Tuesday, January 31, 2012

promo video

Per Nick Lycan: tomorrow at lunch there will be a promo video shoot in 608 featuring blogs and their authors. Be there and be rewarded. If you have questions/suggestions you can contact Nick directly via his blog or email (nicklycan@comcast.net)

January 31

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel; "Street Fighting Man" by The Rolling Stones; "Harvard Fight Song" by Tom Lehrer]

Fighting/competing is a simple way to depict conflict. There is usually a "good guy" and a "bad guy" (or a sympathetic "underdog"), and the audience can cheer and boo without thinking too deeply. What does this suggest about human nature and the way we identify with what we see and read? When is a fight just a fight, and when does it symbolize something larger? Reflect on the novels you've read, describe a portrayal of inner/outer struggle that DIDN'T involve an obvious contest of strength/will. What literary techniques made this poignant and memorable?

1. Journal/about your journals
2. Call for Kudos
3. Think like the Dickens

1. Post a paragraph (or several) to your blog in which you explicate the first 10-15 pp. of your Dickens novel using what you learned in lecture today.
2. Email any additional thoughts re: CWGs (full descriptions & sign-ups in class tomorrow)

Monday, January 30, 2012

sdrawkcab gniklat lrig

It took me a minute to get the post title right. This is impressive. (thanks, BoingBoing)

Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine

Since most of you have never seen The Gong Show (and therefore don't realize how much fun TV can actually be), here you go:

January 30

TOPIC: ["Resignation Superman" by Big Head Todd & The Monsters; "Birthday" by the Beatles; "I Just Want to Celebrate" by Rare Earth]
How do you prepare for a big event or test? Describe in detail, as if you're coaching someone else.

1. Journal
2. Catching up: Dickens, blogs, literature analysis

1. Literature analysis #1 due (embedded document on your blog) by tomorrow (1/31)
2. Make sure you're caught up on all other work

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 26

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Taking Care of Business" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive; "21st Century Digital Boy" by Bad Religion; "At Last" by Etta James]

Please evaluate this week's peer-to-peer learning experience. To what extent are you and your colleagues ready to drive the learning process, and to what extent do you require extrinsic motivation/discipline?

1. Journal
2. Lit terms quiz
3. "Indifferent" stragglers
4. Summary of calendar & old/new business
5. Docstoc

1. Create docstoc account
2. Write BQ introduction (3-5 pp. typed, 10 citations) and embed on blog by Sunday (1/29) night
3. Post literature analysis as soon as you're finished (officially due Tue, 1/31)
4. Create a post for your blog that explains the title of the Dickens book you selected

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Free online graphing calculator

Free online graphing calculator: https://www.abettercalculator.com/

January 25

Review Donne's poem in your mind, then scan the Dickens book you brought. Why do you think the former chose poetry or the latter prose as the medium for their messages? What can you deduce about the authors' purposes in writing?

1. Journal/create list of literature analysis books and who is reading which Dickens novel
2. Finish poetry recitals
3. Read (either literature analysis book or Dickens novel)

1. Study for lit terms quiz tomorrow (it will be brief, but the show must go on)
2. Reminder: literature analysis due Tue 1/31

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 24

UPDATE: There is a 50/50 chance I won't be back Wed so please bring your lit analysis book and the Dickens novel(s) you checked out.

What does it mean to be indifferent? What do you care about and why? What don't you care about, and why not? (You don't need comprehensive lists for either answer, an example or two will do.)

1. Journal
2. Poetry recitation (just because I'm not in class today doesn't mean you're off the hook; if people don't volunteer the sub will choose at random)

1. Blog maintenance and outreach; on Wednesday I will review each blog and give you feedback (read: a grade) on design and networking.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 23

(Choose your own.)

1. Journal
2. We've got a lot going on at once, so use the time to: a)memorize the poem; b)discuss CWGs (feel free to use board if you want other periods to sign up--if you do,would someone in p,6 capture/send to me?); c) discuss your BQ research; or d)relax with a good (literature analysis book or study your lit terms.

1. No new assignments
2. Make sure poem's memorized for tomorrow

oh the places you'll go

Nick sent this video and it makes me imagine all the people in all the places who will be viewing your ideas and sharing theirs:

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

An observation about inviting people to the network

As we invite people to join the conversation and prepare for the AP exam, remember to be on the lookout for smart people with good ideas-- the whole point is to help everyone, including us.  Many of the students and teachers we meet are going to add resources/ideas and improve our understanding as well.  Sapere aude.

