Friday, June 7, 2013

this is it

Hi Everyone,

The bleachers are full of proud parents carrying flowers and stuffed animals. People who don't normally wear socks are wearing ties. The opening strains of "Pomp & Circumstance" have been wafting up from the field and just now Kaitlyn rocked the Star Spangled Banner. This is the last official post to the 2012-2013 course blog.

I am proud to be a member of this community.  You have all accomplished a great deal this year, in many different ways, and I hope you're proud too.  Thank you for all your contributions to this learning experience.  I wish each and every single one of you great success, and I look forward to following your adventures online and in person.  

Sapere Aude.
Dr. Preston

school's out

For Travis:

the 608 grad lounge is open

We're here from 8-10. And Josh beat me to class for the last time. And, speaking of things Josh beat me at, he is this year's blog posting champion with 662 posts. (I'm going to get to 500 today.) Thanks to everyone for posting blog stats. Ming had the most page views (10,262), Michelle had the most followers (36), and Hayden had the most comments (405). I'll get back to posting after I finish the next board game.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ain't no sunshine

Check out the vocal stylings-- this guy could sing the phone book and make it sound good.  (Thanks, Dylan!)

608 will be open 8-10 graduation morning

For anyone who'd like to get a parking space early, or have a place to hang out with family and friends, or have one last quiet moment before the Big Walk, room 608 will be open from 8-10 tomorrow morning.  Your parents, friends, and even that cousin you only see at events like this are all welcome. 

period 4 finals

This is it!  Here are the agendas and (when I get links/codes) presentations.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

per 3 finals

This is it! Here are the (sideways: why?!?) agendas.  Presentations are after the jump-- more as soon as I receive links/embed codes. If anyone took video of the in-person presentations (Tanner's, Abby's, Cassidy's, e.g.) please send the video or upload/share embed codes. Great job today!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

get your head in the cloud

Schools are considering how to move forward in the digital world.  Think it's time you learned what all this means for you?

kudos: june

Congratulations to the following students on their accomplishments!

Ming Chen (Glen Robinson Scholarship)
Matt Patel (Glen Robinson Scholarship)
Tanner Tuttle (Cal Poly Ag Scholarship $1500; Henry Newhall Scholarship $7k; Welding Scholarship $250; [?] Memorial Scholarship $800; CA State FFA Welding Champion)
Ruth Sierra (Ellis Hickman Rice Memorial Masonic Scholarship $1k)
Michelle Arriaga (NAACP Scholarship)
Vinnie Cruz (Ivy S. Pregozen Memorial Scholarship $500)
Felicitas Ruiz (Kiwanis Scholarship $1,500)
Socorro Ramirez (Marimba Band & Ballet Folklorico Scholarship $2k)
Erica Snell (RHS Film Festival "Best Director" Award)
Will Veroski (Doris VosBurg Memorial Scholarship $500)
Kaitlyn Furst (Film Scholarship $700; YoYo Scholarship $500; PTSA Scholarship $300; RHS Film Festival "Best Screenplay" Award)
Kathryn Greenup (DEA Scholarship $750)
Dulce Vargas ("Semper Fidelis" Award from Marines; John Philip Sousa National Music Award; Marimba Band Scholarship $1,750)

If I missed anyone, or if you've done something amazing since I posted this, please let me/us know in class or comment below.

sure, spelling's importent, but this is ridiculous

Er, wow.

early presentations

Here's some awesomeness, more as I get embed codes:

carly & liz's project

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 3

Psych.  There isn't one.

Today we'll be setting the program for the final presentations.  Please be ready to report exactly how long your presentation will take and what you will need to make it happen.  If you have tech needs please be ready with links or media to test so that everything is ready to go.  Same with catering and set design as necessary.  After today no changes will be made.

[PLEASE NOTE: Every member of your group must post blog statistics in order for the group to be eligible to present.  Mahalo.

Friday, May 31, 2013

submit your blog stats here

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

cal poly senior project

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.

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

congratulations erica!

Among her other talents it seems that Erica is also a talented director. Congratulations on winning the RHS Film Fest's "Best Director" award!

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

"how to get a job"

In his most recent article, columnist Thomas Friedman opens by writing:

Underneath the huge drop in demand that drove unemployment up to 9 percent during the recession, there’s been an important shift in the education-to-work model in America. Anyone who’s been looking for a job knows what I mean. It is best summed up by the mantra from the Harvard education expert Tony Wagner that the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares “is what you can do with what you know.” And since jobs are evolving so quickly, with so many new tools, a bachelor’s degree is no longer considered an adequate proxy by employers for your ability to do a particular job — and, therefore, be hired. So, more employers are designing their own tests to measure applicants’ skills. And they increasingly don’t care how those skills were acquired: home schooling, an online university, a massive open online course, or Yale. They just want to know one thing: Can you add value? 

project help request

This just in:

May 29

Think of a recent book or movie you read/saw.  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. [OPTION]: help the juniors in Eng 3 (AP) set up blogs and prepare for the course
3. Sign up for project presentations and [logistics]

(* post to your blog!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

608 as portal

Love this description of our thinking space on campus.

May 28

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

1. Journal
2. We have work to do

1. projectsprojectsprojectsprojectsprojects
2. Post something about your project and your progress on it to your course blog and submit to the P2P showcase

Monday, May 27, 2013

dfw commencement speech

Although I hope you're able to focus and feel the moment when Sam and others speak at graduation, the high winds and high spirits can be a challenge, and it's easy to get distracted by inflatables, "woo hoos!" and your life passing before your eyes. 

