Friday, January 31, 2014

january 31


Invent a machine that does something you need done but don't want to do.

1. Journal
2. Discussion: 3 resources

Interview at least three people about the resources they brought to the table this morning.  Ask:
  • Does the piece grab your attention and influence your thinking?  Why/why not? {*Note: you might think about author/s, design, content, etc.}
  • Do you trust the author/resource?  Why or why not?
  • Does the piece lead you to other worthwhile sources of knowledge?
  • Are there elements of the piece that provide examples of design, research, and/or writing that you might incorporate into your own work?
  • What about the piece inspires you to look for more of the same, and what inspires you to find something different/better?
Please leave your answers in an exit ticket on top of the journals in the crate.  I'll read early Monday.

1. Find five resources on your topic and bring in a list on Monday.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

january 30

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Imitation of Love" by Johnny Adams; "Imitation of Life" by R.E.M.]

It has been said that, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."  What does this mean to you?  Do you agree?  Why/why not?

1. Journal
2. Calendar of events
3. P2P interviews

1. Find 3 resources related to your topic of interest and bring them to class in a shareable format tomorrow (Friday)
2. Reminders: lit terms & lit analysis #1 due tomorrow (Friday)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

january 29

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Why Can't We Be Friends" by War; "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor]

Abraham Lincoln once wrote, "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends with them?"  What did he mean?  Do you agree/disagree?

1. Journal
2. Transforming big ideas into action plans

1. Write your action plan (hard copy) and bring to class Thursday
2. Reminders: vocab & lit analysis due Friday

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

cash for essays

This just in from RHS assistant principal Sal Reynoso (Thanks, Sal!):

january 28

Today is the beginning of the end.  We have four months to build our masterpiece/s.  Today each of us took an honest stab at the six questions from last week:

  1. Passion.  What do want to learn badly enough that I'm willing to fully commit myself?
  2. Prior Learning.  How can I use the tools/processes from Fall semester for the purpose?
  3. Envisioned Future.  What will I need to do in order to ensure that June brings a sense of triumphant fulfillment and not regret?
  4. Audience.  What will impress and convince others that I am a thinker who shows critical thinking skills and creativity in finding, analyzing, evaluating, organizing, and communicating valuable information?
  5. Implementation.  What steps can I take to move beyond 'what if' and bring my idea/s into reality?
  6. Network.  Who are the peers, publics, and experts I need in my personal learning network and/or audience?
Now that I have your initial answers, we will start brainstorming and action planning.  Tomorrow we will begin one-on-one meetings that will begin to shape your path of inquiry. 

1. Today's journal topic: please reflect on your answers today, the thought processes behind them (which questions were easier/harder, e.g.) and add anything that occurs to you after the fact.
2. Reminder: vocab due by COB Friday

Monday, January 27, 2014

january 27


What's the difference in your mind between 'talking the talk' and 'walking the walk'?  Why does the former seem so easy for so many people, and the latter so hard?  

1.  Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. It's go time.  Today we will begin to plan our calendars and set up action plans.

1. Post definitions & usage for vocab list #4 by COB Friday, Jan 31
2. Read "My High School Hoax" (try the link first; the comments are priceless--if the link doesn't work, you can read the text of "My High School Hoax" after the jump)
3. Then read "Committing to Play for a College, Then Starting 9th Grade" (if link doesn't work, see "Committing..." after the jump)
4. In a blog post entitled HAFTA/WANNA explain similarities/differences you see between life during high school and life after high school.  Is there a significant difference?  Will people somehow magically transform the day after graduation, or will they take their current habits of mind/word/deed into their next set of daily activities?  How do you balance the things you want to do and the things you have to do, and what are your expectations of yourself and the world around you as you move on?

vocabulary: spring list 4

sub rosa

Thursday, January 23, 2014

vocabulary: spring list #3

sine qua non
non sequitur

january 23

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash; "Who Am I (What's My Name?) by Snoop Dogg/slightly abridged]

If you could change your name, what name would you choose?  How might your new name describe you differently, or even change you?  Be sure to explain your answers.

1. Journal
2. Company wo/man and the changing role of work in life
3. Refining your semester project and next steps

1. Please be sure to post your vocab definitions/usage/remix by COB tomorrow (Friday, January 24)
2. Reminder: lit analysis #1 due next Friday (January 31)
3. Find three acknowledged experts/high performers in your field and take notes on how they tell their stories, share information, and establish/maintain their online brands.

[UPDATE: Thanks to Maria for letting me know the vocabulary list hadn't published-- it's up now, and the definitions/usage/remix is still due on your blog by COB tomorrow.  However, I will review the words with you in class on Monday to prepare for the quiz, which I will give an extra day and present on Tuesday.]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

january 22

Please continue your conversations from yesterday.  As a reminder, here are the three questions* (*I didn't work from a script yesterday, and it's 5 AM, so if the phrasing is slightly different or I am accidentally revising, please comment to this post with your notes so we can ensure consistency):

1. What are you really passionate about/what do you want to pursue understanding and/or doing for the rest of the semester?

