Saturday, October 27, 2018


Last week the first quarter spun to an end before, yet it was not without the completion of some special projects that none of us had ever attempted, projects all about student perspectives.

Betsy Knorr, a fellow English teacher at Central, finds some unique projects from time to time and shares them with me. I love when we have time to hammer out how best to present them to our students. This is so rewarding for us as well as our students.

Betsy showed me this cool idea called “sketch notes” which we both decided to try with our English III students as we tackled the epic poem Beowulf. The basic premise of sketch notes is that the students concentrate on the content of a lecture or reading selection then create periodic notes which are quick pictures, stylized fonts, or unique bullets. This may look like simply doodling, but we both discovered sketch notes were much more.

So my classes and I read Beowulf slowly together. I would put a couple key words on the board as important ideas to consider. After that, I simply asked them to spend a few minutes creating a sketch note. As I moved around the room, I found each student creating a unique sketch note, an extension of his or her perspective of what we had just read aloud and discussed. We continued this same process, traveling through each part of the epic poem until we had eventually made a five to six page booklet of the entire poem.

The fascinating part of this entire endeavor is that all of my students were thoroughly engaged in this process. Typically reading a selection of this length can be a tedious process despite its adventrous plot. The note-taking itself is ominous to most students. This was a different process though, one which asks students to listen carefully, to consider what is significant to them, and to create a perspective they are comfortable expressing confidently and intelligently.

Thank you to everyone for their support for the book. The response has been overwhelming.

Monday, October 15, 2018


One year ago I began the process of writing My Corner of the World. This was such a cathartic experience for me. I was able to gain some focus and insight that helps me continue to enjoy a life which is guaranteed to have its share of failures, successes, losses, and triumphs. 

The past year has been an exercise in perseverance as I never thought I could write this book much more have the courage and vulnerability to share it with people. Thank you to everyone for your support, understanding, and encouragement.


You may be asking where and how you can find the book

This link will take you to the Kindle version:

This link will take you to the paper back version:

You can also check out my author page.


I have quite a few people request autographed copies and hardback copies. I think that is kind of cool and my "advisers" have suggested to go with the flow on these requests. Within a week or so I will add a link to address both of these. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018


Whew! What a crazy couple of weeks! 

Recently so much has been transpiring in our local community, across the nation, and throughout the world; however, nothing was going to prevent me from achieving the long-term goal I had set for myself over a year ago. I have been blessed with some remarkable beta-readers who offered invaluable input regarding My Corner of the World, my book which offers personal reflections on the changes I experienced during my first year teaching at Central Catholic High School. I have been processing their comments then tweaking some sections over the past weeks. My neck and eyes are sore from too much reading, my forearms are paying the price for too much time on the keyboard, and my mind has been thoroughly scrambled in HTML code while converting my work to eBook format. 😭😱😬😫😃😌😎 This has all been worth it though. 

Beginning Monday, October 15th, 2018, My Corner of the World will be available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format. In the meantime, for anyone who might be interested, I have included an excerpt from a chapter in the book. 


Emily and her friends, the maroon and white clad senior class, entered the Great Hall, the recently remodeled cafeteria at Central which had earned the name as a result of either the swankiness of the décor or the fact that a huge, nearly life-sized crucifix overlooked us from the wall. The senior knights sat in groups close to the front of the stage but several tables removed from the microphone. We teachers sat along the side walls on higher bar-stool type chairs near accompanying tables where we kept a watchful eye on the students as we reviewed what we were going to say.

“Good morning, seniors!” announced Jeff Smay, a thin, wiry man, wound tight with an enthusiasm that was too uncool for these kids. Determined, Smay chuckled, pushing his black-rimmed glasses back up his nose. “God is good!” he shouted, awaiting a response.

“All the time,” murmured several of the crowd.

“Come on now,” Smay encouraged them as he haltingly laughed. “You know how this goes!” Then again, with impossibly more enthusiasm, squaring both his feet in spirited determination, “God Is Good!”

The students sat up, following the lead of Chance, a leader on the football team, a cut-up around school, a genuine article, and, right then, the loudest person in the Great Hall. “ALL THE TIME!”

Smay nodded his appreciation that they were now joining in and then finished the cheer, “All The Time!”

“GOD IS GOOD!” The students were now looking around self-consciously at one another and laughing, maybe being just fine with this tradition as a beginning to their senior year. 

I sat back in my chair. Now I was lost. For years I rode the history of who I was as a teacher at Fike High School, enjoying my reputation being handed down from older to younger siblings, from one friend to another, never considering that I would have to “introduce” myself to an entire school community again. As I pondered how to present myself, I witnessed the more seasoned faculty members here at Central comfortably take their turn in the spotlight, welcoming the students back with their own personal style which students had grown to cherish. History teacher Sally Beatty commanded the stage by leading the seniors in a “Maroon Knights” cheer then stoked their pride by shouting how “AWESOME” they were. Spanish teacher “Señora” Jan Grubler greeted them with a “Bu-e-nos Di-as!” slowly articulating each and every syllable, consonant, and vowel sound. All students, even those who did not take Spanish, repeated after her, earning a nod of approval and a nice, perfectly controlled smile from Señora. 

The parade of teachers continued to dwindle down toward me, this new guy who became increasingly nervous about just how to present himself. I plowed through the list of items I had wanted to say while looking for some clue, some random thought that was flying throughout my scattered brain. “Relax,” I thought. “Just be yourself.”

I had stalled long enough while waiting for nearly all of the staff present to move towards Julie Shively to grasp the microphone for their turn. I am not sure why certain ideas manifest in my mind. I often wonder if I plant the seeds myself or some drunken magical Puck sprinkles glittering dust in my eyes to enchant, and at times, curse me. 

Julie held out the microphone to me and smiled. “Go head, Mr. Bucon. Keep it short, OK?”

I bent my head down towards my shoes, wondering if my legs were shaking; then keeping my head lowered, I slowly raised my eyes to look at the senior class sitting out there, arms crossed, mouths clamped shut, looking back and forth at one another and then at me. I lifted my head, then cranked it around in circles in order to loosen my neck muscles. I looked at Julie and uneasily chuckled. “Sorry for this. You may want to step back.

Check back here for more information about the release next weekend. If you are interested in subscribing to this page, please sign up at the top of the page.

The book will be available at in paperback and Kindle format
on Monday, October 15th, 2018.