Week 19 History: Christopher Columbus

Writing Assignment: Write a one to two page paper to summarize one of the following:

– The War of the Roses
– The life and work of Nicolaus Copernicus
– Christopher Columbus’s discover of San Salvador

NOTE: I am working on my Semester Report, which is why there have been no English writing assignments, along with the fact that the past three weeks have pretty much ZERO review content. (Pretty sure that nobody cares about this, since this blog is as quiet as the grave)

ColumbusChristopher Columbus came from the town of Genoa, which was a major trading center in Italy at the time. For a while, he lived under his father, and then began to love sea travel. but once he became an adult, Columbus became concerned with more serious matters.

Columbus was a very religious man, and wanted to spread the Gospel to other countries, and he wanted to bring it to China. The problem was, the only way to China was backed up, and he wanted to get there quickly.

His solution was to sail around the other side of the world so he would have a quicker way to get there. But before he could go on this grand adventure, he needed funding. after many rejections, he went to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. It took a while to persuade them, but they used most of their funds to fund his journey.

The main reason, however, for Columbus’ many rejections, was that they thought the journey was suicide. Columbus thought the world was not as big around as most people thought, so they thought he would die of not having enough supplies. He still got his funds though, and he set sail. After a month and a half of sailing, he unexpectedly struck land. It was actually a good thing his journey did not go as planned, or Columbus and his crew would have died. He named the island he found San Salvador, and began to meet the locals. He then went back to England to tell all about his new discovery.

This was just the start of his great journey, and he took many more trips back there, starting the age of Colonization.


Week 18 History: Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo

Writing Assignment: Write a one to two page paper on the following:

Topic: Summarize the life of two or more of the famous Renaissance men you studied this week.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is the first Renaissance artist I will write about, since he is one of the most famous men in history, simply because of how many revolutionary things he did.

Leonardo was born on April 15th, 1452. Not much is really known about his childhood (as is the case with many historical figures), but we do know that he lived in a small house with his mother and father, as well as his grandparents. His father had a tragic marriage, as most of his wives died childless, except for his last two. Leonardo had over twelve half-siblings because of this.

Mona Lisa Eventually, Leonardo became the apprentice to a man named Verrocchio, whose workshop was one of the finest in Florence. This apprentice-ship resulted in Leonardo learning many things about art, and by the time he got out he was able to create very detailed paintings.

Once he began to work on his professional work, he dropped off the records for a while, then came back on them, having worked on many commissioned paintings. He then died on May 2nd, 1519, at the age of 67.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA During his life he is most well-known for his scientific drawings of flying machines, as well as his most famous painting, the Mona Lisa. We are not sure who the woman in the painting is, but we do know that Leonardo sought to make this painting as perfect as possible. The other things he did were to draw up ideas for inventions that were FAR ahead of his time, such as the helicopter, or even a sort of tank! He never really got around to making these machines a reality, but they still inspired people to make our modern inventions today.

Michelangelo is the second person I will write about, and he is arguably even more well-known than Leonardo, because he painted and sculpted a great many things in his life.

Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475 to a respectable family on a small farm, and had one brother. Michelangelo’s father was a politician, so they ended up having to move away from their little house in Florence. They moved to a stonecutter’s village, which Michelangelo later said fueled his love of sculpture. His mother later died when he was six.

When Michelangelo was ten, his father enrolled him in a grammar school, but he would just sit back and draw on every single piece of spare paper he could find. When Michelangelo was thirteen, he asked for his father’s permission to quit school, but his father was outraged. Though, after a while, his father came to his senses and let Michelangelo quit. He started making paintings and sculptures, and people were impressed by it.

Then tragedy struck again and his father died, leaving Michelangelo very saddened. He accepted it and went to study human anatomy at a morgue, so he could better understand how to portray the human body. He performed many impressive art feats, even making a very accurate snow sculpture!