2. How can you use what you learned in the fall semester (research skills, social media & digital tools [including blogging, remixing, mind maps, etc. etc.], big questions, collaborative working groups, journals, & vocabulary, e.g.) for the purpose?

3. What will you have to do in order to ensure that, come June, you have absolutely no regrets about what you could have/should have done when you had the chance?

Please leave yourselves ten minutes at the end of the period to reflect on the conversation in your journal.  Have the last two days helped you clarify your plans?  Are you still struggling with any aspect of this?  What if anything still needs to be done so you can move from idea-->commitment-->action?  On Thursday we will begin with this journal entry as a status report-- looking forward to it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

january 21


Today's journal topic is designed as a reflection for the END of today's conversation. During the period please jot down your thoughts and take notes on your discussion with others, so that you can summarize and evaluate at the end of the period.

1. Auditing the first two weeks of spring semester
2. I, Senior Project
3. Vocab quiz

1. In a post to your course blog (title: I, SENIOR PROJECT/FIRST DRAFT) please refine & add to your discussion notes and journal topic.   If you aren't in class today, please consult with peers, email Dr. Preston, and/or be prepared to get all your questions answered and move forward in class on Wednesday.

Monday, January 20, 2014

reminder: vocab quiz tomorrow

Please remember to spend some time studying/reviewing vocabulary today.* (*This is the kind of friendly reminder you won't receive in college, so-- if you haven't already-- please also find a friend/group with whom you can study this semester so you can remind each other as we move on.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

january 17


Our current topic is "Life After High School"-- some people see that phrase as an invitation to adventure, some see it as a recovery from something traumatic, some see it as parole, some see it as a big, blurry, unknown.  How do you see it?

1. Finish this week's Profile In Courage
2. Journal
3. Discuss homework

1. Work on Literature Analysis #1 (nonfiction & fiction questions are posted here)
2. Title a post to your course blog LIFE AFTER... and either use the post to write your vision for your life after high school, or describe your life after you achieved something great or survived something traumatic* (*remember that this will be publicly accessible, so avoid overly personal dramatic details and focus on the triumph/lessons learned).

Thursday, January 16, 2014

the internet as we know it is over

Do you know what "net neutrality" is? Neither do most Americans, or more people would be upset today. Read this to find out why.

Can you imagine a world in which every start-up entrepreneur has to have a conversation like this?

optional essay

As you may know, RHS is currently going through an accreditation process with the Western Association of Schools & Colleges.  Accreditation requires that the school show its work; administration and faculty have worked hard over the last few months to document exactly what happens here and why.  Ms. Dolan is leading this effort, and she had the idea to include student voices.  This is purely optional.  If you choose to write, please post to your blog (title: WRITING A WARRIOR).  The credit you earn will be based on the number of students who comment to your post with positive feedback and/or constructive critique.  Please see Ms. Dolan's email and the Warrior criteria below.

The "three aspects of a 'Warrior'" are Academic Excellence, Independent Learner, & Responsible Citizen (more below).

january 16

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Boy in the Bubble" by Paul Simon; "Whatever It Takes" by Tom Morello]

What experiences, messages, and mental processes make people "weak" or "strong"?

1. Journal
2. Check literature analysis books for (late) credit
3. Visual learning cont'd.

1. Describe 3 techniques that make visual storytelling (such as movies, e.g.) effective.  Title your post VISUAL STORYTELLING-- and use this week's vocab words in the process. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

january 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers; "Tom Sawyer" by Rush]

Recently the world lost a great man.  Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison and eventually became South Africa's first black leader.  In the process he opened the world's eyes to apartheid and racism, and made life better for millions.  Consider his words:

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

What does courage mean to you?  How can you become more courageous?  How will this help you in your life?

1. Journal
2. Check lit analysis books for credit
3. Profiles in Courage

1. Post a response to today's Profiles in Courage (title: PROFILE IN COURAGE)
2. Work on vocabulary (post by Friday)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

vocabulary: spring list 2


january 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Apeman" by The Kinks; "Vacation" by The Go-Go's]

Some people yearn for a simpler life, or time "away."  Why?  What do they expect?  In your experience, is escape healthy?  Why/why not?  What can we do to adapt to our present circumstances so that we can achieve at a high level without compromising our sanity?

1. Journal
2. A brief tour of the rest of our year
3. Vocabulary

1. Definitions & usage for Vocabulary #2
2. Bring your literature analysis book to class tomorrow (Wednesday, January 15)

Monday, January 13, 2014

renaissance application

In case you didn't get one in class...

january 13

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh" by Allan Sherman; "Every Picture Tells a Story" by Rod Stewart]

Describe the best "you had to be there" story you've ever heard.  (If you haven't heard one worth remembering, tell one of your own.  If nothing comes to mind, make one up.  If that doesn't work, write a short story involving any three of the following: squeaky wheel, a bottle of shampoo, a baby rhino, a space station, a prison inmate and the quirky person who writes her letters, and/or a salmon.)

