Friday, December 26, 2014

big questions & masterpiece topics

Here, in all their glory, are the topics you raised during Finals Week.  Please comment to this post with any additions, suggestions, questions, or corrections.  Please also feel free to contact researchers/explorers/makers directly to discuss and exchange ideas/resources.

Ephraim: study of the brain & neurology applied to chemistry and decision-making
Eric: the impact of societal influences on human nature 
Annie: systemic lupus--> cookbook
Michael: "how to blow sh*t up with my mind" (questions welcome)
Taylor: psychological study of American serial killers
Daniel: how people respond to pictures/videos (bias toward focusing on bad/overlooking good?  connecting through emotion?)
Jordan: how to achieve a transcendent sense of success
Lukas: marine biology; "Into the Wild"; surf/backpack/vision quest/rite of passage adventure
Omar: does medical research interfere with micro-evolution?
Jose: video channel
Miles: becoming youtube famous through teaching with humor; studying space, aeronautics, & aviation in pursuit of learning about what we can't see
Ashlyn: competition, body image & media advertising
Brenissa: physical therapy & patient support
Matthew: synesthesia research from inside out; GSA development
Alec: evolutionary biochemistry with emphasis on psychedelics, specifically DMT
Alyssa: Twelfth Night
Melissa: how we present ourselves; book on inner/outer selves
Elizabeth: the happiness project (person of the week); improving confidence
Victoria: photography
Judith: elementary education; philanthropy related to homeless children
Sierra S: fashion design/merchandising
Imanie: swing set that generates energy
Courtney: law; integrating special needs and mainstream/popular kids
Hannah: physical appearance & illness
Shailynn: medical/healing
Noah: ["world sucks"] + ["Millenials suck"] = [how do we change this?]
Alec: writing and baseball
Susel: writing; bringing city life to the small town (culture, flash mob-style collaboration)
Antonia: racism
Naiomi: music & writing as a way to share oneself (with Jisu)
Lily: space exploration; ER medicine
Siera B: high school transformation
Stevie: third world medicine
Henry: censorship
Yesenia: language (use case: Mixteco as study of diversity v. deficiency)
Lupita: reading; sign language; animal cruelty & vegetarianism
Edgar: art & culture of Los Angeles
Sophia: psychology and mental illness
Millie: genealogy
Jisu: piano/music; writing songs with Naiomi
Haley: Yosemite odyssey (2nd annual); kinesiology
Taylor: marine biology; mammal rescue
Bridgit: dance; Crohn's Disease
Jhaicelle: women leaders (types/strategies/fashions/clothing)
Connor: business & entrepreneurship
Chrystal: giving Santa Maria teens something to do
Eric: computer engineering
Laike: Instagram-->art (*or a road less traveled; she's open to suggestion :)
Sean: how we perceive ideas through our emotions
Chase: "the search for stoke"
Tyler: design in art, fashion, & film
Terry: environmental resource engineering
Tia: homelessness; "Theme for English B" --> racism
Haley: architecture & interior design
Will: "there is a lot of hate in the world and it doesn't need to be that way"
YunSoo: real estate
Jeff: life outside Earth
Megan: journalism
Stephanie: Children's Hospital Los Angeles; therapy dogs
Erica: cultural awareness and unity; transmediated communication
Marcel: biological research on sleep; life purpose
Jacob: music/guitar (writing, performing)
Joey: mechanical and structural engineering; travel & culture
Alexus: music's effects on our daily lives
Jared: biomechanical engineering
Bailey: art censorship (i.e., what makes art "Art"-- use case: old cartoons banned from modern TV)
Gianni: new forms of story and storytelling
Cameron: "Why do 800M people suffer from malnutrition (i.e., starve) when there is so much food/waste?
Bianca: "Why do we compare ourselves with others?' and (since she just got a 1930s piano): "How does music affect our learning?"
Breanna: Yosemite (with Hayley); travel; nonprofit organizational development
Aaron: How do sports bring people together?
Matthew: Why don't people live their dreams?
Val: American history & teaching
Kurt: scientific analysis of the origin of the universe and the diversity of species
Lillie: history: the Getty Museum
Anaya: art grant with Dr. Del Rio; documentary film on students pursuing their passions
Shanaya: neurology/cognitive science; the relationship between nutrition and autism; 1/23 symposium
Hikaru: How will technology shape the future?
Jayce: dance & medicine; sociology; time travel; video
Dani: Why do we push others away based on differences? (community)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

big questions: next steps over winter break

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for a very inspiring and thought-provoking Finals Week.  Special congratulations to Imanie on her work in Belize-- her video & presentation left a powerful impression on us all.

I will be posting more after I get back to town December 29; in the meantime, here are next steps for you to take over break and a list of everyone's Big Questions.  Please feel free to comment with additions, corrections, suggestions, questions, etc. etc.

Enjoy your time with friends and family.

