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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Universal Hall" by The Waterboys; "At the Library" by Green Day; "I Am the Sub Librarian" by Piano Magic]

Thinking about this morning's conference made me think about the libraries in my life. I remember grabbing way more books than I could check out when I was a kid. I remember the Bookmobile. I remember taking the AP English exam (!) in my HS library. I remember gawking at UCLA's Powell Library and feeling awed and a little intimidated. And I remember my favorite library of them all, the Long Room at Dublin's Trinity College. What are your memories of libraries, and how do you use libraries (at school or elsewhere) now?

1. Journal
2. Writer's conferences (as time permits)
3. Online conference

Finish youtube vid due on your blog tomorrow, and figure out how to share your mind map if you haven't already done so.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

online conference tomorrow

We have been invited to participate in an online conference about participatory learning with Buffy Hamilton, the "Unquiet Librarian" (her blog here).

Following is the announcement for the event (copied/pasted from Buffy's blog), which has been organized and promoted by the Digital Media & Learning Hub at UC Irvine. Please comment to this post with any questions or ideas. Because of the short notice, I'm not able to extend invitations for you to get out of other classes, but I'm happy to welcome anyone who gets permission from those amazing, kind, flexible teachers who don't mind.

What and When

Join us this Thursday at 10AM PST/1PM EST for a conversation about participatory learning and libraries at Connected Learning! We’ll be exploring how libraries can cultivate sites of participatory learning to disrupt what Paulo Freire calls the “banking system” of education; we’ll also discuss how to negotiate the tensions that can exist in participatory sites of culture. Full details of how to participate in this week’s conversation are available here! Be sure to check out the archives of previous webinars with Mimi Ito and Mitch Resnick here.

About Connected Learning

The Digital Media & Learning Research Hub is a non-profit research organization that nurtures exploration of—and builds evidence around—the impact of digital media on young people╩╝s learning and its potential for transforming education. We support emerging research on digital media and learning by hosting international conferences, facilitating workshops and working groups, and bringing together researchers, practitioners, policymakers, industry leaders and others working on related projects. The DML Research Hub is based at UC Irvine as part of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and is supported by the MacArthur Foundation as part of Macarthur’s broader Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

NOTE: Since this mentions Freire I thought you should have some background-- more after the jump (skim it, but at least read the description of the BANKING MODEL and consider how our work disrupts it in a positive way).

March 28

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Money Song" by Monty Python; "Money (Dollar Bill)" [slightly edited] by Everlast; "Money" by Pink Floyd]

Money. What does it symbolize to you? Why does its presence/absence create so much stress for so many people? Does learning have worth that can't be quantified or deposited in a bank account?

1. Journal
2. AP Exam list
3. Discussion of yesterday's HW
4. Peer-to-peer learning: mindmaps & youtube vids w/ soundtrack
5. Writer's conferences

1. Remix your last LA into a one-minute video with a soundtrack (due Friday, 3.30)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Help Me" by Joni Mitchell; "With a Little Help From My Friends" by The Beatles/performed by Joe Cocker; "Help!" by The Beatles]

'Tis the season. Who's taking the AP exam? You? Your partner? Friends/neighbors? How can you help someone prepare and succeed? How can someone else help you? Visualize the morning of the AP exam: as you walk out of the test and smile the smile of a difficult job finished and well done, who will you be able to thank, and for what?

1. Journal
2. Essays: peer editing & feedback

1. Congratulations to everyone on your scholarships and acceptances, and caveat emptor; read this article and comment to this post with your reactions.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26

[Today's classroom experience is intensely personal and not for online/public consumption. If you miss class today please consult your partner. If you still have questions I'm available to answer them.]

JOURNAL TOPIC: mindfulness/choose your own


Friday, March 23, 2012

poetry by the numbers

During yesterday's Socratic seminar in period 4, I watched as students effectively analyzed ee cummings' poem and discussed how they specifically avoided the AP rubric because it "ruined" the poem for them. The conversation reminded me of the following scene from "Dead Poets Society."

