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.

vocabulary #7


october 1*

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Until the End" by Breaking Benjamin; "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree)

What was Hamlet talking about?  What advice would you give him?

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. Reimagining "To Be Or Not To Be"

1. Vocab definitions and sentences
2. In a post entitled TO BE OR NOT TO BE, decide.  This will require that you: a) translate Hamlet's words into words that make sense to you and your audience; b) explain which level of meaning (to live or die, to go against the current in order to change yourself or the world, or to act on what you know to be true in order to hold yourself in higher esteem) speaks to you; and c) describe the path you will take.