Sunday, September 30, 2012

reminder: vocab midterm fri 10.5

To those vocabulary champions who have been watching the blog and wondering why List #7 hasn't been posted, this is a reminder that this week is the midterm.  Everything on lists 1-6 is eligible.  You will have time in class on Monday to organize yourselves for the purpose.

The goal is perfection. :)

*October 1

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: up to you]

In schooling the word "test" has a particular set of connotations.  In the world, being tested means different things altogether.  Describe something from your life outside school that tested you.  How?  What did you learn?  Did you pass or fail?

1. Journal
2. Midterm preparation:
  • Determine what resources you'll need (vocabulary lists, to be sure, but what else will help you study?  flashcards?  software/apps?  other people?)
  • Talk and collaborate with people you want to team with
  • Create a schedule for yourself from today until Friday
  • Write a checklist on a piece of paper or device so that you can measure your progress each day
[UPDATE: I'm posting this the day before so that those of you who want to think about this and organize online can get started.]

1. Post your midterm review/study strategy to your blog.
2. Review at least 10 of your colleagues' blogs and comment with suggestions, questions, and thank-yous for good ideas.  If you get an idea worth using from someone else's blog, revise the strategy on your post to include it.  Credit the person who shared the idea by citing his/her blog as the source and including a link back to it.
3. If you find a blog that's worth an honorable mention for content or design, please comment to this post with the URL so that we can all see.

Friday, September 28, 2012

*September 28

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "We're All Alone" by Boz Scaggs; "Solitude" by Herbie Hancock]

Blaise Pascal observed that, "All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit still in a room alone."  Do you agree or disagree?  How do you feel in those moments when there is no noise, the screens are all dark, the books are all closed, and your only companion is the little voice inside?

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Intro to Thoreau's "Walden"

1. Spend time with "Dream Within a Dream"-- you'll need to be able to recite it from memory by Wednesday, 10.3
2. Take a walk by yourself.  Think.  Observe.  Write it all down.
3. Research Romanticism online and find 3 websites you think are credible.  Bookmark or cut/paste the URLs.
4. Using what you learned on these websites, read what you wrote and analyze whether it qualifies as Romantic literature.  Provide at least three reasons for your conclusion.
5. Post all the information from #1-3 to your blog by Monday, 10.1

Didn't memorize "Richard Cory," "Immigrants in Our Own Land" or "The Laughing Heart"?  You can salvage your grade in this domain by memorizing "The Raven" (text after the jump).  If you think it's too long, consider that everyone in my crappy LA junior high school's 7th grade English class-- including the kids who were just learning English-- did it.  We weren't any better or smarter than you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

*September 27

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Break on Through" by The Doors; "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" by Eliza Gilkyson (with a nod to Bob Dylan); "Rusty Cage" by Soundgarden]

Describe something you want to transcend.

1. Journal
2. "Dream Within a Dream"
3. Romanticism
4. Vocab review

1. Study for vocab quiz tomorrow

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

*September 26

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Walking Man" by James Taylor; "My Way" by Frank Sinatra; "Hazy Shade of Winter" by Simon & Garfunkel]

Listen to the lyrics of today's tunes. Write down examples of figurative language and imagery. When you get 3-5 for each song, explain how these ideas and ways of expressing them give you a sense of what the song is about.

1. Journal/discuss
2. YGB prompt & essay writing strategies
3. Hopeless Romanticism

1. Read Poe's "Dream Within A Dream" (after the break) and post a one-paragraph reaction/reflection to your blog.

Monday, September 24, 2012

*September 25

JOURNAL TOPIC: [radio silence, Project Infinity credit if the class can agree on a tune, hum in unison, and video/post to someone's blog]

Choose your own topic.  Since this should be of more interest to you than whatever someone else assigns, write closer to a page (or keep writing the whole period).

1. Journal
2. Work independently on vocabulary and/or literature analysis questions

1. Read your literature analysis book (remember that it needs to be finished by 10.1)

Vocabulary: Fall List #6


*September 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Isn't It Romantic" by Chet Baker; "A Fine Romance" by Ella Fitzgerald; "What I Like About You" by The Romantics]

What do the words romance and romantic mean to you?  Have you heard of Romanticism?  Do you think it means the same thing(s), or something else in the context of literature?  There's no way to get this wrong (yet), so throw in everything you think you know.

