attention to inquirybased writing instruction in their academic journey,“ Wale, B. D., & Bogale, Y. N. (2021).

Detailed Description:

  • Last week, you wrote an argumentative essay based on who you believe is responsible for the tragedy. Today, you will join your peers who share the same opinion on this topic in a group.

Learning Intention:

Today I will: collaborate with peers to reflect on the essay I wrote last week

So that I can: develop a group essay, posted on the class blog

I know I have it when: We have created a new blog that reflects our argumentative stance and it is posted on the class WordPress

Detailed Directions:

Step 1: Join the group that represents who you believe is responsible for the tragedy

                        The Capulets and Montegues

                        Romeo and Juliet

                        The Priest

                        The Nanny


Step 2: Recall the argumentative essay that you wrote last week that reflects your opinion and leave it open on a separate tab.

Step 3:  Create a new argumentative essay with your peers.  This new essay should be composed of the best parts of each previously submitted essay.  It can also include new material, but it does not have to.

Step 4: Upload your group’s essay to the class blog on WordPress. Only one essay should be uploaded per group, and it should have each group member’s name on it.


Participation   20 points      Contains excerpts from each essayContains at least one sentence from each essayContains different parts of three or more essays Does not reflect a combination of essays
Grammar and Usage
20 points  
  Less than 5 grammatical errors throughoutMinor grammatical errorsMore than 10 grammatical errorsOverall grammatically incorrect

20 points
 Strong, Clear, and Arguable thesisThesis is presented correctly, but not arguableThesis is present but not clearNo thesis
Varied Sentence Structure  

20 points
Contains a variety of complex and simple sentences, combined with questions and exclamatory sentencesContains a variety of sentencesContains some sentence varietyContains very little sentence variety
    Technicalities   20 pointsProperly posted on WordPress with a unique title and all writers are clearly displayedPosted on WordPress without a unique title, but has all group members listedPosted on WordPress, but credit is not given to each personPosted on WordPress Improperly


Wale, B. D., & Bogale, Y. N. (2021). Using inquiry-based writing instruction to develop students’ academic writing skills. Asian-Pacific Journal of Second & Foreign Language Education6(1), 1–16.


Masquerade Party- 9th Grade English

You are cordially invited to a masquerade party! This party includes creating a masquerade mask that reflects a character from Romeo and Juliet. This is a fun instructional activity that uses a few web based tools, including Google Draw and Google Classroom. In English 9, we used it to describe the characters in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

Instructional Activity: Using Google Draw, create a masquerade mask that reflects one of the characters from Romeo and Juliet. You must include three characteristics of the person that you picked. In example, Romeo tried to stay peaceful in the play, so you could draw a peace sign on the mask to reflect this trait. Submit the mask in Google classroom. Then, you will be required to present the mask to the class, and tell us about your mask.

Targeted Learners: this activity appeals especially appeals to students who learn in a non-traditional way. Students who are visual learners will be assisted with the colors and designs on the mask, which will help them visualize the characters. Kinesthetic learners will be able to physically touch the mask. Auditory and linguistic learners will greatly benefit from hearing the presentations of the mask from their peers.

The main reasons that I chose Google Draw and Google Classroom as collaboration tools, is because they are very easy to use, and every student has access to them. In addition, students respond very well to technology and are very motivated to complete assignments that are online, opposed to on paper. These web based tools also offer many other benefits, including the ability to collaborate with parents, as well as promote accountability for the student.

Some of the benefits of using Google Classroom include promoting accountability and making it easier for families to get involved with their child’s education. The parent can see when every assignment is due, and when their child turned it in. When using Google Classroom exclusively, it is basically impossible for a student to lose an assignment, or forget it at home. Parents can login at anytime and see a list of assignments that their child need to complete. The only setback to using Google Classroom would be that, unfortunately, in some districts, not all students have access to wifi and computers.

Google Draw also has many benefits in the classroom. It offers an opportunity for different types of learners to express their knowledge. In example, if a student has a tough time writing an essay, they can reflect their reading comprehension through art with Google Draw. Although writing an essay is still a valuable skill, we should also offer alternative ways to express reading comprehension. Just like Google Classroom, the only downside to this tool is that not all students have access to it, in some districts.

Although many students benefit from technology, it can help people with learning differences succeed. Can you imagine being a creative and gifted artist who would love to analyze Romeo and Juliet, but can’t do so because you are not a talented writer? Google Draw helps students create and express their knowledge. Google Classroom helps students organize and unpack. “Whether a student is physically challenged, has learning issues, or is gifted, technology can play a significant role in enhancing and supporting his or her learning. From a broad perspective, technology solutions can be remedial, supportive, or expansive in the learning experience across all content areas. In addition, technology solutions that have a specific role in targeted content areas are available to help diverse learners address and achieve success in defined content area objectives. Educators responsible for addressing diversity must be aware of these technologies and be able to apply them effectively,”(Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2017).

Google Classroom offers many benefits for students with learning differences. It helps unpack assignments, due dates, directions, and materials that are needed. I prefer to have all my students submit every assignment on Google Classroom because every student can easily see when an assignment is due, and parents can easily see when the student turned it in. Google specifically designed Classroom and Draw to be accessible and easy for all students to use. “Our tools are designed to be accessible for as many students as possible, including those with physical and sensory disabilities and specific learning disabilities,” (

Google Draw and Google Classroom can actually be life changing, especially for some students who have learning differences. They offer opportunities for students to express their understanding in many ways. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to use them both in my classroom.

