Friday, May 31, 2013

submit your blog stats here

Please click this link to submit your blog stats. Mucho mahalo.

osl showcase 12 june

I've been invited to present Open Source Learning at the SMJUHSD Board of Education meeting on June 12.  The meetings are open to the public and you're invited to attend.

May 31*

This is your last journal topic for the year.  What do you want to say?

1. Journal
2. Early presentations


Thursday, May 30, 2013

cal poly senior project survey

Below are links to Cassidy's surveys.  If you complete the surveys and you'd like to read her paper, please include an email address where she can send a copy.

May 30*

As you stand at the edge, after nearly a year of thinking together, does this poem mean anything different than the first time we talked about it last summer?

1. Journal
2. Yearbook
3. Logistics/tomorrow's program

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29*

Think of a recent book or movie you read.  What other (previously read/viewed books/movies did it bring to mind?  Why?  Was the connection the product of an intentional reference (allusion, parody, satire) or your own associative thinking?

1. Journal
2. Presentation sign-ups
3. Resume conferences


Post to your course blog.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28*

What have you learned from writing-- and from not writing-- in your journal this year?

1. Journal
2. Project status reports/final exam decision
3. Planning rest of the week

1. projectsprojectsprojectsprojects
2. Post something about your project and your progress on it to your course blog

Monday, May 27, 2013

expository comp'ers

If you're taking Expository Comp next year, please let me know which day this week you'd like to have a lunchtime orientation meeting to get ready (nothing heavy, just blog prep and news about college admissions and scholarships-- if you wait until fall to start preparing your applications, you will be at a competitive disadvantage).  If you have any friends who are taking the course please feel free to bring them along.  Comment to this post or let me know in class tomorrow.

in observance of memorial day

There is no better way to honor the men and women who have died in the military than to celebrate our freedom and live our lives to the fullest.  Do and think great things on this Memorial Day.  Looking forward to your project news tomorrow.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24*

Describe your worst class/teacher ever.  Why was the experience negative?  How can you learn from it?

1. Journal
2. Turn in resume
3. Project planning

1. Projects
2. Final review (just in case)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23*

JOURNAL TOPIC: Write a short story based on the following picture [Source: Van Allsburg, Chris, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston: Massachusetts (1984)]:

1. Journal
2. Resumes
3. Projects

1. Fine tune resume 2. Project work

jp bouvet with matt halpern

Friend of the course JP Bouvet interviews Matt Halpern about taking the risk and doing what you love: "If you do what you love enough you'll get good at what you do and you'll be able to share with others." (Thanks, Ricky!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22*

Why do people make spelling errors on words they already know?  It's been famously observed that, "To err is human."  Why?  What is the connection between imperfection and humanity?  Is imperfection a flaw, or a glorious, romantic state of being, well... us?

1. Journul
2. Resumes conferences

1. Post what you worked on in class today (title: PROJECT IN PROCESS)
2. Refine your resume based on our conversation and bring updated draft to class tomorrow (Thur 5/23)

