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.