So here is a speech to consider in a quiet moment between now and then.  David Foster Wallace, one of the most insightful, prescient voices of our time, gave this speech at Kenyon College in 2005. [*Too bad the jerks at the DFW Literary Trust have forced the video off YouTube, Vimeo, and everywhere else I looked for it.  Hard to imagine that a guy who shared such profound ideas with the public in life would want them silenced posthumously.  If you find it please share a link in the comments.] 

One highlight among many:
Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about "the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master".

Read.  Contemplate.  Enjoy.  Repeat.  :)

rhs graduation speakers & singers

Here's the talent lined up for this year's graduation (all of whom are so determined that no matter how I rotate the image it refuses to render right side up)-- congratulations!

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Short People" by Randy Newman; "Eggplant" by Michael Franks; "Dixie Chicken" by Little Feat]

Today's topic was customized for each person in class.  If you weren't here, and your journal wasn't turned in, you lose.

1. Journal


*Please make sure to submit your project to the showcase.
** Please be ready to talk grades, presentations, and endgame Tuesday.
*** Long weekend my &*!  You're about to get months off.  Run through the base and leave the "when is this gonna be over" chatter to the burnt-out and disenfranchised.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

richard branson's advice to the class of 2013

Click here to read Richard Branson's "You'll Never Again Be So Unburdened; Do Something Bold"

Apparently the link is a challenge, so I've pasted the text after the jump:

call for showcase submissions

"I want everyone to send their work to the showcase-- so I can beat them." -Alex

my three best posts

I don't know what they are yet, and I wasn't even invited to play, but the 2012 [erp, 2013-- thanks Matt!] P2P assessment is so awesome that I'm going to post links here anyway :)

[UPDATE: Er, according to the P2P powers-that-be, no I'm not. :( ]

May 23

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. Journal


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

p2p showcase

Thanks to Justin, Josh, and Gus for today's presentations!

Here is the link to the peer-to-peer showcase:


saturday night: live at RHS

Announcing (on J'Quelin's et al's behalf)...

Saturday Night Live Dinner Theater!

This Saturday, May 25 @ 6 PM in Room 403 (RHS Drama Room)

Menu is spaghetti, salad, and dessert

Admission is free, suggested donation is $5 (and the amount you contribute will mark you as a patron of the arts or a cheapskate :)

may 22

Full Montaigne: What are you wondering about right now?  Write down your thoughts as they occur and see where they take you for half a page.

1. Journal full of wonder
2. P2P brief
4. Grade conferences


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

kudos: may

Congratulations to the following students on their college admissions and scholarship wins!

Will Boerger (Santa Barbara Foundation Scholarship [SBFS]: $3k)
Vinnie Cruz (SBFS: $2k)
John Han (SBFS: $2.8k)
Elizabeth Pereyra (SBFS: $3.5k; Cal Soap $3k)
Will Veroski (SBFS: $5k)
Samantha Garrison (SBFS: $4k)
Ryan Nguyen (SBFS: $2.6k)
Michelle Arriaga (SBFS: $2.7k; Santa Maria Rotary: $500)
Rocio Reyes (SBFS: $1.5k; Santa Maria Rotary: $500)
Socorro Ramirez (SBFS: $2k; Cal Soap $1k)
Laura Trenev (UC Santa Cruz, San Diego State University)
Amanda Arnold (Los Padres Artists Guild Award: $1k; SBFS $3k)
Alicia Hernandez (SBFS: $3k)
Kristina Hendrick (SBFS: $2.7k)
Dani Galindo (SBFS: $2.7k)
Kaitlyn Furst (Altrusa: $1k)
Mackenzie Greeley (Altrusa)
Erica Snell (SBFS: $3.1k)
Tanner Tuttle (Cattle Women's Scholarship: $1k; SBFS: $2.8k)
Felicitas Ruiz (SBFS: $4k; Santa Maria Rotary $500)

If I missed anyone, or if you've done something amazing since I posted this, please let me/us know in class or comment below.

college tips 101

Valerie and Socorro have been working on this, check it out!

peer assessment naming rights

It'll cost you millions to put your name (legally/officially) on a university building or a sports arena, but if you have a good idea you can name this year's P2P assessment blog--which will be introduced by Friday-- for free! Last year's was called Project Infinity. Please submit your suggestions in comments to this post.

help for santa maria's homeless

E'Ana is collaborating with a friend to provide products and services that help the homeless in our community. If you have ideas, money, or small items such as: shampoo, toothpaste, feminine products, band-aids, etc. please see E'Ana to find out how you can help. Thanks!

mommy n' media

Check out Michelle's project (she calls it her "new baby") in process!

May 21

Think of a favorite object in your room that you've had for more than 8 years.  That object is the narrator of today's journal-- what story will it tell about you?

1. Journal
2. Grade conferences


Sunday, May 19, 2013

thank you to mrs. k and the proud, the avid

Thank you to Mrs. K and the graduating seniors in her AVID classes for inviting me to the party today.  What an event!  Everyone brought their families--everyone really WAS family.  There were smiles and hugs all around.  You could feel the love in the air and taste it in the food.    Students stood with Mrs. K and said a few words about their experiences, their support systems and relationships, and their perspectives on the future and What it All Means.

