Wednesday, October 31, 2012

*October 31


Happy Halloween.  Describe the masks you wear throughout the year (i.e., how/why/when do you act in ways that serve purposes other than expressing your true self)?  Are you the same person with everyone all the time, or do you act differently when you're with your friends, parents, employers, teachers, coaches, etc.?

1. Journal
2. Independent work: novelists and literary analysts
3. "Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

1. Read "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" up to the point where Ichabod Crane...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

vocabulary: fall list #9


October 30


Describe a time you freaked someone out.  (Or a time someone freaked you out.)

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. Continue "Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

1. Post vocab definitions and remix

Monday, October 29, 2012

*October 29


What is it about scary stories that scares us?  Why, after watching a scary movie, does every shadow and every sound seem to take on a new significance?

1. Journal
2. Vocab
3. A word on active reading notes
4. Begin "Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

1. Post initial impressions of "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and vocabulary words to your blog
2. Novelists: Create a file for your work (if you haven't already) and create an account on Pathbrite
3. Non-novelists: identify at least one storytelling technique from "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and post a description with an example to your blog.


Friday, October 26, 2012

a novel proposal

For those who are about to write novels, we salute you!

Here is your first assignment: write a synopsis and a chapter outline of your novel. This will help you provide some structure to the ideas you have, and it will also help editors & page layout/graphic design folks start thinking of ways to contribute.

There are lots of examples online, such as this.

Once you've posted your synopsis and outline to your blog, invite your course colleagues and others in your social networks to comment with feedback. Treat this process like a focus group, and pay attention to what people understand and what may require clarification.

*October 26


This morning there was a fiendish, dusty wind blowing dirt across the highway.  Either: a) Explain why an author would include an element like this in a story, or b) Write your own mini-short story about it right now.

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Novelists: ready, set, go!
4. Begin "Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

1. Novelists: create your proposal (template will be posted this afternoon)
2. Everyone: post to your blog about the note at the beginning of "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (below).  How does it set the tone of the story?  How has this technique been used in other stories (e.g., "The Blair Witch Project")?   



Thursday, October 25, 2012

thought for the evening

I was just reading Howard Rheingold's book Net Smart and I thought this was worth sharing:

I hope that if you're a parent who has read this far, you now have an expanded view of digital culture. And if you're the parent of a teenager, you understand that in addition to them having fun with their friends and maybe ducking their household chores while they are online, your kids are also creating publics, experimenting with identity, teaching each other technosocial skills, and learning to be active creators of culture. I also presume that any parent diligent enough to read this book will be willing to reconsider the mostly false picture promoted by too much bad journalism that has depicted the Web as a den of frivolity, superficiality, and danger to young people. Teenagers need to experiment with who they are and play with different kinds of identities-- and they need to do it with their peers, not just their parents. The public spaces where young people used to hang out have diminished through privatization, surveillance and prohibition-- malls have proliferated while town squares are disappearing; suburbs and urban neighborhoods have few public places where youths are allowed to loiter-- so they have created new peer publics in online spaces. What they are learning is not altogether detrimental to themselves and the society they are going to build when they grow up. (p.245)

howard rheingold

From last week's Forbes magazine:

"Howard Rheingold is truly a digital elder, and I mean that in the most respectful, old-school way. All of the fetishizing of the 'digital native' can distract us from the wisdom of those who experienced and shaped the birth of internet culture, and Rheingold was right there, in time and in space."

I am proud to be able to introduce you to one of the most experienced, prescient digital thinkers of our time. Check out his website, his writings, and (since he asked about it in today's webinar) his Wikipedia entry. Whatever direction tomorrow's conversation takes, I guarantee we'll all learn something.

If you have any questions or ideas you'd like Howard to consider in advance please comment to this post-- I'm sending him the link.

today's online conference with DML

That was fun. As much as we focus on critical thinking, we don't often slow down enough to reflect out loud; the way you described your experiences taught me a lot. Thank you. You can see the whole thing here.