1. Journal
2. Vocab/finish writers' conferences
3. Intro to Romanticism (part I: part II will be Wednesday)
4. Your lit analysis book

1. Vocab definitions and sentences
2. Please bring your literature analysis book to class every day, and especially Tuesday 9.25

Friday, September 21, 2012

"self-regulated learners"

I just got an email advertising the online conference below, which costs $345 to attend.  Shouldn't college freshmen-- who are legally adults and theoretically able to lead independent lives in our culture and economy-- be able to think, plan, and take action independently by the time they graduate HS?  Please comment with your thoughts.

the art of hosting good conversations online

(original online here)

The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online

questions/ideas for howard rheingold

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Open Source Learning is connecting directly with authors and thinkers who create the materials we read and discuss.  At the end of October we will be talking online with Howard Rheingold.  (In addition to his own writing and teaching, Howard moderates online events for the University of California Irvine's Digital Media & Learning Hub, which is funded by the Macarthur Foundation.)

Another distinguishing characteristic of Open Source Learning is the idea that every participant can "write" to the curriculum-- in other words, we all create and refine our path(s) of inquiry by asking questions and suggesting resources, ideas and actions that accelerate understanding.

Lastly, Open Source Learning is transparent; online data can be shared in its original form.

Here's an example: Howard and I exchanged emails in which we discussed the online conferences.  I asked him about topics and he said it's up to you.  So, please comment to this post over the next month with anything you'd like to see considered in our conversation with Howard.

*September 21

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["You Learn" by Alanis Morissette; "Short Memory" by Midnight Oil]

President Roosevelt visited nonagenarian Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the hospital and was surprised to discover the old man reading a book on Greek grammar. "Why are you reading Greek grammar?" the president asked. "To improve my mind," the justice replied. Many students rightly want to get out of school, but mistakenly believe that their learning ends when they drop out or graduate. What is the difference between learning and schooling, and what is the value of learning in your life? How long do you plan to keep it up?

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Writers' conferences/jump start weekend HW

1. NOW post your essay revision/improvement strategy to your blog
2. Read your literature analysis book and take reading notes


Thursday, September 20, 2012

*September 20

JOURNAL TOPIC: [radio silence, Project Infinity credit if the class can agree on a tune, hum in unison, and video/post to someone's blog]

Choose your own topic.  Since this should be of more interest to you than whatever someone else assigns, write closer to a page (or keep writing the whole period).

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. Read literature analysis novel
4. Catch up on any outstanding assignments

1. Study vocab for tomorrow's quiz

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

*September 19

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett; "Strength, Courage & Wisdom" by India Arie]

Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden observed, "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."  Briefly describe your character and your reputation.  What differences do you see between the two?

1. Journal
2. Reading quiz: your American novel
3. Writers' conferences/vocab study

1. Choose a novel if you haven't yet & bring it to class tomorrow (p.1 don't disappoint Bernardo!; p.2 don't disappoint Kristina!)
2. Vocab

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

*September 18

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Hello, I Love You," "Love Her Madly" & "Love Me Two Times" by The Doors]

Bukowski's "Laughing Heart" communicates abstract, complicated ideas (inspiration, risk, independence, fulfillment, the meaning of life) in just a few lines.  How is it possible for something this short to convey as much meaning as a 700-page novel?

1. Journal
2. "Laughing Heart"
3. Vocab
4. CFA

Monday, September 17, 2012

online security links from ian may

This one's on me: after Ian's presentation many of you asked him for the links.  He told you they'd be on the course blog & he sent them to me the same day.  Sorry it took so long to post.

