Monday, August 13, 2012

new year new blog

This blog will remain available for the sake of nostalgia and research, but the 2011-12 show is over.

If you want to watch/join this year's work in progress, please click here.

For general information on Open Source Learning please follow @prestonlearning on Twitter or visit or  Both sites are currently in development, so if you click and don't see much please say hi on Twitter or let us know how to notify you in a comment to this post (we'll add you to the mailing list right away and delete the comment so your email doesn't stay public).

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

this is it

Hey everyone,
The parking lots and stands are full of proud parents carrying flowers and stuffed animals.  People who don't normally wear socks are wearing ties.  The opening strains of "Pomp & Circumstance" are wafting up from the field.  This is the last official post to the 2011-2012 course blog.

It's hard to express-- especially for a wordy guy who's been talking your ears off all year-- how proud I am of you.  Thank you for all your contributions.  I wish each and every single one of you great success and I look forward to seeing you on in the alumni forum (you'll receive an invitation at the email address you listed on the course evaluation).

Sapere Aude.  
Dr. Preston 

Monday, June 4, 2012

need laptops for period 2 & 3 final presentations

If we're going to make the "open house" approach work tomorrow, we're going to need at least five laptops in periods 2 and 3.  Please plan on bringing yours, or, if you'd like, please sign up in advance by commenting to this post.  Period 2 had the idea-- thanks again, Jake!-- but only Ryan signed up.

last assignmnent: your course blog analytics

Please post a comment to this post with the following information from your course blog (available on your blogger overview):
  • number of page views
  • number of posts
  • number of comments

June 4: happy finals week

Good luck to everyone on your finals-- looking forward to period 6 project presentations today!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

love for the lurkers

I was just looking something up on the course blog when I noticed--to my great surprise, at nearly 1 AM Sunday morning-- there are nine other visitors.  On the odd chance those visitors are students, you have a chance to claim 100 points of Project Infinity credit by commenting to this post before 10 AM PDT Sunday (6.3) with a brief explanation of your favorite literary quote of all time.  If you're a visitor but not a student, comment with a quote anyway.  You'll receive double the credit; of course, it won't do you any direct good, but it will give students a reason to comment in an effort to impress you--and if they do, you can reward them with a portion or all of your points.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 1

JOURNAL TOPIC: [extra credit--last chance this year-- for everyone if you can agree on a song, hum it in unison, capture the video and post it to someone's course blog.  If you pull it off, email or log into project infinity to claim your credit.]

I just did a search on duckduckgo for "famous last lines of novels"-- and smiled at the first result, because you've read every book on the list! (quotes after the jump)  On this, the auspicious last day of your journal*, what are YOUR famous last words?

[*If you are not on campus today, please stop by to complete your journal on Monday 6.4]

1. Journal
2. Finishing touches on presentations-- and remember to sign up for tech support and food!  (sign-up sheets are taped to the left side of the white board)

1. Fine-tune your presentations with love.
2. Prepare your food with love.

See you next week.

May 31

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: Gorillas, Gorillaz, and Guerillas]

I sat down to write a topic just now about what I've read in your journals over the last week-- many of you have feelings about parting ways with friends, family and the community structure you've known for a long time-- but then I signed into blogger and noticed that the course blog now has >86,000 page views.  This reminded me of Howard Rheingold's book Virtual Community; the term is now common and defined by Wikipedia as, "A social network of individuals who interact through specific media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals."  This year we've created a learning community that transcends traditional limitations and stereotypes, and I'm creating an alumni/"friends of the course" platform so that all of us can stay connected to whatever extent we choose.  Alumni networks are extremely common and effective for universities-- I found this job through a contact on the UCLA alumni network-- and a resource like this can be just as effective for you.  All you'll have to do is register for access to author talks, collegiate/professional forums, and...?  This is my question: what other features/benefits do you think this virtual community should include?  How do you imagine using such a tool to take some very important next steps in your lives?

1. Journal
2. Projects & fascinating conversation

HW/Mission/Coursework/DFTYRBD (Diversion From Things You'd Rather Be Doing):
If you feel like you're finished with your project, your project is probably mediocre.  Ask at least three of your colleagues for suggestions on how to make it better.  Summarize the conversation and post to your blog, however you choose to act on their advice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

help a friend with her research

International researcher and friend of the course Jasmin has asked each of us to take three minutes and complete her online survey, which you can find HERE.  Thanks!

wasting time is new divide in digital era

According to this article in yesterday's NY Times,

In the 1990s, the term “digital divide” emerged to describe technology’s haves and have-nots. It inspired many efforts to get the latest computing tools into the hands of all Americans, particularly low-income families.

Those efforts have indeed shrunk the divide. But they have created an unintended side effect, one that is surprising and troubling to researchers and policy makers and that the government now wants to fix.
As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show.

This growing time-wasting gap, policy makers and researchers say, is more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it. 


May 30

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: by request]

For these last few days, your journal is actually YOUR JOURNAL.  Take notes on the conversation in your head.

"Those first few songs I wrote, I was just taking notes at a fantastic rock concert going on inside my head."
-Jim Morrison

***NOTE: Today I will be hosting orientation for next year's course in the room at lunch.  Anyone who wants to play is welcome.  If your group needs a place to meet please see me.

1. Journal
2. Schedule for the rest of this week & next

In education there are many words and phrases whose contexts and connotations have spoiled their use outside the classroom (e.g., it's hard to imagine a military or corporate leader asking a team member-- without sarcasm or irony-- why s/he was "tardy").    Tonight you probably have things to do on your project.  This is imaginative, innovative, next-level stuff: what can we call it besides "homework"?  Please offer your suggestion in a comment to this post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a sophomoric approach to assessment

I just posted to the sophomore honors blog, and now some of them will be in a position to shower you with credit-enhancing tributes on the project infinity site.

