Wednesday, December 18, 2013

late stage college planning

Do you and your parents have a plan to reduce college costs that includes:
  • Creating a "bidding war" between colleges who see their competitors on your applications list?
  • Expertly searching and applying for private scholarships?
  • Analyzing education-related tax breaks such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit?
  • Opting out of the college's health plan?
  • Evaluating meal plans and textbook vendors? 
If not, please read this Wall Street Journal article and talk about it with your parents, your academic/college adviser/s, and your family's financial adviser/s.

If there is interest I can also ask Ms. Deborah Fox if she'll join us online for Q&A.

In the interest of full disclosure:
  1. Ms. Deborah Fox is a brilliant, insightful, nationally known expert in the field with a quick wit and a winning smile.
  2. She's also my cousin.
  3. I don't have any financial interest in her business, but I think it's a really good idea, which is why
  4. I poached the article by taking the screen shots below, since (as you already know if you tried the link above without a subscription to the WSJ) the article lives behind a paywall (screenshot at bottom), which means that almost all of the people who most need to read it won't.  If this presents an ethical dilemma please stop reading here.

get this kid out of here

Congratulations to Nik Koyama for launching his Kickstarter campaign:


Friday, December 13, 2013

my all-time favorite christmas tree

I have friends who make Christmas trees out of all sorts of things-- this was last year's, and I still regret not trying to read one of the bottom titles...

fundraising opportunity

The library got rid of a bunch of National Geographic Magazines -- apparently they don't know what people pay for these things on ebay.  If you want any to take home, give as a gift, or sell to fund your research or collaborative working group, they're yours.  I'll keep them in the room until the end of the first week of spring semester.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

electric sheep art

Check this out.  And if you're interested in learning more please let me know-- Scott (a.k.a. Spot) is a friendly acquaintance.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

for friday & beyond


(1) New plan for reporting blog stats: please bring them with you on Friday (or email Dr. Preston if you won't be in class).  You will need:
  • posts (by month)
  • posts (total)
  • comments
  • page views
If you need any help finding these please ask/email/comment to this post.

(2) Post your research paper (title: MY FIRST MLA RESEARCH PAPER).  Do this by saving the word processing file as a .pdf (in Word click File/Print/Save as PDF).  Then remix it and post that too (title: MY FIRST MLA RESEARCH PAPER REMIX).

the fall showcase

[Working to complete this post between showcases today and tomorrow-- if you have a file, link, or embed code, please send along.]

Thanks to everyone who presented yesterday!  We learned about an amazing range of ideas and the people who are pursuing them.  Following are highlights (listed more or less in chronological order); if you don't see your presentation here or if you have something to add/correct, please comment or email with info & a link or embed code.

Alyssa, Tiana, Summer, Paige, Lauren


Xavier, Joe, Alex, Chance

Maria, Jasmine, Erik, Cesilio


Miranda & Veronica

Matt, Carlos, Alfredo

Jacob, Loren, Sierra

Daniel, Tina, Francisco, Alina

Matt, Eddie, Taylor


Jake, Anna
A passion for veterinary medicine; blog here.

Rick & Jared



Alicia & Johna

Erik, Kapule, Elias

Introducing the Fitness Gurus Grant

Collision between Milky Way & Andromeda galaxies (in 4B years)?

Roman, Analyssa, Bobby/san

Judith & Rachael

Dale & Shane

Austin, Derek, Joe, Joey
Deep sea exploration

Elizabeth, Alex, Miranda

Jon & Dylan
Collaboration on the art of fiction.  Check out the fictional side of Jon's blog here

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

december 10

Welcome to the Showcase!  Looking forward to everyone's presentations today.  To complete the semester and set the stage for spring, please follow these steps:

1. Write your email address on the sign-up sheet in class;
2. Check your inbox after class for an invitation to a Google doc spreadsheet;
3. Open the spreadsheet and enter your name and blog stats.

Although the calendar says this is Finals Week, nothing about learning is final-- take the opportunity to reflect on your semester and think about how we can improve for the spring.  And, next week, CHECK THE BLOG (if you don't already follow it); there will be several shared missions over the break, opportunities for you to make up credit and get ahead, and the usual miscellany.

Wishing you and your families Happy Holidays :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

december 9

Watch this space.  Things will happen here over the next few days that you won't want to miss.

JOURNAL TOPIC: [Psych.  You can either take your journal with you or you can leave it in the crate for next semester.]

1. A word about journals
2. Several words about end-of-semester reflection, evaluation, & planning
3. A few (more specific words) about HW & where we'll head after break
4. Logistics for tomorrow's final period

1. Put the inishing touches on any/all work related to your path of inquiry that you want included in the semester evaluation.
2. Write your first email to your future self on then post about it to your blog per today's discussion (title: LIFE AFTER THIS BLOG POST)

Friday, December 6, 2013

december 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Destination Unknown" by Missing Persons; "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane]

In The Principles of Psychology (1890), William James wrote, “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will. No one is compos sui if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.” How have your experiences in this course helped you focus your attention? What do you still need to work on? What elements of the following text (from Haruki Murakami's 1Q84) draw your attention and help you construct meaning?

The driver nodded and took the money. "Would you like a receipt?"
"No need. And keep the change."
"Thanks very much," he said. "Be careful, it looks windy out there. Don't slip."
"I'll be careful," Aomame said.
"And also," the driver said, facing the mirror, "please remember: things are not what they seem."
Things are not what they seem, Aomame repeated mentally. "What do you mean by that?" she asked with knitted brows.
The driver chose his words carefully: "It's just that you're about to do something out of the ordinary. Am I right? People do not ordinarily climb down the emergency stairs of the Metropolitan Expressway in the middle of the day-- especially women."
"I suppose you're right."
"Right. And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. I've had that experience myself. But don't let appearances fool you. There's always only one reality."

1. Journal (and be sure to turn it in! :)
2. Turn in papers
3. Planning next week's showcase: Q&A, logistics
4. Evaluative introspections

1. Get ready to rock.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

reminder: all research papers due in class tomorrow

Please remember to turn in your final paper (if you submitted as a draft earlier this week) in class tomorrow.  No exceptions.  Mahalo.

where does your t-shirt come from?

After reading a description of rice farming in When Heaven & Earth Changed Places, I started honoring every kernel of rice on my plate and eating every last one because of what I learned about the time and effort required to grow, harvest, and market it.

About 20 years later, this story from NPR is making me look at my t-shirts differently.

my new new favorite website

Banksy speaks for himself.

my new favorite website

If you get just four or five of the 1,057 reasons this is awesome, you can consider yourself culturally literate.

december 5


Analyze your preparation and your performance on today's essay exam.  How well did you do?  Better or worse than you expected?  Why?  To what factors do you attribute your degree of success?  Is there anything you thought of afterward that you'd like to add? 