*October 25


When you write, what elements of your personality influence your choices in diction, syntax, topic, and tone? If a future teacher assigned something you wrote, what elements of your biography would be important to understanding it?

1. Journal
2. Vocabulary quiz
3. "Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

HW: 1. Active reading notes (see post)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

online conference with howard rheingold

Due to technical difficulties with docstoc and Adobe, I'm embedding this as a .jpg much closer to the date than I intended.  Please approach your 3rd period teacher with polite deference and caution, and reassure him/her that this won't happen again.  Our next conference is with author Cory Doctorow on 10.31 at 7:30 A.M.  I will post the form tomorrow, and I hereby guarantee that you and your teachers will have more lead time for planning in the future.

*October 24


What scares you?

1. Journal
2. Review vocab
3. Collaborative Working Groups
4. Washington Irving (continued)

HW: 1. Finishing reading and taking notes on the Washington Irving article

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

da debate

Here is the YouTube video of the debate. Please comment to this post with at least one logical fallacy and the time marker where it starts. In order to "count" each comment must be validated with a reply that substantively supports or refutes it. Due Thursday 10.25.

macarthur event activity form

DML activity oct12

Monday, October 22, 2012

*October 23


Think of a time when you ended a conversation and LATER thought of the perfect thing to say.  Now review what you saw in last night's presidential debate, and help one of the candidates do the same.  Choose an argument from either candidate that contained a fallacy, and recommend how they might have gotten the point across using sound logic.

1. Journal
2. Analyzing the debate
3. Organize for National Novel Writing Month
4. Background on Washington Irving

1. Finish your vocab remix (definitions mandatory, everything else up to you) for tomorrow (Wed 10.24)

impressive learning story

I thought this story was worth sharing.  If it's something you want to participate i, find a way to contact Mr. Clark and ask.  If he says yes, I'll learn what he requires and how he grades, and you will submit the final work online in a way that contributes to his project. 

*October 22

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["The Logical Song" by Supertramp; "Argument" by Monty Python]

Define at least five logical fallacies from the list. For at least one, explain why it's weak & how you would defeat it.

1. Journal
2. Vocab/remix
3. Logical fallacy highlights

* Check out everyone's remixes and nominate "best of" in comments to this post
1. Watch tonight's presidential debate, track the logical fallacies, and post to your blog.
2. Remix this week's vocabulary list (due Wed 10.24)

filter bubbles

Sunday, October 21, 2012

vocabulary: fall list #8


it's a big week

Looking ahead to the week and excited about what's coming up.  We will be:
  • Formalizing our literature analysis production schedule and reviewing/selecting tools to create our searchable library [Monday]
  • Creating a strategic plan for groups and freelancers to tackle National Novel Writing Month [Tue-Fri]
  • Selecting our next author(s) together
  • Featured guests of the Macarthur Foundation's Digital Media & Learning Hub at the University of California, Irvine (you can see a DML conference with last year's classes here) [Thursday]
  • Conferencing online with Howard Rheingold [Friday]
  • Doing all the usual journal topics, vocabulary, and a take-home essay next weekend [M-F]
This is the week we've been building up to since the first day of school.  Your blogs will probably be read by some very smart, curious, interesting people.  If you haven't yet updated your blog, evaluated your performance on the vocabulary midterm, done your remix, or proofread your posts, clean up: we're having company.

Please also take a moment to click on the links above and think about questions/ideas you want to share during the online conferences.  Adults are curious and concerned about how young people perceive and use today's information technology; this is your chance to tell them.  Howard is one of the foremost authorities on Internet culture so be ready to ask what you really want to know about social media, privacy, information, and Internet use in general.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, October 19, 2012

logical fallacies recommendation from matt

Hey everyone, Matt Reynolds just submitted a resource that he says, "really helps to understand fallacies."  Check it out here.

*October 19


When teachers say "Use your own words," which words do you actually own?  For that matter, which of your thoughts is completely original (i.e., not based on or influenced by ANY outside information)?