Dr. Preston

Now that you have experienced a full semester of Open Source Learning and you have identified a topic worth pursuing, it's time for you to take charge of your own education.  Here is how to start:

1. Write a post for your course blog in which you:
  • Describe your topic;
  • Explain how you came to be interested in your topic and why you care about it so much;
  • Predict how learning about this topic will enrich your life and provide value for learners and others in your community who read/see what you do;
  • List the academic disciplines and/or skills the topic requires (for example, game development requires an understanding of psychology, math, coding, literature, music, history/social studies, and many others);
  • Map out how you will begin learning about your topic (it's OK if you don't have a formal plan yet-- in fact, learning how to make a plan in this area may well be your first step);
  • Describe the resources you will need (wave the magic wand I just handed you and imagine for a moment that time, money and access are not obstacles. Who do you want to meet?  What materials do you need?  What types of experiences will you seek?);
  • Consider which tools you will use to tell your story.  Will you continue posting on your course blog?  Will you start a new blog, and if you do, will it be on Blogger, or WordPress, or Tumblr, or another platform?  Will you use other media and collaborative tools to curate, remix, and share your learning?  Do you have ideas about what would be cool but you're not sure what's out there? 
  • REMEMBER: At this point you are merely dreaming/thinking out loud.  It's important to express your thinking even if (especially if!) you're not sure of something, or if you have questions or doubts.  Plus, we learners are all in the same boat; these are the moments that restore a small sense of humanity to the learning process.  Imagine the comfort you'll provide to a student in New York or New Delhi who stumbles on your post and realizes she's not alone after all.  For us, certainty is overrated and uncertainty is a GOOD thing.  Have a look at what some very bright people have said and written about this.
  • ALSO REMEMBER: If you're still thinking of this as "homework" or an "assignment" you're missing the whole point.  This is you deciding what you think is important and telling the world about it.  Don't ask how long it needs to be or whether it fits a five-paragraph essay format-- it's time for YOU to decide how to most effectively express your thinking.  (And don't worry, if we don't understand something we'll ask!)  This is your chance to explore fearlessly so that you can: a) get the best information, b) learn something and/or get better at doing something, and c) begin to make a name for yourself in a community of interest, critique, and respect.  Therefore, you shouldn't just answer the items above to check boxes.  Go deep.  Take the opportunity to make this thing your own.  And, at any point you have questions or need help, reach out to Dr. Preston and your peers (and your friends, families, employers, mentors).  We're here for you and we want you to succeed so that we can all hit the ground running when we meet again in January.
2.  Find a fiction or non-fiction book that relates to your topic.  Read it over break and complete a literature analysis on it.  Post the analysis to your course blog.

3. Start a conversation with at least three other people in our network about their topics, and post to your course blog about your conversations (at least one post per conversation).  Networks function most effectively when their members actually network; this is a great way to get ideas and create innovation, and you will be surprised by the benefits your colleagues can offer!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

finals week

Seems like we met just yesterday.

Soon we'll be congratulating each other on graduation and we'll part ways.

Right now, in this moment, we have the opportunity to reflect and imagine.

1. Nourishment and storytelling
2. Performance/status conferences
3. Big Questions/Masterpieces
4. Over the break...

Monday, December 15, 2014

American Council of Engineering Companies of California YouTube video contest

ACEC-CA Youtube Contest

december 15

The Journals have been written and (mostly) read.  The Grades are in progress.

The Order of the Day:

1. Please evaluate your performance this semester by answering the following questions.

  • What did this course and the instructor ask of you?
  • What did you ask of yourself?
  • How much time and effort did you invest in what the course/instructor asked of you?
  • How much time and effort did you invest in what you asked of yourself?
  • Where does the sidewalk end for you?  Next semester can we meet in a field beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing? 
  • What is the biggest question on your mind right now?
  • Since you've spent more time with you than anyone else has, and you know exactly what you attempted and accomplished, what letter grade would you assign to your performance this semester? 
2. Organizing for the two-hour final

3. Preview of January 14


Friday, December 12, 2014

december 12

JOURNAL TOPIC: [Psych. There isn't one. If you haven't turned yours in, please do so now.]

1. Yesterday, Continued (sounds like a great title for something)

Please post anything you want considered for your semester grade by tonight

Thursday, December 11, 2014

december 11

What have you learned so far in this course?


1. Journal
2. Review for final tomorrow

Last chance.  Think back.  Think ahead.  Then focus on right now.  Finish any work you want considered for the semester grade and review one last time for tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

prufrock's yellow fog

Yesterday someone asked about the imagery of the yellow fog in Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."  We discussed the man made-ness of the fog, the sickly aspect, and the meandering flirtatiousness which which the fog moved.

One of the things I loved about college, and that I can now explore  24/7 access to thanks to the Internet, is this: no matter how specific or even ridiculous a question is, you can bet that someone somewhere has thought deeply on the topic and written about it.

I found an article by John Hakac entitled, "The Yellow Fog of 'Prufrock'" (originally published in The Bulletin of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Vol. 26, No. 2 [Jun., 1972], pp. 52-54.)  Reading the article online is free and requires registration with JSTOR.  I highly recommend that you register with JSTOR so that you too can peruse its online stacks and avail yourself of all it has to offer.  However, most of you won't, so I am including screen shots of this article after the jump.  I thought twice before doing this and describing my decision in a blog post; Aaron Swartz was prosecuted for downloading articles from JSTOR, and I don't know whether the organization would endorse my decision.  So, if you have any ethical reservations about reading something that is available for free (apart from the value of your registration info) on the Internet, please don't click "Read More" below.  Otherwise, Read More.

december 10

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes are a video: "People Are Awesome"]

Are you awesome?  Why/why not?

1. Journal
2. Prufrock seminar
3. Portfolio conversations
4. Final schedule/logistics
5. Brainstorm topics & questions for semester review tomorrow

1. Seminar notes from today
2. REMINDER: All literature analysis work and any other catch-up assignments are due (either on your course blog or on paper) by the end of the school day on Friday, December 12. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

finals schedule

Here is next week's finals schedule.  I will post potluck sign-ups for each period later or tomorrow.