I was so glad to be there.  There was so much well-deserved pride and caring and optimism that it just made you believe in magic.  In that group nothing is impossible.

But there was one moment that stood out.  Sam Garrison previewed her graduation speech.  In a high eucalyptus wind and just feet away from the wildly flapping "Congratulations" banner, Sam delivered.  Swaying back and forth and nearly throwing hooks, she got taller as she spoke and she took us on a trip through adversity, hope, anguish, and ultimately triumph.  Sam is a living example of what Maslow, Rogers, Goldstein, and others meant when they described self-actualization.  And she's just getting warmed up. If you weren't there I feel as sorry for you as I still do about that time I blew off meeting friends at a local club to see some Irish band that turned out to be U2.  Thank God I got to see Sam at a house party before she starts playing football stadiums next month.  If anyone has video please post (if it's ok with Sam) and comment here with a link.

(Also: she apparently wrote the whole thing on her phone in, like, an hour.  Probably while she was playing Angry Birds.  How is writing just that easy for some people?  Little jerk. -Ed.)

May 20


[If you went to Grad Nite]: Did you have a good time?  What did you like about the way the event was run and what would you have done differently?  Describe your single happiest memory from the trip.

[If you didn't go to Grad Nite]: A hundred bucks and no food?  Rip-off.  How did you spend the day?  What was your favorite thing about class sizes of 6 or less?

1. Journal
2. Grade conferences

1. projectsprojectsprojectsprojectsprojectsprojectsprojects

Friday, May 17, 2013

happy grad nite day

Since the vast majority of you agreed to Disneyland's rules of engagement (thanks, Jason!) and we won't be seeing each other today, there's no real point in posting a journal topic or agenda.  Have a great time tonight, enjoy that special school bus smell for 7 hours, and plan to have a one-on-one grade conference with me early next week.  (To that end, you should: a) make sure your blog represents you well; b) bring your completed journal/s to class; and c) be prepared to give a status report for your project.)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

quote of the day

I don't think I'm going to threaten Josh's post total, but I just heard an original from Brady that made me want to post a Quote of the Day.  Brady, this one might just get you into Bartlett's!

"Revolutions begin when ethics fail."

May 16


Talk to your inner 8th grader.  If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently in high school?

1. Journal

HW: projectprojectprojectproject

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Here's the list.  Please comment with any additions/corrections.

Click on the person's name to learn more, exchange ideas, and collaborate.  (If they don't have a post for their project yet, comment to whatever post you find and ask them why not.)

[Period 0]
Sara: health dummies video, mom's retrospective on 30 years of CA state parks
E'Ana: health dummies video
Kayla: online transmedia scrapbook
Paul: coaching juniors
Owen: grandfather's biography
Ubi: dead writers' society
Laura: coaching juniors, online transmedia scrapbook
Beka, J'Quelin: SNL dinner theater
Dylan: SNL dinner theater, online music lessons (with virtual beginner band?)
Sarah: dead writers' society, music for SNL, YouTube channel build
Kasie: SNL dinner theater, animation [**NEED VOICE ACTORS**]
Katelyn: exploring the use of social media in criminal investigation
Socorro: NGOs in Latin America that focus on women's rights; college blog (with Valerie)
Ruth, Rocio, Pablo, Lizbeth, & Rosa: transmedia diary of HS years
Will: global issues timeline & meograph
Ryan: remote-controlled hovercraft
Kathryn: $10k for college
Kelli: transmedia art portfolio
Michelle: Mommy N' Me[dia]
Josh: musical
Jenna: LP/album/8-track tape's worth of music about senior year
Justice, Ryland: coaching juniors 
Hayden: Project Sonata: A Novel

[Period 3]
Abby: evolution of art
Erica: Brave New World interpretative dance choreography/performance
Karianne: dream house architecture/ transmedia online scrapbook
Chanel, Megan & Ashley: bakery with family recipes--> blog
Austyn: video addressing stigma of mental disability
Conner: ukelele; research thesis on memory
Colleen: advertising/student responses to messages & images
Sebastian, Carly, Troy, and Elizabeth: literate t-shirt design company
Haleigh: senior survival guide
Alicia & Dani: 50 years of RHS
Isiah, Dulce, Ming, Matt, Sam, Ashlie, Feli: senior year retrospective
Sam: the ultimate performative utterance
Matt: learning Mandarin
Dulce & Ming: world culture blog
RyunHee, Travis, Reed, Nathan, Devon: music video about HS
Travis: surf forecast & buoy reading
Justin, Gus, Jason, Josh, Will, Kris: 4-year HS video
Justin: nature blog
Brady: kindergarten chronicle teaching portfolio & children's book (and something about flowing stories on a bus?)
Alex, Josh, Conor: musical
Alex: board game
Cassidy: reflection on life in video
Ashlie: documentary on becoming a teacher
Brittany: online transmedia scrapbook, [?], SNL catering
Bailey: online transmedia "scrapbook-thing" using personal photos as narrative of a life
Tanner: a welded "sculpture/sign/thing-y" of a learning life

[Period 4]
Mackenzie & Michelle: stream-of-consciousness (scrapbook-->college/business-->clothing)
Alex: book of poetry and letters
Jose: hard copy book with snapshots of thoughts/interests
Bernardo: coaching juniors
Eddie: civil engineering project
Taelor: poetry slam & art show
Pablo, Rosa, Ruth, Rocio: human collage
Iliana & Elizabeth: learning German
Kaitlyn, Amanda, & Rheanna: OSL presentation at Lakeview
Torre: Jung
Christa: AP Art--> AP English / interdisciplinary application of elements of design & visual learning
Vince, Jesse, & Christa: self-directed learning/info exchange (and automobile mechanics)
Eddie: scholarship scouting report & resources

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. Project status fill-ins
3. P2P Assessment

HW: projectprojectprojectprojectprojectproject

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14


How do you know you've done a good job learning something?