March 23

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Games People Play" by Alan Parson's Project; "I Want to Play For Ya" by Stanley Clarke OR "Where Do the Children Play?" by Cat Stevens; "I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle" by Bessie Smith]
Think of an activity you associate with play (music, sports, video games, whatever). To do it well, an individual must devote considerable time and mental energy. Even little kids have to plan imaginary games so others don't cheat and screw it all up. If you want to play cowboy, you've gotta wear the hat. Are you ready to celebrate St. Crispin's Day? Explain your success or failure.

1. Journal
2. St. Crispin's Day

1.Remix the literature analysis notes on your blog into a mindmap (your choice of platform).
2. Post the link to the mindmap on your blog by midnight Sunday (3.25)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

no child left behind our way

Just reached $57: mission accomplished. Thank you.

taking care of our own

One of our colleagues needs our help.

A student came to me privately and told me that [he or she] wants to take the AP exam but cannot afford the fee ($57 with waiver). The Peace Club has generously decided to give $25 toward the cause, and Ryan McGinley contributed $5, leaving a balance of $27. I will pay the balance if necessary. I also think this is one of those moments in which a learning community defines itself. I would be grateful if each of you would consider donating a buck or two. If we're short tomorrow I will pay the difference. *UPDATED 6:56* Using the comment thread below to thank people gave me the idea of posting amt. remaining, currently $10. Awesome. I'll post when we hit $57/mission accomplished. Thanks again to those of you who helped out so far.

"Why Some Countries Go Bust"

Here is the link to the article about the economic theory I mentioned in yesterday's Socratic seminar. Thoughts? Comment to this post.

March 22

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Obscured by Clouds" by Pink Floyd; "Get Off My Cloud" by The Rolling Stones; "Cloud Nine" by The Temptations]

This is not a blue piece of construction with white pieces of cotton glued to it. It is a cloud. My daughter told me so on the way out of the house this morning, and you're not going to call a two year-old girl a liar-- certainly not to my face. This is an example of symbolism, and this is review. Explain symbolism and how we construct meaning from it.

1. Journal
2. Review yesterday's discussion & homework
3. Continue Socratic seminar (launch point: poetry/Zen koans) punctuated by Henry V

1. St. Crispin's Day is tomorrow. Do whatever you have to do to make it a celebration and not a memorial service. (Extra credit: explain the irony in that last sentence.)
2. REMINDER: Finish your LA#2 active reading notes and post them to your blog. (Due tomorrow, 3.23)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op.66A-3.Panorama" by Tchaikovsky; "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt; "Beautiful Day" by U2]

In emails and comments to the blog, several of you noticed that there is an aesthetic to learning illustrated in last night's resources. To summarize your observations: questioning and exploring is a beautiful, powerful experience. What makes it that way? If you commented last night, extend your remarks and consider how this might bear on today's conversation. If you haven't yet considered the idea, now is a beautiful moment to start.

1. Journal
2. Socratic seminar (punctuated by Shakespeare/Henry V)

1. Summarize your discussion notes and post to your blog, along with the following paragraphs:
1a. Paragraph #1: How can these concepts enhance your learning as you arrive at a moment when grades no longer matter?
1b. Paragraph #2: How can these concepts enhance your ability to master content for the AP exam and other hurdles you have yet to leap?
1c. How can you use these concepts to collaborate with and inspire others, to improve the information exchange and overall value of your learning network?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20

Described a powerful lesson you learned through playing a game.

1. Journal
2. Essay exam

Prepare for tomorrow's Socratic seminar by writing notes on the following (you can post these as comments to this post, or to your blog, but you will be graded on the quantity/quality of your participation tomorrow, so feel free to bring them with you in either printed/written form or on a device):

1. Watching this video

2. Reading this article

Serious_Need_for_Play_SciAmer_article__1_ -

3. Comparing what a reader can "play with" and/or learn by comparing the Donne sonnet, Shakespeare's writing, and this ee cummings poem:

if you like my poems let them
walk in the evening,a little behind you

then people will say
"Along this road i saw a princess pass
on her way to meet her lover(it was
toward nightfall)with tall and ignorant servants."

4. and (lastly), connecting the dots by reading the following Zen koan and describing how playing with a question can create a learning experience:

Bells and Robes

Zen Master Unmon said: "The world is vast and wide. Why do you put on your robes at the sound of a bell?"