1. Prepare for your Showcase
2. Remaining lit analysis work (as needed)
3. Blog maintenance (as needed)
4. Bring journal up to date (as needed)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

our biggest challenge

People frequently ask me what I see as the biggest challenge in education.  I imagine they expect the usual litany--poverty, culture, resources, policy-- but to me there is only one thing worth talking about: trust.  Americans don't seem to trust each other anymore.  Maybe taking the risk to learn out in the open will change some minds.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

december 4


Analyze your preparation and your performance on today's vocabulary exam.  How well did you do?  Better or worse than you expected?  Why?  To what factors do you attribute your degree of success? 

1. Review for tomorrow's essay exam
2. Remaining lit analysis work (if needed)
3. Blog maintenance (if needed)
4. Bring journal up to date (if needed)

no excuses

I don't listen too much to people when they tell me I can't do something There's not a whole lot that's going to stand in my way. -Richie Parker

why you're going to follow me on twitter in the next five minutes

Earlier I posted the following on the AP blog, and (even though the answer I gave was for their test & not yours) Judith & Jared picked up on the Tweet and RT'd to their followers.  Fair's fair: I'll give Expos Comp the same deal.  I'll Tweet now, and if everyone follows by 8 I'll Tweet more.  NOTE: please remember to keep the clues straight-- AP uses the hashtag #dplitcomp and Expos Comp uses #dpexposcomp.

For a while now I've been thinking about how to hack our physical classroom.  I've designed  furniture, interactive wall spaces and surfaces, talking Arduino units that collect data and put it where we need it, hardware, a fully integrated Open Source Learning experience, the works, so that it really will be "not a classroom, but more of a space, a space that hold [sic] endless possibilities." 

But first thing's first.  You have certainly proven yourselves worthy, and you have inspired me to the next level of Open Source Learning, but-- I don't know, maybe it's finals-- sometimes it still just feels like this is all, um, you know.  A class.

I hate that feeling.

As everyone knows, there is no better time to mess with a student's head than the night before a big test.  Very interesting and potentially very rewarding things are about to happen all around you.  You won't want to miss anything that will help you take full advantage.

For example, in five minutes I will reveal the answer to one question on tomorrow's vocabulary final.  I will do this on Twitter via @prestonlearning.  You should probably start a Twitter account and follow @prestonlearning.  Like, now.

To be fair, since this may take five minutes, especially if you're still on campus, I will include the hashtag #dplitcomp in the Tweet so that it appears on the course blog feed.  Starting at 8:00 P.M. I will post more answers-- and for those I will not include the hashtag, so if you're not following @prestonlearning by then you won't see them.  Also, since so many of you have mastered the art of collaboration and will no doubt post all this on Random Absence Mentoring, FB, and elsewhere, I will only continue Tweeting the correct answers if every student in every period is following @prestonlearning by 8:00 P.M.

Have a nice day. :)

december 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Get Up Stand Up" by Bob Marley & The Wailers; "People Get Ready" by Jeff Beck]

It's time to put the research paper baby to bed. Congratulations to everyone who rose to the challenge. Whether you met your goals or not, please take a few moments to reflect on the experience as follows. What did you learn about: (a) the topic you researched, (b) the process of writing and presenting a research paper, (c) your own strengths and weaknesses, and (d) the role that emotion (such as feelings of inspiration, motivation, challenge, intimidation, frustration, determination, etc.) played in your approach and performance?

1. Journal
2. Finals Review

1. Literature analyses, blog maintenance, final/showcase prep

Monday, December 2, 2013

guadalupe scholarship

This just in from Sal Reynoso: Lupe Alvarez, the former mayor of Guadalupe, has sponsored a scholarship with his family for students who live in Guadalupe.  Here is the information:

Lupe Alvarez Sons Flier 2014-2015.pdf

december 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Back in the High Life Again" by Steve Winwood; "We Are The Champions" by Queen; "Winning" by Santana]

This weekend my beloved UCLA Bruins beat USC in football to reclaim all sorts of bragging rights in Los Angeles.  Why does anyone care?  Seriously: what difference does it actually make in the world that a bunch of barely-outta-high-school athletes I've never met won a football game?  Why am I so happy about it?  Why do so many of us students/alumni love our school colors and express loyalty and belonging by screaming about our teams at the top of our lungs?

1. Journal
2. Turn in research papers (mark "DRAFT" or "FINAL")
3. Finals/end-of-semester prep & plan for the week

1. Semester wrap up: research paper (if applicable); literature analyses; any/all outstanding work that you want considered for your final semester grade, all of which is due on your blog BY the time we meet on Friday, December 6. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

happy thanksgiving

Here are some simple, FREE tips for enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend:

1. Don't go shopping today.  (Learn how Big Retail is trying to kill Thanksgiving)
2. Don't go shopping tomorrow. (Learn the Dirty Secrets of Black Friday "Discounts")
3. Seriously, don't go shopping tomorrow. (video of Black Friday chaos

Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy, less expensive Thanksgiving! :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

final presentations

Pondering your presentation preparation?

In contrast to the vocabulary final (Wednesday of dead week, December 4), which will be about as formal and anti-fun as you can imagine, and the essay final (Thursday of dead week, December 5), which will require you to organize and articulate your expertise on multiple texts and literary elements, and which will probably make your pen-wielding muscles ache, your final presentation



This is your opportunity to showcase:
  • What you've learned for the first time;
  • What you've improved the most;
  • What you've done best;
  • What you want to learn more about;
  • What you know;
  • Your strengths and talents.
That's it.

(Imagined) Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will we be graded?
A: Creative/effective communication of a topic that convinces your audience that you've mastered an element of the course = A.

Q: What tools/media can we use to create our presentation?
A: Anything that doesn't harm sentient beings or break any laws/school policies.  Except posters.  No posters.

Q: Is there a time limit?
A: Sort of.  We will be limited by the number of presenting groups in each two-hour final period.  However, if you use online media we can direct the audience to your site for the overtime.  This may be an interesting way to augment/replace what I have in mind over the break.  If your group has planned a presentation that you know won't fit into the final period schedule in its entirety, please plan on showing the "directors' highlights" and walking your audience through it.  Please remember-- and this goes for everyone-- to leave a couple of minutes for Q&A.

Q: Can we collaborate with students in other classes?
A: Yes.  You may collaborate with anyone on Earth.  Extra credit if you collaborate with anyone not on Earth.

Don't forget the secret ingredient.  Please plan to submit your group's proposal in class on Tuesday, December 3.  Have fun and comment to this post with questions/ideas.

november 26


Often our bodies live in the present and our minds live in the future.  What are you looking forward to this afternoon, over the Thanksgiving weekend?