1. Journal
2. Project status
3. P2P assessment criteria & process


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 a recent 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

Does your life (in this course) seem easier now that you're in charge? Why/why not?

1. Journal
2. Projects
3. P2P Assessment

1. Prepare your thoughts on your project/s and P2P assessment for tomorrow's conversation so we can make decisions and plans

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Since this weekend is the first in a long time with no academic/AP prep work, it's a good time to remind ourselves and each other of what's possible.  Yesterday I read short stories and book proposals, played a game that's in beta and being developed for publication (thanks for dealing me in, Alex!), connected a student with a professional adviser to plan a business for moms, and got updates on projects ranging from dinner theater to hovercraft.  At a time when so many people spend their days idly wishing they were somewhere else, we will be celebrating the most exciting, innovative thinking of the year!  In that spirit, here's a video I never get tired of watching (produced by Nick Lycan, Cody Kiniry, and Ryan McGinley, RHS/OSL '12):

Friday, May 10, 2013

ap scores online

In case you didn't see earlier posts or get info elsewhere, click here.

May 10


What do you want to think about today?

1. Journal
2. Attribution Theory

1. Epic

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9

Happy AP Day.  Please write on the journal topic while it's fresh and take the rest of the day off.

Reflect on today's AP exam.  How did you do?  To what do you attribute your success (however much you had)?

perfect attendance

Today's the day of the AP exam, and this is exactly what class should look like. Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

who do you want to be tomorrow?

Be this guy.

Not this guy.

May 8

Describe your level of confidence heading into the AP exam.  Are you ready?  Will you rock it?  Predict your score and explain why you will receive it.

1. Journal
2. MC practice
3. Writer's conference

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

is anyone interested in doing something like this?

1999 ap exam

IN255168 99 EngLit RE for Web

May 7

[Choose your own.]

1. Journal
2. MC practice
3. Writer's conferences

1. Get >6 hours sleep
2. Put down that coffee cup!
3. Eat balanced meals of clean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs
4. Reflect on how well-prepared you are (and if you don't feel that way, do some light practice from any of the resources here or elsewhere)

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3

You've written a lot this week; is there anything left for you to practice/improve over the weekend?  Do you need to practice more multiple choice?  Take inventory-- one last time-- and describe how you will address any areas where you feel less than 100% confident.

1. Journal
2. in-class essay: please answer the second of the two prompts you selected/printed/brought with you

1. Post a version of today's journal topic to your blog.
2. Treat your journal/blog post as a performative utterance and do those things you need to do.
3. Be ready to discuss your study process, your writing, and your expected outcome in 1-to-1 conference with Dr. Preston Monday.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2

Why did you pick the prompt you're writing on today? What do you hope/expect to improve as a result of writing this essay and giving/getting feedback on it?

1. Journal
2. in-class essay

1. Review/proofread your essay & publish a (lightly) polished copy to your blog.
2. Read the AP rubric & sample papers/commentary after the jump below (all three are there).
3. Review and critique at least 5 of your colleagues' essays (use the AP rubric in the .pdf to frame your comments).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

important: print & bring to class on thursday and friday

I won't be in class Thursday or Friday, so you're going to have to show the sub how an Open Source Learning community works. Both days are in-class essays in exactly the same form as Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. (I will post journal topics and agendas for each day.) Since you've already had multiple practice opportunities in the poetry, prose, and open prompts, and presumably you know what you need to work on most (if you don't, please consult with me today), you can choose which two essays you'll write to end the week. (Hint: Pick the ones that make you most nervous.) Please print the two prompts you'll need from the 2008 exam (below) and bring them to class with you. This way you'll have what you need even if the content filter acts up, the sub freaks out over phones, the projector doesn't work, or some idiot pulls a fire alarm. Mucho mahalo.

Ap08 Eng Lit Frq

May 1

JOURNAL: Compare writing yesterday's poetry essay with last week's "poetry boot camp" work-- did you feel more confident in applying the elements from the Vendler/TP-CASTT frameworks? Which elements came most naturally, and which did you have to reach for (or remember after you were finished)? What do you need to review/practice for the exam?

1. Journal
2. Debrief yesterday's essay
3. in-class essay

1. Review/proofread your essay & publish a (lightly) polished copy to your blog.
2. Read the AP rubric & sample papers/commentary after the jump below.
3. Review and critique at least 5 of your colleagues' essays (use the AP rubric in the .pdf to frame your comments).

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

if this is you please attend makeup ap registration meeting

A buncha people missed the AP registration meeting. There will be a make-up session as follows:

Here is the list:

AP Students That Need to Attend Make-up Preadmin Session by dpreston1441

April 30

What did you learn in the process of writing yesterday's essay and giving/getting feedback?  Describe at least one element of reading the prompt, organizing your thoughts, editing/proofreading, and/or considering/describing the content at a deeper level that jumped out at you.  Was it helpful to see other responses and how they were scored?  What will you focus on improving/practicing today as a result?