big questions

Here's the list:
  1. How do movie writers that write about scary stories think of those freaky things.  For example, the human centepede sic and shows where they have ideas that no one in their right mind could think about.  My question is how is that possible without being mentally ill or crazy?
  2. One of my big questions would be, and when I ask this, I ask to everyone: Are you sad?  Are you sad that you will never truly know yourself and the people around you?  Life will go on and in a couple years we won't be thought of anymore.  Unless you do something memorable.  Are you sad that nothing in your life will ever actually matter because in the end we will all die?
  3. My Big Question is, Are there really mermaids in the ocean?  I watched this documentary about how the government set off a nuclear bomb in the ocean and killed a lot of species and found bodies of mermaids and covered it up.
  4. Do you have to live in a big city to be a forensic psychologist?
  5. Do shrinks go crazy because they listen to other people's problems and do they even care about the people?  In movies all they say is "How does that make you feel?"
  6. How did Osama Bin Laden and the rest of Al Quaeda get through the airport security and on planes on 9/11?
  7. Is there a true right answer to everything?
  8. How was Earth created?
  9. What would we do if all of a sudden technology disappeared?
  10. How would the world be without the Internet?
  11. Why do people believe in so many religions and try so hard to prove others wrong when neither of them are right?
  12. Do psychologists really, truly, and genuinely understand what you're going through, do they actually know how to help or are they just types of social workers who abide by all rules given to help?  Do they want to go out of their way to help you feel better?  Who made the coping skills and why do they assume they'll work?
  13. Why? Who? How? Where? When?
  14. How do earphones work with all those wires connecting to make noise?  How did house music/electronic music make all those unique noises synch into music?  I want to make music as well.
  15. Can marijuana increase your IQ and overall health?
  16. Why does our body show sudden ticks or movements that reveal how we feel?
  17. Is there life out there besides Earth?
  18. How many people in the world are actually unique?  How many people in the world have someone in the world with the same personality, or characteristics, or humor, or past-- and doesn't even know the person who is like them.  I came up with this question because one day I was talking to my friend about twins.  There is that saying that everyone has a twin.  Me and my friend both were actually born twins so we were wondering does that mean that we do not have another twin in the world?  Is that saying that everyone has a twin true?  Is anyone in the world the same?  These questions bother me, because there are so many people in the world that you may think how could there not be someone like you because there are so many mixes of personality traits, pasts, etc. that how could anyone else have the same mixture. Is there another world, or some sort of life form besides ours?  If we are only one galaxy within a universe it seems completely possible.  Although we would not be able to ever know for sure, and the Bible does not refer to any other world.
  19. How can you tell if someone's insane or just really creative?  What are the qualifications to be insane?  Aren't we all a little crazy in our own way?
  20. What inspires people to make war not love?
  21. What time is it?
  22. How did people think to smoke plants to feel relaxing effects?
  23. What makes us attractive to others?
  24. For the people who thought that the world was going to end: How many of you did really stupid or crazy stuff?
  25. Does Bigfoot exist?
  26. Why are humans so curious?
  27. Why do humans need interaction?
  28. Why am I the person I am?  Do I have a purpose in life?  Was I created to affect the world in a good way, a bad way or nothing at all?
  29. Why is the world so stupid?
  30. Why do creationists think they're right despite all of science telling them they're wrong?
  31. What happens when you die?
  32. What will I accomplish in life?  Will it have to do with work or something totally different?
  33. Are video games good for us?
  34. Why do people make stupid decisions?  How do people make decisions?
  35. What force of nature controls how the world works?
  36. If we were to face the end of the world, how would it take place?
  37. Do you think the world will make better choices to stop global warming or will it just get worse?
  38. How long will society keep advancing?
  39. What makes people so complex?
  40. How can I excel in swimming to become faster than I already am?
  41. Who can determine what's perfect, who can determine what's wrong?  Can you say my handwriting is horrible?  Can someone have a perfect life?  People believe a mirror is perfectly smooth.  But scientists can tell it is full of bumps.  My real question is, who was the first person to define the word perfect?  Everywhere you look whatever it is television or a magazine.  Their people telling you what perfect looks like, feels like, or what perfect is.  Is being perfect means you're a saint?  Or a killer if you are in the army?  What is perfect?
  42. What's your passion?  What role does it play in your life?
  43. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."  How do other people's words affect you?  Has anyone's words ever inspired any of your life's choices?
  44. What is your outlook on the Big Bang theory?
  45. What's your favorite childhood memory and why?
  46. Could Batman defeat Spiderman in hand-to-hand combat?
  47. Why can't people get along and treat each other as one?  Why do we have to judge people and make them feel crappy and insecure, instead of happy and in love with who they are?
  48. How come we form mouths if our belly buttons already serve as one in the womb?
  49. What's going to happen with Obama becoming president for a second term?
  50. Why do the people of our world not worry about our world and live their lives without even looking at how fast it goes by?
  51. What is going to happen to the world?
  52. Why are people so fast to point fingers and blame someone when something goes wrong?
  53. Will I fail in life?
  54. Will I go through with what I want to do in life?
  55. Do I really need to go to a university or expensive college rather than a state or community college to have a successful career later in life?
  56. Why can't we fly?  Are there real superheroes?
  57. What's at the bottom of the ocean?
  58. How big is space?  Are there other planets like Earth?
  59. Are there aliens?
  60. Why can't we remember our dreams?
  61. What happens after you die?
  62. Why do people die?  What would it be like if no one died?
  63. Why can't I just be happy with myself?
  64. Where will my life be in three years?
  65. What makes color so appealing to the human eye?
  66. What is a nightmare?
  67. What is the meaning of life?  Why are we here today?
  68. What causes people to go crazy?
  69. How are rainbows created?
  70. Me and Diego were talking about what the meaning of life is, and we narrowed it down to one question.  Who defines what's right and what's wrong?  Now taken at face value, that wounds like the cliche question theists and atheists have been talking about for centuries, but really it opens a plethora of ideas.
  71. Why do we have these English words?  Are they slang from French and Old English?  Why did some words get chosen for certain subjects/objects?
  72. What is going to happen with technology and the Internet in the future?
  73. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
  74. How do people train horses and get them to do tricks?
  75. If you find a baby cow, and you have no idea how old they are, how do you tell?
  76. Why do people not take things seriously?
  77. Around what time does the narwhal bacon?
  78. How does our brain work, how does it think, how does it keep memory inside and how does it distinguish one thing from another?
  79. How do black holes work and how long do they last?
  80. Why are we instantly negative about everything?
  81. Why do we all tend to take life for granted?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21*