1. Journal
2. Working period: papers/writers' conferences
3. Turn-in option

1. If you turned in your paper, please post to your blog (title: PAPER CUT) about the experience of writing and turning in your completed draft.  What did you do well?  What do you hope to improve?  What was new about the experience and what did it teach you?
2. If you didn't turn in your paper, please post to your blog (title: PAPER CUT) about the experience of writing, revising, and improving your paper.  What did you do well, what do you hope to improve, what is challenging about the experience, and what is it teaching you?

Monday, November 25, 2013

racism in the news (II)

What does it say about our society that a man can be arrested FIFTY-SIX times just for going to work?

sample works cited page

Here is a link to Purdue University's OWL Writing Lab/MLA formatting & style guide.

racism at san jose state

Our research topic, sadly, is in the news.

november 25


(1) On Thursday million of Americans will eat until they are sick. Why?
(2) What are you thankful for?

1. Journal
2. Citations/formatting
3. Abstract
4. Due dates: pros and cons of turning in next draft before/after weekend

1. Citations
2. Abstract
3. Revisions

Friday, November 22, 2013

november 22

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Money Song" by Monty Python; "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits; "Eat the Rich" by Aerosmith]

In reading about & discussing your plans for the future I was struck by the prominent role that money plays in your thinking. It motivates some of you ("I hope to earn $[X]") and worries many of you ("I can't pay for college"). This isn't necessarily good or bad, it just makes me curious about how we make decisions and develop expectations. What if you removed money from the decision-making equation and began a different sort of "self-overhearing" about your future? How would your new performative utterance sound if it were a simple declaration of what you're curious about, or what you do well, or what type of life you'd like to lead? How might it change your thinking and your course of action?

1. Journal
2. Working period: writers' conferences & paper revisions

1. Synthesize your paper and revise for flow
2. Remember to include one quote/reference for each major idea in your introduction
3. Check this space later today for citation template
4. Create your Bibliography/Work Cited page
5. Bring revised paper including Bibliography/Work Cited on Monday, December 2
6. Prove you can read (due by 11:59 P.M., Sunday December 2)

"i never learned to read!"

You know, as much as we talk about reading, it's easy to overlook the fact that some of us didn't grow up with books and occasionally have a hard time with the basics.

Consider poor Wayne:

So, how do you know how well you can sound out words and get through a text without mistakes?

Here's how:
1. Watch the video below;
2. Get a copy of Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss;
3. Set up a phone or a camera (or get a friend to help);
4. Read the book as fast and as well as you can;
5. Record your time and the number of mistakes you make;
6. Compare your numbers with mine.  Don't forget to count my mistakes--I just learned that I've been mispronouncing the author's name my whole life!
7. Post your video and your stats on your blog under the heading I CAN READ!

UPDATE: In reply to questions from the email bag...
  • If you're having trouble finding the book, here is the text without the pics. 
  • My reading was a one-take job, but yours doesn't have to be.  You can practice all you want before posting your best effort.
  • To earn course credit you must post I CAN READ! by 11:59 P.M. Sunday, December 1. (Bonus for add'l. Thanksgiving renditions with friends/relatives :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

canadians save shark from choking on moose

Q: Why post an item about Canadians saving a shark who beached himself while choking on a 2-foot hunk of moose on an expository composition course blog?

1. Because it's awesome.
2. Because I can.
3. Because I'm pretty sure there has never been a story about Canadians rescuing a beached shark choking on moose before, and therefore I'm pretty sure there has never been a story about Canadians rescuing a beached shark choking on moose featured on a high school English course blog, so I get to claim this is as a historical first.

alice goffman and social research

Check out this approach to learning about racism in a community.

november 21

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Sound of Neurons Firing" by Expos Comp Students]

Write an account of a bug flying along the 101 and getting mashed on the windshield of a truck.  Tell the story as seen by the bug, the windshield, or the driver.

1. Journal
2. Picking up the research paper pieces and putting them together

1. Add 5-10 resources that add meaning to your paper.
2. Read through your text and edit for flow.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

and the word of the year for 2013 is...

(seriously, no kidding, according to the Oxford Dictionaries)... selfie.  "As Ben Zimmer wrote at Language Log, 'Youth slang is the obvious source for much of our lexical innovation, like it or not.'”

a word from valerie rhs '13

I just received this email from Valerie Gonzalez, who graduated RHS last year. I receive lots of email from alumni but this one stands out. Why take my word for "life after high school" when you can get real-time info from someone who is living it? (FYI: we will be using this as our curriculum post-paper and pre-final.) Please feel free to take her up on personal statement advice-- Valerie is (obviously) a terrific writer and you're lucky to get her help for free.

november 20

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Sizzle of 40 Minds Concentrating in a Gentle Rain" by Expos Comp Students]

It's been a while since it rained. What does rain signify/symbolize in literature and film? What moods and memories do you associate with it?

1. Journal
2. Take advantage of writing weather: draft conclusions

1. Collect your Introduction, Methodology, Findings, Implications for Future Research, and Conclusions sections and bring them all to class Thursday, November 21.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

november 19

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Sounds Of Pens Furiously Scribbling Profound Thoughts" by Expos Comp Students]

You wake up in [pick your favorite year before 1950] and you are immediately arrested by authorities who spotted your smart phone and want an explanation.  Tell them what it does and how it works.

1. Journal
2. Discuss/collect "Findings" section
3. "Implications for Future Research"

1. Complete the "Implications for Future Research" section (1-2 pp.) and bring hard copy to class tomorrow (Wednesday, 11.20)

Monday, November 18, 2013

racism, evil, and me

After reading paper drafts and introductions this weekend, it occurs to me that not all of you are convinced that racism has anything to do with you.  It does.  Whether or not you have witnessed an act of racism, whether or not you are a member of a traditionally underrepresented minority, you exist at a moment in history when racism exists.  The next generation will be absolutely correct in staring you down and asking, "You were there-- why didn't you do something?"  Here are some historical versions of the idea:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. (attributed to Edmund Burke)

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (translated from narrator's original Russian in Sergei Bondarchuk's film adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace)

The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. (Plato)

Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. (John Stuart Mill)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

november 18

When should an argument bring people together? When should it end a relationship?

1. Journal
2. Research Paper, Section III: Findings
3. Return work / writers' conferences

1.  Finish Section III: Findings (1-2 pp.) and bring hard copy to class Tuesday, November 19
2. Vocabulary Review

incorporating twitter

Q: Wouldn't it be cool if Dr. Preston started dropping hints about finals on his Twitter feed?
A: Yes, it would.
Q: What is Dr. Preston's Twitter handle?
A: @prestonlearning
Q: Sweet.
A: Yes, it is.
Q: Why does he only have 423 followers?
A: Because he spends less time on Twitter than you do on homework.