Ron Wayne sez do your homework

In every endeavor some people take more risks than others.  Some of you are doing an amazing job and will be remembered whenever people speak of this project (there's a Shakespearean preview for your next memorization-- let me know if you get it).  Anyway, I was thinking about this last night when I fell asleep.  Then Ron Wayne came to me in a dream and told me to tell you his story.  No, not John Wayne.  RON Wayne.  I hadn't heard of him either.  But he directed me to p.65 of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and this is what I found:

[After agreeing to partner with Jobs and Wozniak in exchange for a 10% ownership stake in Apple...]
Wayne then got cold feet.  As Jobs started planning to borrow and spend more money, he recalled the failure of his own company.  He didn't want to go through that again.  Jobs and Wozniak had no personal assets, but Wayne (who worried about a global financial Armageddon) kept gold coins hidden in his mattress.  Because they had structured Apple as a simple partnership rather than a corporation, the partners would be personally liable for the debts, and Wayne was afraid potential creditors would go after him.  So he returned to the Santa Clara County office just eleven days later with a "statement of withdrawal" and an amendment to the partnership agreement.  "By virtue of a re-assessment of understandings by and between all parties," it began, "Wayne shall hereinafter cease to function in the status of partner."  It noted that in payment for his 10% of the company, he received $800, and shortly afterward $1,500 more.

Had he stayed on and kept his 10% stake, at the end of 2010 it would have been worth approximately $2.6 billion.  Instead he was then living alone in a small home in Pahrump, Nevada, where he played the penny slot machines and lived off his social security check.

Do your homework.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Collaborative Working Groups 1/21

A few students have brought to my attention the fact that the word groups has a specific connotation in school, and that this connotation isn't exactly positive.  That is exactly NOT what we want.  Forget what you think you know about "working in a group."  This isn't one of those assignments where everyone stares at each other waiting for the one kid who gets frustrated to get everyone else the A.  There is no grading rubric, designated outcome, or role description for our CWGs.  Meeting and working with people who are trying to accomplish similar goals is a core entrepreneurial skill.  You will be using the experience to think about strategic planning and execution (no, not that kind, Noe).  If you haven't figured out what you want to do over the next few months, here are a few groups that are already working on projects.  If this is news to you, you're behind.  You can create your own CWG simply by telling me that you're creating your own CWG.  If you need help brainstorming, ask.  An individual can also participate in multiple CWGs (for example, an artist might collaborate with CWGs working on blogs, sites, or international microfinance brochures).  Please comment to this post or email any questions, ideas, or suggestions.


Blog consultants

Artists/graphic designers



Hackers: hardware 

Hackers: software


Youtube video producers

Making our blogs more user-friendly

Here are some of the ways we discussed making our blogs more user-friendly.  Please comment to this post with the strategies you intend to start with this weekend.  I've tried to hit the major points without making this list too long, so if you have an idea you don't see here please include it in your comment.  As you try these techniques, please also comment to this post with what works and what doesn't-- trial and error is a lot easier when your team has 95 players!
  • Including a "hello bar" or other permanent header that stands out to describe the blog and welcome visitors
  • Using pages and other features to categorize data (lit terms, essays, et al) for easy reference
  • Using jumps to shorten the blog entries and make navigation easier
  • Using the orientation video from the course blog (Design/Add a Gadget/ youtube channel is dpreston111)
  • Include your own video introduction to your blog
  • Include a sidebar with a "Table of Contents"
  • Include a graphic design of the network and/or link to a mindmap for reference

Expanding the network

Here are some of the ways we discussed reaching out. Please comment to this post with the strategies you intend to start with this weekend.  I've tried to hit the major points without making this list too long, so if you have an idea you don't see here please include it in your comment.

  • Commenting to high-traffic sites and blogs with links to your blog and/or course blog
  • Creating a public/event/fan page on Facebook
  • Creating a youtube video that explains what we're doing
  • Social engineering (reaching out to friends, family and contacts the old-fashioned way)
  • Finding other AP classes and emailing teachers/students
  • Researching organizations and school districts that could help connect us with students in need
  • Linking all of our blogs to provide easy access throughout the network

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 20

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Green Gentlemen" by Panic! At the Disco; "White Blank Page" by Mumford & Sons; "Junk Food Junkie" by Larry Groce]

A talented athlete is "poetry in motion." A gourmet meal is "poetry on a plate." The metaphor carries connotations of aesthetic excellence that resonate deep within the beating heart of humanity. So why don't more people READ poetry? In terms of communication (i.e., getting an idea across to an audience), how is poetry more or less effective than prose? Give this some thought before you answer.