Monday, March 19, 2012

tomorrow's essay question tonight

Here is the essay question you'll be writing on in class tomorrow:

You carefully studied your first literature analysis book of the spring semester by taking two weeks to read, actively thinking and writing notes, and preparing for an essay. Then you proceeded to memorize--MEMORIZE!-- Henry V's Battle of Agincourt pep talk. Use your hard-won knowledge of both texts to answer the following question.

How does the dramatic situation and structure of each text influence its theme and tone? Please describe three additional techniques/analytical elements of poetry or prose that inform your understanding of these two works.

will blog traffic rise when I

post the essay prompt later tonight?

Kudos: March

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

Sam Moon (Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce Scholarship)
Emily Martinez (Big Pilot Scholarship)
Alex McKinney (UCSD)
Betzy Bras (UC Davis)
Jessica Parra (UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz)
Shannon Murray (San Diego State)
Nancy Rubio (Sonoma State)
Lizzie Level (Westmont)
Kelly Brickey (UCSB)
Lupe Perez (UCSB)
A.J. Franklin (Cal Lutheran)
Kaley Jorgensen (San Diego State, UC Davis, UCSB)
Krissy Frias (San Diego State)
Marissa Tajalle (Northern Arizona University)
Jessica Manriquez (San Francisco State)
Paola Trujillo (UC Riverside, San Francisco State)
Patrick Sims (University of Colorado)
Patrick Fraire (Cal Poly Pomona)
Annais Acosta (San Jose State, Sonoma State, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced)
Marie Alvarado (UC Merced)
Brianna Stinn (UC Irvine, CSULB, San Jose State, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis)
Trenton Class (UC Santa Cruz)
Nicole Montoya (San Francisco State)
Laura Wong (UC Davis)
Kelli Carrillo (UCSD, UCSB)
Candace Rickman (UC Davis)
Arianna Farmer (CSULB, UCSD, U. of Washington, U. of Colorado/Boulder, Pepperdine)
Brianna Derr (UC Santa Cruz)
Kaley Jorgensen (UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UCSB)
Shannon Fahey (UC Davis)
Chelsea Stevenson (CSULA)
Jojo Relyea (UC Davis, UCSB)

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

March 19

Choose any earlier journal topic to complete, revise/refine, or begin anew given what you know now that you didn't know when it was first assigned.

1. Journal
2. Evaluating the Band of Brothers (and Sisters)
3. Remaining essay/blog/journal conferences

1. LA work (reminder: book finished/notes due Friday 3.23)
2. Essay tomorrow (Tue 3.20): review essay feedback, poetry analysis rubric and your spring LA #1

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16

My favorite elementary school announcement: "Free Play!" Little did I know then that "Free Play"is also a philosophical concept created by Jacques Derrida. Derrida argues that when there is no "center" or structure, that all ideas/actions are relative and "play" off of each other. Does your head hurt yet? No? Then let's apply this to Shakespeare: when Harry gives the pre-game speech at the Battle of Agincourt, he depends on established rules ("Obey your king") and mutual understanding of abstract concepts (honor, e.g.).  These shared structures are the reasons why none of the soldiers say, "Oh man, who cares? Who died and made you king? What's the point of existence anyway?" It's clear that everyone understands the rules of engagement and the central purpose for the fight, and the only question is whether they can rise to the occasion.  If they were in a state of "free play" the soldiers would be free to invent roles, use their organization for an altogether different purpose, or strike off on their own for any reason real or imagined (or absolutely no reason at all).

To summarize: to a child on a playground, "free play" means a fun opportunity for independent decision-making. To a philosopher, "free play" means that everything is relative and lacks structure.

When do you think structure is important, and when do you think lack of structure is important?  You may consider this in the context of literature, learning, or life outside the classroom.  This isn't an easy topic, so feel free to discuss-- we will revisit this in a Socratic seminar next week.

1. Journal
2. Free Play (sort of: first make sure that you are on track with LA work and memorization)

HW: (no new assignments, just reminders)
1. Shakespeare due Monday 3.19
2. LA1 + Shakespeare essay in class Tuesday 3.20
3. LA2 book done and reading notes due Friday 3.23

Thursday, March 15, 2012

greetings from CUE

I just walked through an exhibit hall with all these super-duper tech exhibitors: an app to prevent students from contacting anyone outside school, an app to teach the periodic table, several different smart board vendors... it seems that most of the emphasis here is on tools, without much attention to what people are building with those tools. I wonder what would happen at a conference about education technology where the conversation focused on "why" instead of "how."