Friday, November 15, 2013

there is no them

Throughout history, very bright people have stood idly by while terrible things happened to others.  For those of you who don't think racism is a big deal because it doesn't personally affect you, consider the following [image/layout borrowed with gratitude from Real Knowledge Data Network]. 

"First They Came for the Jews"
By Pastor Niemoller

 "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

inside the world of competitive laughing

You read that right.  Meet the laughletes.

collaborative working group: oh the [project] humanity!

If you haven't already heard, Danny and Lesther have teamed up to create Project Humanity.

Here is their most recent announcement to ASB and faculty:

Project Humanity - a RHS Club of concerned students - would like the entire student body to join in and help send our support to the people in the Philippines after the devastating typhoon last weekend. We are asking that tomorrow during 3rd period - a coin can will be sent around to each class. Please just drop in any coins you might have in your pockets. Many have been affected so every cent counts. Let's show that the Righetti Warriors are always willing to help out in times of need so that they will push on and never give up on life which are the true warriors in life. The people of the Philippines will be ever so grateful for your support! Thank you so much!

personal perspective on haiyan

This first-person perspective is as powerful as the storms of nature and politics that inspired it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

november 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Plastic People" by Frank Zappa; "15 Steps" by Radiohead]

The word plastic doesn't just refer to a moldable solid; it also suggests a feeling of artificial, fake, inauthentic.


How do you know when a person is the real deal and not just a poser?

1. Journal
2. Introduction/P2P evaluation
3. After you're introduced and you like what you see, take the relationship to the next level (Research Paper, Section II: Methodology)

1.  Complete and print draft of 1-2 page Methodology Section and bring hard copy to class on Monday, November 18

stop punting!

According to this article, how does traditional/habituated thinking inhibit success?  Are we "ready for what we think we want?"

canada's newest export: nice graffiti

This graffiti is impossibly gentle and good-natured.  I'm off to draw a smiley face somewhere (legal).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

november 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["King Without a Crown" by Matisyahu; Hawai'i '78 by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole]

What's important to you when you meet someone?  Is it the way they dress, or smell, or sound, or look, or stand, or talk, or shake your hand, or look at you, or... [?] 

1. Journal
2. Research paper, Chapter 1: Introduction

1. Re/write the introduction to your research paper (1-2 pp., due Friday, November 15)

collaborative working group: project positive

Feeling down about the world?  Join Project Positive, where "small changes make big differences!"

novelists unite!

Hats off to everyone who is writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month-- check out the novelists' blog!

r.i.p. clifford nass

Clifford Nass was a Stanford professor whose research on our relationship with technology yielded great insight.  He showed that multitaskers are "terrible at every aspect of multitasking" and our computers make us "feel good or bad" in ways other tools don't.  Read more here.

a history of the college application from 1856 to today

The post of this title is actually the subtitle of the article I just read.  The title of the article I just read is...

How Getting Into College Became Such a Long, Frenzied, Competitive Process

white supremacist discovers he's part black

I don't know what's more surreal, the fact that this happened or the fact that Dave Chappelle wrote a skit predicting it.  

november 13


Author's choice-- season with ideas about/for your paper.

1. Journal
2. How to hack your Frankenpaper

1. Reflect on the blurb you wrote today in class, and post a brief explanation of your initial reaction to the paper, your personal passion/field of interest, and how you intend to link this to the general topic as we move forward (title: CONNECTING THE DOTS).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

they loved your gpa then they saw your tweets

Read this.  Then share it with your colleagues who still don't know better.

take out your mental trash

Isn't that a more interesting title for a blog post than "get some sleep"?

november 12


Describe a time you were "in over your head" and explain how you dealt with the situation.

1. Journal
2. Quick-write
3. Discussion: term/research paper
4. Research strategies
5. Safety in numbers
6. Turn in papers, quick-writes, and group commitments

1. Find five sources that will augment your research

Friday, November 8, 2013

term paper requirements

Based on our discussions in class and online, here are the requirements for the term paper.  Late/incomplete work will not be accepted.  Please comment to the post or email with any questions.

Given our recent study of the communication issues that contribute to racial profiling, you may select any relevant current event, topical issue, or theoretical construct (e.g., hate speech, stereotypes, verbal/paraverbal/nonverbal communication) to research and explicate in a well-organized and professionally presented term paper.  You are encouraged to examine the topic/s through a personally relevant, meaningful lens; feel free to integrate your own experiences and explore academic or professional areas of interest (psychology, law, anthropology, neuroscience, et al).
Papers will be collected at the beginning of class on Tuesday, November 12.

Your paper must be:
  • 10-12 pages in length, excluding title and Bibliography or Work Cited* pages (*Please Note: a Bibliography includes all the sources that inform your thinking, and Work Cited means exactly that, i.e., the sources you quote/reference directly.)
  • Typed in Times New Roman 12-point font and printed on 8.5" x 11" white stock
  • Bound with one staple in the upper left-hand corner at a 45 degree angle (no folders or plastic slip covers)
  • Well-researched, as evidenced by a Bibliography or Work Cited page that includes a minimum of 15 highly credible references (*Please Note: Five [5] of these references must be academic books, chapters, or peer-reviewed studies/articles.)
  • Presented in Modern Language Association (MLA) style 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

november 7-8


Write about something important to you.

Write about something funny.

Write about something that's bothering you.

Write about something you wish could/would happen.

Or, write about all of the above.

Or, write about something else.

1. Work individually and/or collaboratively on your research project.
2. Literature analysis work (if applicable).

1. Schedule yourselves and work consistently so that you have everything finished and posted by 12:01 A.M. on Tuesday.

research project

Here are my notes from period 0 and period 1 this morning.  I write fast, but I'm certain that I didn't capture everything, so please add your thoughts in the comments.  I will review the thread with you and fabricate the final question/s and evaluation based on your feedback tomorrow (Thursday).

