Charles Wright Academy Blog

Celebrating Cultural Exchange with Mukogawa School

Celebrating Cultural Exchange with Mukogawa School

By: Stephanie Glenn '86

Charles Wright welcomes Mukogawa School students from Japan to the Pacific Northwest! Former Japanese teacher and Society of Elders member Yasuko Wada founded the program, which aims to promote cultural exchange and help the Mukogawa students learn conversational English, 29 years ago. They participate in a homestay program, visit the CWA campus, and take classes with CWA teachers at UPS. Current World Languages Department Chair Stephanie Gleen '86—an assistant with the program 24 years ago—has been leading the program for the last 20 years and shares photos and updates from the 2014 edition!

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Summer Reading: American Born Chinese

Summer Reading: American Born Chinese

This graphic novel from the Upper School summer reading list explores stereotypes and self-acceptance:

American Born Chinese by Gene Yang

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Summer Reading: The Highest Tide

Summer Reading: The Highest Tide

Sophomores are staying local for their assigned summer reading!

The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley sneaks out of his house and goes exploring on the tidal flats of Puget Sound. When he discovers a rare giant squid, he instantly becomes a local phenomenon. But Miles is really just a kid on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his parents will divorce and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him.

Bloomsbury Publishing

Do you remember identifying literary techniques such as images, similes, metaphores, and symbols when you studied literature? How did it help you appreciate your reading?

Summer Reading: A Streetcar Named Desire

Summer Reading: A Streetcar Named Desire

Charles Wright Juniors are reading a play for their summer English assignment, followed by a viewing of Elia Kazan’s 1951 movie production of the play, starring Marlon Brando and Vivian Leigh.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

It is a very short list of 20th-century American plays that continue to have the same power and impact as when they first appeared — A Streetcar Named Desire is one of those plays. The story of the fading and desperate Blanche DuBois and how her sensuous and brutal brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, pushes her over the edge is now classic. Who better than Arthur Miller, America's elder statesman of the theater (Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, Broken Glass, Resurrection Blues), to write as a witness to the lightning that struck American culture when Williams's singular style of poetic dialogue, violence, compassion, and dramatic sexuality was first encountered in the form of A Streetcar Named Desire? Miller's rich perspective and lucid insights make this a unique and essential new edition of A Streetcar Named Desire. Also included are Williams's essay "The World I Live In" and a chronology of the author's life and works.

New Directions Publishing

Do you watch screen adaptations of your favorite plays? How do you typically feel about the interpretations and alterations directors make to the original texts? Reply in the comments below!

Summer Reading: Black Swan Green

Summer Reading: Black Swan Green

Black Swan Green: A Novel by David Mitchell

From award-winning writer David Mitchell comes a sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new.

Black Swan Green tracks a single year in what is, for thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982. But the thirteen chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy. A world of Kissingeresque realpolitik enacted in boys’ games on a frozen lake; of “nightcreeping” through the summer backyards of strangers; of the tabloid-fueled thrills of the Falklands War and its human toll; of the cruel, luscious Dawn Madden and her power-hungry boyfriend, Ross Wilcox; of a certain Madame Eva van Outryve de Crommelynck, an elderly bohemian emigré who is both more and less than she appears; of Jason’s search to replace his dead grandfather’s irreplaceable smashed watch before the crime is discovered; of first cigarettes, first kisses, first Duran Duran LPs, and first deaths; of Margaret Thatcher’s recession; of Gypsies camping in the woods and the hysteria they inspire; and, even closer to home, of a slow-motion divorce in four seasons.

Pointed, funny, profound, left-field, elegiac, and painted with the stuff of life, Black Swan Green is David Mitchell’s subtlest and most effective achievement to date.

Random House

Summer Reading: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Exams

Summer Reading: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Exams

In addition to the summer readling choices in the Charles Wright Academy Upper School, students in Advanced Placement ("AP") English Literature & Composition are already preparing for exams on both prose and poetry. Below are their summer reading assignments.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood:

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now....

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Random House

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

One of America's most purchased and beloved books. An excellent gift for people of any age, full of wisdom and simple poetry, addressing twenty seven topics of our daily lives. Elegant paper back edition, enhanced by drawings of the renowned Aubrey Beardsley. An evergreen bestseller.

Oneworld Publications

Pretend you're a student! Answer the sample questions and complete the essay assignment posted online. Write about your experience in the comments below.

Summer Reading: The Fault In Our Stars

Summer Reading: The Fault In Our Stars

Movie fans, you'll definitely want to follow your theater experience with a read of this YA phenomen! The Upper School has included this best-seller among the summer reading options.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Penguin Group USA

Summer Reading: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

Summer Reading: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

Summer reading is starting strong--the science department is already over "Moon Biermann" for this book!

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield:

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.

Hachette Book Group

Is this your book choice? Tell us why in the comments!

Kid-Friendly Arts and Cultural Experiences Around Puget Sound

Kid-Friendly Arts and Cultural Experiences Around Puget Sound

By: Melissa Rohlfs

We’re big fans of the arts around here. Not only because art—in all its varied forms—brings beauty to our lives, but also because it’s a great way to teach children.

Now, I don’t think there’s anybody that would seriously contradict the value of art in our lives, our homes, or our communities. In fact, most parents and teachers wholeheartedly agree. The problem is making it enough of a priority to carve out time and resources for it.

While we can’t add any more hours to your day, we hope to at least inspire you to “use your art eyes,” as CWA’s Lower School art teacher “Miz Candy” always says and to find ways to incorporate the artistic expression into your child’s world.

All of these activities are close to home, affordable, and, best of all, geared toward families. Did we miss one of your favorite things to do? Please share any gems you’ve discovered in the comments section below!

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Steve & Kate's Camp: An Animated Imagination

Steve & Kate's Camp: An Animated Imagination

By: Connor Senftleben '23

Rising fourth grader Connor has been attending Steve & Kate's Camp since they first set up shop on the Charles Wright campus in the summer of 2012. This year he is dedicating a lot of time to making movies in the animation studio. Check out one of his shorts below!

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