1. Journal/return work
2. Lit terms test ("Wonder if they've ever done anything like this before... MWAHAHAHAHA!" Just kidding. About the last part. Mostly.)
3. Preview of next week's attractions

1. Read the post on promotion (will be posted Saturday morning), review everyone's ideas, and comment to the thread with three steps you will take this weekend.
2. Act on your performative utterance; take the steps.
3. Research "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Great Expectations" and decide with your partner who will read which book.
4. Find a poem worth loving and post it to your blog, along with your reason(s) for choosing it.
5. Check the "Collaborative Working Groups" page update Saturday-- on Tuesday we'll be formalizing these.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's no longer OK to NOT know how the Internet works

Just saw this on reddit (original link here).  Sometimes a picture is worth two semesters-- I wish I could hire this woman to stand next to me when I teach or give talks on this topic.


January 19

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Funk of the Heart" by The Kooks; "Float On" by Modest Mouse; "Horchata" by Vampire Weekend]

Why do teenagers write more poetry than adults? What is it about poetry that attracts/repels readers? What topics does the word poetry bring to mind?

1. Journal/collect BQ sources
2. Analyzing poetry on the AP exam
3. I know what you're thinking-- "Hey, when do we get to memorize another poem?"
4. Now.

1. Memorize "The Indifferent" by John Donne (due Tuesday, January 24)
[Text after the jump]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Old media's coverage of new media's SOPA/PIPA protest

This article from today's New York Times ends with some of my favorite words:

"This has been a real learning experience..."

January 18

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Here I Am" by SOJA; "Old Yellow Bricks" by Arctic Monkeys; "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World]

Newton's First Law of physics (a.k.a. inertia) states that a body will remain at rest or on its current course unless it is acted on by an external force. So it goes with our habits of mind, except that some of us have developed mental defenses strong enough to resist new information. Is there a force strong enough to shake an individual or a community out of obsolete, hidebound ways of thinking? If such a force exists, describe it; if it doesn't, invent it.

1. Journal/collect HW
2. Naming/branding revisited
3. "Clean up your blog! We're having guests!"

1. Clean up your blog. We're having guests.
2. Write an introductory paragraph (or two, if need be) to the following prompt and bring to class tomorrow (1/19)
3. Take advantage of the Wikipedia blackout to begin your BQ research without convenient distraction; find ten online resources that help answer your big question.  Type them into a draft Bibliography using MLA style.  Consult p. R31 in your textbook if you need a guide.

PROMPT (in honor of Ryan Cecil)
The following excerpt from John Milton's Paradise Lost recounts Satan's most persuasive temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden. In a well-developed essay, explain what the speech reveals about both Satan and Eve and how the author achieves this. Be sure to include in your discussion such techniques as diction, imagery, and any other devices you identify in the piece. Do not summarize the passage.

[Text after the jump]

Wikipedia goes dark to protest SOPA/PIPA

This is what Wikipedia looks like right now:

It's the perfect time for a research assignment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Games + People = Magic

Guess it's a TED afternoon. A while after I posted the last video Ryan reminded me of this one. And it's awesome.

Information + People = Magic

Food for thought as we consider the implications of networked learning: I love the description of the scientific method (10:50-11:00).

Kudos: January

[I know it's only 1/17 but I need the board space!  Check this post for updates until 1/31.]

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

Annais Acosta (San Francisco State, Notre Dame)
Marie Alvarado (Sonoma State)
Betzy Bras (Menlo College, Menlo College President's Scholarship)
Kelly Brickey (University of San Francisco)
Rachel Bumstead (University of Minnesota)
Kelli Carrillo (San Diego State)
Shannon Fahey (Colorado State, Humboldt State, University of Wyoming)
Krissy Frias (Cal State Channel Islands)
Kari Griego (San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton)
Dania Hatamleh (Northern Arizona University)
Hannah Hosking (Humboldt State)
Alex McKinney (Cal Poly ENGINEERING, San Diego State, Comcast Leaders/Achievers Scholarship)
Nicole Montoya (Cal State Fullerton)
Jessica Parra (Sonoma State)
Rebecca Patterson (San Francisco State)
Briana Stinn (San Diego State, Sacramento State, University of San Francisco, University of San Diego)
Laura Wong (San Diego State)