Relevant TOPICS we've covered:
  • the "right" to our opinions
  • the value of life
  • schema, stereotypes, and racism
  • ingroups/outgroups
  • interpersonal communication (verbal, nonverbal, paraverbal)
  • limitations of the First Amendment (hate speech, obscenity, anything that causes immediate harm to the nation or its people)

Suggested questions:
  • How do our genetic heritages and cultural understandings of communication contribute to racism?
  • How can we improve relations between people of different backgrounds?
  • Is racism a "special" form of discrimination, or is it just another way to separate ourselves from others?
  • NOTE: find the discipline/angle that links with your Big Question or personal curiosity (anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, [?]) and use the opportunity to learn more about how the field you're interested in views the issue
  • Reviewing popular and academic literature in the library and online
  • Asking questions (personally or via survey) to conduct research
  • Citing student blogs
Criteria for success:
  • Mechanics (spelling, punctuation, etc.)
  • Evidence (quantity and quality of cited sources)
  • Organization
  • Compelling argument/s

youtube question

Does anyone know how to post a still photo for a music video, so the video just displays the pic throughout the song?  Please comment with your how-to wisdom.

november 6


Describe your favorite color-- to a blind person.

1. Journal
2. [ ]
3. RESEARCH PAPER (due by 12:01 A.M. Tuesday, November 12)

1. Start your research paper.  Seriously.  Do it.  Now.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

november 5

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins; "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors]

We all encounter emergencies-- illness, earthquakes, stalled cars, the occasional zombie apocalypse--so what can you do to be prepared? Describe planning or training for something that might actually happen.

UPDATE: That topic was a repeat!  (Thanks, Joe, and shame on the rest of you. :)  Try this one:

Describe the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you. 

1. Journal
2. Paying attention
3. We are our curriculum: vocab list and reading
4. Group assignment

1. Read  Erica's blog post and the article it's based on closely, analyze both, and post a response to your blog (title: 7 TIMES)  [update: for more see Javi's blog and/or en loco politico]  Here are some questions to get you started: 1. What is Erica's tone?  2. What are the facts?  Do you notice any difference in the facts   3.  What conclusions does Erica draw?  4. What writing techniques (figurative language, punctuation/capitalization, etc.) does Erica use to effectively communicate her message?  5. How does Erica's essay compare with Javi's (get past the simplistic "better/worse" and consider style, emotional impact, clarity, and evidentiary support)?

Monday, November 4, 2013

november 4

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "I Make My Own Rules" by L.L. Cool J; "Come Together" by The Beatles]

Describe a school rule you think is ridiculous and explain how you would change it.

1. Journal
2. Vocabulary #9

1. Finish definitions and usage (sentences/narrative) for VOCABULARY #9 by class Tuesday
2. Skim the Racial Profiling unit (after the jump).
3. Read this recent article and list/define/use 10 more vocab words that you think would help you understand it. Also take reading notes and post on your blog (title: RACIAL PROFILING LIVES ON), and be ready for a quiz Tuesday.

congratulations thunder drumline

Congratulations to (author) Jon Begg, Ricky Luna, and the other members of the RHS Thunder Drumline on their Dia De Los Muertos performance and taking the #1 High School Percussion Award at the 35th Annual Pismo Beach Marching Band Review!

vocabulary #9

(thanks for the additions! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

congratulations annette and gabby

Congratulations to Girl’s Tennis Champions Gabby Pereverziev and Annette Sousa.  Good luck at CIF!

(I didn't catch this article about Annette when it came out, better to share late than never.  Kudos, Annette! :)

inside the cheater's mind

In attempting to answer the question, "Why do people cheat?" this article concludes, "A solid moral compass can, in other words, lead one safely through dim rooms with graffiti-covered walls."  Hey, wait a minute: WE work all day in a dim room with graffiti-covered walls... 

member blogs: best of

I was just reading through the Member Blogs when I realized spent five minutes longer than I thought on Valentina Alvarado's blog.  (I showed it--by request-- when I guest-taught a sophomore class yesterday.)  Why was I reading back through vocabulary and an analysis of Steve Jobs' commencement speech ("stay hungry, stay foolish!") that I'd already read?  There's a special quality about some of these blogs: the features, the layouts, the music (or quiet), the colors/graphics (or minimalist/functional design)... they just seem to work.  When a site draws you in like this, you begin to understand why there is an entire field of study dedicated to user engagement.  Kudos.  Please Note: There are lots of great ones, please comment to this post with your favorites--it might help someone's grade.

[Speaking of Kudos: I forgot to type/take a picture of the Kudos in class today-- will post Monday.] 

nominate the youth

If you know a young person in grades 5-11 who would be a good candidate for this opportunity, please share this link with him/her.  Mahalo.

If you ARE a young person in grades 5-11 who was referred here by someone who thinks highly of you (or you are lucky enough to have stumbled on this site by accident), please read the following letter and, if you're interested, compose an email-- WITH a parent or guardian who likes the idea-- and send it to

people to people -

Friday, November 1, 2013

hating on daylight saving time

Until this author gets his way, we're stuck with it.  Don't forget to change your clocks on Sunday. :)

november 1


Recap the last two days in class.  What have you learned about how we communicate as individuals and Americans (as provided for by the First Amendment)?  And: with your quiz in mind, did you do better than your neighbor?  Is this a function of attention, concentration, memory, dumb luck, or something else?

1. Quiz
2. Journal
3. Listening up and paying attention (how do we DO these things?)

1. Check out this site and report your experience/observations in a post entitled WHAT I SEE IS ALL IN MY HEAD.  Given today's conversation in class, how much of our understanding comes from what's "out there" as opposed to the meaning we create "in here"?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

tools that change the way we think

Please read the following passage and respond to the questions below. Write your answers in a comment to this post. Then, cut/paste both the passage and your thoughts to your own blog in a post entitled, "Tools That Change the Way We Think."

"Back in 2004, I asked [Google founders] Page and Brin what they saw as the future of Google search. 'It will be included in people's brains,' said Page. 'When you think about something and don't really know much about it, you will automatically get information.'

'That's true,' said Brin. 'Ultimately I view Google as a way to augment your brain with the knowledge of the world. Right now you go into your computer and type a phrase, but you can imagine that it could be easier in the future, that you can have just devices you talk into, or you can have computers that pay attention to what's going on around them and suggest useful information.'

'Somebody introduces themselves to you, and your watch goes to your web page,' said Page. 'Or if you met this person two years ago, this is what they said to you... Eventually you'll have the implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you the answer."

-From In the Plex by Steven Levy (p.67)

Answer this not-so-simple question: How does use of the Internet, media, and/or technology change the way you think? Focus on your memory, your ability to concentrate, your sense of time and priorities, and the subjects/topics that interest you most. If you find "thinking about your thinking" difficult to assess, try the following strategies: compare yourself with older people who did most of their formal learning before smart phones and 2.0 existed; compare yourself with contemporaries who don't use those tools much today; read up on what education leaders and thinkers have to say about generational differences in thinking (and remember to cite your sources).

october 31

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "What's He Building in There?" by Tom Waits; "Monster Mash" by Pickett, Bobby 'Boris' & The Crypt-Kickers; "Let's Have a War" by Fear]

Some questions to consider on All Hallows' Eve: Why does the unknown create a sense of fear? Why do we make fun of the things (and people) we don't know and/or fear? How does this way of thinking lead to propaganda, hate, and sometimes violent conflict?