Think of an object in your bedroom that you've owned for at least 8 years.  Now make it the narrator of today's journal-- what story would it tell about you?

1. Journal
2. Project proposals
2. Resumes

1. Review the resume materials we discussed in class (here and here). 2. Create a hard copy draft of your resume (12-point Times New Roman font) and bring it to class tomorrow

***(Can anyone advise on how to add an accent on the "e" so I can spell reh-zoo-may instead of ree-zoom?)

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20*


Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden once described character as who you are, and reputation as the person others think you are.  Compare & contrast your character and your reputation.

1. Journal
2. Showcase Q & A
3. Brag sheet

1. Post your brag sheet to your blog

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17*

Which do you prefer, cyberpunk or gonzo journalism?  Why? (Use at least 3 qualities of each genre in your reasoning.)

1. Journal
2. Essay exam

1. Think back on the year and reflect on what you understood/did best.  Post to your blog under the heading "BEST OF AMERICAN LIT"
2. Write a proposal for your final presentation and be ready to present it in class on Monday (you don't have to post to your blog, pieces of paper/notes OK).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16*


Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, "The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." What does this mean to you? Do you agree with the idea? Based on this type of thinking, what do you expect his writing to be like?

1. Journal
2. Cyberpunk wrap-up
3. Gonzo journalism & Hunter S. Thompson

1. Read the articles about the 1970 Kentucky Derby after the jump. 2. Post your active reading notes to your blog (title: DERBY REPORTAGE)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

hacker research

A Hacker Broke Into 420,000 Computers To Bring You This Stunning GIF Of The Entire Internet At Work

microdonations when you like, favorite, or star

Flattr calls itself "the easiest way to support creators."  What do you think of the idea?  Are there any other platforms that do this, or related alternatives you like better?

teenage heroes

Read this and show it to an adult who doesn't know how awesome teenagers can be.

May 15*


What's your earliest memory of what you wanted to be when you "grew up"?  How has your vision evolved over time?

1. Journal
2. Cyberpunk

1. Read "Johnny Mnemonic" by William Gibson.  Explain the story and why it's postmodern/cyberpunk in a blog post entitled "JOHNNY CYBERPUNK"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14*


William Gibson wrote, "The sky above the port was the color of a television, tuned to a dead channel."  What did he mean?  How does this description/exposition set the tone for a novel?

William Gibson also said, "The future is already here; it's just unevenly distributed."  What did he mean?

Think on either or both of these quotes and interpret/explain.

1. Journal
2. Finish postmodern projects
3. [?]

HW: Start thinking about your end-of-semester showcase

Monday, May 13, 2013

two articles from my high school

I was in LA this weekend and caught up with some friends from the neighborhood.  They told me about an incident at my old high school.  I found the articles on the Los Angeles Times site; feel free to share the next time someone tells you students shouldn't have access to social media on campus.