May 29

The beginning of your last week of K-12 education is a natural time for reflection.  So, consider the person you were at the beginning of 10th grade and the beginning of this school year.  Are you the same person today?  What role has learning in general (and this course in specific) played in your growth over time?

1. Journal
2. Assessment
3. Thinking about final presentations

Keep calm and carry on.

Monday, May 28, 2012

trouble posting slideshow 2.0 from iMovie to blog

This question just in; if you have answers or suggestions please comment to this post.  Thanks!

So I have made my slideshow 2.0 on iMovie and it was really easy to make and it's a great program. But.... I cannot get it to upload on my blog. Help? I have tried exporting it but it keeps saying there is an error when I go to upload. 
Per. 2

Friday, May 25, 2012

twitter hashtag for today's socratic seminar

Just in case you didn't have a device in class and want to contribute, I'm @prestonlearning on Twitter and the hashtag for today's seminar is #dpdiglitsem

May 25

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Purple Rain" by Prince]

This week the topic is (still) you. When you began this course of study you became the heroic protagonist of your own story, and now the story is what you're doing. Tell it.  Specifically, for today, how would you teach the next generation to use the Internet & open education resources to create the most value for themselves and others?  How would you explain to a traditionalist why this is a good thing and not a threat or something to be afraid of?

1. Journal
2. Socratic seminar

This weekend is the big push on your project.  Make it happen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Beyond Belief" by Elvis Costello; "Message in a Bottle" by The Police]

This week the topic is (still) you. When you began this course of study you became the heroic protagonist of your own story, and now the story is what you're doing. Tell it.  Specifically, for today, what new experiences and skills did you acquire in this course that will help you in the future?  What artifacts have you created that show what you've learned?  How does all this prepare you for whatever's next, and how does it show the value you represent to a network or a community?

1. Journal

1. Prepare for tomorrow's Socratic seminar by finding and reading three online resources about digital literacy.
2. Read these quotes
3. Comment to this post with answers to the following questions: a) what is digital literacy? b) are you digitally literate? c) why should adults trust you to create your own educational paths without being afraid that you won't learn anything if you're not constantly tested to standards? and d) what is your vision of the digital future and your place in it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

60 seniors suspended for biking to school

Absurd.  So glad to hear that parents, board members, and common sense ultimately prevailed.

Story here.

May 23

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "My Old School" by Steely Dan; "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac]

This week the topic is (still) you. When you began this course of study you became the heroic protagonist of your own story, and now the story is what you're doing. Tell it.  Specifically, for today, what are you looking forward to after graduation and what will you miss?

1. Journal
2. Imagine/write/create/post/code/read/build/collaborate/question/reflect/revise

1. Continue #2
2. Post the rest of your working schedule to your blog.  Consider this a Hamlet-esque performative utterance; how/when will you be finished with this, what will the end product look like, and what will you be presenting during dead/finals weeks?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

recording of today's talk with howard rheingold

Thanks to everyone who participated this morning.  Here is a link to the recording.

cwg leaders/members: stand and be documented

If you are leading/working with a group on a project, please come by Room 608 so the documentary team can get a few shots of you in action.  Thanks!

suggestion box for SMC chatters

Hey, whaddya think?  Please comment to this post.

May 22

This week the topic is you. When you began this course of study you became the heroic protagonist of your own story, and now the story is what you're doing. Tell it.  Specifically, for today, why exactly are you doing the project you're doing?  Is it personally meaningful?  Are you doing it for career reasons, for relationship reasons, for personal reasons, or just because you are still a high school student being told what to do?

[9:30-10:30 online conference with Howard Rheingold & Roy Christopher]
1. Journal
2. Group/individual project work

1. Post the following information to your blog:
  • What you've done so far;
  • What you still need to accomplish in the two weeks we have left;
  • How your work will benefit you and others.
  • PLEASE NOTE: failure to post will result in a status meeting Wednesday in class to determine whether you are capable of controlling your own destiny.

Monday, May 21, 2012

questions for howard and Roy

Howard & Roy both have experience, expertise, & tremendous insight; let's take full advantage! Please list your question(s) in a comment to this post.

Meemli sessions

If you are using meemli for your work and want to practice, there are two meet-up options today: 4:00 (with Jon leading) and 8:00 (with Rachel leading).

May 21

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "It Never Entered My Mind" by Miles Davis; "I Shall Be Released" by Bob Dylan]

This week the topic is you. When you began this course of study you became the heroic protagonist of your own story, and now the story is what you're doing. Tell it.

1. Journal
2. Progress reports
3. Assessment/evaluation
4. Next steps

1. Log onto the project infinity site HERE and join the leaderboard here (get the idea? You can't win if you don't play! [ugh, how lottery-ish]).
 2. Read this and post a question for Howard and/or Roy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

online conference may 22

We are scheduled for an online conference with Roy Christopher, Howard Rheingold and guests on Tuesday, May 22 9:30-10:30 A.M. If you need to ask another teacher for permission to attend, please print the form below.  Some things to think about:
  • How can you use this conversation to help you in the work you're currently doing?  Have a look at their websites, think about the information and resources you need for your project(s), and prepare questions.
  • What have you done this year since our November conversation with Roy that has changed your thinking about online media and your own habits of mind?
  • What message(s) do you want Roy, Howard and other online leaders to take away from your experiences in learning, both in this course and elsewhere?
Looking forward to it!


May 18

What types of people and experiences will you seek out in your first post-HS year?  Why?

1. Journal
2. Imagine/dream/envision/engineer/build/create/collaborate/question/realize

1. Continue #2
2. Check the blog this weekend, there will be more resource material and page/post for current groups-- I'm still compiling, so feel free to check the Member Blogs directly if you have a question about a project or person.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

your thoughts?

Please respond to this article in a comment to this post.

keep your eye on the blog

That's it.  But seriously.  Keep your eye on the blog.


Please comment to this post if you are using Meemli for your project.  In your comment please note whether you need an invitation, training, or would like to join a Meemli space with me over the weekend to practice. 