1. Journal
2. Limits on what we perceive: filter bubbles & tools that change the way we think
3. Limits on what we express: constraints on the First Amendment 

1. Post a comment to the "Filter Bubbles" post in which you respond to the video by answering these questions: a)What new information did you learn from the video? b)How does this information make you think differently about what you see online? c)What questions does this video raise about the Internet in general? and d)How can you improve the effectiveness of your searches?   After you post your thoughts in a comment, copy/paste and post to your blog (title: FILTER BUBBLES).
2. Read "tools that change the way we think" and comment to the post with your response, then copy/paste and post to your blog as well (title: TOOLS THAT CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

october 30

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Pride & Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan; "Spirit Nation" by Spirit Nation; "Monday Night Football" (a.k.a. "Superstar" a.k.a. "Heavy Action") by Johnny Pearson]

What about your racial heritage makes you proud? 


The Oneida Indian Nation thinks the team name of the Washington Redskins is offensive and they want it changed.  The owner of the Washington Redskins says the team name "was, and continues to be, a badge of honor."  Who do you think is right?  What if anything do you think should be done?

1. Journal
2. [sigh] "That's What I'm Talkin' Bout!"
3. The Lyin', The Switch & The Warden
4. No, the First Amendment DOESN'T mean we get to say whatever we want (Hey, why not?
5. ...and now we read.

[TBD per class discussion]

josten's info

As promised-- if you didn't go to the assembly today, please see the following email from Josten's representative Danny Hutchinson and/or check a friend's blog (Shane's has video :) for selection and ordering information.

information ageism

Speaking of stereotypes, most of us don't expect a 12 year-old to do this

october 29*

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge; "Why Can't We Be Friends" by War]

Describe a group you belong to on campus.  Describe a group you don't belong to on campus.

1. Journal
2. Intro to our next study

1. Be a good human being.  Otherwise you have the night off. :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

october 28

[UPDATE: Dr. Preston out sick today, hopefully back tomorrow/Tuesday.  Our next shared ERWC study unit is "Institutional Racism"-- today's exercises are intended as an introduction to the topic.]

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: TBD]

As we've talked about in class, schema are mental structures that help us understand the world.  Example: I won't meet all 7-8 billion people on the planet, so it's useful to know cultural customs like taking off my shoes in a traditional Japanese household or not wearing someone else's shirt in Mongolia (true-- a person's spirit is said to live in the collar).  But schema can become stereotypes, and not everyone maintains their inherited cultural traditions or acts in ways we expect.  So how can we use our knowledge to create positive relationships instead of making a person feel like she's just a member of a category? 

1. Journal
2. Extend the journal topic into an essay that answers the prompt: What is racism and does it exist in Santa Maria or at RHS?  Provide examples to support your main points.

1. (No new HW tonight or vocab this week.  Enjoy. :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

october 25

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "You Gotta Be" by Des'Ree; "Because I'm Awesome" by The Dollyrots]

Every once in a while, often during moments of extreme stress, ordinary people do extraordinary things. What makes this possible? Can you apply this idea over the next few weeks to achieve your academic goals for the semester?

[BONUS: Discuss the use of irony in "Because I'm Awesome"]

Thursday, October 24, 2013

atlanta junior breaks backflip record

This is impressive. I wonder how long that "stuck in the clothes dryer" feeling takes to subside. 

multi-tasking and the value of life

A while back I posted about texting and driving, and all of the value of life presentations are powerful reminders of what's really important-- like being present with the ones we love whether or not they're behind the wheel or in water. Take some time today to go analog and focus on someone you care about while you're with them.

collaboration can be a matter of life and death

Not only can innovative use of social media help us solve murders, it can help coordinate care in a community to save a life. Very cool to see people using the tools of our age to our greatest benefit!

october 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Love" by John Lennon; "Hateful" by The Clash; "Thin Line Between Love & Hate" by Annie Lennox]

A Native American elder described his conflicting emotions as two dogs, one good and one evil, fighting all the time. When someone asked which dog wins, the elder replied, "The one I feed the most." Describe a time you were ambivalent and explain which dog you fed.

1. Journal
2. Vocabulary test/correct
3. Learning from/about/through/around and ultimately for our learning

1. Reminder: Literature Analysis #3 is due tomorrow (Friday 10.25) AND THERE IS A LAST-MINUTE BONUS QUESTION: In your book, what do the key people learn?  How do they do it?  How do you know? So, actually, THERE ARE THREE LAST-MINUTE BONUS QUESTIONS!!! 
2. Complete the evaluative introspection (you can write on paper if doc doesn't download or print) after the jump to prepare for 1-to-1 grade conference

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

if it's on wikipedia it must be real...

A friend just emailed this.

october 23

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "All My Life" by The Foo Fighters; "Story of My Life" by Social Distortion]

How does belonging to a group give us a sense that our lives have value?  Why do you think gangs exist?  Compare gangs with other social organizations such as the family, the military, religious/educational institutions, or sports teams-- how are these similar and how are they different?

1. Journal
2. Presentations (continued)

1. Study your presentation notes
2. Reminder: Literature Analysis #3 due Friday (10.25)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

value of life presentation notes and calls for prezis

Here are my (nearly legible) notes from today's presentations. If you were a presenter, feel free to comment with additions and corrections. If you showed a Prezi, please embed it on your blog and/or share the Prezi with me so I can embed it here. Thanks!

UPDATE: These Prezis just in...
Matt & Taylor
Alicia & Co

value of life presentation notes -

common app glitches

If you've been having trouble with the Common App, the good news (to the extent that misery loves company) is that you're not alone. The bad news is, everyone else is also feverishly clicking Refresh. Don't delay.

october 22

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" by The Police; "Words (Between The Lines of Age" by Neil Young]

As Sting sings, "Poets, priests and politicians... have words to thank for their positions..."  consider: what does the effective use of words do for us?  Describe how speaking and/or writing articulately is used in our society-- in relationships, in business, in achieving goals, in maintaining traditions, in creating change, or in another context-- and give an example from your own life.

1. Journal
2. A true test of your work last week
3. Status/planning for this week

1. Vocab #8* (*"Hey, this looks like list #7!"  That's because it IS list #7.  And you have exactly one day to post your definitions/sentences/narrative and prepare for a quiz tomorrow, 10.23)
2. Reminder: Literature Analysis #3 due Friday

vocabulary #8


Monday, October 21, 2013

the roundest thing in the world

I know a little about a lot of things, but I didn't know a thing about the origin of the kilogram, how something can be rounder than anything else, why the inventor of silicon (literally) lost his head, or what the US has in common with Burma and Liberia until I watched this video.  (Thanks, Maddie!)

csf'ers: congrats & pay your dues

This just in from Ms. Dolan.  If you made the CSF list: 1) Congratulations! and 2) Please pay your $5 ASAP at the business office.  (Frosh/Soph/Jr names included so you can congratulate them too.)

