Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31

My favorite elementary school announcement: "Free Play!" Little did I know then that "Free Play"is also a philosophical concept created by Jacques Derrida. Derrida argues that when there is no "center" or structure, that all ideas/actions are relative and "play" off of each other. Does your head hurt yet? No? Then let's apply this to Shakespeare: when Harry gives the pre-game speech at the Battle of Agincourt, he depends on established rules ("Obey your king") and mutual understanding of abstract concepts (honor, e.g.).  These shared structures are the reasons why none of the soldiers say, "Oh man, who cares? Who died and made you king? What's the point of existence anyway?" It's clear that everyone understands the rules of engagement and the central purpose for the fight, and the only question is whether they can rise to the occasion.  If they were in a state of "free play" the soldiers would be free to invent roles, use their organization for an altogether different purpose, or strike off on their own for any reason real or imagined (or absolutely no reason at all).

To summarize: to a child on a playground, "free play" means a fun opportunity for independent decision-making. To a philosopher, "free play" means that everything is relative and lacks structure.

When do you think structure is important, and when do you think lack of structure is important?  You may consider this in the context of literature, learning, or life outside the classroom.

1. Journal
2. Derrida's concept of Free Play
3. Discussion/application

1. Study.  For tomorrow (Friday, 2.1) you should have a solid handle on the two Dickensian lectures, this week's lit terms, your lit analysis book, and Derrida's concept of structure/free play [*update: given today's in-class tech snafus, just know the general ideas and keep your notes ready to add next week.]
2. Be prepared (with ideas, materials, and your phones/tablets/laptops) to discuss and/or work on your Big Question, Collaborative Working Group, and/or your personal study plan/SMART goal in class tomorrow.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 30

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

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

1. Journal
2. Free play: literature analysis, lit terms, Dickens novels, AP practice questions, CWGs, Big Questions

1. Take the afternoon off.
2. REMINDER: SPRING LIT ANALYSIS #1 is due by COB tomorrow, Thursday, 1.31

January 29

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

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

1. Journal
2. Lecture: Great Expectations

1. Read this quote:
"What is it that makes you want to write songs? In a way you want to stretch yourself into other people's hearts. You want to plant yourself there, or at least get a resonance, where other people become a bigger instrument than the one you're playing. It becomes almost an obsession to touch other people. To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack." -Keith Richards
2. Answer this question in a post to your blog entitled WHAT'S THE STORY?
Why did Charles Dickens write the novel you're reading/reviewing? What in your analysis of literary techniques led you to this conclusion? (Make sure to include textual support illustrating Dickens' use of at least three techniques we've studied/discussed this year.)
3. Watch Dr. Tony Williams's Gresham College lecture on A Tale of Two Cities (below); take notes and post them to your blog (Title: Tale of Two Cities Lecture Notes)

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28

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

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

1. Journal
2. Lit terms/Dickens

1. In a post on your course blog entitled DICKENS MAP (my caps, you don't have to post in caps :), please describe: 1) your reading schedule to complete your reading/review of the book by Monday, February 4; 2) five AP questions (with source URLs) that you intend to be able to answer by the time you finish; and 3) how you think you should be tested on these ideas, and/or how you intend to demonstrate your expertise on your blog. 


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

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

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

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

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll" by Blue Oyster Cult; "Better Things" by The Kinks)

If you are reading Tale of Two Cities, describe the conflict in the novel at each level you perceive it-- within the characters' minds, between the characters, and in the broader society.

If you are reading Great Expectations, describe the relationship between class and "good/evil" characters.  What role do you think wealth/materialism plays in the ways Dickens portrays his characters?  Do you see evidence of tone here?

1. Journal
2. Lit terms quiz
3. Discussion: journal topics
4. SMART goals & next steps

1. Work on your literature analysis/remix
2. Consider your SMART goal and post to your blog (*if you didn't get your SMART goal proposal yet, please email over the weekend)
3. Head start for next week: 25 (more) lit terms in post entitled "LIT TERMS 31-56"

literature analysis remix

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

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

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

The first one is due next Thursday, January 31.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

taking care of our own

One of our colleagues needs our help.