Author: Cortney Schulte


Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2017). Teaching and learning with technology, 6/e (6th ed.). Pearson Education.

A Socially Distanced Road Trip to the Virginia Safari Park🐾

There are so many negative views of this place because people complain about the wild animals ruining their cars. They say the lamas and the emus constantly slobber all over the vehicles. Some say the animals will not hesitate to stick their heads in a sunroof. I found this intriguing, so I loaded up my crappy car and headed West.

I live in Norfolk, and the Virginia Safari Park is located in Natural Bridge. It took about three hours to get there. So we decided to drive there and back in the same day.

It was a girls trip! I took my mom and my ten year old daughter. We left early and stopped at a scenic view near Charlottesville for photos. It was a gorgeous drive.


Because of the Covid Pandemic, there are very few places to safely adventure to. This zoo is perfect spot for the pandemic season because each person stays in their own vehicle the whole time. We even bought our tickets online, so we experienced even less human contact than at a drive through restaurant.

The zoo did not disappoint! There were so many animals including lamas, ostriches, cows, and emus. The animals eagerlied approached every vehicle, hoping for snacks. Most visiters purchased feed at the gate to give to the animals. Of course I did.

Some moms were petrified of the wild animals and could be heared shreaking from nearby mini vans. There were also people who brought shiny new cars with looks of disgust. It actually is a wonderful place to people watch, especially considering it is done at a safe distance.

My daughter loved the gang of ostriches the most. They approached our car instantly and were super friendly and excited for snacks. She couldn’t stop laughing.

It is also beautiful! This zoo is a gorgeous drive through the Southwest Virginia countryside, lasting several miles. The animals appear happy, healthy and well taken care of.

All of the reviews are true. Although you may have to wash a few paw prints off your car when you get home, I think you will find it is well worth it. My family and I absolutely loved visiting this zoo, and I hope we get to return soon. Check them out below:











I Would Rather Be Fat

So many people lately have been focused on diet and health. Some folks are feeling really guilty for not starting a new exercise program or for gaining a few pounds during the recent quarantine. Even worse, others are stressing over specialty diet foods and spending every spare moment they have at a gym, all in an attempt to achieve a body that society will approve. I would rather be fat.

person holding barbell
Photo by Victor Freitas on

I would rather be fat than spend my life at the gym. Not only is it uncomfortable and boring, but has always proven to be a pointless game that I lose every time I play. While exercising, I usually convince myself that running on a treadmill, (just like a hamster on a wheel), during my only thirty minutes of free time is just not worth it. Art, religion, music, politics; I would always rather be doing anything other than participating in sports or fitness.

Food is one of the greatest luxuries in life. A large pizza with a side of cheesy bread is the perfect way to celebrate anything. There is nothing better than cooking a delicious meal with family.

Food is also the best part of traveling. You could drive an hour and a half South to find the best crab cakes and Carolina barbecue in Nags Head. Or you could travel 315 miles West and indulge in the best hot dogs on the planet with Appalachian exclusive coleslaw. Or you could just order a salad. How could you?

a classic hot dog food cart
Photo by Cheryl Wee on

Every time I see new construction, I dream about food. Are they building a new restaurant there? I hope so.

yellow excavator
Photo by Spencer Lind on

Many people find exercising and dieting enjoyable, even though I do not, ( just like Star Wars and rollercoasters). However, if you don’t find the fitness lifestyle enjoyable, don’t be hard on yourself. Those vanity pounds will not stop you from doing anything in life.

I Hope We Are Never Best Friends

Best friends are horrible. Not only are best friendships short lived, but they also tend to end in loud dramatic disasters that make dumpster fires look appealing. Best friends take the wonderful parts of friendship and add a touch of jealousy, with a sprinkle of control.

A best friend hopes that telling me negative things that others said about me will bring us together. In reality, this will likely hurt my feelings and force us to grow apart. I forgive my friends for venting about me. However, I am not in the market for a best friend to remind me of the moments other people spoke negatively about me.    

Are you upset with me because I went to the beach with another friend from work? This would really upset a best friend. I am not willing to sign up for an exclusive one on one friendship.


photo of women looking at the camera

Are you in the mood to make someone feel inadequate together? Are you thinking about getting some folks together, strategically  leaving out one particular person? Then, we can tag pictures of each other on social media so it will make the one person feel left out. We can talk about how much fun we had next time we see the person, in hopes it will bring them down. Will this make you feel warm inside? Do you get a sense of belonging from excluding others? You are a best friend.

adult attractive beautiful blur

Do we have to watch the same movies and vote for the same politicians? Very best friendish. I’m pretty loud and I have tons of controversial opinions, surely you will disagree with me on some of them. I hope you do. I refuse to be your opinion twin, best friend.

Some of the best moments in my life have been spent building strong friendships. I want to support you. I want to go to the park together and then laugh about that one funny thing that happened there. I want you to call me when you get engaged. I want to celebrate with you when I get into grad school. I want you to forgive me when I cancel plans, and I want to forgive you when you forget to text me back.  I want your time and love, as that is the only thing that I have to offer you in return. I appreciate and need you, so I hope that we are never best friends.