Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31*


(1) Write a synopsis of the action in last night's reading.
(2) Describe your reactions to the text.  What do you remember thinking and/or feeling while you read?  What do you think contributed to your reactions?

1. Journal
2. Reading quiz
3. Vocab review
4. Continue reading

1. Study vocab for quiz tomorrow (Friday)
2. Have your poem/song ready for recital
3. Comment to this post with your observations from today's class and/or suggestions for next time

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30*

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Alligator Story" by Louis Armstrong; "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" by The Beatles; "Wedding Rain" by Liz Story]

In thinking back on the literature analysis you should be finishing up this week (and/or consulting your active reading notes), describe 2-3 literary techniques the author used.  What purpose(s) did these techniques serve?  How would a Bradbury character, theme, or plot line complement or disrupt the structure/tone?  Be sure to include the title and author.

1. Journal
2. Discuss synopses pp. 31-50
3. Lit circles

1. Read to p.70
2. Curate lit circle sample work (with links to partner blogs)
3. Read at least five of the Member Blogs "PEEVED PEDESTRIAN" posts and comment
4. REMINDER: post SPRING LITERATURE ANALYSIS #1 by midnight tonight

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Taking Care of Business" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive; "Taking Care of No Business" by Jimi Hendrix)

What is it about routine that makes our lives both easier (more efficient) and harder to change (put down that third bag of Hot Cheetos!)?  Describe a routine you want to start, describe a routine you want to stop, and describe a routine you want to continue.

1. Journal
2. Reading quiz (pp.31-50)
3. Vocab
4. Continue reading

1. Read this quote:
"What is it that makes you want to write songs? In a way you want to stretch yourself into other people's hearts. You want to plant yourself there, or at least get a resonance, where other people become a bigger instrument than the one you're playing. It becomes almost an obsession to touch other people. To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack." -Keith Richards
2. Answer this question in a post to your blog entitled THE PEEVED PEDESTRIAN:
What is it that made Ray Bradbury write the novel you're reading? What in your analysis of literary techniques led you to this conclusion? (Make sure to include textual support illustrating Bradbury's use of at least three techniques we've studied/discussed this year.)
3.  Begin memorizing a song, a poem, or your poem and be ready to recite on Friday, Feb 1.

Monday, January 28, 2013

vocab hw postponed & credit on offer

The vocab list will go up later tonight (or possibly early tomorrow morning).  If you're here looking for it, stand and be counted with a comment to this post.  If you have a valuable question or observation about the vocab or the book in general, it's worth credit.  I'm also considering posting my own quiz questions for tomorrow now that I've read yours-- stay tuned...

sat prep wednesdays at lunch

If you're interested in preparing for the SAT, join your colleagues for lunch on Wednesdays in room 608.  Like all things Open Source Learning, it started with a learner and an idea:

January 28*

JOURNAL TOPIC: ("Creativity in Action/I'm In the Mood For Love" by Steve Martin; "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" by The Temptations)

What's the difference between writing fiction and telling a lie?

1. Journal
2. Reading quiz (?)
3. Vocab

1. Post vocab to your blog under the heading "SPRING VOCAB #1"


I know that this course blog is on borrowed Internet space, and that the Blogger/Google powers-that-be can blink it out of existence at any moment.

I know that I should back up each and every post, comment, and template feature just in case the worst happens and I need to recreate this blog from scratch.

But I don't back up nearly as often as I should, because I have a million other things to do and I haven't made it a habitual part of my routine.

And, now, thanks to Josh, I don't have to worry about it.  There is an easier way.  Take three minutes (max), follow the directions here, and enjoy the peace of mind.

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath; "The Iron Wheel" by Tom Morello)

As Ernest Hemingway once observed, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.  But those that will not break it kills."  Our first impression of Montag is one of strength and confidence-- but almost immediately, his encounter with Clarisse causes him to turn inward, question himself, and confront the truth of his nature and his marriage.  Do you think think Montag will be broken?  Do you see "breaking" as evidence of strength or weakness?  Do you expect his brokenness to create a more successful resolution?  Will he survive the introspection and the forces that seek to prevent it?

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Discuss journal
4. Continue reading

1. Read to p. 50
2. Work on literature analysis

literature analysis remix

This semester, in addition to choosing what you'll read, you can choose how best to represent the answers to the Literature Analysis Questions (please be sure to consult the link before each Literature Analysis-- the questions are the same for January, but they'll change for February and March).

Last semester we talked about remix (you can review the resources here), and the fact that remixing is a way of creating new messages out of previously produced material.  When you remix you are sending a message-- you're teaching your audience.  And to teach something, you have to learn it twice. 

So, whether you use elements of the text, audio, pics, video, traditional paragraphs, all of the above, or something else altogether, make sure your blog viewers can easily get the information they need by consulting your LITERATURE ANALYSIS REMIX #[1, 2, 3...] posts.

