Wednesday, April 30, 2014

food allergies and/or suggestions for jacob's masterpiece

Hi, this just in from Jacob-- please visit the post on his blog:

april 30

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" by The Clash; "Break on Through" by The Doors]

When do you seek others' counsel in making a big decision, and when do you think it's important to take the plunge on your own?

1. Journal
2. Senior Info paperwork
3. MGOTM readiness/test

1. In a post entitled CONNECTIONS, identify 3-5 moments in your day (which may include conversations, mediated messages, thoughts, objects, etc.) that reminded you in some way of your masterpiece.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

april 29

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "April Fool" by Soul Asylum; "April in Paris" by Billie Holiday]

T.S. Eliot observed that, "April is the cruellest month."  What do you imagine motivated this thought?  From your perspective, do you agree?  Why/why not? 

1. Journal
2. Finish yesterday's design conversation
3. Learner-suggested resources
4. MGOTM prep and planning

1. In a post entitled DESIGN, describe how the physical, structural and cultural elements of your learning environment/s can be hacked to further support your success.

Monday, April 28, 2014

april 28


Describe something you learned over break (about your masterpiece, your future, yourself...).

1. Journal (or for HW)
2. Cal Poly Learning Ecologies Design Studio Report & implications for us

1. Journal (if you didn't finish in class)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

what should class look like the rest of the year?

Hi, hope you all have had a restful, enjoyable Spring Break!  We will kick off the last month+ of class tomorrow with a design-focused conversation about the rest of the year.  We will make decisions about our calendar of events, our Showcase Academy, and the way/s in which we'll structure class time and evaluation processes to give everyone maximal opportunity to demonstrate their success.  Please think about these and any other ideas you want to bring to the table; we'll begin as soon as the bell rings. (Please Note: Tomorrow is an "early out" day.  Since that means less time and a later start, please be prompt.  Your arrival time will be your first nonverbal statement in this conversation and your colleagues will take notice.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

april 17

Today your job is to take full advantage of the peers and classroom resources you won't have nearby during break. 

Think of the elements you need to prepare for your Masterpiece:
  • A network of >20 people including an expert mentor;
  • Artifacts (text, pictures, videos, animation, music, [?]) that tell the story and the "making of" story;
  • Resources and vocabulary that establish you as a person who knows what s/he's talking about;
  • The sort of passion, caring, and integrity that you can't fake.
What do you need from the class?

Over break I will post suggestions and samples of your work.  By Monday, April 28, you should be able to show us a 3-5 minute preview of your Masterpiece.

1. Tonight please post FIVE STEPS, in which you explain five steps you will take over break so that you can show us something when we reconvene.

2. Enjoy your vacation! :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

april 16


Why did/n't you write the essays on "Should v. Must" or the NY Times articles?

1. Journal
2. Essay exam: "Should v. Must"

1. Double-check your journal against the course blog and make sure it's complete before you turn it in tomorrow.
2. Read and comment on at least one of the essay comments on the "Request for Response: April" post

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

this just in: graduation speeches and tunes

From Mrs. Covington:

april 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Take This Heart of Mine" by Marvin Gaye; "Take This Job & Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck; "Take This Job & Shove It" by The Dead Kennedys]

On tax day, maybe it's a good idea to consider why we give and take.  When is it important to sacrifice for the greater good or an important goal?  When should charity begin at home?

1. Journal
2. "Should v. Must" discussion
3. Project presentation requirements

Sketch out your project presentation given the requirements

Monday, April 14, 2014

april 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["A Day in the Life" by The Beatles; "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley]

Last week we discussed McLuhan's idea that "the medium is the message"-- how do mainstream media portrayals of you and people like you (i.e., teenagers, students, Milennials) convey the truth as you see it, and how do they distort it?  What's accurate about the coverage and what do you want to see corrected for the record?

1. Journal
2. MGOTM: request for response reading/conversation, masterpiece mtgs

1. Complete the request for response by COB Wednesday, April 16

request for response: april

All of these texts appeared in yesterday's New York Times.  The first two focus on raising/educating children, and the latter two focus on finances for Millennials.  Please respond to the ideas in one or all of them with a well-organized, concise, analytical/persuasive essay of your own.  Post your essay to your course blog and copy/paste it as a comment here so that we can discuss our ideas in a "micro-commons."  Mahalo.

Friday, April 11, 2014

april 11

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Under Pressure" by David Bowie & Queen; "Nadia's Theme (The Young & The Restless)" by Henry Mancini]

On scales from 1-10 (10 being most), how pressurized/dramatic is your life right now?  Explain.

1. Journal
3. MGOTM/grade & status conferences

1. Catch up & get ahead per status conference

Thursday, April 10, 2014

who's going to the cal poly design studio?