May 13*

Summarize your favorite cyberpunk/gonzo journalism piece. What made it cyberpunk or gonzo?

1. Journal
2. Write an essay in which you declare yourself a cyberpunk or a gonzo journalist. Explain why/how your writing qualifies you as such.

1. Make sure you understand the basics of cyberpunk and/or gonzo for tomorrow's conversation and ensuing pandemonium.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10*

What do you want to say to your future self, the person who will be reading this journal topic in 2018?

1. Journal
2. Finish postmodern presentations
3. Favorite cyberpunk/gonzo pieces

1. Talk to your future self here and curate the experience on your blog (title: FUTURE ME)
2. Start thinking about your semester showcase

Thursday, May 9, 2013

my best day

In some ways, every day is my best day.  It's a privilege to wake up above the dirt and live this life.  Sometimes, though, to be honest, it's easy to get mired in things [stress, problems, other people's dramas] that distract me from how amazing thinkers really are. And sometimes amazing thinkers are too shy or used to playing the "school game" to declare themselves and do their best work.

Today there were several presentations on postmodernism that rocked, and I'm grateful, because they didn't just teach us about the subject, they taught us about their authors (sorta like we got to know Vonnegut through Slaughterhouse Five). This is why I do what I do.  I especially want to thank Jon & Analyssa for stepping so far outside the box that for just a moment I forgot there was a box.  Your presentations were terrific and I've embedded them below.

To all the quiet people who haven't yet discovered their opportunity to shine in this course: I can't wait for your best day.

May 9*


Walking through the halls I often hear this exchange: "How are you?" "Not much." When we're young we ask for information and we give it freely in return-- why and when do you think people stop telling the truth ("Fine") or even listening to each other?

1. Journal
2. Postmodern project presentations

1. Choose one of the cyberpunk/gonzo pieces in yesterday's comments; read it and be ready to answer/ask questions & discuss tomorrow

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8*

How would you go about writing a p05Tm0d3rn1sT story?

1. Journal
2. Write a postmodernist story (due at end of period) about the making of your postmodernist project

1. Finish your project if you haven't already (due tomorrow)
2. Find a cyberpunk story or a gonzo journalism story and post a link in a comment to this post

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

is anyone interested in doing something like this?

May 7*


What order difference make does have chronological story in a sentence or?

1. Journal
2. Perception and understanding
3. Postmodern works in progress

1. Write an essay about Slaughterhouse Five and postmodernism, and publish to your course blog under the title, MY SLAUGHTERHOUSE

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6*

Describe last Friday's class.  What happened?  What did you learn?

1. Journal
2. Postmodern discussion/debrief
3. Project status

1. Finish your project

Friday, May 3, 2013

teaching, learning, postmodernism and criticism

Teaching is hard, especially in today's school culture. Standing up in front of the room and suggesting that everyone think about what you have to offer puts a bullseye on your forehead and practically begs people to ask questions like, "Who do you think you are?" and "Why should I listen to you?" I want to thank Ashlie for giving it a shot, especially in my absence.

As you know, postmodernism can be confusing to people who don't have much experience with it. We are surprised by the unfamiliar, and not always in a fun, exciting, opening-a-birthday-present kind of way. This is as true in life as it is in literature. It must have been a shock for the sub to see a student acting as teacher, in the same way some of you were taken aback by Vonnegut inserting himself as a character in the fictional novel he wrote. And, just as some of you were unprepared for Vonnegut's language, imagery, and humorous treatment of war, apparently the sub was unprepared for the language and subject matter addressed in the videos Ashlie used to illustrate elements of the postmodern project you're doing over the weekend. (I don't know what she showed and I'll ring on that when we see each other next week.)

All too often we communicate in ways that don't bring us closer to the truth or each other. I was sorry to hear--from several sources-- that the conversation between the sub and Ashlie turned negative and disrupted the class. I'd like to propose that we learn from it.  Here are three ways off the top of my head:

First: Please be sure to complete your postmodern presentation: the in-class exchange does not in any way change our itinerary or your obligations.  It may change the way you see viewer/reader response to postmodernism; do you think there is a generational difference?  Can you imagine a reader feeling irritated at the breakdown of the fourth wall?