December 2014 Finals Bell Schedule-1


On one hand, don't try this at home.  On the other hand, if you live here, I guess you can do anything you want.

people are awesome

Monday, December 8, 2014

december 9

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Imagination" by The Rolling Stones; "Imagine" by John Lennon]

The man who has no imagination has no wings. -Muhammad Ali
Imagination is more important than knowledge. -Albert Einstein
Imagination rules the world. -Napoleon Bonaparte
You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. -Mark Twain
If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. -Henry David Thoreau

What is imagination and what role does it play in your life?  Is your imagination getting stronger or weaker as you age?  To what extent does it help you create the experiences and the life you want?

1. Journal
2. Poetry remix presentations
3. "Prufrock" Socratic Seminar
4. Portfolio conversations

1. Finish up any remaining literature analysis work etc. for the semester

kudos to the bruins

Congratulations to the UCLA Bruins water polo team for bringing home the university's nation-leading 112th National Championship.

december 8


Describe something you have put off until now.  Why did you wait?  Why are you bothering/struggling to get it done now?  What are you learning from the experience, and will you do it the same or differently next time similar circumstances present themselves?

1. Journal

1. Read "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot and come to class prepared to discuss the questions at the end of the poem (full text and questions after the jump).  As always, it would indeed be wonderful if you would muse about these on your course blog.

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

december 3-5


Journal Topic:
Are all poems created alike?  What makes them similar or different?

Write an essay in which you compare your poem with one of the others on the adoption list.


Journal Topic:
How does "Another Brick in the Wall" change and/or become more meaningful when it's experienced as a video instead of a song?

Remix your poem with your group.  Select media that will enhance the poem's meaning for your online audience.


Journal Topic:
Are you caught up on your work?  What do you still need to do this period?

Post your remix to each group member's blog.


Here are some poems I discovered, rediscovered, and/or fell in love with last week.  I'm putting them up for adoption.  There are a few million more where these came from, so please feel free to contribute your own candidate/s in a comment to this post.

by Robert Francis

Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded. 

The Place Where We Are Right
by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.
The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.
But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.

Everything is Going to be Alright
by Derek Mahon

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart;
the sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Working Together
by David Whyte

We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again.

The visible
and the invisible

working together
in common cause,

to produce
the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way
the intangible air

passed at speed
round a shaped wing

holds our weight.

So may we, in this life

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine,
and look for the true

shape of our own self,
by forming it well

to the great
intangibles about us.

Where the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Out Beyond Ideas
by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

december 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Another Brick in the Wall" & "Money" by Pink Floyd]
Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is a classic album (on the off chance you hadn't heard) that was made into a movie.  The scene below portrays how school can be isolating and teachers can be cruel.  Like so many heroic protagonists, one student thinks for himself and gets creative.  And gets punished and ridiculed.  So here's the question: out of all the things he could be doing, why does he choose to write poetry to express himself?  Why did the filmmaker think this was an effective way to show individuality and nonconformity?  And why does the teacher make such a big deal out of it?

1. Journal
2. Hamlet as poetry
3. Adopt a poem
4. Preview of coming attractions through Friday
5. Answer the basics on your own paper/blog:
  • What is the significance of the title?
  • What is the tone of the poem? 
  • What is your mood as you read it?
  • Is there a Shift?  Where?  From what to what?
  • What is the theme of the poem?
1. Post the answers to your poetry questions (title: INTRO TO POETRY) with a brief (2-4 sentence) explanation of how thinking about these questions helped you understand the poem.

2. Update your blog (hey, why not write a poem, or something about poetry?)
3. Work on literature analysis #3 if necessary

Monday, December 1, 2014

american legion oratorical competition

Have a look and see if this is for you (application and details after the jump). There will be an informational meeting in Ms. Dolan's room (225) Thursday at lunch.

december 1

***Congratulations on finishing your college applications!***

Last week most of us ate too much, so:

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Junk Food Junkie" by Larry Groce; "Whole Foods Parking Lot" by DJ Dave; "Alice's Restaurant Massacre" (abridged) by Arlo Guthrie]

Your friends invite you to a fancy restaurant in San Francisco for your birthday-- all expenses paid!  The waiter brings you a soda, calls you "sir" or "miss" and hands you a menu.  With horror you discover that each dish consists of insects and road kill in various states of decay/disembowelment.  How will you handle the situation? (Careful: if your friends eat here, they must be zombies/foreign agents who are trained to deal with this sort of thing.  They may turn on you if they consider you rude.  You can't just leave.  If you don't eat you'll have to talk your way out of it in a way that doesn't raise suspicion.)

1. Journal
2. Why I busted a reporter on Twitter
3. Hamlet: the grand finale as a function of theme, tone, plot, & characterization
(period 4 will be Victoria's show)

3. Semester portfolios and status/writers' conferences
4. A word about 5PH1NX

1. Take inventory on your semester/blog
2. If you haven't already started, you should be working on Literature Analysis #3. All literature analysis work for the semester should be complete by Friday, December 12.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

apple laptops for <$200

RHS senior Noah Hernandez has found an online source for inexpensive, refurbished Apple laptop computers.  If you're interested in learning more please either comment to this post, visit Noah's blog, or mention it in class.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

thank you

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

It reminds me that I don't say thank you often enough, even though I say it more than I used to.

So, in the spirit of the season:

Thank You.

Each and every single one of you, in some small way, has been my teacher this semester.

Thank You.

You have taught me patience, compassion, empathy, humor, and occasionally fussiness.

Thank You.

You have taught me how differently we respond to the good and bad in our lives.

Thank You.

You have inspired me.

Thank You.

You have responded to media-enhanced madness with maturity beyond your years.

Thank You.

You have given me reason to wish this weekend was over, just so I can see you smile as you put college application season in your rearview mirror.