May 17

(You know, Chad has continued diligently filing journal topics all year, and I just haven't found a way to incorporate his ideas-- until now.  Thanks Chad!)

Are you a person who says "why," or are you a person who says "why not"?  Explain.

1. Journal
2. Post to your blog if you haven't done so already
3. In service of your project(s): Collaborate/explore/innovate/create/build/read/write/think/learn

1. Continue #3

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

in the news

According to The Week, here are the 8 craziest prom stories of 2012 (so far).

Meanwhile, our habits and attention spans have led some U.S. communities to issue fines for texting while walking (I still can't decide which is my favorite: the guy who walked into a bear or the gal who walked into a mall fountain).

(Thanks, Dave Pell!)

May 16

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "9-5er's Anthem" by Aesop Rock and either "Worker's Song" by The Dropkick Murphys, "Working Class Hero" by John Lennon or "Working Man" by Rush.]

"But why, if you are so clever, do you lie here like a sack and have nothing to show for it?"
-Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime & Punishment

Most great ideas stay on the couch because, however brilliant they (or their creators) may be, every great idea requires planning and execution if it is to live anywhere in the world outside the mind. Consider Benjamin Franklin, who favored the proverb, "Failing to plan is planning to fail"-- we never would have heard of the guy if he settled for having great ideas instead of actually doing something about them.

With these thoughts in mind, use today's journal entry to describe the steps you're taking to learn/create/build/write the idea(s) you presented on Monday.

1. Journal
2. How to plan
3. Work

1. Post your plan to your blog. Your plan includes:
  • Your goal(s);
  • Any materials/resources/information you require;
  • Your timeline/production schedule, including work you've done so far; and
  • How you will present your finished product to your colleagues.

for anyone with a decision-making disorder

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

is reddit more credible than wikipedia?

Read this to discover how the professor who fooled wikipedia got caught by reddit.

May 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Life in the Fast Lane" by The Eagles; "Ain't Wastin' Time No More" by The Allman Brothers]

People do things.  Sometimes it's because they're trying to reach a goal, sometimes it's because they're trying to improve their lives, sometimes it's because they love what they do-- and sometimes it's for no logical reason at all. 

Why do you do what you do?

1. Journal
2. Feedback on presentation and ideas about assessment
3. Do what you do

1. Keep doing what you do

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 best places for new college grads

Looking a little further down the road,  here are the top 25 metro regions for college grads in 2012.

R.I.P. Kelli

Heard Kelli "passed away" last period. 

Also heard the learning community responded with a dance battle.


thoughts from the hood

This weekend I went back to my old neighborhood for Mother's Day with the whole family.  On Saturday it was my job to get to the park before dawn and reserve picnic tables.  When the sun came up and players started organizing the games and calling "Next" I started thinking about all of the ways we communicate, negotiate and collaborate.  Cool.

May 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Today (Watch Me Shine)" by Everlast; "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins]

What would the world look like if schools were products of their students instead of the other way around?

1. Journal (get your head back in the game)
2. Presentations

1. Read this article and this article, then comment to this post with the following information:
a)Explain how you intend to get the information you need without ruining yourself financially; b)Explain how you and others can add value to a community and get rewarded in the marketplace WHILE you're going to school; and
c)Advise younger students about what they can/should do in order to lessen their anxiety and improve their chances for success.

Friday, May 11, 2012

warning: graphic awesomeness

Looking forward to Jojo's and Brianna's ideas Monday!

crime and punishment

Please sign up with a comment to this post if you're interested in joining Kira, Rachel and me for a study of Crime & Punishment. We'll begin by taking a few minutes to discuss this on Monday.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

test prep in China

May 11

Take a moment to reflect on your exam yesterday (AP or in-class).  Describe how the experience enabled you to show what you've learned this year.

1. Journal
2. The inmates take over the asylum

  • Senior scrapbook 2.0
  • Gaming
  • CWGs (no, not those: THESE)
  • BQs
  • Online conferences
  • Literature
  • Cause-related
  • Orientation 
  • College blogs

("How can I show that I know what I know?")

HW: Prepare a presentation for your peers that explains how you will use the last month of this course to your greatest advantage.  Due Monday, May 14.

april kudos (belated)

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

A.J. Franklin (Coast Hills Scholarship)
Sarah Rayburn (Military Officers Association of America Scholarship; Cal Poly)
Jojo Relyea (City of Santa Maria Parks & Recreation Volunteer Award)
Chelsea Stevenson (Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce Scholarship; Colorado State)
Isaac De La Cruz (James Schillinger Memorial Student Athlete Scholarship)
Adriana Zamudio (Fresno State Cheerleading Squad)
Shannon Fahey (Santa Barbara County Cattlewomen Scholarship)
Sam Moon (Marian Hospital Scholarship; UCLA)
Alex McKinney (UC Berkeley)
Rebecca Patterson (CSUN)
Krissy Frias (Cal Poly)
Lizzie Level (Cal Poly)
Candace Rickman (Cal Poly)
Betzy Bras (Cal Poly)
Kaley Jorgensen (UCSB)
Kelli Carrillo (UCSB)
Jessica Parra (UCSB)
Marie Alvarado (UC Merced)
Nicole Montoya (CSU Stanislaus)
Jojo Relyea (SDSU)
Katie Enstad (SDSU)
Shannon Murray (SDSU)
Annais Acosta (Notre Dame de Namur)
Enrique Rico (Fresno State)
Chelsea Stevenson (Fresno State)
Jessica Manriquez (SF State)
Marisol Zepeda (SF State)
Paola Trujillo (SF State)
Kari Griego (SF State)

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

May 10

The hour is upon us: for those about to rock the AP exam, we salute you.

Today you can use your journal for reflection (it will help for tomorrow's topic if you jot down some exam memories while they're fresh) but there is no formal assignment, agenda, or HW today.