Sistine ChapelBut his most famous work has to be his single-handed painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He was commissioned to do this by Julius, the “warrior pope”. Workers spent a long time setting up the scaffolding, then Michelangelo set to work. Over a long four years, he painted many beautiful paintings, which can still be seen to this day. People flocked to see what was being done up there, and they were astonished. They saw scenes from the Bible, even one about the coming of Christ.

Michelangelo lived for a while more, then finally died. His legacy is remembered as the man who painted some of the most beautiful and striking paintings ever to exist.

Week 17 History: Johann Gutenberg and the Printing Press

Writing Assignment: Write a one to two page paper summarizing one of the lessons from this week:

– The Fall of Constantinople

– Gutenberg and the Printing Press

– Ferdinand and Isabella’s Spain

– The Inquisition

Johann Gutenberg was born in Germany and was raised by his father, who worked in a mint. Gutenberg’s lucky parentage resulted in his having great knowledge of blacksmithing and goldsmithing. When he became older, he started to create polished mirrors for display purposes.

Geneva BibleIn the year 1444, Gutenberg began work on perfecting his design on the movable type printing press. It took a very long time to make it work, so it was only until 1450 when it was finished. Since he was a metalworker like his father, he ended up creating designs that were of very high quality. Gutenberg also made a form to mold his type in. This method of printing was so much more efficient than the other methods of printing, and it even used oil-based ink, which was more durable than water-based ink.

Johann Gutenberg’s ambition was to print Bibles that anyone could easily access, so he began printing the Geneva Bible. This Bible was a great success, so much so that 48 copies still survive to this day.

The movable type printing press had a great impact on history, because pretty much every printer since then has its roots based on Gutenberg’s press.

Week 16 English: How Sherlock Holmes Rooted Out the Red-Headed League

Assignment: Write a one to two page paper on the following topic.

Topic: Choose any one of the four mystery stories you read this week and pretend you were writing a news report on how Holmes solved the crime. You can write the paper as an interview or as an essay, but the goal should be to outline the case and then show how Sherlock identified the clues in the case and drew his deductions.

This whole fiasco started when Dr. Watson came downstairs to find Sherlock in deep conversation with a man named Jabez Wilson, who is a totally normal man, except for his mop of fiery red hair. Watson is intrigued by this man, and Holmes proceeds to ask Watson for some assistance.

Wilson begins by saying he is a pawnbroker, with Vincent Spaulding, an assistant who is being paid half the usual salary so he can learn the business. Wilson says he is a good worker, but he often goes into the basement to develop his photos (which is important later on). Wilson says the two months previous, Spaulding drew Wilson’s attention to an advertisement for an opening in “The Red-Headed League”. Spaulding encouraged Wilson to go, so he went to the office with Spaulding to see what it was all about.

They entered the building, filled with red-headed men, and got taken to a back room to meet the manager, who was also a red-headed man. Wilson was told to copy the entire Encyclopedia Britannica by hand. Wilson was paid very well for his efforts, and worked for eight weeks before the league was disbanded. Wilson immediately went to Holmes to ask for his services.

Holmes sat there and thought for a while, and then suddenly jumped up and asked Wilson to go to a concert with Holmes. “Along the way, they stop in front of Wilson’s shop, where Holmes thumps his walking stick on the pavement and knocks on the door to ask Spaulding for directions. After Spaulding and Holmes finish talking, Holmes tells Watson that he believes that Spaulding is the fourth-smartest man in London…Holmes notices aloud that there’s a bank behind Wilson’s shop, and, finished for the day, he and Watson go to the concert.Red Headed League

That same night, Sherlock Holmes tips the police and asks Watson to come with him, saying that a heinous crime will be commited. He goes to the alley of the shop and waits, along with Detective Jones and Wilson. They see a crack in the floor, and light is pouring through. The hatch slowly opens, and a man’s hand pokes through. Holmes and Detective Jones sieze the man, who is actually John Clay, a man who gave himself the false name Vincent Spaulding.