Most of all, you have succeeded in reminding me why I do this job in the first place.  You matter a great deal in this world and I'm proud to be on your team.  I look forward to the second half of our journey; in a blink it will be June, and I intend to suck the marrow* out of every minute we have together.  For now, enjoy this time with family and friends, and tell at least one of them:

Thank You.

[*There is a part of my brain that is still immature enough to imagine taking that quote out of context so that it reads "I intend to suck." That is most definitely not the spirit in which I intend it. The idea is actually an allusion to Henry David Thoreau, who wrote: “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”]

hamlet essay

Select one of the key quotes we discussed from Hamlet, such as:
  • To thine own self be true
  • To be or not to be
  • Though this be madness, yet there is method in't
  • O! That this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew
  • Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
  • What is a man,
    If his chief good and market of his time
    Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
    Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
    Looking before and after, gave us not
    That capability and god-like reason
    To fust in us unused.
  • A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
These are merely suggestions; you may choose anything from the play in any length that suits your purpose (e.g., instead of just the phrase "To be or not to be" you can include additional lines or the entire soliloquy).

Your purpose is this:

In an essay that demonstrates your wild brilliance and for Pete's sake avoids plot summary at all costs, please explain how this quote contributes to your understanding of the tone and theme of Hamlet.  Specifically: Which character speaks the line/s?  At what point in the play/plot?  How do the words affect the character's own understanding, the other characters' understandings (if applicable), and the audience's understanding?  Top shelf responses will include definitions of these literary elements, demonstrated understanding of the play's central message, tone, and characterization, and application of the concept of Performative Utterance.

Please feel free to comment to this post with questions or ideas, and post your essay to your course blog by Sunday night (11.30).

HUGE CULTURAL LITERACY/5PH1NX BONUS to anyone who can make a meaningful connection between Hamlet's line (in Act V Scene i) that, "The cat will mew and dog will have his day" and Sidney Deane's (played by Wesley Snipes) philosophy in the movie "White Men Can't Jump."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

it's up... and it's good!

Kudos to Alec, Victoria, Lukas, Terry, and the thousands of people who are about to tell their stories about Righetti High School, which promise to be very different than the story portrayed in the mainstream media last week.  Their site is currently a blank slate, so contact them and tell your story.

Friday, November 21, 2014

5PH1NX 2015

Kudos to Omar & Jayce for launching this.  Seek them out for more info & authorship privileges.

november 21

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Lovebug Itch" by Eddy Arnold; "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent]

How long can you stand an itch before you scratch it?

1. Journal
2. Hamlet: end game

Finish reading Hamlet and watch/follow this space for instructions... Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!  See you in December. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

november 20

Sometimes life is our literature.  Yesterday, this happened:

So, today we'll be creating space for any discussion that needs discussing, and we will be integrating our ideas about reality with our ideas about poetry.

For starters: an exercise in Remix and "the medium is the message."  Watching the news visual with each of today's tunes: "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen & "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones

As author Salman Rushdie put it, "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."  Write a poem about yesterday's events, or what you think it says about our culture and the people in it, or anything else that fulfills Rushdie's description of the poet's work.

1. Journal
2. Discussion
3. Hamlet
4. Poetry option: "Immigrants in Our Own Land" by Jimmy Santiago Baca

1. Begin reading Act V of Hamlet
2. Option: Write a 1-2 paragraph response to "Immigrants in Our Own Land" in which you describe your relationship with RHS and school in general.  Are you a proud native, a curious tourist, an optimistic immigrant, or a pessimistic immigrant?  Why?  Use real examples/stories to illustrate your ideas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

new forum topic thread

If you haven't been to the forums recently, check out the new thread re: "Campus Disturbances"-- all perspectives welcome. 

snow's up

"It's about 26 degrees outside. Winds are at 35 MPH. With the windchill, it says it feels about 13. We're gonna go check out the waves."

WNY - Blizzard Surfing from Kevin Cullen on Vimeo.

november 19

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Ends" by Everlast)

Do the ends justify the means? 

1. Journal
2. Cake n College

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

books that change minds

I'd love to make a course out of this curriculum:

november 18

What does Claudius hope to accomplish by getting rid of Hamlet?  Do you predict this will end the matter?  Add to Claudius' sense of guilt?  Cause a whole new set of problems?  Explain your answer by citing 1-3 examples of foreshadowing from what we've read so far.

1. Journal
2. Hamlet: Act IV Scenes 4-

1. Finish reading Act IV

Monday, November 17, 2014

november 17

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The End" by The Doors]

Long before we met, and long after you've passed the AP exam and gone on to greater things, in the end literature is an act of self-expression.  It is the human record of how we create stories for ourselves and others. And, as we've discussed, literature also serves as an artifact of how individual authors observed, critiqued and were influenced by the times and cultures in which they lived. As Marshal McLuhan famously observed, "The medium is the message." As we've also discussed, we'd probably get to know Hamlet in a completely different way if he maintained a blog or posted pics to instagram, tumblr, flickr, pinterest, or...[?] Does the technology we use to communicate change our message?  If our message is self-expression, does it therefore change how we are seen or even who we really are?

1. Journal
2. Hamlet: Act IV

1. Read to the end of Act IV Scene 3.  If you get the first couple questions right in conversation tomorrow, we'll have no need for a reading quiz.

Friday, November 14, 2014

november 14

Integrity is the principle of aligning (or integrating) our thoughts, words, and actions.  What makes integrity appealing and personally/socially valuable, and what makes it such a challenge for so many of us?  Does Hamlet have integrity?  Why/why not?