I look forward to meeting with students this afternoon to discuss the remaining month of the course.

If you see this after the exam: Congratulations!!!
(If you see this during the exam break, curious: did the "To be or not to be" thing happen?)
(If you see this during the exam itself, shame on you: put your phone away & get back to work.)

Dr. Preston

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

who do you want to be tomorrow?

Be this guy; Not this guy.

May 9

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Wet Dream" by Kip Addotta; "Fish Heads" by Barnes & Barnes; "Who Do You Want To Be Today" by Oingo Boingo]

Analyze the following quote. Identify at least two evident literary techniques, explain how Wilde's use of these techniques creates an overall sense of his purpose, theme and tone, and apply the idea to your own experience.

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." -Oscar Wilde

1. Journal (extended)
2. I understand you have a big day tomorrow. How can I help?

 HW: 1. The 3 Rs: Review, Rest, Review

learn by gaming

Following is a TEDx talk by John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts. Is he a revolutionary learning leader or opportunistic video game huckster? You make the call in a comment to this post.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

senior information survey

If you haven't done so already, please print/complete/submit to Mrs. Dirkes ASAP.  Thanks!


poetic meter

This links to a tidy summary of poetic meter; compare with your notes on sonnets & iambic pentameter.

May 8

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Stand By Me" by John Lennon; "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor; "Train in Vain" (Stand By Me)" by The Clash]

At the beginning of the year you took responsibility for someone else's success on the AP exam, and someone took responsibility for helping you.  What can you do in the last 48 hours to honor these commitments and ensure success?

1. Journal
2. MC practice & discussion
3. Essays

1. Individual/partner prep

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Mind Games" by John Lennon; "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits]

Summarize what you learned in the process of looking at all those multiple choice and essay questions this weekend. Where did you do well (why?) and where did you struggle (why)? What from your experience can you share with the person next to you that will help him/her do a more effective job Thursday?

1. Journal/check HW
2. Multiple choice: the good, the bad, and the ugly
3. A peek beyond the exam

1. Based on what you learned today, find 20 more multiple choice questions and see how you do. Bring the hard copy answers to class tomorrow (Tuesday 5/8).


(With thanks to Dr./Mr./Mrs./Ms./Lt. Col. Sweeney of!) TONE Words Ap Language

Sunday, May 6, 2012

teach your peers

Lots of people online finishing the HW. Extra credit for anyone who comments to this post with a helpful tip/strategy they discovered while answering multiple choice and/or essay questions. Time limit: 1 hour from post time.

Friday, May 4, 2012

failure is not an option

May 4

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Las Botas de Charro" by Vicente Fernandez; "March to Battle Across the Rio Grande" performed by The Chieftains & SJNMA Cadets; "Samba Pa Ti" by Carlos Santana]

As you probably know, Cinco de Mayo's origin, much like St. Crispin's Day's, is a celebration of freedom won by an outmanned group in battle. What an appropriate holiday for a weekend in which you'll attempt to prove your valor and win your freedom from AP essay prompts and multiple choice questions.

Use today's journal space as a place to describe your thinking about the test: your confidence level, your questions, and your plan for the final few days. Describe this in detail and be ready to adapt as you get new information in class today.  In John Wooden's famous Pyramid of Success, the term Competitive Greatness is defined as, "Being at your best when your best is needed; enjoyment of a difficult challenge."  Someday, when others hold their student-hood cheap, you will look back on this entry as the last performative utterance before a great conquest. 

1. Journal
2. Lit terms quiz
3. Hate me today.  Love me when you get your AP exam score & final course grade.

1. Your personal cram-driven Koyaanisquatsi

reminder: final transcript requests

If you haven't yet returned the golden Final Transcript Request & Senior Information Survey, please make sure to bring it today. I'll be giving whatever I have to Mrs. Dirkes at close of business (end of 6th period). If you don't have it today please remember to turn it in to her directly ASAP. Thanks!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

hello portland, maine

We've been discussing the pros and cons of Portland schools issuing laptops with content filters and we want to know what you think. If you live in Portland, Maine, and you have an opinion on the use of social media in learning, we'd like to hear from you. Please comment to this post. And if you'd like to know more about how we're using social media to learn, ask away. (And, just in case we ever make it to Portland, can you also include your favorite place to eat?) Thanks for visiting!

May 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: [Note: I won't be in class today, so the journal topic serves both as a mini "response-to-text" essay and a start to your group conversations about AP prep-- I will be grading your response and today's entry on your personal blog accordingly.  Note2: Period 2, you're not off the hook-- make sure this is in your journal when you turn it in tomorrow.]

Read the following excerpt from David Foster Wallace's Everything & More.  Analyze the text in terms of the basics--theme, tone, diction, and syntax--and see if you can apply any other technical elements you're covering in the lit terms.  Go down the list term by term and see what applies.  (You may cooperate in the process, but your writing should be all you.)

Abstraction has all kinds of problems and headaches built in, as we all know.  Part of the hazard is how we use nouns.  We think of nouns' meanings in terms of denotations.  Nouns stand for things-- man, desk, pen, David, head, aspirin.  A special kind of comedy results when there's confusion about what's a real noun, as in 'Who's on first?' or those Alice in Wonderland routines-- 'What can you see on the road?' 'Nothing.'  'What great eyesight!  What does nothing look like?'  The comedy tends to vanish, though, when the nouns denote abstractions, meaning general concepts divorced from particular instances.  Many of these abstraction-nouns come from root verbs.  'Motion' is a noun, and 'existence'; we use words like this all the time.  The confusion comes when we try to consider what exactly they mean.  It's like Boyer's point about integers.  What exactly do 'motion' and 'existence' denote?  We know that concrete particular things exist, and that sometimes they move.  Does motion per se exist?  In what way?  In what way do abstractions exist?