[Names after the jump]

Sunday, October 20, 2013

october 21


Since I didn't read journals this weekend, please read back through your journal and take ten minutes to describe how your writing is improving so far this semester. If your writing isn't improving, write about what you want to get better at. And, if you go back and find answers worth improving or building on, have at it.

1. Journal
2. Get last week's working group together and create a presentation to deliver tomorrow. The presentation is in two parts: 1) What did you learn, and 2) How did you learn it. Each presentation should be no longer than 8:30 (eight minutes thirty seconds) and no shorter than 5:14 (five minutes fourteen seconds). There is a method to the madness. See you Tuesday.

HW: 1. Group presentation. Due in class Tuesday, October 22

Friday, October 18, 2013

skype anyone?

Hiya! Hope everything is going well. If anyone has a laptop on campus today, and that laptop has Skype loaded on it, would you please email me so we can arrange a connection at 8:30 (1st period)? Mucho mahalo.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

october 16-18

You know what to do. (And, if you don't, get help by asking here, asking a friend, or emailing.)

Each day you and your group should make progress, both independently and collaboratively, toward completing the Activities for the "Value of Life" reading you selected.

Remember: you should do A+ work on the first one, and--if you have motive and opportunity-- you should do more to accrue value/credit. You can also work on your Literature Analysis #3, or use the time to catch up with your blog and/or journal work.

Speaking of journals... For the rest of the week your journal is truly your own. Use it to reflect on the period/day, or write about something else that's on your mind. Please remember to write each day and place the journal in the crate on Friday.

Have a great time, and good luck! If you need help please reach out; we'll hit the ground running on Monday.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

be nice dee-nice

There are many styles of teaching, and many personalities in this learning community, and I hope they all get along and do great things in my absence.

october 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Superman" by R.E.M.; "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" by The Kinks; "Resignation Superman" by Big Head Todd & The Monsters]

What makes you feel like you can achieve the impossible?  What makes you feel like giving up?  As you reflect on these states of mind, can you think of ways to use them to your advantage?  How can you connect this with the thinking you're doing about the "Value of Life" readings/assignments?

1. Journal
2. Clarify plans
3. Review blogs
4. Begin work

1. Please make sure your VALUE OF LIFE work is posted by close of business Friday.
2. UPDATE: Literature Analysis #3 due NEXT Friday (10.25)

Monday, October 14, 2013

nanowrimo meeting thursday at lunch

National Novel Writing Month meeting this Thursday (10.17) at lunch.  For more info contact Connor or Lissette.

invitation to collaborate

I met Professor Doan Winkel over the summer through an education journalist who interviewed both of us. Doan is a professor of entrepreneurship at Illinois State, and he has some great ideas. He just emailed another-- please have a look and, if you're interested in participating, please either comment to the post or email me. (The link he mentions in the email can be found here.)

october 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Fly Like An Eagle" by The Steve Miller Band; "Time" by Pink Floyd]

It's already mid-October.  Soon we'll be talking Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Winter Break.  What do you want to accomplish between now and 2014?

1. Journal
2. The Value of Life curricular buffet
3. Planning our week

1. Explain your week-to-be on your course blog (title: VALUE OF LEARNING/VALUE OF LIFE)
2. Nominate vocabulary candidates from the "Value of Life" readings in a comment to this post
3. Literature Analysis #3 is due this Friday (October 18)

erwc9 mod4 the value of life -

Friday, October 11, 2013

crosstown open source learning community

I'm happy to introduce another local Open Source Learning community.  Hiya, Mr. Ostini's World Literature!  Check out the posts (this one is my favorite) and the member blogs, and feel free to comment on students' work.  They just wrote essays on Antigone.

october 11

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes:

Read the "Ron Wayne Sez" post and describe an opportunity you don't want to miss.

1. Journal
2. The cure for senioritis
3. Prescriptions for the young bucks
4. "To Next Week & Beyond!"

1. Finish your Literature Analysis #3 book

Thursday, October 10, 2013

ron wayne sez take a chance

In every endeavor some people take more risks than others.  You who are doing an amazing job will be remembered whenever people speak of this learning experience (there's a Shakespearean allusion in that statement-- let me know if you get it).  I was thinking about this last night when I fell asleep.  Then Ron Wayne came to me in a dream and told me to tell you his story.  No, not John Wayne.  RON Wayne.  I hadn't heard of him either.  But he directed me to p.65 of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and this is what I found:

[After agreeing to partner with Jobs and Wozniak in exchange for a 10% ownership stake in Apple...]
Wayne then got cold feet.  As Jobs started planning to borrow and spend more money, he recalled the failure of his own company.  He didn't want to go through that again.  Jobs and Wozniak had no personal assets, but Wayne (who worried about a global financial Armageddon) kept gold coins hidden in his mattress.  Because they had structured Apple as a simple partnership rather than a corporation, the partners would be personally liable for the debts, and Wayne was afraid potential creditors would go after him.  So he returned to the Santa Clara County office just eleven days later with a "statement of withdrawal" and an amendment to the partnership agreement.  "By virtue of a re-assessment of understandings by and between all parties," it began, "Wayne shall hereinafter cease to function in the status of partner."  It noted that in payment for his 10% of the company, he received $800, and shortly afterward $1,500 more.

Had he stayed on and kept his 10% stake, at the end of 2010 it would have been worth approximately $2.6 billion.  Instead he was then living alone in a small home in Pahrump, Nevada, where he played the penny slot machines and lived off his social security check.

Do your homework.  Know the risks and rewards.  Take action.  As Bukowski wrote (and 100 seniors recited last month): "The gods will offer you chances.  Know them.  Take them."

national novel writing month meeting today at lunch

National Novel Writing Month meeting today at lunch.  For more info contact Connor or Lissette.

cracking the code on college

Since my learning networks are all interrelated (I find myself introducing students to each other, to outside experts, to alumni, and others all the time), it makes sense to share information between courses that take place right here and in the same 608 corner of Santa Maria, CA.

In the next week or so I will aggregate and list all the amazing Collaborative Working Groups so you can see links from students in both Expos Comp and AP. 

For starters, I want to share a student-built resource that can help you right now.  

Cracking the Code on College (Thanks, Maddie and friends!) contains a list of resources, information on tests and applications, and a definition of success worth living by (Thanks, Coach Wooden!):

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.