1. Journal
2. Extensions of yesterday's conversation re: Act III & "The Performative Utterance..."

1. Please post an essay to your course blog in response to one of the following prompts. (Note: If you are in need of practice and/or acclaim, or if you feel moved to write on both topics, or if you are a gonzo writer/extra credit fiend, please feel free to write two essays.)

Using what you've learned about Hamlet the character and Hamlet the play, evaluate the impact of performative utterance on Hamlet and your own sense of self. How does the way Hamlet speaks constitute action in itself? How does it impact the characters and the plot? How does this compare with your own "self-overhearing"? How does the way you reflect on your experience create a sense of memory, expectation, and real-world results? Use the text, your reading/lecture notes, the experience of memorizing the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, de Boer's paper (and Bloom's/Austin's theoretical frameworks), and the many online and offline discussions we've had.

Do you think Hamlet's nuts?  After our discussions today I reflected back on all the commentary and all the productions I could remember, and it seems like the overwhelming majority talk about Hamlet being mad.  But I still wonder whether his ability to see the ghost is commentary on Gertrude's blindness to the truth and Hamlet's ability to see right and wrong.  In fact, I wonder if it's the sanest thing in the world to be freaked out by feeling obliged to kill someone, and I also still wonder about Hamlet's ability to plan and say the right things (with double meanings!) under pressure.  I guess he could be an endearingly fiendish sociopath, but he seems too self-critical for that.  What do you think, and what is your evidence?  Especially curious about your perspectives after you read DeBoer's paper. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

you can't spell ukulele without the uk

Thanks Nathan and Laura Ritchie's class at the University of Chichester for a great time this morning!  Hoping this is the first of many collaborations.

november 13

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Say What" by Stevie Ray Vaughan; "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)" by James Brown; "Say It To Me Now" by Glen Hansard]

How does what we say relate to what we do? Does telling ourselves or other people what we think/feel/intend change our thought process and/or feelings? Does it make us more or less likely to act? Does it teach us anything about ourselves?

1. Journal
2. Let's talk to ourselves: Act III & The Performative Utterance

1. Post notes on today's conversation to your course blog

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

how to be a better writer: spoiler alert

This article pretty much sums up spring semester.

osl alum in the news

Congratulations, Nik! (full article here)

the benefits of having more than one channel of communication

Without interrupting today's presentation from UCSB, Courtney and I dealt with an important priority:

november 12

I'm a little bummed we didn't read Act III together-- the plot moves quite a bit, Hamlet finally kills someone and then finally loses control of his temper, for real-- so tell me, what did you think of what you read?  What questions do you have?  What do you want to see answered/discussed/reviewed in class?  Tomorrow we'll be using your ideas to create the agenda, so please be as specific as your memory allows.

1. Journal
2. Cake
4. College/scholarships/Hamlet/etc. as time allows

1. Please re/view Act III and come prepared tomorrow.

this'll make you want to uke

Tomorrow Nathan will be leading a music class-- in England-- in a ukelele jam from Room 608 via Skype.  If you're in period 3 get ready to sing along; if you're not we'll post the video here afterward.

Friday, November 7, 2014

november 7

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Step Right Up" by Tom Waits; "Bloody Well Right" by Supertramp]

Terms such as values and common sense can take on different meanings (which is a matter for psychologists; how can something you define as common sense confuse me?  Isn't common sense the sense we share in common?). Cultural anthropologists and social psychologists describe values as "learned, enduring, epistemologically grounded moral conceptualizations that assist us in making judgments and in preparing us to act." What values do you see in Hamlet? In online/contemporary American culture? How do the characters in the former and decision-makers in the latter use values to inform and justify their decisions and behavior?

1. Journal
2. Hamlet: Act III
3. Performative utterances in Hamlet

1. Read "The Performative Utterance in William Shakespeare's Hamlet" and post notes to your course blog
2. Finish reading Act III and post notes to your course blog

hamlet act iii scene i vids

Including several versions of "To be, or not to be..." (including one by a girl with a guitar who wrote a melody to memorize it for an English course):

Thursday, November 6, 2014

yale young global scholars

Do you want to be a Yale Young Global Scholar?  Register for November 19 information session here.  (Thanks, Mr. Blanco!)

november 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: Symphony #1 by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein)

Why does Hamlet go to the trouble of orchestrating an elaborate ruse with the play-within-a-play, when the ghost's testimony and his intuition appear to provide sufficient justification for revenge?

1. Journal
2. Lecturette/breakdown of "To be..."
3. Act III

1. Catch up on "To be..."
2. Catch up on literature analysis work
3. Catch up on college/scholarship

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Introducing KUDOS-- a monthly summary of good news and general updates.  Congratulations to the following students on their college admissions and scholarship wins!

Courtney Reyburn: Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce Scholarship
Hannah Hurd: Elks Scholarship
Judith Lee: Comcast Leaders Scholarship
Daniel Black: Elks Scholarship; Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce Scholarship
Stevie Wisz: CFW Scholarship
Cameron Walker: Admitted to Stanford University
Lukas Sheckherd: Admitted to University of Montana, Humboldt State University
Siera Betts: Admitted to Fresno State
Miles Jorgensen: Admitted to Northern Arizona University

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

cameron: to be or not to be...

He may be Stanford's tomorrow (go #22!) but he's Shakespeare's today:

november 5

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Lo Que Dice" by Ozomatli; "Mercy" by The Shys; "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads]

Among the topical possibilities for today's journal:
1) Listen to the lyrics and connect them to Hamlet;
2) Ask yourself, "How did I get to this point in my life and where am I going from here?"
If neither of these resonates, observe where your mind takes you and invent your own.