Of course, that last question is itself very abstract.  Now you can probably feel the headache starting.  There's a special sort of unease or impatience with stuff like this.  Like 'What exactly is existence?'  or 'What exactly do we mean when we talk about motion?'  the unease is very distinctive and sets in only at a certain level in the abstraction process-- because abstraction proceeds in levels, rather like exponents or dimensions.  Let's say 'man' meaning some particular man is Level One.  'Man' meaning the species is Level Two.  Something like 'humanity' or 'humanness' is Level Three; now we're talking about the abstract criteria for something qualifying as human.  And so forth.  Thinking this way can be dangerous, weird.  Thinking abstractly enough about anything... surely we've all had the experience of thinking about a word-- 'pen,' say-- and sort of saying the word over and over to ourselves until it ceases to denote; the very strangeness of calling something a pen begins to obtrude on the consciousness in a creepy way, like an epileptic aura.

1. Journal (done well, the analysis should take most of the period)
2. Continue AP exam prep

2. Study for tomorrow's lit terms quiz.  EVERY SINGLE TERM IS ELIGIBLE.
3. Share your peace of mind that you're ready for next week SO THAT I CAN STOP WRITING IN ALL CAPS.

double credit next five minutes

If you comment to this post-- AND complete either of the two course blog HW assignments in the next five minutes-- you will receive double credit.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 1

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Maggie May" by Rod Stewart; "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel]

"Hooray, hooray, the first of May..." "May I go to the bathroom?" So many of the most basic words in English have multiple meanings derived from etymologies all but lost in the mists of time. The word May implies spring, permission, and possibility/uncertainty. It's also a trap for casual writers who don't know the difference between may & might? Even pros can get confused.

Today you may write about May, or about your understanding of may, or about anything else you're wondering about as you prepare for the AP exam.

1. Journal
2. Lit terms quiz (61-90)
3. Study/finish writer's conferences

1. Continue AP prep
2. Study for lit terms quiz (91-120) on Friday 5.4

metonymy v. synecdoche

Not exactly Godzilla vs. Mothra, but you're going to need to remember the difference for today's lit terms quiz, so here is an additional explanation/reminder.

signs of the times

Some of you express surprise when I mention that classes around the country aren't using technology or preparing themselves for digital independence, or that adults are taking aggressive steps to prevent student access to social networking sites and services. Have a look at this news item (original coverage here). Is this a freedom worth fighting for? Should students have access to technology and social networking? Why? Are these tools important for a purpose? Or are they merely frivolous, dangerous toys that don't really have anything to do with school or learning? Please respond to this post with a comment by Friday.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

meet kid koala

Study exercise for when you're sick of answering AP practice questions. (Helpful tip: if you're not sick of answering questions, you haven't answered enough questions.) How many literary terms/techniques you can apply to this performance? (Thanks, BoingBoing!)
JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Whatever It Takes" by Tom Morello; "Fly Away From Here" by Aerosmith]
 {choose your own topic}

1. Journal
2. AP exam study/writer's conferences

HW: [see next post]

homework: literature as a conversation over time

Throughout the year we've been reminded by Shakespeare, Dickens, Plato, Sartre, and many others that some literature never gets old.  The passage of time makes it all the more poignant or insightful. Dickens' London is Occupy's Wall Street. "To be or not to be" will forever be the question.  The hero always embarks on the journey and fights for the forces of love and goodness and light.  And no matter when they were written, or by whom, or even for what purposes, certain texts flip a switch and SPEAK to us in a way that makes us certain that we are no longer alone in our thoughts.

Here is a powerful example.  Last month it was reported that 13 year-old author Jada Williams wrote an essay in response to The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and entered it in a contest. According to this account, "the schools' teachers and administrators were so offended by Williams' essay that they began a campaign of harassment—kicking her out of class and trying to suspend her—that ultimately forced her parents to withdraw her from the school."

Literature may be timeless but technology isn't. We have an opportunity to learn from this moment in ways our predecessors couldn't.  Let's begin a conversation about this online (we'll extend it in class). After you have carefully considered both the coverage of this situation and Ms. Williams' essay, please comment to this post and include the following information:

1. Given what you've learned about the AP Lit/Comp rubric and the evaluative standards we have established in class this year, please analyze Ms. Williams' essay as a response to literature. Begin with what Ms. Williams does well (which, I think you'll agree, is easy to do!) and then note where/how you think her work might be improved. (NOTE: if you find this difficult to do on video, pause it frequently or watch it once to take general thematic notes and go back a second time for details such as diction, syntax etc.)
2. Critique Ms. Williams' arguments. Are her premises true? Are her inferences valid? Does she accurately identify logical fallacies and/or use them herself?
3. Given your own experiences in K-12 education, to what extent does Ms. Williams have a point? Is her perspective unique to a particular race or demographic, or is it valid for students of all backgrounds in schools around the country/world? How would you advise policy leaders, teachers and parents to help young people get the best education possible? What lessons can you take away from Ms. Williams' work that will help you and others on the path to discovery?

 Good Education link here

Monday, April 30, 2012

is there anybody out there?

Hey, other five people who're reading the blog right now: comment in next 30 secs for extra credit (if you're not in the course, comment for the love/lulz).

April 30

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Rise to Power" by Tom Morello; "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy; "Power to the People" by John Lennon]

Respond to the following quote. You may choose to focus on the theme or the technical elements of the writing. As you write, consider what power you do have, and how you can most effectively exercise it in your own interest.

Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare! -Fyodor Dostoevsky

1. Journal
2. Study groups/writer's conferences

1. This week your blog is your AP exam study journal. Post 1-2 paragraphs about today's progress, including what you did and what you shared/learned with others.

Friday, April 27, 2012

mtg with roy christopher 5/22

As Nicole already knows from Twitter, we are having a follow-up conversation with Roy Christopher 5/22. It will be interesting to reconnect in light of all you've learned/seen/done this year, and especially on the virtual eve of your leaving HS and beginning a self-directed learning life. We're probably going to do it during 2nd or 3rd period; if you're in 4th or 6th and you'd like to attend please let me know so I can arrange the paperwork.