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Fallacies
4. Remix

Remix Emerson's "Self-Reliance" in such a way that it will help your blog's audience better understand the ideas and/or Emerson's writing techniques. Post it to your blog (and our YouTube channel if it's a vid) and invite your friends to view it. [Note: This assignment won't count unless a minimum of 5 people have commented to your post by the time I tour the blogs Sunday evening.]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

remix resources

Here is Kirby Ferguson, creator of the Everything is a Remix series, explaining his theory of creative inspiration, remix, and cultural commons, and citing some of history's best-loved "individual" creators and explaining how what they did was a remix, i.e., an extension and a part of the work that came before them.

2011/08 Kirby Ferguson from CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

Here is an example of an augmentative remix (contributed by course alum Maddy Hunt) in which a live talk by Sir Ken Robinson is reconfigured into two different visual media:

*October 18


Think of an old song or movie that was remade for a modern audience. Which version was better? Why? How did modern technology and language add or detract from the original meaning?

1. Journal
2. Re-mixing Emerson's "On Self-Reliance"
3. Ricky and Uriel remix the curriculum

1. Read your literature analysis book
2. Watch & take notes on remix resources
3. [UPDATE 7:56] Post to your blogs about how Ricky and Uriel connected the dots between the David Guetta movie and the course (due Friday)
4. Pick three fallacies from the list that you want to talk about tomorrow

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

nothing but the beat

Here is the movie that Uriel connected to the course:

logical fallacies

logical fallacies -

*October 17


How much of your thinking is private?  Can other people tell what you think or do you have to tell them?

1. Journal
2. Your mind is an open book
3. "Self-Reliance"
4. Logical fallacies

1. Listen to any conversation (TV/movie ok) and find an example of the ad hominem fallacy. Post to your blog under the title "Ad Hominem" and write: the definition of the term, the example you overheard (edited for language, if necessary), and how it qualifies as an illustration of the fallacy.
2. Watch the movie that Uriel recommended so you know what he's talking about tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"who's winning?"

It's the most American question there is.  And right now the answer is you, because you're seeing this and therefore likely to capitalize on the extra credit opportunity by answering the questions below in a comment to this post.

1. What does it take to win an argument?  Is this/should this be the same criteria we use to select a president?

2. Who do you think won tonight's debate?  Describe in detail three reasons for your answer.

*October 16


Describe something that is truly important to you.

1. Journal
2. Socratic seminar: Emerson's "Self-Reliance"

1. Create a post on your blog entitled "Self-Reliance."  Include your answers to the assigned questions, and anything else you think is relevant and important.
2. Watch tonight's presidential debate and take notes on anything you think is an error.

Monday, October 15, 2012

*October 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge; "All in the Family (TV Theme)" by Lee Adams & Charles Strouse; "Raiders of the Lost Ark" by John Williams]

What collaborative opportunities did you take advantage of last week?  What else could you have done & how do you plan to take more advantage in the future?  What did you discover through working with others that you couldn't have/wouldn't have on your own?

1. Journal
2. Test on "Self-Reliance"
3. National Novel Writing Month projects
4. Introduction to logical fallacies

1. Revise and extend your notes from today's quiz.  (You can do this on paper, no blogging required unless you find it helpful.)  Come to class ready to ask and answer questions.

Friday, October 12, 2012

looking for a great idea to write about?

One thing you can do to boost your creativity is go to sleep.  According to, "If bestselling authors are any indication, we should all be taking our worst nightmares and turning them into blockbuster novels."

Monday, October 8, 2012

*October 9-12


Have you ever been told to learn something for yourself?  Describe the experience and the results.

Report on your efforts to understand Emerson's essay on self-reliance.  How are you approaching the task?  How much time are you spending?  How hard are you trying?  Which ideas of Emerson's are clear and which are confusing?  What is the point of his essay and how does it relate to what you're being asked to do this week?