How to get rid of pop-ups

How to get rid of adware


Firefox Ad Blocker

Password Lockers

Password Checker

Email for course-related tech help:

Vocabulary: Fall List #5


*September 17

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Everyday I Write the Book" by Elvis Costello; "Everyday People" by Sly & The Family Stone; "Working Man" by Rush]

As Grantland Rice wrote, "When you climb up higher/on that laurel covered spire/To where the higher glories lurk/You find that the most of it is practice/And the rest of it is work."

How can your work ethic make up for whatever natural talent you don't have?

1. Journal
2.  Laughing Hearts
3. "Mind Amplifiers" [review/extend]
4. Vocab

1. Please post vocab definitions and sentences to your blog

Friday, September 14, 2012

mind amplifiers prezi

Since we're pressed for time, here is the rest of the Mind Amplifiers* prezi. Please have a look and comment to this post with observations and/or questions. We'll reserve time in class next week to discuss whatever needs discussing.

[*The term "Mind Amplifiers" was coined by Howard Rheingold (site here, wikipedia bio here) who has been studying technology and media for longer than I've been alive. Howard wrote a book on Mind Amplifiers and he currently teaches courses on technology, journalism and virtual community (a phrase he also coined) at Stanford and UC Berkeley. He has also created a series of independent online courses. I used the "Mind Amplifiers" title with Howard's permission for this prezi, which I presented at an RHS faculty inservice on August, 2011. Howard remains a friend of the course and he will join us for an online conference later in the semester.]

this life is your life

This commercial below was produced by Levi's (and then pulled from the airwaves in the UK due to the image of the young person staring down riot police), and it raises questions. Here are the ones you are required to answer by Monday, September 17 (please post your responses to #1-4 in comments here on the blog; then figure out how to embed a video, recreate the assignment, and post it with your answers to your own blog. #5 will be a live performance):

1. From what poem/author does this commercial borrow (without credit)?
2. Why might the use of this poem by a corporation be considered ironic?
3. Does the poem reflect the reputation of the author? Why/why not?
4. How did you find the answers to #1 & #3? Describe your research process and your sources in detail.
5. MEMORIZE the poem and be prepared to recite it on demand.

*September 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "A-Team" by Mike Post; "Winning" by Santana; "We Are the Champions" by Queen]

Would you rather be a minor player on a great team*, or a star on a so-so team? (*Think not only sports, but projects, organizations, etc.)

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Discuss essays

1. NOW you can reflect and post your revision strategy-- due Monday, 9.17 [UPDATE: psych.  don't worry about this yet. we'll revisit on Monday.]
2. Do this by Monday, 9.17

Thursday, September 13, 2012

*September 13

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun" by Julie Brown; "Delicious" by Jim Backus & Friend]

Texts-- in all media-- are often read differently by different readers. What is funny to one person can be offensive to another. One reader "gets the message" while another wonders, "What's the point?" How does the author of your literature analysis book use techniques such as figurative language, parody, satire, and allusion to encourage the reader to interpret the text? Is this more effective than coming right out and telling the reader everything s/he needs to know? Explain your answer.

1. Journal
2. Essay debrief

1. Post your plan for revision/strategy to your blog

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

*September 12

JOURNAL TOPIC: [tuneless]

As you reflect on today's in-class essay, what did you notice about your thinking and your writing?  What was easy?  What was challenging?  What was impossible?  What did you think of afterward that you wish you would've thought of while you were writing?  Since this was the first attempt this semester, what did you learn from the experience that will help you next time?


1. Journal (topic above)

practice essay prompt

I wasn't going to post anything like this until Jarrett told me I should. You can't argue with that kind of work ethic.


Explain how literary elements such as symbolism, diction and syntax reveal the tone and theme of Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown."


I just found a great resource on the symbolism in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"

*September 11

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Someday We'll All Be Free" by Alicia Keys; "Fragile" by Gordon Sumner; "Redemption Song" by Wyclef Jean]

Today is the 11-year anniversary of 9/11. Why do people celebrate anniversaries? What is it about noting a date on the calendar and following an associated ritual (giving gifts, going to a house of worship, taking a day off work, shooting fireworks, eating turkey, et al) that we find so important?  [UPDATE: And why do we focus our attention on something traumatic?  Doesn't every Little League coach say, "Shake it off and get the next one"?  When is it important to remember, when is it important to move on, and is there a way to do both?]