The first one is due next Thursday, January 31.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Walking in LA" by Missing Persons; "Walking After You" by The Foo Fighters; "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn)

Is walking from place to place something people do anymore?  Do you walk in your community/neighborhood?  (Slouching from locker to locker during passing periods doesn't count.)  What can you tell about a person or a culture by how much/how fast/how often they walk?

1. Journal
2. Start reading F 451 to p. 30
3. Rewrite poem

1. Finish rewrite (as either Guy or Clarisse) and post to your blog (under the original assignment header: I'M A POET AND I KNOW IT)
2. Review/finish reading to p.30

January 23*

What did you learn in class today?

1. Check out F 451
2. Intro/Read/Discuss
3. Vocab

1. Vocabulary word suggestions (comment to this post)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22*


"I don't know."  LA.  "It's hot."  "Tacos.  I'm hungry."  "Why is Dr. Preston asking what I just thought about?"

The art of writing is expressing what goes through our minds in ways others can understand without talking to us.  Share what you've been thinking about in a way that makes sense to a reader who may never meet you.

1. Journal
2. *POOF!* You're a poet

1. Revise & publish your poem to your blog (Post Title: I'M A POET AND I KNOW IT)--> [Update: this is not required yet, but if you're feeling it go ahead.  More in class tomorrow.]
2. Bring ID tomorrow (Wed 1.23)

Friday, January 18, 2013

literature analysis schedule

Let's keep this simple and easy to remember.  The minimum requirement is three analyses, due at the end of January (31), February (28), and March (31).  Every additional book you read and analyze will be considered extra credit-- there is no limit.

January 18*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon; "Rock & Roll High School" by The Ramones; "My Old School" by Steely Dan)

What's the difference between learning about a book in school and learning about a book on your own?  Now that you have some choices in how you learn and express what you know, how do you think we should study a novel together and compare it with the books you read on your own?

1. Journal
2. Essay

1. Read your literature analysis book
2. Add a "Follow by Email" gadget to your blog
3. Recruit 20 students from the two RHS course sections to follow your blog

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Songs for a Future Generation" by the B-52s; "Future Shock" by Curtis Mayfield)

 Do you have a positive or negative view of the future? Why?

1. Journal
2. Poetic stragglers/discuss HW
3. "Dover Beach"

1. Read the Wikipedia entry for Fahrenheit 451 and post five things you learned that you think will be important to understanding the novel (title: FAHRENHEIT 451)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

i have to swim against her?

The title of this article should be, "I GET to Swim Against Her?"  When did people get so afraid of testing themselves against the best?  Who wants to reminisce by saying, "When I was in high school I almost competed against an Olympian but my parents and my school didn't think I was good enough and they worried that my fragile self-esteem might be crushed if I lost a swim meet..."?

January 16*

Reflect on the process of memorization and the meaning of the poem.  What did you learn through the process of reading deeply/repetitively?  What questions do you have about the context of t poem and the techniques evident in it? 

1. Welcome to English B

1. Finish journal
2. In a post on your blog entitled THEME FOR ENGLISH 3, compare your own experience in school with the narrator's in "Theme for English B."  Some questions for you to consider along the way:
  • Are you the person your teachers think you are?  
  • Can you be your real self as you pursue knowledge and find your place in the world?  
  • What elements of you do you have to check at the gate when you get to school? 
  • Do you have interests, talents or experiences that could add meaning to the class and enrich the learning experience for you and others?
  • What elements of you do you think is valued by school and the "powers-that-be"?  
  • What do you feel compelled to keep private?  
  • Is it possible for you to take ownership of your learning process and demonstrate what you know, or is your role in learning a function of authority and power relationships?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"paper is boring"

Check out the RHS Legend website (thanks, Cameron!)

January 15*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: whatever's playing in your head.)

What does it mean to be accountable to another person?  To a friend?  A boss?  A spouse?

1. Journal
2. Literature analyses
3. SMART goals and accountability
4. Time to memorize

1. Finish poetry for recital tomorrow (Wednesday, January 16)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 14*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: nothing formal, humming/singing always an option)

Describe the best "you had to be there" story you've ever heard.  (If you haven't heard one worth remembering, tell one of your own.  If nothing comes to mind, make one up.  If that doesn't work, write a short story involving a squeaky wheel, a bottle of shampoo, and a salmon.)

1. Journal
2. Memorize poetry
3. Read your Literature Analysis book (which sub/TAs will check for credit)

1. Poetry
2. Literature Analysis reading

Saturday, January 12, 2013

recap of friday and more on goals

Here is a recap of yesterday's conversations.  If you took away something important that you don't see here, please comment to this post for the benefit of anyone who wasn't there.

