Saturday, December 31, 2011

twilight zone

Still working on computer issues but here's a great way to spend all that time you're not working on your Big Question. Remember the episode of the Twilight Zone I compared to Sartre's "No Exit"? The episode is called "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" and it's on the syfy channel in 15 mins (6:30 PM).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

best laid plans of mice & me

Standing in line @ computer fix-it counter & posting from my phone-- will post tonight [UPDATE: er... as soon as possible] with new test date/time. Sorry for hiccup. I will re-send meemli invitations to those of you who emailed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Riley on Marketing

This is extra credit opportunity #1 for spring semester. Comment to this post with your own example of marketing that is supposed to be cool but actually: a) Tells you what to do/think against your own self-interest, b) Reinforces a negative stereotype or self-image, c) Treats kids like they're morons, or [bonus] d) All of the above.
[thanks, BoingBoing!]

Blog Design

I'm sort of tired of the way the blog looks--maybe just because I spend a lot of time looking at it-- but I'm not exactly inspired to do much about it, either. I reviewed templates for a few minutes. I like the dynamic views (Isaac's blog looks cool) but they don't have the gadget/widget capability. I'm way too busy/lazy to look through all the templates or move the whole thing over to WordPress. What do you think? Get over the aesthetics and keep it the same for spring semester? Ask everyone to help pick and vote on a new template? Make a collaborative working group out of the question and get our best artists/designers on the job? Post a comment and let us know what you think.

Kicking Off 2012 (in 2011)

I hope everyone's enjoying the break!

I'm starting my New Year's Resolutions early:

1. I will not give any more tests with open-ended questions (MAN I hated grading those vocab/lit terms finals!);
2. I will get more sleep (it's so much easier to type on my computer when the screen's not so blurry);
3. I will schedule the meemli sessions so we can test it and get started on your Big Question research.

Hmm. Open-ended tests tell me a lot and sleep is boring. Well, I'll get around to #1 (you hope) and #2 (I hope) soon. But for now I'm focusing on #3. If you are a mentor, or a techie, or you'd like some practice figuring out meemli, or if you're just insanely bored and want to get a head start, meet me on meemli tomorrow (Thursday, 12/29) at 2:00 P.M. After we monkey around with it to get comfortable I will give the group the first chunk of instruction and the outline of what we need to cover between now and the first day of school, and I'll ask for suggestions on the number and duration of sessions needed to get everything done. Then I'll put together a calendar and post it to the blog. See you tomorrow. If you have any questions please comment or email.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Holidays

I wish you and your families happy holidays and all the best for 2012.

In the spirit of the season, special one-time offer in class tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Ordinarily, K-12 teachers (this one included) make every effort to stay out of current political debates. As generations of students know, I strongly believe in researching, considering, and presenting all sides of an issue or a candidate so that each of us can make effective decisions and improve our own thinking in the process.

However, there is an issue currently in the House of Representatives that threatens Americans' use of the Internet-- this blog included-- without having any discernable positive effect on our culture or our economy. I think we should all be informed about this. And, since the vote is tomorrow,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finals Week Agenda

1. Review the past: semester summary & kudos by the numbers
2. Enjoy the here and now: Eat/drink/explain the love
3. Plan for the future: how we can sustain our momentum

Kudos: Fall semester by the numbers

  • 85 days of school 
  • 96 students
  • 96 blogs
  • 200 AP literature analysis novels OUTSIDE the core curriculum
  • 240 vocabulary words 
  • 144 lit terms
  • 53 college and university acceptances
  • 6 scholarships from universities, chambers of commerce, civic organizations and foundations
  • 1 brain with 200 legs 

Kudos: December

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

Kelly Brickey (Belmont University)
Chad Foster (Cal Poly)
Patrick Fraire (University of Oregon)
A.J. Franklin (CSU Chico)
Krissy Frias (CSU Chico)
Hannah Hosking (Northern Arizona University)
Max "The Human Apostrophe" Kuhlman (University of Oregon)
Lizzie Level (The Master's College, Mills, Cal Poly)
Sam Moon (Elks Lodge Scholarship)
Jessica Parra (Northern Arizona University)
Patrick Sims (University of Arizona)
Tori Thompson (CSU Humboldt)
Laura Wong (Northern Arizona University)

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Contests! Contests! Contests!

Amid the cramming for finals and applying for colleges and finding scholarships, here are two other (possibly) fun and (possibly) profitable activities for you to consider over the break:

dickens interpretation contest

student speakers contest

Beethoven for Elephants

Just because you don't see this every day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brain With 200 Legs: Ready...Set...GO!!!

Game on!  I've created a template/skeleton beginning of the mind map and I'm sending out email invitations to share editing.  If you haven't received an email by 10:30 A.M. P.S.T., check in with your team and/or send me an email.  Good luck everyone!  I look forward to reviewing and discussing this with you tomorrow.