1. Journal
2. Debrief: yesterday's essay
2. in-class essay

1. Review/proofread your essay & publish a (lightly) polished copy to your blog.
2. Read the AP rubric & sample papers/commentary after the jump below.
3. Review and critique at least 5 of your colleagues' essays (use the AP rubric in the .pdf to frame your comments).

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29

W/r/t AP essays, what are you most confident in and what do you need to improve/practice this week?

1. Journal
2. in-class essay

1. Review/proofread your essay & publish a (lightly) polished copy to your blog.
2. Read the AP rubric & sample papers/commentary after the jump below.
3. Review and critique at least 5 of your colleagues' essays (use the AP rubric in the .pdf to frame your comments).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

time to party (with two essays) like it's 1999

In case you don't want to wait until tomorrow, here are the prose and open prompts from 1999.  Please complete these essays and publish to your blog by tomorrow (Sunday) night.

macbeth test

For anyone who missed the exam or wants to review.  MC questions after the jump.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kudos: April (II)

We're getting down to the wire, but there are still kudos trickling in.  (If you've forgotten something please let us know!)  Congratulations to the following students on their college admissions and scholarship wins! 

Dulce Vargas (Fresno State Audition Stipend/Scholarship)
Vince Cruz (CSU Fullerton)
Michelle Arriaga (La Buena Scholarship)
Amanda Arnold (Santa Maria Arts Council Grant/ $1K)

If I missed anyone, or if you've done something amazing since I posted this, please let me/us know in class or comment below.

April 26


Select your favorite poem from the work you've done so far this week.  Briefly describe how its language (i.e., diction, syntax, imagery) and structure (rhyme, rhythm, form, shift/s) contribute to your understanding of its meaning.

1. Journal
2. Discuss journal
3. Discuss & practice poetry essay prompts
4. MC questions

1. By now you should have posted SEVENTH READING, GRIDLOCK, & GROUPTHINK per the PBC-- please post AT LEAST TWO ESSAYS in response to the prompts below by 11:59 P.M. tomorrow night (Saturday).   NOTE: these will not count unless they are reviewed/commented on by at least 5 of your colleagues.
2. Sunday morning you will find a selection of three prose prompts in a post just above this-- you must answer a minimum of two with full essays by the time we see each other Monday.


[1994] Poems: “To Helen” (Edgar Allan Poe) and “Helen” (H.D.)
Prompt: The following two poems are about Helen of Troy. Renowned in the ancient world for her beauty, Helen was the wife of Menelaus, a Greek King. She was carried off to Troy by the Trojan prince Paris, and her abduction was the immediate cause of the Trojan War. Read the two poems carefully. Considering such elements as speaker, diction, imagery, form, and tone, write a well-organized essay in which you contrast the speakers’ views of Helen.

[Your choice from the Poetry Essay Prompts page.]

Thursday, April 25, 2013

paying less for college in canadian dollars

If Horace Greeley was speaking at your graduation he might tell you to go north.

April 25


Describe a thematic element or literary technique that you read in at least 2 of this year's texts.  Why is the message or the technique impactful?  How does it change the way the reader thinks and/or influence what the reader thinks about?

1. Journal
2. Poetry: practice MC questions and group work

1. Per the PBC schedule you should have already posted SEVENTH READING & GRIDLOCK, and you should post GROUPTHINK tonight. (Bonus: Why is the use of the term groupthink ironic in terms of the work you're actually doing with your groups?)

practice MC questions for poetry

Here are a few multiple choice questions on poetry.  Please answer for practice and use for discussion with your group about poetry and the elements you'll need to recognize.  (We will spend some time on this in class today as well.)

Do not go gentle into that good night, 
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn , too late, they grieved it on its way
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, em now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

(questions/keys found here & adopted with gratitude-- answers after the jump.)
1.  Which of the following IS NOT an attitude one of the men displays?
a.  resistingly aware
b.  unexpected melancholia
c.  determined rage
d.  wistful regret
e.  solemn objectivity

2.  The most important shift in the passage occurs in 
a.  line 16
b.  line 4
c.  line 10
d.  both a and b
e.  none of the above
3.  How does the author suggest one should meet death?
a.  prayerful acceptance
b. challenging preparedness
c. solemn resistance
d.  amiable resignation
e.  angry opposition

4.  Where does the author reveal his ambiguity toward his father and his
     impending death?
a.  the various characterizations of men
b.  line 17 - "Curse, bless..."
c.  "...dying of the light"
d.  "...your fierce tears..."
e.  reference to death as "that good night"
5.  Personification is NOT exhibited in which of the following?
a.  "Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay," (line 8)
b.  "Old age should burn and rave at close of day;" (line 2)
c.  "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." (line 3)
d.  "Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay," (line 14)
e.  "Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight," (line10) 
An ant on the tablecloth
Ran into a dormant moth
Of many times his size.
He showed not the least surprise.
His business wasn't with such.
He gave it scarcely a touch,
And was off on his duty run.
Yet if he encountered one
Of the hive's enquiry squad
Whose work is to find out God
And the nature of time and space,
He would put him onto the case.
Ants are a curious race;
One crossing with hurried tread
The body of one of their dead
Isn"t given a moment's arrest-
Seems not even impressed.
But he no doubts report to any
With whom he crosses antennae,
And they no doubt report
To the higher up at court.
Then word goes forth in Formic:
"Death's come to Jerry McCormic,
Our selfless forager Jerry.
Will the special Janizary
Whose ofice it is to bury
The dead of the commissary
Go bring him home to his people.
Lay him in state on a sepal.
Wrap him for shroud in a petal.
Embalm him with ichor of nettle.
This is the word of your Queen."
And presently on the scene
Appears a solemn mortician;
And taking formal position
With feelers calmlty atwiddle,
Seizes the dead by the middle,
And heaving him high in the air,
Carries him out of there.
No one stands round to stare.
It is nobody else"s affair.

