Defense of Contract for The Floatplane Project

Wow! I cannot believe that it is almost the end of the semester, especially because this one seems like it has gone by so quickly. From concept to finished website, I have learned so much from this course and the project. Plus, it feels really nice to google ‘The Floatplane Project COPLAC’ and see the finished website pop up on my laptop screen!!


Reflecting on the website, I feel as if I met or exceeded most of the terms set forth in the agreement. First, the website thoroughly honors the fundamental purpose of its creation, which was to “educate a general public audience on the censorship movement against Clyde Edgerton’s The Floatplane Notebooks in Carroll County Public Schools in Carroll County, VA in 1992. . . [and]. . .explore dimensions of literary censorship with the intention of providing necessary context for the Carroll County case and the course” (Turner, 2019). On the site, I provided information on the case and attempted to make some concrete connections between all the sections of the site. I also made specific, such as the colors and the pictures, that I thought would appeal best to a more universal audience instead of one specific audience. Generally, I also stayed true to the original description of my website, with the five original information categories and page citations using links and footnotes (which was a very interesting experience because my APA-trained brain had to learn the basics of Chicago Manuscript Style!) (Turner, 2019).

Website Pages and Information

As far as its pages, the project actually exceeds the scope of pages listed in the contract. For example, the context section of the site was supposed to have two pages, one on Carroll County and one on Appalachian culture (Turner, 2019), but the finished project has three – the two listed in the contract plus an additional page on Appalachian literature. I knew after I drafted the first two pages that I could never cover the information I wanted to in two pages, so dividing the culture and literature page allowed me to look deeper into the historical roots of Appalachian culture and the trends of Appalachian literature, especially as literature is related to the representation of culture. In addition, the case section contained some different/additional sections from the three listed in the contract, the challengers of the case, the community reactions to the case, and research conclusions from the case (Turner, 2019). Instead of those three, I divided the challengers section into one section for individuals who challenged the book and one for those who defended the book. I kept the administration and research conclusion pages the same in structure. To add to the project and to compensate for the removal of the section on the media, I chose relevant news articles and school board documents to feature as subpages under the divisions that characterize the information I am presenting on the pages.

Beyond the changes, I would like to briefly discuss the pages that mostly stayed the same. I think the homepage is beautiful and engaging – it is everything I wanted it to be when I set to creating an interactive menu in my contract (Turner, 2019). I also think that the slider gives the page some life about it because it moves and ties in the site. In addition, the section about the project also remained very close to the vision of the contract, in which the section was supposed to have a page on the project, a page on the website, and a page about me (Turner, 2019). In fact, the page on the website is one of my favorite pages on the site because it offers an explanation of choices, similar to this blog post, but I also think it serves the analysis I offered on the case by talking about the presentational choices that I made in re-telling the story of The Floatplane Notebooks in Carroll County.

Time and Deadlines

If I chose one area I struggled with on the project, it would be time. Owing  partly to the fact that this was a single person project, I had to pace in order to finish the website with quality and scope that I wanted it to be – especially because I left my contract worrying if I has created a plan that was too ambitious for the amount of time I had in the semester. Having finished the website, I feel I can say that my contract definitely was ambitious, especially when it came to drafting out the schedule for completion of milestones. In the contract, I divided completing sections of the site with conducting research on for the project throughout the semester, but I gave myself room to move those deadlines if necessary (Turner, 2019). I ended up moving a lot of those deadlines, often times beyond what I had anticipated when I wrote the contract. For example, with contacting the school board and alumni groups, I did not get responses as quickly as I had hoped, which caused me to change my plans for working on the site. For the first few weeks, I also delayed in sending out information to Ms. Goldwasser, which also placed me behind schedule. However, all of the deadlines were met (excepting, getting responses from the alumni because I was not able to gain permission to post on the social media group). Generally, I put in my contract that I would work on the site at least one hour and fifteen minutes per day (Turner, 2019). For the most part, I met that requirement. I can only count a handful of days – around 10 – where I did not meet the requirement. However, on weeks where I did not meet the requirement, and on weeks closer to the deadlines of the project, I found that I spent more time, often whole weekends, finishing up drafts and revisions for the week. In the end, I finished the website draft on April 8, a day earlier that the April 9 date, I had listed on my contract (Turner, 2019). I finished the final revisions fore the website on April 26, the day it was due for the course (I discovered that I listed April 16 as the due date for the final revisions for my site (Turner, 2019), which was an error in my contract).

Although I would love to expand and further revise the site if time allowed, especially because I had a few more materials that I did not get to feature on the site, I feel confident in saying that this project is positively representative of the terms of the contract and that it is a sincere, thorough, and hard-work-filled attempt to record and analyze the Carroll County case, as well as to apply what I have learned and considered from the readings and discussions from throughout the semester.