1. Journal
2. Finish Act I & II presentations
3. "To be..."
4. College/scholarship apps

1. Finish "To be..." if necessary

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

presentations on acts I & II

"We chose the scene where Hamlet acts all crazy and talks to Polonius.  We chose music and elements of humor to make the ideas more accessible and easier to understand." -Naiomi

"We intended this remix to get attention through humor, so we included intentional errors in continuity, soundtrack features, and allusions to other works." -Miles

"We tried to condense the first two acts into action, and infuse some humor to make it more accessible." -Imanie
"And, since the language in Hamlet is so flowery, we made it a silent film so the viewer wouldn't be distracted." -Hannah

november 4

***IF YOU ARE 18, VOTE.***

Today most Americans will not vote, but they will go right on complaining about the government, the infrastructure, taxes, campaign finance, health care, gas prices, the environment, cable, these kids today, and whatever else bothers them. Why do so many whine so much and do so little? What is the importance of a vote in today's world? How can you take a more vocal role in other areas of your life that require decision-making, like learning?

1. Journal
2. To Beez or not to beez
3. Act I/II presentations

1. Vote.
2. Nag someone else to vote.

Monday, November 3, 2014

november 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: ("Riders on the Storm" by The Doors; "Here Comes the Rain Again" by The Eurythmics)

Over the weekend it rained for the first time in a long, long time.  How do authors use rain to establish setting and tone?  Consider this example from Ray Bradbury:

“I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night thinking I heard someone cry, thinking I myself was weeping, and I felt my face and it was dry.

Then I looked at the window and thought: Why, yes, it's just the rain, the rain, always the rain, and turned over, sadder still, and fumbled about for my dripping sleep and tried to slip it back on.”
Ray Bradbury, Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Ray Bradbury's Adventures Making Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland

1. Journal
2. Paragraph explaining your grade
3. Grade conferences/"To B or not to B..."

1. Preview Act III Scene i

Friday, October 31, 2014

please email cake

Hey, would the groups who made cake this weekend (including that weird grave-looking thing) please send me their videos?

Also: who's making cake next week?  Please comment with your group/names.  First per period gets the nod.

an object lesson in open source learning

Imanie Tweeted (and maybe since deleted, since I don't see it anymore) to ask if I was challenging you by asking you to use a computer in class without providing one.  Here is the rest of the conversation:

Now, consider my last Tweet-- and this blog post.  By remixing our conversation in a medium that I could share with all students (I could've also included #dplitcomp in my Tweet), I'm sharing the benefit with everyone who needs this information but may not have seen Imanie's Tweets or my replies.

Apply this to the work you're doing today.  Lots of people (billions, including me) can't be in class to see your presentations.  So, the more you curate about them on your blog-- by writing and by including media such as video and pictures-- the more you bring your audience into your experience and your understanding.  Doing this creates value.  Put yourself in my sick shoes: being able to see and understand more about what happened in class makes me value your thinking, your authorship/blog, and your work product all the more.  Maybe I'll even learn a thing or two about Hamlet!

Hope the day goes well.

a note about progress report grades

Due to rotten timing and a virus of the non-digital kind, we weren't able to have our grade conferences this week.  I will have to enter grades before I see you on Monday and I don't want anyone to worry unnecessarily.  So, if you have any specific questions or concerns, or if you need to share information with me, please email.  Mahalo.

yesterday's hamlet hack... awesome. Way to go, p.4!

october 31

Happy Halloween, everyone.  Be safe out there.  Dr. Preston will be back Monday.

Halloween traditions began as a way of "using humor and ridicule to confront the power of death."  Why do we make fun of things we fear?  How does this help us cope?  When is using humor to deal with serious issues a positive strategy, and when does it backfire?  Have you seen any evidence of humor as a coping strategy in Hamlet?  (*yes, you have :)  Was it effective for the characters and/or the audience?

1. Journal
2. Deliver your presentations on Acts I & II.  Use your school ID/password to log into the teacher computer-- the screen remote is in the top center drawer of the teacher's desk.  Please take notes on the presentations that summarize:
  • Information that validates/confirms what you already thought you knew
  • Information that challenges/contradicts what you already thought you knew
  • Information that was brand new
  • A presentation style (use of media, speaking tactic, classroom interaction) that helped you "get" something you hadn't previously gotten

1. Please finish posting these notes to your course blog
2. Please post your video recital of "To be or not to be..." (and be ready for random selections next week in class) 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

this just in: college visit info from mrs. dirkes

october 30

This week I was asked to join other SMJUHSD administrators, faculty, counselors, and Santa Maria community leaders at an event promoting Cultural Proficiency at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.  The event was extremely well-done and I learned a lot-- I'll be posting more on it later.  We met Monday and Tuesday, and I hoped to be back in class Wednesday.  

Then I got sick.  You all know me as a positive person, and I am keenly aware of my responsibilities as a role model, so I'll choose my words carefully: Sick Sucks.  We have a lot going on, it's the end of the grading period, and I want to be in class with you.

However, after being called a hypocrite once already this year (for not getting enough sleep while telling students to get more sleep), I don't want to risk getting worse and missing more school, or--worse-- get any of you sick.  So, after an achy, fever-y, throat burning night, I decided to give this another day and I hope to be back tomorrow.

Since you have a soliloquy due today, please arrange yourselves in groups of 2-3 and ask one member to capture your recital on his/her phone.  Hopefully at least one of you will know how to get the video from your phone to your blog so you can post it by tomorrow.  If not, please collaborate with other groups or talk about this as a class so that everyone leaves with a solution-- even if that requires asking someone else to post it (did you know you can invite others to author to your blog?).