A student came to me privately and told me that [he or she] wants to take the AP exam but cannot afford the fee ($57 with waiver).  Two students have made gifts of $5 each, leaving a balance of $47.  This is one of those moments in which a learning community defines itself.  I would be grateful if each of you would consider donating a buck or two.  If we come up short I will pay the difference.

Please comment to this post with your gift (so we can keep a tally of what we still need) and/or come by class with the lettuce.  Mahalo.

collaborative working group: dinner theater

This is a dream that Christian Schmidt and Beka Castillo have had since the end of the 2009 dinner theater production of The Pastiche Cafe, which was a conglomeration of short skits and hamburgers. The Righetti Actors Guild is attempting another dinner theater, this time with a Saturday Night Live flavor.  And they need your help! Here's what you can do.

If you like acting, like SNL, need a collaborative working group, want to meet new people or just want to try something new, email or Facebook message Beka Castillo at RAG needs as many hands on deck as possible and all are welcome!

January 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Expectations" by Belle & Sebastian; "Tales of Brave Ulysses" by Cream; "Tale of Sir Robin" by Monty Python)

Re: the Dickens novel you chose, why the title?  Why Tale of Two Cities instead of Story, Saga, Account, Narrative, (etc.) of Two Cities?  What's so Great about Expectations?

1. Journal
2. Small groups: review 1st 20 pp. of novel to ID this week's lit elements
3. Search for Streaky Bacon

1. Study for lit terms quiz tomorrow
3. Check blog tonight for Lit Analysis remix ideas and comment with any questions/contributions 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

shall I compare this dominant gene to a summer's day

Scientists have encoded all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets in synthetic DNA.

dashboard as pre-college management tool

I just had to check the mailbox to see if I got into college-- today's students have to check their mailbox, their email inbox(es), portals, university sites, and...?

Why check all that stuff manually every day when you can set up a dashboard to automate the process?

Start by going to Netvibes and creating an account.  You can create categories for admissions, scholarships, work, housing, and whatever else you need/want.  If you're interested in a "power dashboard" session please comment to this post and we'll schedule a lunch next week.

Exciting to hear about all the admissions/scholarships today, keep up the good work!

January 23

[Even though the author was up all night, the blog was a late riser today...]

JOURNAL TOPIC: (post-class reflection)

What did you learn today that will make you more successful tomorrow?

1. Check out TOTC/GE
2. Discussion (approx. 20 mins.)
3. Extended discussion/individual/group work

1. Post (if you haven't already) "LIT TERMS 6-30" to your course blog

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22

JOURNAL TOPIC: ("I Will Follow" by James Taylor; "Darn That Dream" by Miles Davis; "No Expectations" by The Rolling Stones)

Explain how defining at least one of the lit terms this weekend helped you understand a text in retrospect.

1. Journal
2. Following/commenting on blogs
3. Lit terms 6-30

1. Follow & be followed
2. Study lit terms
3. Personal inventory/prep for Socratic seminar (Wednesday, 1.23)
4. If you didn't read any Dickens last semester, research TOTC/GE & decide which you want to spend (more) time with
5. Find/bring ID

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18

JOURNAL TOPIC: (Today's tunes: "I Don't Know" by The Blues Brothers; "Don't be Stupid (You Know I Love You)" by Shania Twain OR "I Don't Wanna Know" by Dr. John OR "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones-- I...just...don't...know...)

[choose your own]

1. Journal
2. Lit terms quiz
3. Siddhartha quiz
4. Quick-write: poetry
5. Think time

1. Literature analysis reading
2. Get a head start on defining/applying/remixing next 25 lit terms
3. Add a "Follow by Email" gadget to your blog
4. Recruit and add 20 followers (from our three classes) to your course blog

literature analysis schedule

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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

neh & ap

Check out the National Endowment for the Humanities site on AP Lit/Comp poetry.

henry v sarah-style

For those of you searching for context and a deeper understanding of the St. Crispin's speech, this should help:

January 17


Paraphrase Henry V's speech and describe what you know about the narrator, the structure, the theme, the purpose, the tone, and the grammar/spelling/diction.