It couldn't be called ungentle.
But how thoroughly departmental.

   Robert Frost (1874-1963)

1. "Departmental" can best be described as 
A. The product of attentive observation 
B. An account of nature
C. An allegory for human idiosyncrasies
D. A light, simple narrative
E. A reflection upon the author's life

2.  There is a shift in the poem from
A. Descriptive narrative to pensive editorial
B. Careful observation to personal involvement
C. Omniscient description to reproachful exposition
D. Individual account to universal significance
E. There is no apparent shift

3.  The tone of the poem can best be described as
A. Playful observation
B. Scornful emphasis
C. Light description
D. Satirical exposition
E. Detached omniscience

4.  "Arrest" in line 16 most likely means
A. incarceration
B. admonition
C. capture
D. detention
E. seizure

5.  What rhetorical strategy is exhibited in "Death's come to Jerry McCormic," 
(line 23)

 I. Personification
 II. Metaphor
 III. Euphemism

A. I only
B. II only
C. III only
D. I and II only
E. None of the above

6. "Atwiddle " in line most likely means
A. upright
B. alert
C. flaccid
D. quiescent
E. inquisitive

7. The major shift in the piece occurs in
A. Line 8
B. Line 13
C. Line 23
D. Line 33
E. Line 42 

8. The author"s depiction of ants is best described as
A. indifferently mechanical 
B. mundanely subsistent
C. hierarchically divided
D. selfishly compassionless
E. fantastically human

9.  Lines 42-43 suggest that the author
A. meant the piece to be a statement about departmental action
B. holds the death practices of ants in reproach
C. finds the ways in which all species treat death intriguing
D. meant to place emphasis on his own opinion
E.  is warning the reader against judging other species against our own standards

10.What is the author's attitude toward departmental societies?
A. outraged abhorrence
B. interested approval
C. indifferent observation
D. bitter detest
E. satirical disapproval

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

sandwich bag art

Here is the site where I saw this, and here is the entire collection on Flickr.

April 24


Describe (at least) one way in which you have become smarter or better informed during your senior year.

AGENDA (in class; if you're off today b/c of testing please see HW):
1. Journal
2. Return micro-AP & discuss Macbeth, prompt, strategies
3. Poetry analysis

1. Please consult the Poetry Boot Camp post for this week's deliverables

standardized testing today

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

20 words we owe to william shakespeare

Two of the 20 on this list first appeared in Macbeth.

Happy Birthday, Bill.

(Thanks for the heads-up, Sarah!)

a parent reflects on a child leaving the nest

Thought some of you might be interested in this perspective from a parent whose son is about to leave for college.

TPCASTT template

Here is the TPCASTT
(Thanks, Ms. Fischer!)

TPCASTT:  Poem Analysis Method:  
title, paraphrase, connotation, diction, 
attitude, tone, shift(s), title revisited and 
of poem means
parts of the Poem
of some of the words – changing literal meaning to implied or associated values
What is the attitude of the author, characters or yourself?
At first we think or feel one way – then there is a shift:  identify the shifts and explain them
Title revisited
Any new insights on meaning or significance of title?

vendler grid

Here is an example of a Vendler grid with explanation after the jump. 
(Thanks, Ms. Fischer!)

Vendler Grid


Structural Parts


Other Parts


Content Genre-

Roads Not Taken

Speech Acts

Outer and Inner Structural

for mr. denike and teachers/learners everywhere

Some of you knew Mr. Denike or had him as a teacher before he retired.  On his last day as a teacher he stopped by, handed me a book by George Carlin, and said, "Remember: f**k 'em if they can't take a joke."  Mr. Denike was one of those unique individuals who didn't think of teaching/coaching as a job or even a calling.  He simply WAS a learner/thinker/teacher-- in the best, most human sense of the words-- whether he was in a classroom, on the basketball court, or just hanging out over a cup of coffee.  I will miss him and my heart goes out to his family.  Here is a piece from one of his former students that appeared this week in the Santa Maria Times; even though Mr. Denike is no longer with us, the spirit of learning lives:

The true art and beauty of educating

  •  Gabriela Spears-Rico 

It has taken years of reflection to grasp the significance of the impact teachers like Greg DeNike had on my life. He impacted my intellectual growth as a writer, my self-esteem as a person, and the convictions that shaped me well into adulthood.

I was not the typical Advanced Placement student at Arroyo Grande High School. I came from a home broken by alcoholism and domestic violence. I was poor and ashamed of my poverty. I was an immigrant who struggled with learning English and understanding my place in American society. I felt isolated and undeserving as one of the only Mexicans in my AP classes.

I did not always receive support or validation of my dreams to go to college. In fact, another AP teacher actually denied me a letter of recommendation my senior year. Yet, even with my struggles over self-esteem and my feelings of isolation, Mr. DeNike's class was a haven where I could question issues without feeling exiled or silenced, and where I felt that my presence mattered.