Anyone else want to visit the Cal Poly design studio of Associate Professor Mark Cabrinha and his 3rd year architecture students?  Taylor is already bringing a team of future architects from RHS next Wednesday.  My daughter and I will be joining forces to provide a brief chalk talk on Open Source Learning that sets the stage for everyone's collaboration.  You don't have to be headed to Cal Poly or interested in architecture to attend, but you do have to make food with love and bring it to the potluck.

DATE: Wednesday, April 16th
TIME: 3:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

Q: Is this a school activity?
A: No.

If you'd like to join us please comment to this post by noon on Friday, April 11th.  Mahalo.

april 10

Kudos to:

(per 0)
Alfredo M.

(per 1)

for completing last night's assigned essay on time and posting to their blogs. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

these pictures are worth >1000 words

Check out Analyssa's masterpiece-in-progress and comment with your feedback!

april 8

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Weight" by The Band; "The Calling" by Santana featuring Eric Clapton]

As you make decisions, do you find yourself acting to seek positive outcomes or avoid negative outcomes?

1. Journal
2. Reading/Analysis: The Crossroads Between Should and Must

1. Finish reading
2. In a post entitled (THE CROSSROADS BETWEEN SHOULD AND MUST) write an essay in response to the article.  Where are you in relation to the crossroads, and which way do you see yourself headed? Due tomorrow (Thursday, April 10)

Monday, April 7, 2014

april 7


How will you achieve your impossible?

1. Journal
2. Show and Tell.  And write.  And talk.  And plan.  And learn.

1. Reflect.
2. Get ready: if you don't already have your own Ed, tomorrow you're going to start looking for one.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

achieve the impossible

Aviation is proof that, given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
-Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
Upon hearing that a couple of bicycle mechanics in the city of Dayton were working on what would become the first airplane, the editor of a Dayton newspaper responded to the Wright Brothers' news by saying, "Man will never fly.  And if he does, he will never come from Dayton."

 We who think we know it all are often surprised.

I've never been happier to pull into a dark high school parking lot at 6:00 A.M. on a Sunday morning.  I was meeting Matt Reynolds and Elizabeth Sandoval to take part in their masterpieces. Elizabeth's is a combination of journalism and photography.  Matt's is aviation.

Matt was about to take us for a flight in a 1960 Piper Tri-Pacer that belongs to his brother's father-in-law, Ed Mandibles.  Ed is quite a story in his own right: the son of the first female DMV examiner in the state of California, Ed is president of a Piper club that draws hundreds of people to the Lompoc airport every July.  He proposed to his wife in the plane we flew.  His children have flown it and now his grandchildren do--although he has to pry 5 year-old Aubrey's hands off the wheel when it's time to land, because by then she usually falls asleep.  For 30 years Ed was an engineer at GE, where he designed and built telemetry systems and components of nuclear reactors in the United States and Japan.  He lived in Japan for six months at a time.  Today, Ed is the unofficial mayor of the runway.  As we stood outside the hangar, Stan and some other retired pilots cruised by on their bicycles (one of which Ed built) to say hi.

When you buy an airline ticket you enter into a contract with a corporation.  You are promised that your pilot will be trained, experienced, and sober.  (Or are you?  What does the fare actually buy you?)  You don't have any responsibility for evaluating talent; most of us never even see the pilot, much less her qualifications.  After a couple mouse clicks you trust the corporation's promise to deliver you and your stuff somewhere under very specific conditions with exclusions that limit the corporation's liability.  From jetway to jetway there isn't much except the tiny window panoramas to suggest that we are doing anything other than sitting around.

Flying with friends in a small plane is a completely different experience.  From the moment you squeeze in and put on the headphones there is no doubt you are actually FLYING.  Each updraft is a powerful reminder.  Since the pilot isn't wearing a uniform (although Ed's Alaska sweatshirt did have a plane on it) you might even be tempted to ask, "Should I put my life into the hands of a retired hobbyist and...a...TEENAGER?"

Contracts are not the best way to determine whether someone has the ability to do what they say they can do.  We can develop and rely on our instinctive abilities to evaluate character, training, experience, credentials, and expertise.  This is the most effective way I've found to decide whether I'm going to place my trust in someone.

Welcome to the Trust Economy.  

I don't sacrifice my Sunday morning bike ride or pancakes with my daughter easily, but I trust Matt and I knew he'd come through.  I confess that I was slightly relieved that we would be accompanied by his mentor.  Ed reminded me of my Grandpa, who flew The Hump and The Berlin Airlift.  Ed was clearly an experienced expert.  Plus, as is so often the case with pilots and others who understand the physical universe better than most of us, Ed is totally down to Earth and insatiably curious.  He is a tinkerer and had several projects going in the hangar where we met him.

In the second picture above you can see how intently Matt is listening to Ed.  As I watched Matt learn from an expert and go through his pre-flight checklist I was able to focus on the learning (much easier when I'm not also sharing content/facilitating discussions, grading, taking attendance, etc.).  I reflected on how superficial testing is while I mentally checked off learning theory after learning theory, outcome after outcome, and naturally the "new/improved" Common Core boxes: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity...  All evident in abundance.