You can now click through to Cracking the Code on College from the College/Scholarship Info page above.

csu application tips

At today's ERWC training the facilitator is giving some important application tips:

  • Don't sit down for Thanksgiving dinner until you've applied to CSU;
  • Check out 
  • Check out
  • Consider applying to CSU campuses that guarantee admission with specific degree/coursework
  • Don't celebrate New Year's Day 2014 until you send in your FAFSA-- they award $ depending on when you apply, and you can change details later (NOTE: only do the free FAFSA, don't pay a 3rd party)

For more information, please check out Cracking the Code on College and consult with our resident on-campus expert, Mrs. Dirkes.

october 10


Summarize the main points of the article you read last night.


1. Journal
2. Essay (open book/notes)

Why does the author of "Systemic Incentives for High School Senior Slump" conclude that, "senior slump appears to be the rational response of high school seniors to an education system in which no one claims the academic content of the senior year as a basis for further education"? What reasons does he give for high school seniors to feel like the year is a waste of time? Do you agree? Why/why not? Does this article validate "senioritis" or does it give you ideas for improving the experience and making the year more valuable? Please explain your answers and provide illustrative examples (from the article and life) in a well-organized essay.

1. Read Literature Analysis #3 book

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

the shutdown hits home

If everyone shared this kid's passion for learning, the world would--INSTANTLY--be a better place. (Thanks, BoingBoing!)

october 9


1. Read "High School Senior Year Can Be A Waste Of Time"-- and know it.  Test in class tomorrow (Thursday)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

october 8


Choose your own.

1. Journal
2. Prepare for vocab midterm tomorrow

1. Vocab midterm tomorrow
2. Declare your selection for Literature Analysis #3 in a comment to this post

Monday, October 7, 2013

helpful hint

School starts at 7:30 A.M. tomorrow. 

october 7*

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Hello, Goodbye" by The Beatles; "The Logical Song" by Supertramp]

What role do logic and reason play in arguments? Does this vary by the type of argument, the type of people, and/or the circumstances, or are all arguments pretty much the same?

1. Journal
2. Monty Python's "Argument Clinic" (notes: vocab, compare with your weekend argument)

1. Comment to this post with suggested vocab words and your most profound observation about arguments so far.

Friday, October 4, 2013

why didn't i think of that?

Michaila Bohard is a genius.  After all we've talked about how you can use your course blogs to establish value and a competitive advantage in admissions processes and scholarship competitions, I didn't think to direct you to include it in the header of your resumes.  Michaila was the only student who did.  Great idea, Michaila!  To the rest of you: do likewise.

we're invited to a stanford course on social media

We have a unique opportunity to collaborate with students in Howard Rheingold's (more about Howard here) Social Media Issues course at Stanford University.  Please see the email exchange below and feel free to click into collaboration (for convenience the course hub is here and the fishbowl forum is here).  Ideas and questions welcome in the comment thread.

your insight appreciated

The wise ones fashioned speech with their thoughts, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve.

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare an impromptu speech.
-Mark Twain

I'm writing a speech for this conference, where I'll be appearing with these people.  It's impressive company and I hope to start the day well (I go on at 8:30 A.M.).  Here's my outline so far:

  • My journey from the classroom (as a student) to the classroom (as a teacher)
  • The mysteries of learning & consciousness
  • Intellectual freedom, exploratory play, and learning in the wild
  • My role: from anthropologist to hacker
  • Information Age zeitgeist-- context [market dynamics, politics, Common Core] and how networked awareness and community have amplified and accelerated Open Source Learning
  • Brief history of OSL and ongoing evolution (with examples from courses, blogs, student work)
  • Where I thought it would lead 
  • Where it has led/is leading
  • [Here's where I turn the screen/s off]
  • The value of interpersonal communication
  • Implications for individuals, institutions, communities, and economies
  • Announcing the first Open Source Learning campuses and school district
  • Call to action: how to form an Open Source Learning community, become an Open Source Learning adviser/partner, & support Open Source Learning around the world
I've written and delivered more than a few speeches in my time, but things are different now.  Everything I do in Open Source Learning is transparent and inclusive-- I work with a network of learning colleagues every day to create curriculum, implement effective strategies and set individual goals, and together we analyze/evaluate each path of inquiry.  We even build amazing tools for each other to help us learn.  In that spirit, I'd like your input on this talk: is there anything you think is especially important for this audience to hear or understand about what we do or how we do it?  Anything else you want innovative leaders in education to know about your experiences in school, learning, or life?  Please share in a comment; all questions and ideas welcome.

october 4*

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Study for Your Vocabulary Test If You Finish Your Journal Early" by Dr. Preston]

"The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant.  Every table had an argument going."
-George Carlin

Why do people argue?  Describe an epic argument that stands out in your memory.

1. Journal
2. Vocab test/correct
3. (if time) The Argument Clinic (I)

1. Observe an argument and take notes to bring with you to class on Monday (10.7)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

october 3*

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Loser" by Beck; "Loser" by Iggy Pop; "Even the Losers" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers]

Remember that fortune you won yesterday? Easy come, easy go. Due to a computer error, 24,999,999 other people also won. That means your winnings total $2 (actually, more like $1.35 after taxes). How do you react? What thoughts and feelings do you experience? How will your plans change?

1. Journal
2. Vocab review
3. Speech!  Speech!

1. Rewrite Hamlet's graduation speech and post to your blog (title: MELANCHOLY GRAD)
2. Study vocab
3. Finish Literature Analysis #2

calling all authors

This just in from Connor and Lissette: tomorrow at lunch there will be a meeting for National Novel Writing Month authors.  Please comment to this post and/or let us know in class if you'll be there.  Mahalo. 

october 2*

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Symphony #9 in D Minor" by Beethoven]

Today is your day! You find a lottery ticket-- THE lottery ticket. After Dr. Preston cashes it for you (you're too young and smart to play the lottery), you have $50 million. What will you do with it?

1. Journal
2. Hamlet's graduation speech
3. Return scholarship materials

1. (Reminder) vocab
2. (Reminder) Literature Analysis #2 due Friday

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

the best concert you'll never pay for

Sometimes, especially when you listen to the news or read Hamlet, it feels like we're all alone.

We're not.

So, my 100th post (!) to the course blog is a reminder that every day wonderful people all over the world find creative ways to celebrate the idea that we're all in this together.  For me, that is the ultimate Value of Life.  Enjoy.

to be or not to be

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

hamlet, a sea of troubles, and the current state of the us government

Per our conversation in class, many things in life seem too big to do anything about. Like the current political stalemate that's led to the shutdown of the United States government. Here's how it will affect Americans.