The concept is more palatable when you consider: a)you are in charge of it, and b)it's to your benefit. Self-organized study builds willpower. When discipline helps you achieve your goal and claim your due-- a 5 on the AP exam or an "A" on the final, for example--your brain forges connections that reinforce your strengths. Take advantage of all the resources you can: all of those literature reviews that talk about the different books in all those essay prompts, all those sample questions (and more to come) on the Exam Practice & Reference page. Dig deep. Remember this weekend that some of the lessons you're learning to prepare for your AP exams go far beyond high school. This goes not only for your habits of mind but your habits online. Don't forget what you've learned about filter bubbles, passwords and privacy. Some of your colleagues' email accounts and blogs have been compromised this year; remember to change passwords frequently and ignore/delete/mark as Spam any unsolicited or undesired messages. Have a good weekend; I look forward to discussing the Macbeth essays and learning about the progress you're making in exam prep.

about today's substitute

I'm not sure who the substitute will be today, so if it's someone new to our course please show them this post:

Dear Sub(s),
Thank you for covering my classes today-- please allow students in periods 2, 3, 4, & 6 to work independently and use wi-fi/devices.  Thanks again and have a great day,
Dr. Preston

period 6 essay reminder

Hi period 6,
Thanks to those of you who have already emailed the Macbeth essay.  If you haven't already, please email it to me by midnight tonight.
Have a great day,
Dr. Preston

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 27

JOURNAL TOPIC: How did you use your time off this week to your advantage?

1. Journal
2. Whatever helps you with the AP exam and demonstrating your mastery of this course's curriculum in general.

1. Continue your exam study plan and post to your blog about your progress at least once this weekend (extra credit for each additional post).
2. Post 1-3 paragraphs to your blog (title: "A Reflection on Unstructured Learning") in which you explain the theme(s) of the following text.  (We will discuss on Monday.)

From the moment that I decided somewhere deep inside myself that I wanted to try my hand at being a costumed adventurer, to the moment I first stepped out into the night with a mask on my face and the wind on my bare legs, took about three months.  Three months of self-doubt and self-ridicule.  Three months figuring out how the hell I was going to make myself a costume.

The costume was difficult, because I couldn't start designing it until I'd thought of a name.  This stumped me for a couple of weeks, because every name I came up with sounded stupid, and what I really wanted was something with the same sense of drama and excitement as "Hooded Justice."

Eventually, a suitable handle was provided inadvertently by one of the other cops that I worked with down at the station house.  He'd invited me out for a beer after work two or three times only to be turned down because I wanted to spend as much of my evenings working out in the Police Gymnasiums as possible, after which I'd usually go to bed around nine o'clock and sleep through until five the next morning, when I'd get up and put in a couple of hours workout before donning my badge and uniform in readiness for my day job.  After having his offer of beer and relaxation turned down yet again by reason of me wanting to be in bed early, he finally gave up asking and took to calling me "Nite Owl" out of sarcasm until he finally found somebody else to drink with.

"Nite Owl."  I liked it.  Now all I had to come up with was the costume.

-Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, The Watchmen

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25/26

JOURNAL TOPIC: "Do every day or two something for no other reason than you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test." -William James

Use this idea as inspiration; choose at least one resource from the Exam Practice & Reference Page to begin your AP study plan. Write about your experience and post the the 1-2 paragraph(s) to your blog.
(Note: this can be especially helpful to everyone if you share meaningful, specific discoveries and challenges. I/we will be perusing blogs for this info Friday & over the weekend.)

1. Lit terms quiz
2. Macbeth essay

1. Journal/execute AP study plan
2. Be grateful you're not taking a standardized test today

testing today & tomorrow

Due to testing, the next post (April 25/26) will apply to all periods (p.2 today; p.3&4 tomorrow; p.6, I will email your essay prompt later today).  Whenever you show up for our class period, you will take the lit terms quiz (on terms 31-60) and the Macbeth essay.  Please do the journal for HW.  Friday 4/27 will be business as usual.

DIY prom fashion

Check out these creations from designer/Missouri HS student Maura:

cardboard dress
goth dress
pull tabs dress

(and my personal favorite)

doritos bag dress

[thanks BoingBoing!]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

this is how much you're worth to FB

This is how much you're worth to Facebook

April 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "It's Alright" by Ray Charles; "I'm Alright" (theme from "Caddyshack") by Kenny Loggins; The Kids Are Alright" by The Who]

Consider the following quote, and write about how it applies to any of the great protagonists you've studied this year, including (and most especially) yourself:

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt

1. Journal
2. Return/discuss yesterday's lit terms quiz
3. Review Macbeth
4. Discuss AP plans

1. Review the prose/poetry/open response question pages and recommend three essay questions you think--er, know-- are appropriate for Macbeth.  Please post to your blog no later than midnight tonight.
2. Study 2nd batch of 30 lit terms: quizzes tomorrow/Thursday

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Ragg Mopp" by The Muppets; "Good Morning Starshine" by Roger Whittaker; Hard Charger" by Porno for Pyros {slightly abridged}]

To a child, getting excited about something for a minute is enough;
To an adolescent, getting excited about something and impressing friends with it is enough;
To an adult, getting excited and impressing friends is no longer enough-- you have to deliver the goods.

Describe something in your life that motivates the child in you to get excited, motivates the adolescent in you to share that excitement with your friends, and motivates the growing adult in you to deliver the goods.

1. Journal
2. Lit terms quiz
3. Delivering the goods

1. Post your plan to your blog
2. Study: quiz on 2nd 30 lit terms tomorrow [per 6], Wednesday 4/25 [per 2], or Thursday 4/26 [per 3,4,5]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

what's your plan?