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

Stop PIPA hello bar

For those of you who noticed the hello bar and want it on your blogs:

1. Go to "Design"
2. Click on "Add a Gadget"
3. Click on the blue plus sign next to "HTML/Java Script"
4. Open a new tab, go to this site and choose one you like; then copy the script
5. Go back to your blog tab and paste the script into the HTML/Java Script window
6. Save/view blog

January 17

JOURNAL TOPICS: [today's tunes: "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash; "The Name of the Game" by Abba; "My Real Name" by Steve Martin (Honorable-mention-but-didn't-dare: "Name of the Game" by Crystal Method, "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine, and "Who Am I (What's My Name)?" by Snoop Dogg)]

What's in a name? Thanks to those of you who contributed ideas to the blog discussion (and got QUADRUPLE the credit for your efforts!) over the weekend. The task remains: how can we describe what we're doing in a word or two? Dedicate the next few minutes to brainstorming something that captures the essence of our work in a catchy way. Instead of listing possibilities, describe what we're doing in a few short paragraphs and jot name ideas in the margin as they occur to you.

1. Journal/collect essays
2. BQ status and calendar
3. Discussion: branding and brainstorming
4. Reportage: marketing your blog

1. Blog promotion (what you've done so far & what you're going to do next)
2. Notes on brainstorm
3. Collaborative working group you're in or want to join/create (title & description)

1. Read literature analysis book (next lit analysis is due on your blog 1/31)
2. Read this article and write a paragraph (on paper to bring to class tomorrow) explaining how you will reach out to help students in need
3. Don't wait: start studying your lit terms (do you need more of a hint about this week's quiz?)

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Here is a brief summary of the ideas we brainstormed in class for recruiting followers to your AP blogs. If I've missed something-- or if you've had an idea since-- please comment to this post.

Create a public/event/fan page on FB
Announcements/fliers at public libraries
Create youtube video(s)
Comment to popular youtube videos and other high-traffic sites/blogs
Linking to other AP courses and sites
Tweeting about it
Telling the story in comments to blogs and sites
Linking all of our blogs everywhere (including on all of our blogs)

Here are a couple links to ideas about what draws readers to blogs. If you find a good resource on this topic please comment with a link.

http://www.technshare.com/keep-your-blog-readers-loyal/ (we'll talk about RSS and social bookmarking next week)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Telling Our Story

One of the ideas from yesterday's brainstorm (thanks John Kucera!) was that we should create a brief description of what we're doing that we can post to high-traffic blogs and sites. In order to provide a clear, concise version that we can all support, please comment to this post by answering the questions below. On Monday morning I will synthesize the comments and write a draft for us all to critique. Based on your feedback, I'll write a second draft for us to discuss in person on Tuesday, and then I'll post one more time Tuesday night so that we can all ratify the final version.

Here are some initial questions (feel free to add/tweak):

1. Since this model of learning is new it doesn't have a name yet. What should we call it?
2. How would you describe this model of learning? What are its guiding principles, what tools does it use, and how do participants benefit?

So It Goes

As you create your blogs and recruit a following, remember that your words and ideas will influence others in ways you can't predict. For example, I just got a visit from Casey Harms (RHS '09), who took the spray-painted words of Kurt Vonnegut from our back wall to heart (and right arm):

AP Practice Exam #1: The Open Question

The AP English Literature & Composition Exam includes three types of essays: 1) Response to Poetry, 2) Response to Prose, and 3) The Open Literature Question. The Open Literature Question is designed to choose a piece of literature they've already read (Hello, Literature Analysis database!) and discuss it as it relates to the prompt. Please read the following prompt and give yourself 40 minutes to write the best essay of your life. Bring the hard copy to class on Tuesday, January 17.

"By their deeds shall ye know them." We often judge people by what they do; therefore, we consider people who commit cruel or reprehensible acts corrupt, base or amoral. In literature, however, authors often introduce us to characters whom we learn to like or even respect, despite their deeds.

Write an essay about one such character for whom you developed admiration or compassion. Briefly explain why you felt his or her behavior to be condemnable or contemptible, and how the author's techniques influenced you to admire that person. Do not summarize the plot. (40 minutes)

January 13

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Is There Anybody Out There?" by Pink Floyd; "Dreaming Tree" by Dave Matthews Band]

Does writing with an audience in mind change your approach to the task? How?