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. Review for tomorrow's in-class essay exam

1. Review for essay

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vocabulary: Fall List #4

These were the ones I saw in "Young Goodman Brown."  Please comment to this post if you noticed  others.


*September 10

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Are You Real" by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers]

Last week we talked about how we see reality and distinguish it from dreaming.  As you think about characters in stories and people you know, what gives you the sense that someone is real?  Why do you think the phrase "keeping it real" became popular?  What does the word "real" mean when we use it to describe how people act in their communication/relationships with others?

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. Prepare for YGB essay

1. Vocab definitions and sentences
2. Review YGB

Sunday, September 9, 2012

head start on YGB essay and next vocab list

I was just thinking about how to help you with next week's vocab list and also make sure you understand "Young Goodman Brown."  Here's what I came up with:

If there are any words you don't understand in "Young Goodman Brown," list them as comments to this post.  If you find the definition, or if someone else does, include it as a reply to the comment with the word.  Same with an example of usage (sentence or commentary will do).  I won't ring in unless I see something that needs clarification or correction.

Any word that is listed in this thread will be on the vocabulary list.  You get an extra day, the words have practical value, and the practice means you're more likely to remember them Friday.

The comment thread is open.

archival subject release form

Please print, review, sign, and return the actor/documentary/archival subject release form.

Now that we're all online, and now that many of you are recording the on-the-ground course and using video and pictures for other course-related activities, and now that we are learning how to create and manage our online identities for the purpose of building ethical, productive communities, it's important for you to learn about privacy, fair use, and how to avoid being perceived as a digital jerk. 

Next week we will begin the online peer editing process, and we will use the experience to begin learning about communities of interest and critique.  In the process we will discuss copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons licenses like the one that governs the use of material on this blog.

The release form includes both "Open Source Learning"-- which is all of us-- and "We Are Superman," a Collaborative Working Group that is creating a documentary about Open Source Learning.

Please Note: If you have a specific reason for guarding your privacy, please stop by in person or email so we can make arrangements that address your concerns and protect your likeness. 

archival subject release form

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"what should I have on my blog?"

Your blogs show individual styles and perspectives that provide windows on the course. Most of you already have the basics and you've added elements of your own.

Since the first couple weeks blew by in a flurry of newness, it might be useful to audit your blog and your comments to the course blog against the following list to make sure you've got what you need. (Reminder: this is in addition to in-class assignments such as vocabulary quizzes, "Richard Cory" etc.)  If you have any questions please comment to this post, or email, or stop by in person.  Mahalo.

So far you should have:
(NOTE: Post usually refers to what you put on your blog; comment usually refers to what you put here on the course blog.
  • Commented to the opening post (NOTE: If you weren't a part of that conversation, please comment with your opinion on the idea anyway.  Take the opportunity to express your view and ask any questions that will help you get what you need out of the experience.  Also please make sure to express any concerns or objections.  This isn't someone else's policy or learning process, it's ours.  Yours.  And your process is interdependent-- we're going to need each other-- so everyone needs at least a snapshot of how everyone else is thinking about it.  Check out the Ben Franklin quote.)
  • Posted Assignment #1
  • Posted Reflections on Week 1 (prompts: #4 in this HW and #2 in this one) [NOTE: If you weren't here for Week 1, reflect on your first week in the class.]
  • Vocabulary #1 Redux (and have a look at the list if you missed it, because those words will crop up on a mid-term and a final exam)
  • Commented to this post
  • Posted per this assignment on Young Goodman Brown (HW#1)
  • Posted an interview with a parent or someone outside school about the course (originally assigned for Hack to School Night, but since we have an ongoing online record, we're not limited to one night)
  • Posted answers to these questions on Young Goodman Brown
  • Posted definitions and sentences for Vocabulary: Fall List #2
  • Posted notes/comments on "Meanings, Signs & Symbols (Part I)"
  • Posted something you learned about online security from Ian's presentation
  • Posted 10 symbols/analysis from YGB
  • Posted whether or not you think symbolism is the most important thing you can learn
  • Posted an "AHA!" moment from lecture.