Second: Please read this letter from Kurt Vonnegut to the Superintendent who burned copies of Slaughterhouse Five because the book contains "obscene" language.

Third: Please understand that no compelling/impactful/innovative/disruptive new idea or presentation is ever met with universal acceptance.  Innovation and entrepreneurship of any kind require a combination of resilience and the ability to refine & strengthen practice in light of critical feedback.  ONWARD!

All comments/observations are welcome.  

May 3*

Write about your experience learning with/from one of your own.  How does it help to learn about a book & a way of writing from a peer? 

1. Journal
2. Pick up where you left off yesterday
3. Plan for the assignment you agreed to with Ashlie


p2p Pomo Assignment

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2*

How would your favorite author describe this morning? Write in his/her style; if you can't think of a favorite author, make fun of the style of an author you didn't like reading.

1. Journal
2. Discuss Chapters 1-7 with Beka and/or Ashlie
3. Continue reading

HW: (Per class progress-- you should be on pace to finish the book over the weekend.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1*


Over the last two days we started the most important conversation of the year.  Now that you've had a chance to reflect, how will you use this class to your greatest advantage in the month remaining?

1. Journal
2. Odds/ends from yesterday
3. Your 3 "burning questions" from Slaughterhouse 5
4. Quiz threat
5. Chapter 6
6. (if we get this far) Begin Chapter 7

1. Finish reading Chapter 7
2. Choose a favorite quote from Chapter 7, publish to your course blog, and explain both why it jumped out at you and what you think it means (title: SCHLACHTOF SIEBEN-- also include your active reading notes)

yesterday's socratic seminars

Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion yesterday. Periods 1 & 2 handled the conversations very differently; both were extremely productive and generated a lot of good ideas. Following are my notes-- they're organized by period but all ideas are open to anyone, and you're welcome to change/create new possibilities. If you have any additions or corrections please comment to this post. We will be continuing the conversation and developing your ideas into paths of inquiry and projects next week.


  • Self-expression is key
    • each individual has something important to contribute
    • each student is living a learning life
  • No rules
    • community/network standards of excellence are more important than authority-based "do's and don'ts"
    • remove "one size fits all" limits so each person can re-establish their personal sense of self and identity
    • our work shows who we are and what/how we think
  • Idea: "Sh*t students say" video
    • challenge: learners want to step outside the box without playing to stereotype of lazy, goofy teenagers
    • lots of interest/discussion around video idea-- students can record their own message/s, upload, and use in a variety of ways
  • Idea: letter to ourselves with a goal, inspirational message, action plan, reminder of who we are today
  • We need to do something--individually and as a community-- that blows expectations away
  • Idea: end-of-semester presentations of our learning journeys
  • Idea: watch "Pulp Fiction" as example of postmodernism
  • Students want to learn about authors & why they chose to write the way they did (especially the American postmodernists)
  • Learning is personal
  • Students weren't sure about outcomes yet, decided to go around the room and start with interests:
    • Analyssa: photojournalism
    • Rudy: music
    • Easton: creative writing
    • Mia: teenage lives & culture
    • Ashley: academic essays & decision-making/goal-setting
    • Adam: improving blog design and content
    • Uri: music, specifically creating & critiquing electronic music
    • Des: music/vocals
    • Christian: sports and how they teach us about life off the field/court
    • Austyn: Greek mythology
    • Chase: resumes
    • Andrew: scholarships for college
    • Eli: SMART goal (in pursuit of a career in engineering)
    • Whitney: ideas communicated in different media/idiom/metaphor
    • Sarah: world cultures (geography, language, social norms/behaviors/beliefs)
    • Jon: acting
    • Kristian: literature from other cultures
    • Erick: music
    • Jared: hack school as a cultural anthropologist ("I was watching people during the passing period, and thinking...")
    • Francisco: music as literature
    • Lissette: watch the new movie version of Gatsby and leave QR codes all over theater
    • Ricky: drumming/skateboarding-->transcendentalism
    • Nathan: figuring out what I want to do now that I know what I don't want to do
    • Malik: coding/gaming