These validations might seem insignificant to people who grow up hearing they matter on a daily basis, but they meant the world to a child who felt she had no voice.

I was coming to consciousness about issues of racialization and my identity as a person of color in the United States, and I often felt ridiculed for expressing differences of opinion in other classes. I struggled to find my voice, and did so in Mr. DeNike's class.

Mr. DeNike promoted diversity in a way that few teachers at AGHS did. In his class, I felt free to express my feelings of isolation from American society. 

Mr. DeNike welcomed my perspective. He felt that students like me had invaluable lessons to offer. On one occasion, I wrote a commentary to the school newspaper about stereotypical caricatures of Mexican American students in the ASB plays. My article caused much controversy and anger. I was mocked for writing the piece, and most teachers said nothing. Mr. DeNike actually used the controversy as a teaching moment in his class, praising the piece for its stylistic strength and asking my classmates to consider how my article spoke to certain issues. Mr. DeNike publicly praised me for the piece at a moment I felt ostracized by the school, validating my voice and my writing.

Now that I am in the process of writing a dissertation, I realize I still use many of the strategies and writing lessons Mr. DeNike taught me in AP English. To this day, I find myself thinking of him when I use a metaphor or hyperbole in my writing. In those moments, I think of the stern, yet humorous and compassionate way Mr. DeNike taught his students. We engaged in critical and analytical thought. We laughed at his jokes, and we knew to shape up when he gave us a stern look.

On the last day of classes my senior year, I visited Mr. DeNike's classroom to ask him to sign my yearbook, and he gave me a copy of John Nichols' “The Milagro Beanfield War” as a graduation gift. He thought I might enjoy critiquing Nichols, yet what stayed with me was a line from Zora Neale Hurston that Mr. DeNike wrote in his inscription, "Go forth and 'jump at the sun,' Gabby. Go get 'em at Stanford!"

Had it not been for teachers like Mr. DeNike, who saw potential in my writing and who encouraged me to love myself despite all I had endured, I don't think I would have accomplished everything I have. I think he would be very proud that the defiant Mexican girl in his AP English class, a product of migrant education and ESL programs, has become a published poet and a Ph.D. student.

It is because of teachers like Mr. DeNike that I learned to jump at the sun.

April 23


Consider the functions of allusion and flashback in a narrative.  When you see a commercial like this, you can perceive the humor without understanding all the elements.  But when you listen closely to the music, experience your own flashback, connect the dots in your memory, and realize you know more, your connection with the text becomes more personal and more meaningful.

Describe your favorite examples of allusion and flashback in the narratives you've/we've read this year.  What makes them especially effective?  How do they contribute to the overall meaning of the play/novel?

1. Journal
2. Return micro-AP & discuss Macbeth, prompt, strategies
3. Poetry analysis

1. Please consult the Poetry Boot Camp post for this week's deliverables

standardized testing today

Monday, April 22, 2013

exam tips from the chief reader

This looks, like, REALLY familiar.  Good to keep in mind.

poetry boot camp

So it begins.  Please deliver on time.

STEP 1: Convene a group.  

Poetry is something you need to talk about.  You need to read it aloud and have it read aloud to you.  You need to hear that someone caught the same possibility of meaning you did.  Invite 2-9 people you think will add insight to a conversation about at least three poems.  (NOTE: you can invite one group of people and still participate with another group that invites you.  The more practice the better, and you and you will either get unique perspectives on >6 poems or you will have an opportunity to see how two different audiences can interpret the same poems so similarly/differently.)

STEP 2: Select poetry from the menu you suggested (after the jump).  

You must select at least three and there is no maximum.  If you'd like to add a poem you feel strongly about please do so in the comments.  If you'd like to see what else has already been vetted have a look at the Poetry Reading List.

STEP 3: Read the poem.

Read the poem.  Then read it again.  Seriously.  Like, over and over.  Meditate on it.  Read it at least seven times.  Think about what sounds different or makes new sense in the seventh reading.   


STEP 4: Read & discuss the Vendler & TP-CASST grids with your group, and determine who will do which.

In class tomorrow and Wednesday we will go over these highly structured ways of dissecting poems.   Since dissection is rarely a high point for a frog-lover, please keep the exam and the goal you set for it in mind.  You will be relying on these tools extensively over the week.  After the exam please shake your head really hard and read a poem just to make sure you don't see a grid.


STEP 5: Meet with your group to analyze each poem through the Vendler & TP-CASST grids.

This is where you want to dust off your critical thinking chops and clarify, consider things from different perspectives, challenge, research, and identify the best of everyone's thinking on each point.   Take "best of" notes that you can use to outline your essays.


STEP 6: Write your essays.