Sherlock later states that he was suspicious of a bank robbery was because Spaulding’s pant knees were worn away, suggesting that he had been kneeling down and digging. Holmes put two and two together, and discovered the Leauge was a cover-up to get Wilson away from his shop, so Spaulding could dig a tunnel to the bank.


Week 16 History: The Black Death

Writing Assignment: Write a one to two page paper summarizing one of the lessons from this week:

– The Black Death
– John Huss
– The Papal Schism
– The History of Venice

Europe had been developed for a very long time at this point, and it had a very successful trading business with other nations. But this trading empire would become their downfall.

The Bubonic Plague arrived in England from twelve Genoese ships. The English came aboard to greet the crew, only to find most of the crew dead. The few survivors were covered in black spots, and died shortly thereafter. The English were terrified, and they sent the ships out from the port. At this point, it was already too late.

The Black Death began to spread. After it infected the first people, it was unstoppable. Rats became infected with it, and spread it EVERYWERE. More and more people were infected with this disease, until almost all of Europe had it. You knew you were doomed when you had black boils with rings around them develop on your body, and you started blowing chunks and feeling very feverish. And then you would kick the bucket.

Some priests tried the infamous “Blood-Letting” tactic, which involved cutting open your veins to let out the “badness”. Unfortunately, this practice often made things worse by letting more germs into your body, so you often got even more sick than you were (and you probably died faster, too).

The plague was so bad at this point that it was killing almost all of the population of England, and cemetaries were so packed that your body would probably be dumped in a very large hole and burned. In fact, this is where the song “Ring Around the Rosy” comes along.

This song is a very popular children’s rhyme, but I doubt that many people know what it truly means.

“Ring Around the Rosy
Pocket Full of Posies
Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down!”

The first verse refers to the boils that had the infectious rings around them, while the second verse references people literally carrying around flowers in their pockets to ward off the “badness” that they thought was carried around by smells. The final verse is just downright morbid, as it refers to the burning of the bodies and the people falling down dead.

The Black Death is one of the most devastating events in history, as it killed off most of Europe’s population. Eventually, the disease was killed off, but there are still rare cases of it in single people today.

Week 15 English: Genre

Assignment: Write a one to two page paper on the following topic.

Topic: Define genre. Explain what a genre is, name a few genres, and give a few examples of your favorite books and which genres they are from.

A genre is a form of literature, and it is a means of classifying books into certain categories, like Sci-Fi, Comedy, Horror, Adventure, etc. Ever since the inception of writing books for entertainment, there have been genres (They began in Greece, for classifying written works).


Fall of ReachScience Fiction revolves around worlds usually set very far in the future, where humans have discovered advanced technology, and, possibly, aliens. It is a very popular genre, it actually is the most prominent and most read genre out of any in today’s day and age. It is actually fairly “new”, as it began in the early 19th century when Jules Verne and H.G Wells started to write those kind of books. Some favorite books of mine out of this category are Halo: The Fall of Reach, the Robot Wars series, and Taken.


LOTRThis is another extremely popular genre of books, they often revolve around mythical creatures or a quest to find and/or destroy something, or it could be set around a magical school. Most fantasy books are set in a time period without the advanced technologies we have today, as in the case of Lord of the Rings, but that is not always the case. There may be a sanctuary for fantastic beasts that is set in the middle of the woods, far from a major city. Some favorites include Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Fablehaven.            


An epic is a genre that is centered on some sort of quest, either it be physical or mental. They could be called adventure novels, but epics may contain large battles, which are not in adventure novels. Epics are possibly one of the oldest genres, as some ancient poems like The Epic of Gilgamesh revolve around a man’s journey. Some epics are Lord of the Rings, The Illiad, and The Odyssey. 

Week 15 History: A Summary of the Hundred Years War

Writing Assignment: Write a two to three page paper on the following topic:

Summarize the history of the Hundred Years’ War. This should include important dates and the names of places or people who played important parts in the War.