1. Journal
2. Self-directed study of Emerson's "Self-Reliance"

1. Self-directed study of Emerson's "Self-Reliance"


There are those who believe that today's students must be spoon-fed everything in order to think.  This is antithetical* (*look it up) to the idea of Americans as independent, free thinkers who are motivated to improve our lives and our nation in order to form a "more perfect union."

Kudos to those of you who signed up for roles related to National Novel Writing Month.  We will form working groups in class on Monday, 10.15.

But the first item on the agenda that day will be a test on Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous essay entitled "Self-Reliance" (which you can read at here or after the jump in this post).

In order to understand Emerson's essay you will probably have to employ several strategies, including:
  • reading it more than once
  • consulting with your peers
  • consulting a dictionary to identify and understand each and every single word you don't understand
  • consulting credible sources such as this one
Apart from the vocabulary, this is your only assignment this week.  Your journals and your time in class will be geared toward supporting your efforts.  If you need help, reach out.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

*October 8


Describe a fireworks show to a blind person.

1. Journal
2. Vocabulary

1. Post vocabulary definitions and sentences to your blog.

vocabulary: fall list #7

ad infinitum
 bona fide

welcome to the open press

In August we began a discussion about writing books for National Novel Writing Month, which goes from November 1-30.

If you do a quick search on the "history of book publishing" you will quickly discover that, as the online Encyclopedia Britannica puts it, "The history of publishing is characterized by a close interplay of technological innovation and social change, each promoting the other."

Publishing used to be something only people with printing presses and/or lots of money could do.  Now any of us can walk into a public library, start a blog, and find an audience.

So... *POOF!*

We're now a publishing house.

Some of you are interested in writing a book.  That is a bold endeavor and it's not something that an individual does alone.  There are many aspects to writing, and even more needs to be done to create a finished book.  Every author needs support in the form of editing, page layout, graphic design, etc.

Please comment to this post with an idea of what you do well and how you'd like to participate.  If you're writing a book, you will be deep into one project; if you're performing a support function you may have the option to work on more than one.

(NOTE: In the words of Rush, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."  If you do not comment to this post by Monday [10.8] night, your role-- and a large part of your obligation to this course for the rest of the semester-- will be decided by someone else.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

who do you want to be today?

Be this guy; Not this guy.

*October 5

JOURNAL TOPIC: [no tunes/topic today, it's straight to business.]

1. Vocabulary midterm

1. Reflect on your midterm by answering the following questions in a post to your blog: a) What went well?  b) What didn't go well?  c) How much of the content will stick with you?  d) What can you learn from the experience to improve for next time?

2. TBA :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

cameron's number one...

...on Google when you search using the terms "audience for earth on turtle's back"

*October 4

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Apeman" by The Kinks; "Let It Be" by The Beatles]

Summarize last night's reading-- or explain why you didn't do your homework.

1. Journal
2. Transcendentalism
3. Poetry in motion (?)

1. Review for midterm (and sleep-- if you studied this week you shouldn't have to cram :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

*October 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "You're Dreaming" by Katchafire; "Wet Dream" by Kip Addotta; "Crazy Dream" by Los Lonely Boys]

Describe the most memorable dream you've ever had.

1. Journal
2. Dream
3. Within
4. A
5. Dream

1. Read this page and be prepared for an interesting conversation (and maybe a quiz) Thursday

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

from thoreau's walden

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to 'glorify God and enjoy him forever.'

Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes; it is error upon error, and clout upon clout, and our best virtue has for its occasion a superfluous and evitable wretchedness. Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!

*October 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Mother Nature's Son" by The Beatles; "Pacific Shores" by The Sounds of Nature]

What would Thoreau say about the pressures of high school: tests, grades, cliques, Homecoming dates...

1. Journal
2. Thoreau (II)
3. Vocabulary/Thoreau writing

1. Study for the vocabulary midterm Friday, 10.5

Monday, October 1, 2012

fall vocabulary page for midterm review

Several students asked me to put the vocabulary words in one place for easy reference, so I compiled the lists and put them here

literature analysis #1

The questions for your first literature analysis are here. Please post the answers to your blog by Friday, 10.5.