Some of you have asked for more time to work on your Act II presentations.  After you finish your journal and your soliloquy recital, take the opportunity.  I'll make a game-time decision tomorrow morning, hopefully I'll see you in 24 hours!

Have a great day,
Dr. Preston

Now that you've mastered the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet, explain what it means.

1. Journal
2. Soliloquy videos
3. Act II presentation work (if necessary)

Monday, October 27, 2014

october 27-29

Happy Monday.

It looks like the link I posted on Friday to the forums was broken, so here it is again:

If the problem is a log-in thing, please register/log in and follow the threads so you can post your group's ideas.

I will be at a conference today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, so please feel free to use the time in class for your group project, for "To be..." & for Hamlet in general, for literature analysis work, and (lastly, after all that other stuff is done to your satisfaction) any other school/college stuff on your plate.  Wednesday Mrs. Dirkes will be in class to help with applications and admissions/scholarship questions.

Please also write in your journal each day.  The topics are up to you, as long as they're interesting enough to require at least half a page.  If you have ideas for interesting topics that you'd like to offer others and/or discuss, please include them in a comment to this post.  If you get stuck (on anything) and/or need suggestions please email.

Friday, October 24, 2014

pulp iambic lebowski ain't easy

As by now you have no doubt discovered, writing in iambic pentameter presents opportunities and challenges not found in prose. Which makes the following examples all the more fun:

october 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: How would you remix Hamlet to tell a compelling story in today's media? (*No "Lion King" references :)

1. Journal
2. Remixing Acts I & II
3. Collaboration & social production
4. Schedule
5. "To be..."

1. Finish "To be..." and post/be ready to recite on demand by Thursday 10.30
2. Upload the ideas from your group conversation to the forum here over the weekend
3. Plan and create Act I & II remix (due Thursday 10.30)

meet pete

This is Pete.  Pete is a student of Laura Ritchie's, one of the professors I've been collaborating with since I got back from England.  Pete is studying the language of music.  Please check out his video, have a look at the video he mentions re: Eminem (which includes a great introduction to rhyming schemes, below), and comment to this post if you're interested in Skyping and collaborating with Pete!  Mahalo.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

october 23

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "These Days" by the Foo Fighters; "Stubborn Love" by the Lumineers)

Make a meaningful connection between these songs and Hamlet (thanks for the tunes, Daniel!). If you need more structure: describe the role of integrity in Hamlet. Outwardly it seems that Polonius, Claudius, and even Hamlet craft strategies to create impressions and manipulate others to gain information. Privately, Hamlet agonizes over his inability to act on his obligation to his dead father--to be true to his purpose.  What do you think Shakespeare is trying to say about "to thine own self be true"?

1. Journal (it's deep, take your time)
2. Finish reading Act II w/ notes & Q&A
3. Preview of Coming Attractions

1. Work on "To be or not to be..."
2. Start thinking about collaborations for presentations on Acts I & II

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

october 22

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?  What's the stupidest college/scholarship interview question or essay prompt you've heard/seen so far?

1. Journal
2. College/scholarship Application Day
3. There Will Be Cake

1. Spend some time with "To be or not to be..."

Thanks to Mrs. Dirkes for visiting, helping us, and being awesome in general so you'll never have to deal with the Reality portrayed after the Jump...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

october 21

Choose one of the quotes we've highlighted so far.  Who said it?  Why do you think it's important?  How does it symbolize/reflect the theme, tone, and plot of the play?

1. Journal
[* Period 6 review Act I Scene iii]
2. Act II Scene i & (part of) Scene ii
3. "To Be..."
4. Prep for college application workshop tomorrow

1. Work on "To Be..."

Monday, October 20, 2014

october 20

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Ghost Radio" by The Brian Setzer Orchestra; "The Payback" by James Brown]

A close study of revenge quickly reveals two schools of thought: 1) Revenge is righteous and/or fulfilling, and 2) Revenge keeps wounds from healing and-- however appealing or even cathartic it may seem-- ultimately destroys every party to it. How do you see the concept of revenge? How do you see the effects of revenge played out in the world? What do you think Hamlet should do now that he knows Claudius poisoned his father?

1. Act I Scene iv
2. Act I Scene v
4. Journal

1. Recite
2. "To
3. Be
4. Or
5. Not
6. To
7. Be" soliloquy
8. by Thursday, October 30
9.*Vocab this week will be taken from your suggestions in Hamlet; please post candidate words in comments to this post.
10. Start thinking of a story from your life that no one else (at least in this community) has heard.

Friday, October 17, 2014

let them eat cake (i)

Cake-makers for next Wednesday:

period 4

period 5

period 6

Please bring plates, napkins, forks, and enough for the whole tribe.  Mahalo.

to be or (you know)

You're going to be seeing a lot of this, so here is a post you can bookmark for easy reference.

(From Hamlet Act III Scene i)

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

key elements of act i scene iii

(Hey period 6!) Keep track of:
  1. The advice Laertes gives Ophelia;
  2. The advice Polonius gives Laertes;
  3. The tone Polonius shows toward Ophelia.

good thinking

Yesterday we had some very important conversations in class, and I'd like to build on them here.

First: We will devote some time in class to college applications.  Like, actually doing them.  So bring your laptops/tablets/materials next Wednesday to start.

Second: We will dedicate some time in class to technology.  This was fairly broad, and I'm not exactly sure who needs what, so please comment to this post with your ideas about what we need to share information about (blogs, social media, photography/audio/video) and we'll build a schedule.