The Hundred Years War started from a simple disagreement over something extremely stupid. King Edward the third had to pay homage to France, and of course he did not want to. He got in a small spat and took the city of Aquatine from the French, who then proceeded to steal it back from the English, thus starting a war that would last from 1337 to 1453.

The first battle was the battle of Sluys on July 22, 1340. This was no simple land skirmish, no. It was a battle fought ship to ship–and the English destroyed the French in this battle, so they gained control of that stretch. Then, the English marched on Caen and captured it in a single day, now known as the Battle of Crecy. They then also captured ANOTHER French city, and this one was Calais. This city was absolutely vital, as it allowed for the easy deployment of troops in France.

However, a “snag” came up, and it was known as the infamous, terrifying BLACK DEATH. It devastated both sides of the army, and so the movie was cancelled for several more years while both sides tried to fight it off.

When the war eventually started again, the leader of the armies was not Edward III, but his son, Edward the Black Prince (Don’t judge me). Several more years of war, death, fighting, blood, and more war followed Edward’s reign, in which the English actually captured France, but the French revolted, and so did the peasants. Amidst the chaos, Edward tried to become king over France, but he was forced to negotiate, resulting in the first peace in the war, and ending the Edwardian Era.

1369-1389 was the Caroline Era, in which the French king died, and Edward III and his son were both dying. The French had problems with Aquatine, who revolted due to tax issues. This revolt ended the peace treaty and started up the fighting, AGAIN. The revolt was squelched and Henry II, the son of the Black Prince, became the English king and signed a peace treaty, ending the Caroline Era.

The Lancrastian Era began in 1415 and ended in 1453. Of course, there was a new English king at this time, Henry V. Henry V decided it was a wonderful idea to sail up to France and resume the war with the Battle of Agincourt. In 1416, the French attacked the English at Agincourt, a small muddy field. The French were weighed down by their heavy armor, and ended up losing 6000 of their number while the English only lost 400, because of light armor and their longbows. There were many more battles and then Joan of Arc was born.

Joan of Arc was a simple French girl, but she began to have visions when she was 12, saying that it was her destiny to defeat the English. When she was older, she went to the French king, who let her go into battle against the English. She captured an important church, which allowed the king to be crowned king over France. Joan fought a great many more battles, but was eventually captured by the English and burned at the stake.

Eventually, the French won the war in 1453.

Week 14 English: The Items I Would Use If I Was “Cast Away”

Assignment: Write a one to two page paper on the following topic:

Topic: Choose two devices, tools, or gadgets that you would like to have with you if you were shipwrecked like Robinson Crusoe.

Remember that the devices must be transportable by ship, and that they are supposed to help you survive while on the island, not aid in your escape from it.

First off, I am not going to be putting Wilson on here, because he is a  volleyball,wilson and I could make anything like that fairly simply. Keeping your sanity IS a good benefit, though.

The first item I would take with me would be a very good combat knife. Like one of those that has a massive foot-long blade with a serrated edge. The reason I would choose this is because you could make pretty much anything if you use it to carve things out of wood, so you could make bows, pickaxes, axes, shovels, etc. a good knife would also be useful in a combat scenario with the natives, because they would probably have no chance against something so deadly. It would also be useful for killing the animals that you need for food. And, of course, you could use it to skin the meat before you eat it. This combat knife would be absolutely essential for your survival, because it has so many different uses.

The second item I would choose would be a fully stocked first-aid kit. This would be undeniably useful for pretty much any kind of injury you suffer, because it would have anti-septics, pain medicine, needle and thread, etc. Even though it wont last forever, you can still use it effectively if you ration it.

Week 14 History: John Wycliffe and the Reformation

Writing Assignment: Write a one to two page paper summarizing one of the lessons from this week.

This week studied the beginning of several movements: The Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.

Choose either Petrarch or Wycliffe and write a summary of his life and how his actions led to the important events after him.