  • Setting a big personal goal is harder than it sounds.
  • The idea is not to guess at how to satisfy the expectations of others, but how to identify something important enough to actively, passionately pursue.  Several people noted that this relates directly to the passage from Siddhartha.
  • A good goal is one that inspires.  One student said she wanted to make her parents proud.  Everyone at the table could tell she was doing the right thing, but further on in the conversation someone asked what she wanted to do.  Watching her talk about the restaurant she wanted to open in order to build her parents catering business was like watching the sun rise.  She literally lit up the whole table; her smile caused the others to smile too.  Even though her goal wasn't their goal, her enthusiasm was contagious.
  • Your job isn't figuring out the rest of the course.  You'll have help for that.  (A LOT of help. :)  Your job is to figure out what you really want to accomplish, and to begin imagining how we can use the course to move you closer to what you envision.
  • Several students wondered if identifying a meaningful goal was a worthy goal.  It is.  One of the most important and universal narratives is the protagonist who must take action, make decisions, and embark on a journey to figure out who she really is and where she fits in the world.  
We will revisit all of this on Tuesday.  Looking forward to reading your thoughts on your blogs!

Friday, January 11, 2013

let kids rule the school

Thought this might be an interesting read as you plan your semester.

the future of work

essays for tips?

Check this out.

January 11*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Angel Eyes" by Ella Fitzgerald; "Loveless Love" by Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars; "Round Midnight" by Thelonious Monk)

What were the most compelling elements of your learning in Fall Semester? Did you draw inspiration from a Big Question, Collaborative Working Group, remix, new technology, literature analysis book, outside connected project, or something else related to the course? As you think about the options available to you (which include just about whatever you can imagine), what inspires you now as you imagine the next six months?

1. Journal
2. The Harlem Renaissance and American art
3. SMART Goals: from goal to plan

1. Please select your first Literature Analysis book & bring to class on Monday, January 14
2. Please create a post on your course blog entitled "SPRING SEMESTER PLAN 1" and describe your plan per in-class discussion (I will update this post with a recap after class.)
3. Please begin memorizing "Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes (see below)-- due Wednesday, January 16.


By Langston Hughes

The instructor said,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Graceland" by Paul Simon; "Boy in the Bubble" by Paul Simon; "Homeless" by Paul Simon)

1. Based on what you learned last night, is it fair to say these songs were "by" Paul Simon? Why/why not?
2. Explain how Simon created something new by going back to the roots of a musical genre. 3. Can we describe music as literature?

1. Journal
2. Discuss HW
3. Your colleagues are treasure to be hunted* (*catch and release)
4. SMART goals

1. Create a post for your blog entitled, "SPRING POST 1: MUSIC AS LITERATURE"
2. In that post, answer this question: Can we consider music to be literature? How do we define literature? What is the difference between a novel, a poem, a rap, a song, an opera, and a symphony?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

re: goals

"Why bother creating our own goals," a student asked me once, "when we're already told what it means to succeed in school?  Aren't we just supposed to get A's?"

Being able to set and achieve goals is important in every endeavor: sports, organizations, self-improvement.  Even though they know their roles and agree on the idea of winning, for example, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski requires his players to set goals for themselves and the team each season.  In Coach K's words, “Mutual commitment helps overcome the fear of failure—especially when people are part of a team sharing and achieving goals. It also sets the stage for open dialogue and honest conversation.”

When you share your goals you're sharing ideas that inform and inspire your colleagues.  These goals will form the basis for your Learning Plan over the spring semester, so please read this post and get the job done. 

Keep something else in mind.  Unlike players on a basketball team, you are being allowed, encouraged, and required to change the game itself.  Why not analyze a Russian novel by comparing it with its modern film adaptation?  Go see Anna Karenina and then think about how to demonstrate what you know in such a way that it will help the AP community.  Want to create a robot that writes Russian novels?  You can do that too.

If you are still thinking of this as a high school course to be gamed, find your closest friend and ask her to roll up a newspaper and smack you on the nose with it.  (*If it doesn't work the first time, ask a friend who reads the newspaper on a computer.) (**In this day and age, I should probably point out that this is not an actual instruction. Hands are not for hitting. Baseball bats are, but that isn't really relevant or appropriate here and now I find myself wondering how Montaigne ever righted the ship once he got off on one of these tangents.) If you're one of those people who cut corners last semester and thought we didn't notice, she will be doing you a favor.  It's better that you get your act together in private before we get started, before everyone sees what you do all the time, before 70% of your course grade is determined by your learning network.

Last semester was rehearsal.  This is showtime.

More on how to achieve your goals and develop your community of critique tomorrow. 

how teens *actually* use the internet

Do you think this is *actually* accurate?

January 9*

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Let the Day Begin" by The Call; "Where Do I Begin?" by Jill Sobule; "Begin the Begin" by R.E.M.)

Describe a thought or a feeling that you'd forgotten over break and experienced again when you walked back into this room.  Describe the semester you want to create for yourself in here.

1. Journal
2. Reboot
3. Introduction to spring semester (part I)
4. In-class creative writing

1. Research Paul Simon's album Graceland (starting with this video) and come to class Thursday prepared to discuss whether this qualifies as American Literature.  To do this properly, you will have to do some research and review your notes in order to define American Literature and make your case.  Please post your notes to your blog (title: "SIMON SAYS") and/or bring them to class.
2. Write about upcoming work on your blog.