April 22

[no in-class journal today; choose your own topic tonight and channel your inner Montaigne]

1. Micro-AP exam on Macbeth
2. Make arrangements with 3-10 colleagues to form your AP study group (if you haven't got one already)

1. Analyze your performance on today's exam.  Were you successful?  To what do you attribute your performance?  What does it tell you about your preparation for the AP exam?
2. Read the "Poetry Boot Camp" post & complete steps #1-3

Friday, April 19, 2013

spring break lit circle ap questions for the weekend

Thanks to all of the groups who presented today.  Here are each group's novels and links to questions by period (if I missed something or you posted something since, please add in a comment to this post):

Slaughterhouse Five (lit elements, essay prompts, multiple choice questions)
Kafka on the Shore (questions here)
Carrie (Ruth et al assured us questions will be posted on her blog Saturday)

Picture of Dorian Gray (multiple choice questions)
Crime & Punishment (essay prompts, prose essay prompts, open essay prompts)
The Five People You Meet In Heaven (essay prompts, multiple choice questions)
Life of Pi (general questions, MC + essay prompts, open essay prompts, lit terms, MC questions,  prose essay prompts)
Carrie (open essay prompts)

Jane Eyre (multiple choice, prose essay prompts)
Life of Pi (multiple choice, more multiple choice + open essay prompts + lit elements)
Fahrenheit 451 (lit elements, open essay prompts, Amanda sez prose prompts will be on her blog)
Carrie (prose essay prompts)
1984 (open/prose essay prompts, lit elements)
Crime & Punishment (Jose promises prompts on his blog; in the meantime here is some background)

April 19

"You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish." What literary/linguistic techniques are evident here? How does knowing that information help you understand and explain the sentence to someone who doesn't get it?

1. Journal
2. Spring Break lit circles presentations

1. Answer all the groups' (from your class period) multiple choice and essay questions, and publish to your blog (title: RESPONSES TO LIT CIRCLES)
2. Finish reading Macbeth and consult colleagues and/or online resources to prepare for micro-AP exam Monday

Thursday, April 18, 2013

spring break lit circles presentations tomorrow

Here are a couple of quick reminders regarding your presentations tomorrow:

1. You don't need fancy visuals or anything other than what you prepared over Spring Break;
2. You do need to prepare your colleagues to answer the essay/multiple choice questions you wrote, and you need to do this in approximately five minutes;
3. You also need to tell your colleagues where to find the questions and how they should answer them on their blogs.

Looking forward to hearing what you learned, both about the novels you chose and the AP questions!

jane eyre resource

This comes to us from J Aragonite (as ID'd on slideshare) via Mackenzie. Thanks!

April 18


Is there anything that Macbeth can do at this point to redeem himself and/or make things right?

1. Journal
2. Discuss Act IV (if you don't have 3rd or 4th period, find a way to do this off-campus; bonus if you capture/post the conversation)
3. [AP prep/projects]

1. Read Act V
2. Publish Act V active reading notes to your course blog

standardized testing today

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 17


Is there any other character you've read/seen that reminds you of Macbeth?  Who?  How?  Why?  Explain.

1. Journal
2. Discuss Act III (if you don't have 0 period, find a way to do this off-campus; bonus if you capture/post the conversation)
3. [AP prep/projects]

1. Read Act IV
2. Publish Act IV active reading notes to your course blog

standardized testing today

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

rhs ap testing schedule

This just in:

open soda

April 16

How does it feel to be in charge of your own learning in crunch time?

1. Journal
2. Slight recap of yesterday's conversation
3. Macbeth: discussion &/or quiz on Act II

1. Comment to the AP Reading List page with 3-5 literature analysis URLs (extra credit for more; please list in order of quality, best first).
2. Read Macbeth Act III
3. Post your answers to the Jane Eyre questions below (thanks, Mackenzie!)

(***PLEASE NOTE: As we review our progress in each period today, we will discuss the schedule and refine yesterday's ideas.  Even though the school calendar belongs to standardized testing, our learning calendar belongs to us.  Please be sure to consult the blog and/or your Inbox so that you don't miss anything on the days we don't meet in class.  Mahalo.)

M C Questions Ch 1

recap of yesterday's discussions

Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday's discussions.  Here is a brief recap:
  • The Macbeth video (part I + link to PBS) now lives here 
  • We will be accelerating our reading pace on Macbeth and doing readers' theater by request (i.e., we won't read the whole play out loud in class, but we will read those lines/scenes that you want to hear out loud and/or discuss)
  • Macbeth was unfairly maligned-- it HAS been on the AP exam (in 1983, 1999, 2003, 2005, & 2009)
  • We need a central place for literature analyses so that students don't have to hunt through a year of everyone's blogs to review titles/main features of the books on the AP reading list.  To that end, everyone will be asked to contribute links to 3-5 literature analyses (by title) as comments to the AP Reading List page; a small group of volunteers will help me aggregate the URLs and create links through the page for easy reference. 
  • The Spring Break lit circles groups will present their novels as micro-lessons in class this week and next, and will assign their multiple choice & essay questions for homework on the day that they present.
  • We will generate and write on a series of open essay topics that include literature analyses and the lit circles' titles.
  • We will have a poetry boot camp next week (period 0 lead = Sarah; period 3 lead = Sam & Feli; period 4 lead = Mackenzie.  If you're interested in see them and/or me.)
  • We will use online tools (and telephones, cars, cans/string, etc.) to collaborate and make use of the testing time this week and next.  Three weeks before the exam is not a good time to lose four days of thinking about the exam.
  • We will thematically contextualize Macbeth & the other works of lit we've studied this year, and (time permitting) we'll revisit dystopia with a selection from The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
If I've forgotten or misremembered anything, or if you've had a great idea since we talked, please comment to this post.

Monday, April 15, 2013

ap scores online this year

Following is a screen shot of an email I got from the fine folks at the College Board.  For your reference and convenience, the "new AP student site" is here

keep calm and master eng lit comp

April 15

Time to put our work to work.

Friday, April 12, 2013

an author wants to know what you think of digital college essays

Mitchell Fielder sent me the following email about this article he wrote about tech & college essays/ admissions processes.  Please comment to this post with your impressions.