[UPDATE 10:33 A.M.]  I sent out email invitations for every address I have-- please make sure your team is on board and start executing your plan.  Chad and Kristen have already looked at the template, join them and begin your research/editing.

  • I'm missing emails for a few people (Marissa and Mari, e.g.) so please make sure all of your group members are included-- you all have invitation privileges, so feel free to "Share" the map (or just send me an email with their address).  
  • Since the four classes didn't reach a consensus on strategy, we may see some different/overlapping styles and approaches.  This is absolutely fine, we'll analyze similarities and differences later. 
  • You can use this post (in addition to FB/email/etc.) for comments and collaboration.
  • Reminder: each of us has editorial control, so the only element of security here is the ancient human bond-- trust.  Interdependence.  Remember Benjamin Franklin's words: we all hang together, or we all hang separately. 

[UPDATE 10:41 A.M.] I'm already seeing real-time edits.  #thisisAwesome

[UPDATE 11:51 A.M.] Wait.  I think those edits were mine.  Now I'm not seeing anything new.  #thisisNerveracking

[UPDATE 3:34 P.M.] Um, hi.  It's me.  Er, where is everyone? #thisisLonely

[UPDATE 6:33 P.M.] Hey, signs of life!  Right now Isaac, Kelly, Chelsea and Shannon are editing.  Remember you can include graphics/pictures/links to videos or sites.  If anyone has any questions send me an email, I'll be following the action and grading finals all evening. #thisisGettinginteresting #betterntv

[UPDATE 7:38 P.M.] Waiting for Shannon F and Isaac to close mind map for a few mins so I can restore everything Jon deleted (thank goodness there is a history/revert function!).  It's good to see some action on the map, this is all part of the learning process. #fitsnstarts

[UPDATE 8:33 P.M.] Isaac and Jon did a great job of restoring edits; keep in mind that anyone can create a connection to a new question, and some of the words/allusions just require a simple look-up and cut/paste.  If you haven't seen your partners/group members/classmates on the mind map editors list, please alert them. #wotsthepointofFBgroupsifnoonereadsthem

[UPDATE 9:49 P.M.] Checking in on the mind map-- way to go Isaac, Candace and Sam!--  is like watching a scene from an old western: "It's quiet.  Too quiet."  #whobesidesisaacwilldotheheavylifting

[UPDATE 12:38 A.M.] Buffalo Springfield: "There's something happening here.  What it is ain't exactly clear."  Looking forward to tomorrow's (today's) conversations-- hope we can get back in the saddle and complete the map in grand style tonight. #backtothedrawingboard

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 9

Alright, it's a little late but I wanted to see as many comments as possible before recommending a strategic planning process. In a way, this is a lot like the work I used to do as a management consultant-- getting the members of a group to articulate what they thought was the best plan, and then synthesizing their opinions into something that made them all equally miserable. Let me know how I do.

It appears that most of you favor multiple, tactical working groups. In order for those groups to be effective, members will need to know exactly what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Will you divide by textual geography ("you take that paragraph and I'll take this one") or by concept (vocabulary, authors, titles, genres, e.g.)? 
  • Will you budget projects by time to make sure we finish in 24 hours? Will you assign roles to group members (like timer or sweeper/reviewer) or will you all just attack the next thing that hasn't been done? 
  • Do the four classes need to collaborate with each other, and, if so, what's the best way to do it? Do we think that one reference per idea is enough, or should we have more? 
You will undoubtedly have your own questions and ideas as well, so please appoint a facilitator in each period and take the period to have the conversation. Make sure to budget your time so that you don't have to rush the final version of whatever you decide.  Please appoint a reporter who will take notes on the group's final decisions and submit them as comments to this post.  By tomorrow (Friday) night we should all see four remarkably clear visions of Brain/200 working groups.  Each period will likely come to similar-but-different conclusions, and that's OK; we will have a variety of styles to discuss when we review the finished product.  When you leave class, you should know exactly what your role and responsibility is.  Begin by reading the article.  Keep your eye on the blog-- this thing could start at any moment.

NOTE: for those of you who favored a holistic approach (i.e., beginning and/or studying the whole thing en masse), you'll get your chance. Creating the mind map is just the beginning.

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: start the collaborative process by agreeing on a song to hum in unison. Then get to work.  I gave Mr. Jauregui the blog URL, guess we'll find out whether he read it (and if he didn't, someone please show him on a phone)-- Mr. Jauregui, thanks for being a good sport. Oh, and Mr. Jauregui, Trevor gets to Dremel. And Kira gets to leave, if her partner says it's OK and the class agrees.  Thanks again.]

What will you need to learn how to do in order to build an online community of five hundred people who follow your blog and join up to prepare for the AP exam?