Turner, T. (2019). Burning Idea Course Contract_Spring 2019_TurnerUVAWISE. [PDF]. Wise, VA.


In Summary

Progress Report 5

After receiving feedback on aspects of my project site, I worked over the course of the week to create and begin to implement solutions to several of the website’s problems.

To start with the cosmetic issues, I went in and worked on the sidebar widgets. I updated the names of the other course site links, switched the order of the widgets so that the Hypothesis widget comes before the widget with the other project links, and redid the Hypothesis widget so that there is more explanation on what it is and how to use it (for viewers who are not experienced with the tool). Going forward, I still need to look out for missing words in my paragraphs, which I am confident I can do as I continue revising each page.

The second (and more important area) I gave attention to was the section of the project that detailed the case. After receiving feedback, I wasn’t sure the original design of my website, with a different page per category of stakeholder, was working for communicating the case like I wanted to. I thought about changing the section to have one page of context on different stakeholders, one page on the actual events of the case, and one page for analysis. However, after thinking about the section for a week, I decided that I want to stay true to my contract and keep the original design.

However, with that said, I’ve brainstormed several ways I can fix the weaknesses of the pages, and the case section (along with developing the analysis on it) will be my main focus for this last week of revisions.

Case Section Changes

At the End of the Semester (Turner, 2019)

First, I am going to revise the timeline of the main section page but also expand it to include a description of all the events of the case, so that the page is really dedicated jus

t to narrating what happened and clarifying details.

Second, I am going to change the structure of each of the stakeholder sub-pages to talk less about the actions of each individual and more about the opinion of and reasons behind the actions of each individual. In addition, I am going to move the introduction that talks generally about the role of each kind of stakeholder to the bottom of the page and refocus it as an analysis that looks at explaining why the individuals took the actions that they did and how their actions were significant within the case. I think that restructuring the pages in this way will help me to add more analysis and really pull the narrative together more cohesively.

Third, as suggested in my peer review, I have decided to incorporate the primary sources into the website by adding a separate sub-tab under the case section. I originally wanted to integrate them into the site by featuring different articles at the end of the each of the complainant pages, but the structure didnt’t do justice to the sources or the pages they were on. I also don’t want the clutter the main menu with a separate page for each primary source. Therefore, creating a new section should allow me to present the sources without complicating the menu or running the risk of having them over looked. I also believe that this format will allow me to incorporate more information from the primary sources into my analysis instead of abundant quotations from secondary sources.

However, choosing this structure does mean that the side index widget will contain a separate link to each primary source (because it will have to be its own page hyper linked in the primary source section) that will not be present in the main menu. Also, on the subject of primary sources, I am going to make sure to offer a brief and clear description of what each source is so that why its included makes sense, which is something I worked on in creating the drafts of the pages last week. I have set the goal of having them all up of the site by this evening.

Context Section Changes

In working on the presentation of the novel’s pages and the pages on Appalachian literature, I thought about how to bring the context of Appalachian literature back into my analysis, which is something that I did not do very well in the website draft. I have worked on drafting an expansion of the analysis that talks about the significance of Appalachian culture in the censorship case that I can include in the conclusions sub-page of the case section. In addition, I am going to expand my explanation of the novel by discussing how it relates to Appalachian culture, so that there is a clear link between the novel itself and the context I provide on my website. Lastly, I also looked at creating a family tree for the summary of the novel that should make that page a bit more visually appealing and I have decided to move the page on the challenged sections of the novel to the primary source tab so that it is not featured out of logical order for the site or contextual order for the case.

In summary, I have a lot of work left to do, but with a the planning and work I completed last week and a week’s worth of time ahead of me, I am confident I can finish everything by the deadline.

Photo Credits

Turner, T (2019, April 22). At the End of the Semester. [Personal Photograph taken in Wise, VA)


What It Does: A Reflection on Crutcher’s ‘How They Do It’

Reading Reflection 4

Growing up, I always loved school and learning (Yes, I am, proudly, a self-described nerd!). For that reason, I don’t think that it comes as a surprise if I write that I think the classroom is one of the most unique places on earth, at least symbolically. Simply put, a classroom is a place where learning happens – a focused, mediated environment for students to discuss, engage, apply, and reflect on the information they are learning. Classrooms are ideally secure places for students with all different opinions and levels of knowledge to come together to test their knowledge and learn.

In his article, “How They Do It,” author Chris Crutcher (2011) discusses the censorship of his book, Whale Talk, in a Michigan city and concludes with this statement: “This is the trick, folks: within ignorance lies safety. So they attack the educational community – the enemy for the time being – with disruption” (para. 9). While this quotation is composed of many strong and discussion-worthy ideals, I was drawn to the idea that censorship (and consequently, the actions of censors) works through causing disorder and disunity in the education system.

Classroom Chaos (darkday, 2014)

Through class discussions and readings, I latched on to the idea that censorship commonly works through limiting material and people – through stopping the flow of information.  While that is completely true, I have also come to realize through researching my case and hearing about the research of my peers that it also causes the rise of other practices and opinions, especially of fear and disorder.

In discussing the Carroll County case, for example,  Goldwasser (1997) writes that “[d]isappointingly, some teachers and administrators in the country seemed to have learned nothing from all of this. One ninth-grade teacher the following the year was afraid to teach Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet” (p. 41). Relatedly, to describe the impact of the Michigan case, Crutcher (2011) states that “[t]he damage had been done. The flow of the project was interrupted, various teachers and administrators intimidated, and what had been a successful, innovative project, crashed” (para. 5). Far beyond just influencing individual students and groups of students, these quotations speak to how censorship can disrupt the idea of the classroom and the educational process as a whole.

I tried to ponder: What is so dangerous about challenge publicity and parent complaints for public school systems? As a result, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the negativity of the words that circulate or even the potential of the complaints to end the books that are being taught (though, that is certainly a danger). I think that the biggest danger of censorship lies in what it starts – chaos and uncertainty in the classroom.

Ultimately, this idea exposes one difficult and paradoxical aspect of censorship. Many parents and community members challenge novels to protect students but they sacrifice the stability the classroom – the place where students learn how to engage with different ideas and perspectives – to do so, which has negative consequences that reach far beyond a few choice words or scenes in a book.


Crutcher, C. (2011, August 02). How They Do It. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from

Darkday. (2014, April 16). Classroom Chaos. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from

Goldwasser, M. M. (1997). Censorship: It Happened to Me in Southwest Virginia–It Could Happen to You. The English Journal, 86(2), 34. doi:10.2307/819671



A Reflection on Native Voices

Reading Reflection 3

Researching and writing on the history and culture on the Appalachian Mountains for the context section of my website brought me – unexpectedly – back to one of our class earlier class reading assignments, “The Dearth of Native Voices in Young Adult Literature: A Call for More Young Adult Literature by and for Indigenous Peoples,” by Kenyan Metzger & Wendy Kelleher (2008).

In all honesty, I thought I had a relatively good understanding of the history of Appalachia. But, after a night of research, I realized I only knew half the story – the story that that is recognized and taught in general history classes, and even featured as standardized test material (*shiver* – I have to say that I definitely do not miss the days of S.O.Ls).

To write briefly, I was familiar with the story of the Scots-Irish in Appalachia and how the settlers impacted the culture. For example, on Dialect Blog, Ben Smith (2011) discusses the significant linguistic contributions of the Scots-Irish Settlers. When I originally thought of writing a brief overview of Appalachian culture, I only thought of showing of this European side of history and culture.

However, many of the sources I began studying acknowledged another group of people that had a monumental impact on the region: the Cherokee Indians. To illustrate, in an article from The Appalachian Voice on Native American trails, Marshall & Marshall (2008), “[t]hree hundred years ago the southern Appalachians were home to the sovereign Cherokee people. Over fifty towns and settlements were connected by a well-worn system of foot trails. . .This Indian trail system. . .was the blueprint for the basic circuitry of the region’s modern road and interstate system” (para. 2).

Reading about the history and influence of Native Americans made me completely rethink what Appalachian culture is, and more importantly, how I wanted to present it on the website. In the words of Metzger & Kelleher (2008) in the Dearth of Native Voices in Young Adult Literature: A Call for More Young Adult Literature by and for Indigenous Peoples, “literature may help students to see who they are now not just in the context of history” (p. 38). In the article, this quotation is used to support the idea that Native American youths need to see representations of people who share and live in their contemporary culture (Metzger & Kelleher, 2008), but for me, the quotation brought me to consider the idea that literature, generally, serves as a reflection of different types of people, events, and cultures. Native American culture is vital in understanding what it means to be Appalachian – an idea that is commonly featured in Appalachian literature, which makes Native American representation and culture extremely relevant and important for the region’s literature, far more so that the small amount it gets recognized.

In the conclusion of the article, Metzger & Kelleher (2008) state that “[w]e must also share culturally relevant literature with non-Indian youth, so that they may appreciate the diversity of culture. In turn, the culture of all students must be recognized as essential to a broader understanding among students and teachers alike” (p. 41). This quotation became a guiding thought for the cultural context section of my site. I spent some extra time exploring articles that discussed more of the Cherokee and Native American influence in Appalachia so that I could include information about Native American history in addition to the history of Appalachian settlers – both equally important pieces of the story that The Floatplane is devoted to narrating.