Your participation in the Q&A made a big difference. Usually these events don't include direct input from students, and it's important for educators to get the message right from the horse's mouth (no offense intended-- to you or your horses). It's hard to overstate how surprised the audience was when I told them they could ask you questions directly, or how impressed they were with the quality and thoughtfulness of your answers, especially when you talked about the reasons for doing what you're doing and what you're learning in the process. Special thanks to Ian, Jon, Savannah, Isaac and those of you who lurked on camera in the background (Hunter, you're too tall to miss, and John, there was one guy who worried so much about security that I was tempted to ask you something directly just to see if you could actually make a fearful educator's head explode).

Students aren't the only people learning about learning, and today you helped teach a powerful lesson. Thanks again. See you Monday.

P.S. Gotta love Shakespeare. I worked in the idea that the people not empowering students with modern technology will think themselves accurs'd and hold their educator-hood cheap while any speaks that fought with us for learning in the Information Age...

P.P.S. I absolutely NAILED "To be or not to be" (and officially redeemed myself, p.4!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 15

Today you can choose your own, but with a caveat: write about something having to do with either the Shakespeare memorization or your current LA book. You can focus on the text itself or your experience of reading/working with it.

1. Journal
2. Thinker's choice: memorization work or LA reading/writing

1. The song remains the same this week; remember, memorization is due Monday 3.19

March 14

***This is 3.13 redux for periods 2 & 3***

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley; "Melancholy Hill" by Gorillaz]

Since this week's class schedule has been tweaked by the California High School Exit Exam, it seems reasonable to ask you about testing. What tests you in your life? How do you know when you fail or succeed? What tests you in this course and how do you evaluate your performance?

1. Journal
2. Memorization
3. LA work

HW: Keep up with the memorization timeline you set and bring your gear to class tomorrow so you can get something done. Hopefully I'll (virtually) see some of you in periods 2 & 3.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley; "Melancholy Hill" by Gorillaz]

Since this week's class schedule has been tweaked by the California High School Exit Exam, it seems reasonable to ask you about testing. What tests you in your life? How do you know when you fail or succeed? What tests you in this course and how do you evaluate your performance?

1. Journal
2. Memorization
3. LA work

Monday, March 12, 2012

CAHSEE schedule

(bell schedule after the jump)

March 12

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "An Affair to Remember" by Harry Warren; "Remember Stevie" by Buddy Guy]

It doesn't happen very often, but once in a while you get an assignment in which there is no margin for error.  Memorizing Shakespeare is one of those assignments (see below).  Given what you've learned about poetry structure and your own thinking habits, plan your attack: how will you go about memorizing this so that you can say it out loud word-for-word next Monday? Include a timeline.

1. Journal
2. Work on memorizing Harry's speech
3. Read/begin Literature Analysis #2
4. Writers'/bloggers' conferences

1. Memorization
2. Literature Analysis (plan to finish book and present active reading notes Friday 3.23)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

memorize the greatest pre-game speech ever

Some of you may remember me mentioning finding the "right" time for our next memorization: that time is now.

This week we have a light/unusual schedule due to the CAHSEE, so I'm giving you time in class to work with each other on this while I meet with you individually to discuss essay prompts and review blogs. Please take advantage of the time; you will be responsible for reciting it on Monday 3.19 and analyzing it in an essay on Tuesday 3.20.

Text (you don't need to memorize Westmoreland's lines, I included them for context):

St. Crispin’s Day Speech: from Henry V

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

[complete text after the jump]

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'll never look at a jellybean the same way again

Aside from the amazing tech and devotion to art in this video, the real moral of the story is:

[Shared Vision] + [Dedicated Teammates] = Awesomeness.

(To see the finished product click on the top right corner of the video.)