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Return "The Choice" writing

1. In a post to your blog (VOCAB #1 PERFORMANCE REVIEW) explain how well you did on the quiz and why.
2.  Revise and post your writing about "The Choice" (title: THE CHOICE)

Friday, January 10, 2014

spring literature analysis due dates

Let's keep this simple and easy to remember.  The minimum requirement is three analyses, due at the end of January (31), February (28), and March (31).  Each additional book you read and analyze will be considered extra credit-- there is no limit.

mini me

Whoa. (Thanks, Rudy!)

financial aid workshop

Mrs. Dirkes & Mr. Blanco are hosting a college financial aid workshop on Wednesday, January 15.  If you missed the College Boot Camp, or if you want to brush up, or if you are feeling a little more intense and ready to act on what you hear, please stop by the College Center for a pre-arranged absence/admission form.

january 10

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Mother" by Pink Floyd; "I Hope You Dance" by Leann Womack]

How do others' hopes for us, expectations of us, and feelings about us in general influence our decisions?

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. [student teachers]
4. Hacking our education/blog review

1. Study vocab for quiz Monday
2. Choose your first book to read for this semester's literature analysis, and good news: it can be nonfiction or fiction

Thursday, January 9, 2014

vocabulary: spring list 1


january 9

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton; "Mama, You Got a Daughter" by John Lee Hooker]

Why is death and disease particularly tragic when it happens to a child?  How do our feelings for children illustrate the existence of different types of love?

1. Journal
2. Discussion: "The Choice"
[UPDATE: We hacked the agenda this morning.  Tonight please write about a choice that involved an emotional commitment. We will go over vocabulary and your paths of inquiry tomorrow.]
3. Discussion: Hacking your education
4. Vocabulary

1. Vocab definitions and usage (title: VOCAB: SPRING 1)
2. Write about a choice that involved an emotional commitment.  (Please do this on paper and bring to class tomorrow.  You will revise and post to your blogs later.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

january 8

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "New Year's Day" by U2; "Beginnings" by Chicago with Earth, Wind, & Fire]

Describe a thought or a feeling that you'd forgotten over break and experienced again when you walked back into this room.  Describe how you will create the thoughts and feelings you want to experience in this room this semester.

1. Welcome Back/Journal
2. "The Choice"
3. Introduction to spring semester

1. Hack your education per our introductory conversation and post about it to your blog (title: HACKING MY EDUCATION)

calvin terrell

Tomorrow some of you will spend the day with Calvin Terrell. Today the faculty had our turn. The conversation positively reinforced the work you're doing and the methods you're using. Here are my notes (if you have any trouble viewing please email and I'll send the .pdf):

My notes help me remember and reflect, but they probably won't make as much sense to someone who wasn't in the room. And most of you won't be in the room when scholars (he likes that term better than students) meet with Calvin this week. So, would the scholars who are collaborating with Calvin please curate the event online (to whatever extent it's OK with Calvin and the other participants) and teach the rest of us about it when you get back to class? We will video and post the discussion to extend the dialogue.

Monday, January 6, 2014

find yourself on the members page

I've updated the Member Blogs page to reflect this semester's schedule changes.  Please double-check the page to make sure you're in the right place with the right URL.  Mahalo.

kudos: december

Congratulations to the following students on their college admissions and scholarship wins!

Jasmine Zavala (admitted to Fresno State)
Erik Santos (admitted to Fresno State)
Cesilio Sanchez (admitted to Fresno State)
Daniel Rucker (admitted to Colorado School of Mines)
Kendall Villa (admitted to Fresno State)
Jason Limon (admitted to Azusa Pacific)
Eli Esparza (admitted to Fresno State)
Kelsey Robertson (admitted to Saint Louis University with $1400 scholarship)
Jenna Noce (admitted to University of the Pacific)

If I missed anyone, or if you've done something amazing since I posted this, please let me/us know in class or comment below.

the choice

Hope everyone had a terrific break!  For our first day (Wednesday), please read "The Choice."  This essay is a personal blog entry from two days ago by Eric Meyer, an expert in computer programming.  (Spoiler: this essay is not about computer programming, and you may want to have a tissue nearby when you read it.)

Please answer the following questions in a post to your blog (title: THE CHOICE) and come to class prepared to discuss.

1. What is the "choice" referred to in the title?
2. Is it a real choice?  Why/why not?  What is the alternative?
3. Why does the author use the word poison in the first line?
4. The author's daughter wants to play with a toy that is intended for older kids.  Why?  Do you agree with her? 
5. If you thought you might not live to the age of 30 what would you want to do right now?
6. Under what circumstances does it make sense to endure discomfort--or even force it on a loved one-- in service to a greater/more important cause?
7. Is suffering a necessary condition of life and love?
8. Most readers don't share the author's circumstances, but we feel an emotional response to his words.  Why?