Third: When Marie Antoinette said it, she meant it dismissively.  When we say it, we mean it with love.  So, from now on, every Wednesday, "Let them eat cake."  You will collaborate with a team of 2-4 people, you will video the bake, you will curate the experience on your course blog, and you will raise each others' blood sugar for a few enjoyable moments while we wade through the rest of our experiences together.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

october 17

If Hamlet were living in 2014, would he post his feelings on Twitter?  Reddit?  Other social media?  Would you recommend he do this?  Why/why not?  What would he stand to gain or lose?

1. Journal
2. [periods 4, 5] First edition of "Fridays with Friends" starring Ted Newcomb
3. [period 6] Catching up on Hamlet

***PLAN B***
Since the Google Hangout didn't work on the school computer, we will reconnect with Ted when I get my machine back next week.  Today we will revisit our conversations this week & have a look at Act I Scene iii.

1. Post Literature Analysis #2 if you haven't yet
2. Preview Act I Scene iii

join the course discussion forum

1. An Internet forum is a place where people can have discussions by topic;
2. We have a lot of topics to discuss (literature, college applications/scholarships, Big Questions/Masterpieces, etc.)
3. Joey has kindly set up a forum where we can all share and get the information we need.
4. Please click here and register to join.

and now for something completely different

For Tia & Jhaicelle:

hamlet act i scene ii vids

october 16

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Melancholy Mood" by Horace Silver; "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown]

Hamlet is confronted by a difficult situation.  What does it suggest about society's values at the time? Why does it challenge him so deeply?  How would your response-- as a reflection of both your personality/psychology and our society's values-- be similar or different?

1. Journal
2. Hamlet: review and discuss techniques in Act I Scenes i & ii
3. Vocab for tomorrow's quiz

1. Please read and comment on Hamlet's first big soliloquy 
2. Please read this article and post a response to your blog about it (title: LITERARY FICTION & EMPATHY).  How can reading fiction help you understand others?  Use Hamlet as an example to explore your own thinking process and reactions to a character's innermost thoughts/struggles.
3. Review vocab

hamlet's first big soliloquy

What does Hamlet mean by the following?  Please comment to this post with your interpretation.

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--
Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears:--why she, even she--
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

october 15

CLOSING JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Indecision" by Eagle Eye Cherry; "King Without a Crown" by Matisyahu]

Hamlet wrestles with difficult decisions and problems by talking them through. Based on what (precious little) you've read so far, how do you think Hamlet will be influenced by such elements as his family, where he lives, emotion, and the differences between Hamlet's inner world of thoughts/feelings and the outer world that surrounds him? Feel free to apply your own experiences on these topics.

1. Video replay: Hamlet Act I Scene i
2. Hamlet Act I Scene ii
3. Journal

1. Finish reading Hamlet Act I Scene ii and post reading notes on the first two scenes of the play to your blog (separate posts: "HAMLET ACT I SCENE I" & "HAMLET ACT I SCENE II").  Please list any questions you have about the play and bring them with you to discussion on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

frozen in time

Frozen as re-imagined from the neo-Golden era of gaming...

hamlet characters & act i scene i vid

You can see more (including the entire script of the play) on the Hamlet page. If you find more/better resources elsewhere, please share!

hamlet character map

period 6 please note

Yes, I know there is a College Fair today.  (I posted about it here.)

And yes, our study of Hamlet will begin as planned. 

If you are not in class today, please complete the homework as assigned and come back tomorrow (Wednesday) prepared to discuss.

Thank you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

october 14

What does this video suggest about motivation and talent?  How can we meaningfully describe the passion and dedication with which this young man learns or his teachers teach?  Why is this video so moving in a world in which institutions breed cynics who come to believe there is nothing worthwhile about learning apart from the grade or the diploma?  Would you rather [hire/admit/reward] a lazy, articulate complainer with a 4.5 G.P.A. or Musharaf?

1. Journal
2. Intro to Hamlet: Act I Scene i

1. Post vocabulary definitions and sentences to your course blog.
2. Research Hamlet online and answer the following questions (with citations for any website you consult and/or quote) in comments to this post: 1)What is the play about? 2)Why is interpreting the play such a challenge? Why doesn't everyone agree on what the play "says" or  "means"?
3. Find at least three other learning communities that are studying Hamlet (in an AP class, a college/university course, or independently).  Introduce yourself and use the principles of "The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online" to do exactly that!  Report the experience(s) on your blog.

vocabulary: fall list 6


october 13

Using at least three allusions to song lyrics and/or last week's vocabulary words, describe how you approached this weekend's homework.

1. Journal
2. Blog audit
3. Vocabulary

1. Please post this week's vocabulary definitions and sentences
2. Preview Hamlet Act I Scene I

Sunday, October 12, 2014

canterbury tales essay prompt

If you're doing option a) or b) this weekend, here is the prompt-- and thanks to Lupita for letting me know this hadn't posted!

How do Geoffrey Chaucer's inspirations and use of literary techniques 
in Canterbury Tales suggest the importance of both honoring and questioning 
literary and social traditions?

Friday, October 10, 2014

reminder: you have access to the best-informed thinkers of our time

Yesterday after we watched Kirby Ferguson's "Everything is a Remix" video I Tweeted about it and included Kirby's handle.  Kirby replied:

So now I remix the Tweet into a micro-lesson-via-blog-post to remind us all that the end-user network known as the Public Internet gives us direct access to the experts.  If you want to know something about creativity/originality as it relates to the art of the remix, don't be shy: Ask Kirby!  (And please remember to use the hashtags #phonar #dplitcomp #opnsl)