Did I miss anything? :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

course syllabus

If you are enrolled in the on-the-ground course, please read the following, print/sign/ask a parent to sign where indicated, and return the signed document to class on Monday, 9.10.  Mahalo.

English 3 2012-2013


TO: Righetti H.S. Students in Dr. Preston’s Classes

FROM: Dr. Preston


Every culture throughout history has a mythology. As different as world cultures and heritages are, they all share one story in common. The story involves a call to adventure. A young protagonist is captivated by a question or a challenge and leaves safety behind to explore a new land or idea. Along the way he or she is confronted with evil, helped by a mentor, and confused by issues of learning and faith. Ultimately he or she becomes knowledgeable, and returns home from the journey transformed, as a hero.

Today is the day you begin to become a hero.

*September 7

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Black Friday" by Steely Dan; "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA" by Devo]

Do you consider yourself smart?  Do you consider yourself prepared for today's test?  Estimate how long you prepared for it outside of class this week, describe how you studied, and predict how well you'll do.

1. Journal
2. Test: vocab, YGB, MSS

1. Please read, print, sign, and return the syllabus tear-off to class on Monday, 9.10.
2. Please read, print, sign, and return the Actor Release to class on Monday, 9.10
3. Find a fictional novel by an American author that you'd like to read.
4. Prepare for YGB essay on Monday 9.10

Thursday, September 6, 2012

*September 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "These Dreams of You" by Van Morrison; "Laverne & Shirley (Making Our Dreams Come True)"/TV Theme by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox; "Street of Dreams" by Sarah Vaughan).

Edgar Allan Poe wrote, "All that I see or seem/Is but a dream within a dream."  Can you prove you're not dreaming right now?  How?

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. Is Young Goodman Brown dreaming, or is his walk in the woods for real?

1. Study vocab for quiz tomorrow
2. Study YGB/MSS for quiz tomorrow

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

your opinion on school

Some members of last year's founding network created an international, multi-media research group.  One of the collaborators, Jasmin Baier, lives in Austria and extended her work into a project entitled, "How the United States culture is reflected in their high school system."  To further inform her work, Jasmin has posted an online survey here; please take a few moments and share your perspective.  I'm sending Jasmin the link to this post, so please also feel free to comment with your ideas and/or get in on the international think works.  Mahalo.

*September 5

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Lo Que Dice" by Ozomatli; "Words (Between the Lines of Age)" by Neil Young]

Adults say it to toddlers all the time: "Use your words."  What do you mean, my words?  We know that fiction authors use dialogue for the purpose of indirect characterization-- as you write the story of your life each day, how do the words you choose create an impression of who you are?

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. Young Goodman Brown
4. Meaning, Signs & Symbols

1. Study vocab
2. Post "AHA!" to your blog

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

renaissance application

renaissance application

Monday, September 3, 2012

meaning, symbols & ygb

Three days is a long time.  If anyone wants to summarize, clarify, ask, interpret, or otherwise think out loud about the meaning of "Young Goodman Brown" and what it might have to do with "Meanings, Signs & Symbols"-- or how you might be accountable for understanding this stuff-- please comment to this post.

*September 4

JOURNAL TOPIC [today's tunes: "Opening/Paul Revere" by Johnny Cash; "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland;  "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen]

What makes American literature American?  (Besides the fact that it was written here.)  What makes anything American?  Don't just think about it from an American perspective: right now, in about 37 countries, rightly or wrongly, for the purpose of compliment or insult, someone is saying, "Yeah, you're right, that's totally something an American would do."  What does she mean?

1. Journal
2. Why no one ever interrupts Thanksgiving football games to read Colonial literature
3. Why no one ever interrupts anything at any time to go on at length about Nathaniel Hawthorne
4. Why the symbolism in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" may be the most important thing you ever learn.
5. Vocabulary #3

1. Explain whether or not you think the symbolism in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" may be the most important thing you ever learn.  Please post your well-informed perspective to your blog.

Vocabulary: Fall List #3