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 9

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Man I Used to Know" & "Still Believe" by Susan Werner]

Every author's heard the adage, "Write what you know." In a way, it may be argued that every novel, story, poem, and song ever written is the writer's remix of his/her experience of life. Today you have a choice. You may: a)remix ideas/people/places/moments from your own life in a fictional narrative, or b)focus on the lyrics of these two songs and "reverse engineer" the narratives to reflect on the literary techniques and imagine the real thoughts & experiences that may have inspired their use.

1. Journal
2. Poetry mnemonic/analysis quiz

1. Enjoy the weekend
2. Select your next literature analysis novel and begin reading (I will be asking you about it next week as we revisit your essay work and you write on the last one)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Yesterdays" by Miles Davis; "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes; "Can't Explain" by The Who]

Reflect on your poetry analysis remix. Did the 9-part analysis teach you anything? Describe an insight you gained through doing the work. (If you didn't: a)shame on you, and b)you have a few minutes to learn something right now.)

1. Journal
2. AP Exam & college requirements
3. Poetry analysis components
4. HW/poetry remixes

HW: Remix your analysis on your blog (due tomorrow 3/9)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

the launch pad

As you know, I'm all about teenagers launching stuff (literally) and themselves (figuratively) into space. Here's the latest (courtesy of boingboing):

Then again, why wait until you're a teenager? At last week's DML Conference I met Sylvia of Sylvia's Super Awesome Mini Maker Show"-- and she and her dad (Tech Ninja James) are indeed SUPER AWESOME. Check this out:

I know some of you are headed for engineering programs next year, so here's the how-to.

March 7

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)" by Elvis vs JXL; "I'm in Love With My Car (1991 Remix)" by Queen; "Party to Damascus Remix" by Wyclef Jean Featuring Missy Elliott]

When you remix (think about it, every story you tell is a remix of the language we all use!), how does the outcome reflect you as a person? Think about it: when you tell a friend what happened at lunch, your story-- even though it includes the same words we all use and the same ingredients (people, places, events) that others have access to-- is unique. How?

1. Journal
2. Remix quiz
3. Remixing the textbook

1. Remix the textbook (I)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6

Yesterday we looked at a structured definition of "remix." Describe how lecture notes can be a remix, and describe how your own creative process is a combination of others' work and your own "take" on it.

1. Journal
2. Remix quiz postponed until tomorrow (Wed 3/7)
3. Work in groups of <4 to explain to each other how you remixed the last two weeks' curriculum on your blogs. Each group should take notes and turn in an "exit ticket" (1 per group is fine) to your period's crate on the back table.
4. Please ask TAs to check your textbooks and create period-by-period list; stow books in your lockers, you'll need them tomorrow.

HW: Get some rest and stay healthy; getting sick sucks. (for those of you online getting the scouting report, I'm sick and won't be there today-- please email with questions and let me know how it goes.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers; "When the Whip Comes Down" by The Rolling Stones]

What motivates you more, the promise of something good or the threat of something bad? Does this vary by task or context? How does it influence your personal sense of motivation, inspiration and creativity?

1. Journal
2. Remix

1. Finish/review both "remix resource" vids
2. Review/update your blog
3. Bring your textbook tomorrow

remix resources

Here is Kirby Ferguson, creator of the Everything is a Remix series, explaining his theory of creative inspiration, remix, and cultural commons, and citing some of history's best-loved "individual" creators and explaining how what they did was a remix, i.e., an extension and a part of the work that came before them.

2011/08 Kirby Ferguson from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

Here is an example of an augmentative remix (contributed by course alum Maddy Hunt) in which a live talk by Sir Ken Robinson is reconfigured into two different visual media:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pulp iambic pentameter

Last week you all realized just how difficult it can be to write in iambic pentameter-- check out this adaptation of a scene from Pulp Fiction (even if you haven't seen the movie and/or don't catch every word, note the description of mayonnaise beginning at 1:26).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1

(Choose your own)

1. Journal
2. LA briefings

1. Remix the curriculum.  Using whatever tools you want (from pen/paper to your own computer software to social media platforms--blogs, mindmaps, Facebook etc.), remix the Dickens lectures and/or poetry analysis lectures.  "Remix" means tell the story in a different medium in such a way that it makes more sense to you. Post the remix to your blog by Monday 3/5.