1. Journal
2. Vocab/Dickens quiz
3. Return Big Question (BQ) abstracts
4. Blog strategies

1. Post BQ abstract to your blog and invite >5 people to read/comment
2. Read "Marketing Your Blog" and evaluate by testing the strategies and commenting to the post
3. Read "The Open Question" prompt and follow instructions

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Education" by Pearl Jam; "Wonderful World (Don't Know Much)" by Sam Cooke; "Days Go By" by Keith Urban (thanks, Shannon!)]

Interpret and discuss the following quote in the context of yesterday's talk:

"You must pay for conformity. All goes well as long as you run with conformists. But you, who are honest men in other particulars, know that there is alive somewhere a man whose honesty reaches to this point also, that he shall not kneel to false gods, and, on the day when you meet him, you sink into the class of counterfeits."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

1. Journal
2. Online promotion strategies: partners
3. Dickens article
4. Return/discuss/study vocab

1. Study vocab

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Bright College Days" by Tom Lehrer; "My Old School" by Steely Dan; "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon]

Why exactly are you going to college? What do you expect from the experience? What can college do for you, and what will you have to do for yourself?


1. Journal/collect Big Question abstracts
2. Begin Socratic seminar: peer-to-peer learning

1. Prepare to continue Socratic seminar by researching ways to build a following for your blog/FB page
2. Read this essay about Charles Dickens and be prepared to discuss (i.e., take active reading notes and be sure to note/look up anything that raises questions)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Can't do this with a Kindle

From Toronto's Type Books, which, according to Cory Doctorow , "is an absolutely marvellous [sic] bookshop with great curated tables and a wicked kids' section."

January 10

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes, courtesy of Cody K.: "Home" by Talking Heads; "You Connect Me" by Foxy Shazam; "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" by Cake]

According to this article on "ego depletion" (a cousin of decision fatigue), if you made a New Year's resolution, "You're much more likely to make improvements than someone who hasn't made a formal resolution." How is thinking out loud about who/what/where/how you want to be during your LAST SEMESTER OF MANDATORY EDUCATION an example of performative utterance? Do you expect it to change your behavior or identity?

1. Journal/turn in CD (forgot? bring it tomorrow-- and please include a play list)
1. Old Business: vocab, lit terms, big questions, blog updates, global study group/recruitment, collaborative working groups
2. New Business: AP registration, lang/comp boot camp, exam calendar, grammar/mechanics, rhetorical essay

1. Write the abstract for your big question; due tomorrow (Wed 1/11)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Guest Speaker: Dale J. Stephens

Good news! On short notice I've scheduled a video conference (similar to what we did with Roy Christopher in November) with Dale J. Stephens. Dale is a Peter Thiel fellow and the founder of uncollege.

The video conference will be held at 9:30 on Wednesday morning, so please print/tweak the following form to reflect Period 2 on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. I won't be able to scan/upload a blank form until tomorrow night, so please print this one and get your Period 2 teacher to sign it tomorrow (Tuesday). Please also apologize to your teacher for me; if I didn't think this was an important conversation I wouldn't risk fouling up everyone's schedule on the second day of the semester.

Thanks and see you tomorrow.

on campus activity form 02nov2011 -

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Email from the guy who gave the TED talk on filter bubbles

After we discussed filter bubbles I emailed Eli Pariser to share the experience. I just heard back from him. Here is the exchange:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Learn something new every day

I've been visiting San Francisco my whole life and just learned about Balmy Alley in the Mission Disrict last Friday. The alley is covered in murals, which were started in the 1980s as a way for artists to express their outrage at human rights and political abuses in Central America. Now topics also include Hurricane Katrina, gentrification and more. I took the pictures below; you can see more at the official site here.

meemli test session is live

We're up and running! Well, actually, so far I'm sitting here staring at myself in the video chat window. I'll give it until 2:15 before logging out and writing a special Week One assignment for people who need help adopting new technology.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

best laid plans of mice & me (Part II)

I spent about three hours on meemli yesterday and it still looks like only 20 people are registered. If you are one of those amazing individuals, please log in at 2:00 P.M. tomorrow (Wednesday, January 4) for our test session. If you're not one of those amazing individuals, we will set up your login ID and password in class next week. We're still going to use this platform for research (which will now be a matter of catching up instead of getting ahead) and grammar/technical comp stuff. Once we create your study groups you will have the ability to administer your own as well. In the meantime, treat yourself to a no-stress week and get your rest.

You're going to need it.