1. Journal
2. Form Brain/200 working groups

HW: You know what to do.


I just received the following email from Mrs. Dias. If anyone has any questions about this please email or see me in class on Monday. I want to make sure that everyone registers on time.

The AP Tests will go on sale immediately upon our return to school in January. We will begin announcing the sale on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 with the deadline being Friday, March 23, 2012. The cost of each test will be $79.00 per test without a waiver. Students will qualify for a $22.00 fee waiver only if they are receiving a free and reduced lunch. If they have questions regarding the waiver, please have them speak to Rosie Gauna, Community Liaison or me. In January the AP Order Forms will be delivered to your mailboxes, please distribute them at your earliest convenience. An AP Student/Parent Bulletin will be given to each student when they purchase an exam. Please contact me at ext. 2706 if you have further questions.

December 8

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Reflections (I Remember) by Mary J. Blige; "Memories Are That Way" by Bill Withers]

So much of the final exam experience is about memory-- describe your memory in general. How accurate is it? What is your earliest memory? What makes you more/less able to remember something?

1. Journal
2. Strategic planning for Brain/200 legs
3. Essay exam

1. Skim the William Gibson interview
2. Comment to this post with a recommendation for how we should go about this: Should we all start in the same section, or should we bite off pieces as groups/individuals? Should some of us have specific roles (like focusing on vocab, authors, titles, or serving as reviewers to make sure we're not missing anything?)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Somewhere Over The Rainbow" & "Take Me Home Country Road" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole]

Usually Pearl Harbor Day causes me to reflect on surprises of the unpleasant variety, or global conflict, but today I'm thinking more of "going to a happy place" in the middle of three final exams. Whether it's Hawaii or somewhere else (real or imagined), describe a location that makes you feel peaceful.

1. Journal
2. Lit terms final

1. Study for essay final tomorrow (last one!!!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Final Hour" by Lauryn Hill; "Time Is the Final Currency" by CPR]

Welcome to the beginning of the end of the beginning. Around this time of year the word "Finals" gives people the idea that something is ending. As you already know, that isn't true for us. We're just getting started. As you reflect on your education to date, what would you like to accomplish in your last semester of high school?

1. Journal
2. Mindmap feedback
3. Vocabulary Final

1. Study for finals (lit terms tomorrow)
2. Pump your fist in the air with pride (if you did yesterday's HW completely/correctly) or hang your head in shame (if you didn't). To those of you in the latter category, pick your head up and finish what you should've started. This isn't about credit; it's about whether you're in or you're out. I will announce the platform and next steps tomorrow (Wed. 12.7) in class.
3. Find a person who has contributed to your success in this course and thank him/her. I just started by thanking Kaley.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Study Resource

This just in from Kaley Jorgensen:

"I found this awesome site that allows you to make flash cards online for the vocab words. It might be a little late for students to use it for vocab, but maybe lit terms? The site is called I have all of the words with definitions on there, and I am trying to find a way to share it with other people. It also helps you study by giving you a virtual quiz, and it grades it for you... seems very helpful for future references!"

December 5

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo; "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby]

Turn to your partner and smile: the two of you are now one brain with four legs. Your job is to co-imagine how your new, shared character would function more effectively in life with double the brainpower: What will you be able to do that you couldn't before? How will you think differently? What will be faster and what will be slower? Will your life overall be better or worse? Now consider the broader social implications: What can people learn from collaboration? If actual brain-sharing were possible, how would people use the enhanced thinking power to make decisions, conduct research, or respond to emergencies? Would brains steal other brains in a competitive race for thinking supremacy? What capacities would such "superbrains" have? What could a brain with 200 (or 200M) legs do?

1. Journal
2. Updates
3. Brain with 200 legs

1. Study for finals
2. Read "Brain With 200 Legs" post and complete steps 1-4. Please respond with a comment to the post.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Brain With 200 Legs

1. [for Tuesday 12.6] Read the definition of mindmap in the screenshot below:

mindmap defined -

2. [for Tuesday 12.6] Familiarize yourself with CMAP and download the mindmap program

3. [for Tuesday 12.6] Determine how we can all contribute to the mindmap. If you don't see a way: 1) ask partner/colleagues for help, and/or 2) find, evaluate and propose a free mindmap platform that allows us all to collaborate.

4. [for Tuesday 12.6] Find at least two mindmaps you think are good enough to be models for us all to consider. Cut/paste links to them so we can see what you see. After you list the links, so that we know what to look for, briefly describe what these maps do well and what they could improve.

5. [For Friday 12.9] Skim this interview with author William Gibson. Look for words, ideas and allusions that you don't recognize and/or you'd like to know more about.