The ride was amazing.  Apart from the sheer magic of defying gravity, Ed and Matt gave Elizabeth and me an education on aviation, geography, the history of the region, and the people who live here.  We flew from Lompoc out toward Jalama Beach, then back through the Santa Maria Valley (over RHS, but I didn't get a good picture) and then up the coast toward Pismo and over my neighborhood.

Professional educators and policy makers spend way too much time and energy gathering and explaining one-dimensional circumstantial evidence.  Multiple choice tests had their day when 1 GB of memory cost $300,000 and there wasn't any way of documenting real-time interaction or mastery.  Now that we can stream and remix our learning narratives in multiple media to everyone with an Internet connection, that era is over.  Can you imagine an athlete being recruited based on letters of recommendation alone?  How long before a diploma isn't good enough, and employers want to see what you've already done?

If you want to know whether Matt Reynolds can take off and land in a 1960 Piper Tri-Pacer, here's the most authentic performance metric there is.  Keep in mind this is just an amateur with an iPhone over Matt's shoulder-- a better videographer and equipment/production (GoPro, audio through the plane's intercom, etc.) will enable Matt to document every move he makes and use media to improve his own performance and teach others,



As I sat in Ed's single-seat Mooney back in the hangar, he told me that what he loves most about flying is sharing his passion with other people.  This is the secret sauce of Awesome.  It is no coincidence that we started this year's conversation about our masterpiece fields of inquiry by asking each other to identify a personal passion that we could share with the world. 

In Matt's car on the way back to school, I practiced some critical thinking of my own and tried to see high school from his perspective.  He's been admitted to San Jose State where he's set to begin the professional path to commercial pilothood.  He has motive, opportunity, access to an expert mentor, and the tools to get more information and tell his story.  A while back Matt wrote, "For me high school is a waste of time."  Apart from learning how to correct the grammatical errors in the rest of that paragraph, he might be right.  Fortunately it's a problem we can solve.

Your mission is the same as Matt's.  You have chosen an interdisciplinary masterpiece topic that you care about.  For the rest of the year, the reading and writing you do as you explore this topic will satisfy the requirements for ERWC.  So use this hour, this course, this Open Source Learning process, and this community to achieve the impossible.  Share your passion and your progress through digital media with a network of peers, the public, and at least one expert in the field.  Get your Thoreau on: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.  Don't wait for graduation or Someday, and don't give up.  Your network is here to help.  There is a lot to be said for keeping your feet on the ground.  There is even more to be said for keeping your head in the clouds. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

this just in: we are the app

Check out Jared's masterpiece; please visit his blog for more.

april 4


[Please take your own notes on our conversation with Ted Newcomb.]


This morning we will be joined by Ted Newcomb for resources that will help you reconsider digital tools/trends & build your Personal Learning Network.  Ted facilitates courses and coordinates alumni groups for Howard Rheingold's online university. For the past 18 years Ted has been a co-host on The Well, one of the Internet's oldest virtual communities. Ted recently retired from a 30-year career in hotel/resort management. He received master's degrees in philosophy and theology from Claremont Graduate University and Fuller Theological Seminary, respectively.

Fun fact: Ted's grandfather invented sound for motion pictures and last year the family found a print of Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" in an attic.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

april 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["The Dope Show" by Marilyn Manson; "Little Know It All" by Iggy Pop]

How do you know someone is smart/intelligent/mentally capable?  When is being smart a good thing and when does it put a person at risk socially?

1. Journal
2. Essay & conversation on the nature of intelligence, school, & circumstantial evidence

1. In a post entitled LOOK AT MY BRAIN, describe how your masterpiece and/or work in general reflects your inner thinking and capability for creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

april 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Ice Cream Man" by Van Halen; "'S Wonderful" by George Gershwin/performed by Ella Fitzgerald]

I just wrote a draft of an article that got me thinking about ice cream cones.  Describe in detail your most memorable ice cream cone moment.

1. Journal
2. Socratic/class discussion: masterpiece presentation requirements

1. Read/do/think something wonderful and post (title: S' WONDERFUL)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

april 1

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "(Now & Then There's) A Fool Such As I" by Hank Snow; "Ship of Fools" by Robert Plant]

You have seven minutes to write an epic poem about a unified theory of consciousness and the history of the papacy concentrating especially but not exclusively on its social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. Be brief, concise, and specific. Be ready to recite your poem from memory in any ancient language (except Greek) to the 2000 people who will be waiting expectantly on the field outside 608 in eight minutes.


Attempt to explain why people like the experience of making/being made a fool at least once a year.

1. Journal
2. MGOTM: Co-creating project specs

1. Reflect on today's conversation in a post entitled PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS