Taylor Blanton

Taylor Blanton is an AP United States History teacher at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, NC.  Prior to this, he taught AP United States History, AP European History, and World History at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, NC.  He has been involved in Student Government, Faculty Council, Freshman Orientation, and also has coached swimming for many years.
His academic interests include Colonial and Revolutionary United States History, American Government and Politics, and Ancient/Classical History.  He enjoys traveling, particularly to culturally and historically significant locations. He has completed recent trips to Hawaii, Colorado/Wyoming, Washington, D.C., Greece, and Egypt, and will soon be visiting Italy, Great Britain, Spain, and France.  Taylor earned a BS in Middle Grades Education from NC State University and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Social Science Education from NC State as well. 

Experiences in Guildford

Pub Crawl - The King's Head

Our group (Mike, Jane, Sara, Kevin, myself) decided to experience the bus ride from the University into town.  After getting off the bus just off North Street, we walked through the central part of town.  We decided to get off the main drag and head to the southern side of town to explore the area around St. Mary's Church and the old Castle.  At the corner of Quarry and Castle Streets, we stumbled upon a pub, The King's Head.
After taking numerous pictures of the outside of the building, we headed inside to both explore the building itself and also the food and beverages offered by the establishment.  We would be very pleased with both of these experiences. 
The building itself had ties all the way back to the 1500's, when an underground passageway connected this building to the castle.  Rumor has it that a girl who stayed in this house used the passageway to participate in an affair with a man of some importance. 
Now, the building is said to be haunted, with even a Japanese television team coming in to report on the site.  Slamming doors and passageways, rearranging of barrels, and other strange occurrances have frequented this location.  Some of our party were allowed to explore the cellar, to not only see the location where the brews are stored, but also to experience some of the building's haunted history.  It was only after the group returned that we were informed that the ghost supposedly does not like men.  Perhaps the information came slightly too late, but we were unharmed.
The food and drink were good, the experience and information gained at The King's Head were excellent.

English Country Gardens

Throughout our tours of Winchester, Oxford, Guildford, and Chawton, we have been able to experience many different perspectives of life in the countryside versus that in the city.  Here is a link to a Prezi with pictures and a brief poetic response to these country gardens.  http://prezi.com/9ph2-wypeyrf/country-gardens/

Google Maps - University of Surrey / Guildford

Sara Lee and I toured the campus at the University of Surrey and from this experience, a Google Map was created.

Edinburgh Pub Trail - With Google Maps

Class Scribe Notes 7/27/2011

One of the tasks that we had in our class was to take notes of our daily activities.  On July 27th, the task fell to Jane Shipman and myself.  Our description of the day is as follows...

A cool, early morning began with a quick breakfast and
a walk to the Senate house where we met our Beeline Tour vans for our day’s
travel to Winchester and Portsmouth.   We divided into two groups
and boarded the vans for an hour and a half ride to our first destination,



Arriving at approximately 9:45am, we disembarked to
tour the city.  We separated into
smaller groups as we walked through the central part of town, passing first by
the local trading market.  Most of
the groups meandered up the hill toward the Great Hall to see King Arthur’s
Round Table and the steel gates designed for Charles and Diana’s wedding in
1981. Those leaving the Great Hall met others coming in and exchanged ideas; at
this point many of the group went to Winchester Cathedral, touring the main hall
and seeing the grave marker for Jane Austen. A few were able to enter the crypt and
others spent time simply soaking up a little sun in the cathedral yard. Other
locations visited included Jane Austen’s house, the river walk, Wolvesey’s ruins
and the rest of the town. A quick lunch led us to the vans and our second
destination, Portsmouth.


De-vanning after the hour long ride ( a few naps included) was
eased by the smell of salt, the sounds of the sea, and the sight of seagull
droppings everywhere.   It
was like it was painted on or something… They must have an infestation.  But anyway… 
We walked towards the docks, with our fearless leader Ruie pushing us
onwards.  She easily accessed 27
tickets to the much coveted Harbor Tour. 
However, 27 was one too many for the teeny-tiny boat prepared to sail at
3:30. So we set out to wait for the luxurious and spacious aquatic vessel
scheduled to depart at 4.  For
some that wait meant coffee, for some ice cream, for some a minute in a local
shop, or for one or two a quick visit to the HMS Victory. 
The lasting legacy of the flagship from the Battle of Trafalgar was with
us on our Harbor Tour, along with the gulls who threatened their own Pearl
Harbor.  The lack of an aerial
attack allowed for a wonderful tour and commentary regarding the past and
present capabilities of the Royal Navy, whose arsenal was quite cute compared
with the US Navy.  In spite of a
small kerfuffle or two the captain returned us all to the dock and we quickly
made our way back to the vans for our return journey to Guildford. 
A quick drive across the countryside, filled with naps or stimulating
conversation, brought us back to our home at the University of Surrey at
approximately 18:30, local time. 
God save the Queen.

Postcards from London

One way to compose expressive writing is through the writing of postcards.  Our group used this activity to start the writing process, and this is one example in which the first letter of each line is derived from the location of our activities.

Enjoying the experience
Great food
Loving every minute
Dream worthy

Group Summaries - Writing Together

Carts and Bollards

The For Example…

First and foremost, England stands out as a land of words – lilting speech, cryptic signs, posted notices – that one cannot escape. And what a lovely way to learn a new language! ‘Bollards operating here’ we’ve discovered means a passageway is clear of posts sometimes but not others. During our lesson on bollards came a lesson on basic English character: Nearing 11 pm as we returned to the dorm, a bus to town pulled up and stopped at the bollard. The driver disembarked, strolled over to an abandoned grocery cart and gently lifted it. Our group collectively anticipated his gentle shift from the curb and edge of the street to the lovely lawn; we were feeling empathetic with the benevolent stranger who would make the
road safer for other drivers. WHOOSH! Feet raised in midstep, breaths indrawn, our mouths dropped as he hoisted the offending cart above his head and hurled it a dozen feet into the bushes! From the bushes it bounced back, clattered on the
sidewalk, and skittered away down the bank. Soundlessly we watched, completely still, as he brushed his hands and returned to the driver’s seat. Only after the bus passed did we stare wide-eyed at one another and burst into laughter. Our comments ranged from ‘Wow!’ to ‘Holy &%$#!’ and this tiny video has replayed in conversation – in words - always
accompanied by head shakes and laughter, many times since.


Beginning with an awareness of the British appreciation for language, this paragraph shows an example of American speakers learning a new British term –  bollards – and gaining an appreciation of British character to be expressed
repeatedly in words.