Tomorrow I will give you a few guiding ideas and then ask you to create a study plan for the AP exam (or in-class equivalent). If you haven't already, have a look at the Exam Practice & Reference page and start thinking about what you really need to work on and what resources & approach(es) will help you the most.

be wi-fi ready

Please bring wi-fi devices this week.  I have posted a page with AP practice resources that you will use together in class. I will be adding to this over the next few days.

a formal notice regarding your grade

I held off posting grades until tomorrow (the absolute latest administrative deadline) because last week many of you were in science camp etc. and told me you needed the weekend to catch up.  The grace period ends tonight.  If your assignments-- including the "tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy-- are not posted to your blog by midnight they will not count.  As we have discussed multiple times in class, I have been extremely flexible this year.  'Nuff said.  Late credit will not be considered.

Friday, April 20, 2012

dude, do you know what today is?

Yes, it's a significant anniversary-- and no, not that one. This one.
JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Boys of Summer" by Don Henley/performed by The Ataris; "Changes" by David Bowie; "In My Life" by The Beatles]

As the changing weather and the changing moments in your lives signify, what are you anticipating and remembering most poignantly? "I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools."
- William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

1. Journal
2. Macbeth lecture (part 2 of 2)
3. Lit terms quiz (UPDATE: quiz postponed until Monday 4/23)
1. Annotate and post your lecture notes from today
2. Nourish your network

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 19

JOURNAL TOPIC: [No tunes today, although if you can think of something to hum--and you can write on this topic at the same time--knock yourselves out.]

Consider the following quote and answer two questions: 1) What was Macbeth's attachment/cause? 2) What is yours?

“Are we not all of us fanatics? I say only what you of the U.S.A. pretend you do not know. Attachments are of great seriousness. Choose your attachments carefully. Choose your temple of fanaticism with great care. What you wish to sing of as tragic love is an attachment not carefully chosen. Die for one person? This is a craziness. Persons change, leave, die, become ill. They leave, lie, go mad, have sickness, betray you, die. Your nation outlives you. A cause outlives you.”
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

1. Journal
2. Prepare for Friday's lit terms test
3. Do whatever else you need to do to recover/excel in this course before the end of the week/grading period

HW: (see #2 and #3 above)

old book smell explained

Like many of you who cited it in last semester's Socratic "books v. e-books" discussion, I love that smell (thanks Dave Pell!):

April 18

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Macbeth Rap" by Flocabulary; "Lady Macbeth" by Barclay James Harvest]

In Macbeth Shakespeare wrote, "Fair is foul and foul is fair." In Infinite Jest (the title itself an obvious allusion to Hamlet), David Foster Wallace wrote, "Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you." What role does fairness play in tragedy? How do you see the concept of fairness?  What role does it play in your life and in our society?

1. Journal
2. Macbeth lecture

1. Annotate your lecture notes with supporting evidence from the text
2. Post your annotated notes to your blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

hey (big) brother, can you spare a wi-fi connection?

Our classroom wi-fi may not work yet, but there are lots of signals in the neighborhood!

a(nother) thing you probably didn't think possible

Meet the only man in the world (at least, that I know of) who hangs out and swims with a polar bear.

April 17

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge; "'All in the Family' TV Theme [Those Were the Days]; "The Gang's All Here" by Dropkick Murphys; "Spirit Nation" by Spirit Nation]
Jane Neville (née Howard), Countess of Westmorland (1533/1537 – buried 30 June 1593), daughter of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and Frances de Vere (according to Wikipedia), is quoted as follows:

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

Who is in your tribe/network/family?  Are all the members in the same circle or in different ones?  How do your relationships influence your character, your decisions, and your direction in life?  As you contemplate moving into a new chapter in your life, how will you add on to your network and/or construct new ones?

1. Journal
2. Groups: discuss & correct Macbeth test

1. Finish memorizing "To-morrow, to-morrow, and to-tomorrow..."
2. Revise your Macbeth notes with insights from today's discussion

Monday, April 16, 2012

today's macbeth test

 *Adopted with gratitude from
**Please include Act/Scene so we can refer easily tomorrow.

1. Macbeth won the respect of King Duncan by
A. slaying the traitor Macdonwald.
B. serving as a gracious host for his king.
C. not pleading for advancement.

2. King Duncan rewarded Macbeth by dubbing him
A. the Earl of Sinel.
B. the Thane of Cawdor him.
C. Bellona's bridegroom.

3. In addressing Banquo, the witches called him which of these?
"Lesser than Macbeth, and greater." (I)
"Not so happy as Macbeth, yet much happier." (II)
"A future father of kings." (III)
A. I and II
B. I and III
C. I, II, and III

4. When Macbeth said, "Two truths are told / As happy prologues" he was referring to
A. his titles of Glamis and Cawdor.
B. the victories against the kerns and gallowglasses.
C. the predictions made to Banquo and to himself.

April 16

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles/performed by Phil Collins; "All My Tomorrows" by Frank Sinatra; "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie"]

Explain how the following soliloquy from Macbeth manages to capture the essential tone(s) of the play-- and your own experience of this last semester of your formal education.

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

1. Journal
2. Macbeth test
3. Heads-up: lit terms quiz Friday 4/20 (1st 30 terms)

1. Get your mind right. This is truly the beginning of the end.
2. After school today I will post the test; research the answers, post to your blog, and come tomorrow prepared to discuss.
3. Memorize the above soliloquy: due on demand beginning Wednesday 4/18.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Macbeth test tomorrow

Hi! Hope your last K-12 spring break was everything you'd hoped for and more.

Now back to work.

There will be a test on Macbeth tomorrow. You will be allowed to use your reading notes IF AND ONLY IF they are posted to your blog by midnight tonight. You may either print your notes to use on the test or you may consult your blog directly during the test.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Really. I mean it. Mostly.