6. On Saturday [12.10], at a time we all agree on in class, we will begin working together as fast as we can to populate the mind map. We will have a maximum of 24 hours to complete the mission. We can finish before then if someone who's keeping track calls for a review and we discover that we've covered everything. In fact, now that I think about it, we should probably create some sort of strategic plan before we start-- this way we can decide things like whether we should start in sections, or in different places, or whether we should have specific roles (as in the neo-legendary literature circles of sophomore year).

Blog User Board

Thank you to Rachel, Ian, Mari, Trevor, Trenton and others who have made helpful suggestions about how to better organize and use blog features to help everyone.

As we get deeper into the senior project (more on that later) we will be developing and launching entrepreneurial ideas based from our collaborative working groups. With so many different working groups and more being proposed every day, this blog will need to be more effective than ever.

I'm wondering whether the course blog should have a group of student advisors with related expertise (in blog design, writing, social media, or tech skills, e.g.) who communicate frequently with others and me in order to make this the most amazing tool in the history of learning*. (*This is an example of what Jim Collins, former Stanford professor and author of such modern business classics as Built to Last, calls a BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goal.) If students want to create this board I propose calling it the Blog User Board. (That's right, BUB.)

But the reason I began that last paragraph with the phrase "I'm wondering" is that I'd like to know what you think before I make a final decision. Are the current channels of direct feedback enough? Does the idea of a Board stink of bureaucracy? Or, would this offer a different way for students to collaborate, contribute directly to the course and gain experience that will help them in the future? Please comment to this post with any observations you have on the idea, such as whether we should have a board at all, what you think its function should be, and what types of people/skills should be on it. I'll make a final decision sometime this week. If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else please send me an email or stop by during the day.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blog Evaluation

Here are the assignments I'll look for when I evaluate your blog:

  • 3 Literature Analyses
  • To Facebook or not to Facebook
  • Who was Shakespeare?
  • Notes on Hamlet
  • In search of
  • Tools that change the way we think
  • Roy Christopher notes
  • Key idea about the course with video upload
  • Hamlet/epics/language essay
  • Hamlet & performative utterance
  • Big question
  • Thinking outside the box (Sartre & Plato)
  • Lit term(s)
As I evaluate the blogs I'm also considering design elements and the number of comments to each of your posts.  Now that you have some experience in creating and reading blogs, I'd also like to know what you think makes an effective blog; feel free to comment to this post with ideas.  If someone's blog stands out in your mind, let him/her and the rest of us know.  (And, if you think someone's blog needs improving, let the author know privately and be ready to suggest ways to make it better.) 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Member Blogs Page

Please take a moment and click on the Member Blogs page. Find your name and your partner's name, and copy/paste the URLs into a browser window to make sure they work.


Online Security

Thanks once again to Ian for the great presentation.

Here is a link to his prezi. Following are more resources-- feel free to comment to this post with questions, examples of security issues, and additional resources that you didn't see or hear about in class.

How to get rid of pop ups
or adware


Firefox ad blocker

password lockers (higher tech)

password checker (Gibson Research Corporation/Shields Up)


See original here

December 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Touch the Hand of Love" by Yo-Yo Ma & Renee Fleming; "Take Your Hand" by Usher; "I Hold Your Hand in Mine" by Usher; "I Hold Your Hand in Mine" by Tom Lehrer; "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles]

Think of a topic or theme that you've seen in at least three texts this semester. How was the treatment of the idea influenced by the style/genre of writing and the time period/culture in which it was written?

1. Journal
2. Discuss blog/timeline
3. Chaucer

1. Study for finals
2. (If you missed last night's HW) rename your blog and post it as a comment to 12.1
3. Check the blog this afternoon for more on lit terms database, online security, weekend work, catch-up suggestions, and SPECIAL ONE-TIME HOLIDAY SEASON OFFERS!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

AP Lit Terms Database in Progress (II)

Here is the updated list based on your comments last night. Please review and comment if you don't see your name next to a term you presented on your blog. It looks like the following terms haven't been spoken for-- please either claim or adopt them:

AP Lit Terms update

December 1

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Ends" by Everlast; "Clampdown" by The Clash; "The People's Court [The Big One]" by Allen Tew]

Famous general and master strategist Sun Tzu is quoted as saying, "If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." What do you want/need to know about online security that will help you feel more confident in broadcasting your blog and collaborating with people you've never met in person?

1. Journal
2. Online Security

1. Study for finals
2. Change the title of your blog to "[First name] [Last Name]'s AP Lit Comp Blog" (example: "David Preston's AP Lit Comp Blog")
3. Comment to this post with the title of your blog and a link to the URL
4. Watch for a post tonight entitled, "Grading Your Blog"
5. Compare the assignments and grading notes with what you have on your blog and update as needed BEFORE 2:50 P.S.T. Friday, 12.2.11 [UPDATE: Deadline extended until Monday 12.5]