John Wycliffe was born in 1330, in the Hinterlands, a sheep farm 200 miles away from the crowded population center known as London. He lived there for all of his childhood, then he went to Oxford University in 1346 to get his degree in theology, but due to periodic outbreaks of the Black Death, he was unable to get it until 1372. Even so, he was still considered Oxford’s leading theologian.

John was a great teacher and preacher, but he is better known for how he disputed many religious practices of his day. One such practice was the church was making the Pope the first authority, when it should have been the Bible, and he also preached against selling indulgences.

This behavior was not well recieved at all by the pope, and he ended up giving John five “Bulls” (which were church edicts) . In these Bulls, he was charged on 18 counts and was called “The Master of Errors.” After this, he was put under house arrest.

John began to study Scripture, and he found errors in  the ways the Catholics were teaching. Through this, he reiterated the biblical teaching on faith: “Trust wholly in Christ; rely altogether on his sufferings; beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by his righteousness.”

Also believing that every Christian should have access to Scripture (only Latin translations were available at the time), he began translating the Bible into English, with the help of his good friend John Purvey.

This was the last straw for the Catholic Church. Even though they never got the chance to ruin John’s life anymore, they said “By this translation, the Scriptures have become vulgar, and they are more available to lay, and even to women who can read, than they were to learned scholars, who have a high intelligence. So the pearl of the gospel is scattered and trodden underfoot by swine.”

John Wycliffe died before he could ever finish his English translation, (And before the authorities could convict him of heresy) he is still known as the father of the English Bible we have today.


Week 13 English: Robin Hood and the Cows

Writing Assignment: Write a two page story of your own that incorporates the style you have learned from reading The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. The story should be based on Robin Hood, include a new adventure, and you are welcome to introduce a new character to the story as well.

Robin Hood lov’d a nice, juicy steak. He would often sneak into King John’s kitchen to steal the gourmet steaks that were cook’d, because he loved them so much. His Merry Men also loved them very much, so they would often provide a distraction by attempting to sell the castle guards very tight pants, often to get the castle doors slamm’d in their faces.

One day, Robin’s Merry Men did their usual routine, and Robin was sneaking into the castle through the air conditioning units. He crawl’d along the stone ventilation shafts toward the kitchens, when he was met with a very pungent odor. He peeked inside the kitchens, only to see hundreds of cows stomping around over the Samsung™ Kitchen Appliances. Robin dar’d not step in the, umm, stuff on the floor for fear of ruining his iPhone™ 7 Plus, fancy Vera Bradley™ carrying tote, and his Fruit of the Loom™ socks.

Robin kept thinking what he should do, when a brilliant idea came to him! He put on a ridiculous smile and snapp’d a selfie of himself standing in the cow-infested kitchens. He then carefully stepp’d around on the floor, not really knowing what in steak’s name he was doing. Then he got a genuinely brilliant idea! He ran out of the kitchen toward the EXPLOZIVE FUNZIEZ! shop that King John recently installed. Inside, he paid $10,000 for an X15 Flamethrower, enviously eyeing the bazookas.

He ran back to the kitchens aDErp COwnd said “I cannoteth waiteth for thou art delicouseth steakes!” Inside, the cows looked at Robin and said, “Our toastiest steakes awaiteth you!” Robin ignited the front and began to berate each cow with a wall of fire. He laughed maniacally, “HE’ETH HE’ETH HE’ETH HE’ETH HE’ETH!” Every time a cow dy’d, it said, “Thy soul is derpest!” and vanish’d in a puff of smoke leaving pixelat’d steaks behind.

Robin finish’d toasting the cows and quickly returned the flamethrower to EXPLOZIVE FUNZIEZ! and gather’d up the pixel-steaks. On his way out, he ran into King John’s hall and slapp’d him in the face with a steak whilst saying, “When thee taxe our pooreth souleths, it is calleth thef’d!” Robin ran away and hopped into his Ford F-150™ while his band climb’d into the back. “I shall see’eth you laterth, you filthyest knave!”

Robin screeched away, glad they would be enjoying delicious steaketh tonight.