Hey, have a look at the counter! Three weeks.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

a non-Shakespearean motivational speech

Congratulations to those of you who recovered your St. Crispin's grade.  That was the most motivational speech I've ever seen.  This one takes second place, and it's a perfect beginning to your spring break:

April 5

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Ballad of a Thin Man" by Bob Dylan (which you can mentally remix by substituting "Preston's Class" for "Mr. Jones"); "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield]
Read the following excerpt from David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and describe how Wallace uses literary elements to describe a large theme through one character's seemingly casual observation.

What's interesting to Hal Incandenza about his take on Struck, sometimes Pemulis, Evan Ingersoll, et al. is that congenital plagiarists put so much more work into camouflaging their plagiarism than it would take just to write up an assignment from conceptual scratch.  It usually seems like plagiarists aren't lazy so much as kind of navigationally insecure.  They have trouble navigating without a detailed map's assurance that somebody has been this way before them.  About this incredible painstaking care to hide and camouflage the plagiarism-- whether it's dishonesty or a [Y] kind of kleptomaniacal thrill-seeking or what-- Hal hasn't developed much of any sort of take.

1. Journal
2. Introspection/reflection
3. Collaboration
4. Innovation
5. Execution (to be clear, in this strange world; this item refers to implementation and not capital punishment)

1. Post your LA #3 notes to your blog by midnight Friday (tomorrow, 4.6)
2. Read Macbeth once all the way through and take notes
3. Have a great spring break-- this is one vacation I will actually want to hear all about!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Mixed-Up Confusion" by Bob Dylan; "Land of Confusion" by Genesis; "Frustration" by Soft Cell]

Describe the literary elements that make the following excerpt an example of satire.

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
"That's some catch, that catch-22," he observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.

1. Journal
2. Enter Macbeth

Reminder: Please post LA #3 notes on your blog by Friday (and be advised: originality & depth are paramount)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Macbeth-Sinfonia" by Verdi, performed by Pier Giorgio Morandi/Hungarian State Opera Orchestra; "King Without A Crown" by Matisyahu; "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who)

Describe how Conrad's use of figurative language and indirect characterization contributes to the theme and tone of the following passage:

The vision seemed to enter the house with me—the stretcher, the phantom-bearers, the wild crowd of obedient worshipers, the gloom of the forests, the glitter of the reach between the murky bends, the beat of the drum, regular and muffled like the beating of a heart—the heart of a conquering darkness. It was a moment of triumph for the wilderness, an invading and vengeful rush which, it seemed to me, I would have to keep back alone for the salvation of another soul. And the memory of what I had heard him say afar there, with the horned shapes stirring at my back, in the glow of fires, within the patient woods, those broken phrases came back to me, were heard again in their ominous and terrifying simplicity. I remembered his abject pleading, his abject threats, the colossal scale of his vile desires, the meanness, the torment, the tempestuous anguish of his soul. And later on I seemed to see his collected languid manner, when he said one day, 'This lot of ivory now is really mine. The Company did not pay for it. I collected it myself at a very great personal risk. I am afraid they will try to claim it as theirs though. H'm. It is a difficult case. What do you think I ought to do—resist? Eh? I want no more than justice.' ... He wanted no more than justice—no more than justice. I rang the bell before a mahogany door on the first floor, and while I waited he seemed to stare at me out of the glassy panel—stare with that wide and immense stare embracing, condemning, loathing all the universe. I seemed to hear the whispered cry, 'The horror! The horror!'

1. Journal
2. Macbeth: historical background quiz
3. Macbeth: Act I

HW: read your LA #3 and schedule yourself to finish reading/ post notes to your blog by the end of the week (Friday 4/6)

Monday, April 2, 2012

mrs dirkes' epiphany

Thank you for visiting today Mrs. Dirkes!

Here's a good idea: when you get to college and prove your academic chops, ask your professors if you can assist them in grading papers; it's a great way to make money and prove yourself at the same time.

Here's a good resource: Cal Poly's testing office calendar (for ELM & EPT)

April 1

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
2. Quiz: historical background of Macbeth
3. Scholarship & financial aid fun with Mrs. Dirkes

1. Post your notes on the historical background of Macbeth to your blog.
2. Review historical background of Macbeth for quiz tomorrow (Tue 4.3)

Kudos: March (II)

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

Carlos Cruz (UC Merced)
Matt Sagisi (CSULB)
Laura Wong (UC Irvine)
Marisol Zepeda (UC Merced)
Kelly Brickey (Furman University, Boston University)
Alex McKinney (UCLA, UC Berkeley)
Betzy Bras (UCSB, Northwestern, ADSUM Scholarship)
Sam Moon (UCLA)
Rachel Bumstead (UC Davis, UCSD)
Hannah Hosking (UCSB, UCSD)
Lupe Perez (UCSB)
Jessica Parra (UCSB)
Kaley Jorgensen (UCSB)
Arianna Farmer (UCLA, Boston University, Northwestern, NYU)

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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

why nations fail

Nearly two weeks after we talked about it during the Socratic seminar, Thomas Friedman discusses Why Nation's Fail in this article from today's New York Times.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Foolin" by Def Leppard; "The Fool On the Hill" by The Beatles; "What Kind Of Fool Am I" by Marvin Gaye]

Kind of sad that April Fool's Day falls on a weekend this year and we can't take full advantage. Nevertheless, it makes me think of the surprises in life that require us to think and act in order figure something out. During last week's Socratic seminars many of you talked about how we learn best when there is no safety net and we are confronted with a problem or an opportunity. Describe such an event in your life (whether you were fooled or doing the fooling). ***Relate this to a character in any one of the literature analysis books you've read this year.

1. Journal
2. Writer's conferences
3. Grammar self-assessment

1. Finish ALL outstanding work and make sure your blog is up date. Come Monday there will be no looking back.
2. Evaluate your peers' mindmaps and videos. Review at least 10 blogs from the Member Blogs page and list the top three (with links) in a post on your blog.
3. Familiarize yourself with Shakespeare's Macbeth by perusing the following websites. Take notes. Quiz Monday (4.1)

site 1
site 2
site 3
site 4
site 5