Marshall, K., & Marshall, L. (2008, October 30). Indian Trails of Appalachia Appalachian Voices. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from

Metzger, K., & Kelleher, W. (Winter 2008). The Dearth of Native Voices in Young Adult Literature: A Call for More Young Adult Literature by and for Indigenous Peoples. The ALAN Review, 36-42. Retrieved April 8, 2019.

Smith, B. T. (2011, June 15). Ulster Scots and Appalachian English. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from

One Week Down, One To Go…

Progress Report 4

The last week of March was filled with progress on gathering the final pieces of information in my case and on working towards completing the initial draft of the website.

On the Research

First, early in the week, on Wednesday, March 27th, I received a reply to my an email asking for case materials from the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). The NCAC sent me a newsletter from 1992 that detailed my case; I was thrilled to see the newsletter and to receive a response from a national agency!  This Monday, on April 1st, I replied to the email to thank the agency and to ask if I could feature the newsletter on my website.

Second, I also received a reply from the Carroll County School Board in response to my request for the original text of the written complaint. My contact at the board was able to inform me that the office did not have a copy of the written complaint of the case. While I was disappointed to find out that board didn’t have the records, I am so incredibly grateful for the help of the Carroll County School Board in gathering materials for the case. Knowing what materials are available, in comparison to the ones that I have access to, gives me a good idea of how to divide and integrate the different source documents into my website, and it also gives me an informed picture of what kinds of information I am lacking in my research.

Third, I worked with Hope Cloud, a local high school and college educator, to set up an interview with her for this Wednesday, April 3rd at 2 p.m. In the interview, I plan on focusing asking questions that explore:

  • The process of choosing books for students in the classroom
  • The process of facilitating discussion and lessons on chosen books in the classroom
  • Censorship from an educator’s perspective

After the interview, I will also have to transcribe and post the information this week, which I anticipate will be tight for the amount of time that is left, but I think that it will ultimately be manageable and very useful in informing sections of the website.

Figure 1: Alarm Clock on a Bed (Turner, 2019)

Fourth, I read through the news articles and other press attention that centered around my case as I began to draft the case section of my website. As I wrote the pages, I kept track of which articles were useful for detailing the different perspectives of the Carroll County case. As a result, I have narrowed down the number of articles that I collected to around ten specific articles. Early this afternoon, I emailed the individual publishers of the articles to ask permission to feature the full text of the articles on my project site. I am extremely hopeful that the publishers will allow me to feature the full text of the articles on my site, especially because I want to include as many documents created from the time of the case and from witnesses to the case, instead of only providing summaries of the actions in the case. Nevertheless, if I am unable to gain permission to feature the whole of the articles on my site, I also drafted many sections of the case perspectives to contain smaller quotations from the articles that demonstrate the ideas of the individual perspectives while not using large portions of the articles.

On the Website

Fifth, beyond the collection of information, I poured many hours into the website over the weekend. I worked on the layout and menu of the website, removing several unneeded blank pages and amending the menu page order. Next, I added several widgets to the site and experimented with the size of the content layout area. I also activated several different plug-ins, so that I could use a slideshow and a PDF document on the website pages.

In addition to the structure of the site, I added several of the information pages. Most notably, I drafted two pages of the four pages case section, and changed the structure of that section to cover the challengers and defenders of the book separately. I created a draft of a clickable, moving menu for the home page of the site, which was a great accomplishment because determining how to create an engaging homepage had been a challenge up to this point in the work. Lastly, of significance, I also created and drafted a page that focuses specifically on the parts of the novel that the challengers objected to – a page that I did not anticipate that I would have on my website.

For the remainder of the week, I need to give attention to a few areas in particular. First, I need to finally go to the media lab so that I can get my pictures from the SD card and edit an audio clip for site. I have planned to go Tuesday, April 2, because I have an entire free day (which doesn’t happen very often!). Second, I need to complete the context section of the case, which I chose to delay in completing to work on the case section of the site to determine which news articles were most beneficial in explaining the events of the case. Third, I need to work on preparing some of the resources I plan on including in the site, which all require editing and formatting before being put embedded or linked on the pages (and, as I have learned, can sometimes cause unexpected problems when they are first inserted).

The earlier I can preview the finished draft pages, the earlier I can fix (and accommodate for potential, future problems), so I look forward to being able to finishing up the uncompleted pages and finally seeing a completed version of the website.


Turner, T. (2019, April 1). Alarm Clock on a Bed. [Personal Photograph taken in Wise, VA]