1. Journal (extended: 15-20 mins.) 
2. Poetry analysis

1. Find five poems on course sites (HS or college) and-- in a post on your blog entitled POETRY ANALYSIS-- put them through the process you read about last night.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

scholarship hunt

If your working screen doesn't look something like this you're probably missing out on something that could help you pay for college...

i have to swim against her?

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

January 16

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

1. Become a band of brothers (and sisters)

1. Journal
2. Read the following chapter on AP writing/poetry and be ready for quiz/discussion tomorrow
AP ENGLITCOMP writing about poetry -

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

scholarships & resources

If you find scholarships and resources worth sharing, please do.

There are new entries on the College/Scholarship Info page, such as:

Scholarships for children of strawberry field workers

Budgeting with college/career in mind (thanks, Mrs. Dirkes!)

"paper is boring"

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

this just in from the college office (II)

Mrs. Dirkes asked that we post/share the following info.  For more details please see Mrs. Dirkes in the College Office:

Financial Aid Night for students and parents is Thursday, January 17th, in the Cafeteria.  English at 6:00 p.m. and Spanish at 7:30.

Students who applied to universities…make sure you have set up your web portals and check them on a regular basis.  Some schools will request a transcript that includes fall grades.  If you have received admission, please share the good news with Mrs. Dirkes. 

Santa Barbara Foundation Scholarship applications are due January 31st – get them finalized now…do not procrastinate.  There are many supporting documents and you CANNOT wait until the last minute!  Teachers need time to write the letters and you must print out the transcript request form from the application and get it to Mrs. Leckie in a timely manner.

this just in from the college office

For more details please see Mrs. Dirkes in the College Office or contact Abril directly:

This Friday there will be an information session at lunchtime for students that would fall under the category of AB540 and the Dream Act.  They will receive information about a conference to be held at UCSB on February 16th

Please inform students that might be interested.

Thank you,

From: Abril Carrasco []
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 3:27 PM
To: Vicki Dirkes; Dayna Watson; Lorena Santos; Erin Consorti; Xenia Palacios; Erma Estrada
Subject: UCSB IDEAS Conference

To whom it may concern, 
My name is Abril Carrasco and I am currently Outreach Chair for I.D.E.A.S. (Improving Dreams Equality Access and Success). We are an organization at UCSB that strives for the improvement of the opportunities that are given to students who identify as undocumented, AB 540 or Dreamers. We would like to invite students to come to our annual IDEAS Conference which will be held on campus on February 16, 2013.
UCSB IDEAS Conference is a full day experience, at no cost and with free transportation, filled with different workshops that will help Dreamer students on the road to success. We invite students to take upon this great opportunity and explore their options for college.
We will provide tools for being successful in college, how to pay for college and scholarship opportunities. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with other Dreamer students who are currently assisting institutions of higher education.
We acknowledge the need that exists within our community to expose our Dreamers to opportunities that otherwise they would not be exposed to. It is imperative that students who identify as undocumented, AB 540 or Dreamer know that the path to higher education is now more accessible to them.
We would like to ask your permission to make presentation(s) on your campus as you best see suitable. Whether it be during a class, lunch, or a meeting with the students that you believe would benefit more from our conference. Please let us know if these meetings can be scheduled.
Hoping to hear from you soon,

Abril Carrasco

Sociology and Spanish 
Undergraduate Student
University of California, Santa Barbara
UCSB IDEAS- Outreach 
(323) 350-5984

January 15

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

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

1. Journal
2. Literature analyses
3. Literature terms (definitions and/or explanatory remix)
4. SMART goals and accountability
5. Time to memorize

1. Finish poetry for tomorrow
2. Remix the five lit terms and post to your blog under heading: "LIT TERMS 1-5"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 14

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

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

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

1. Poetry
2. Literature Analysis reading

Saturday, January 12, 2013

recap of friday & more on goals

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

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

let the kids rule the school

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

the future of work

essays for tips?

Check this out.

January 11

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Dadra" by Ravi Shankar)

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

1. Journal
2. Goal exchange
3. From goal to plan

1. Post "SPRING SEMESTER PLAN 1" to your course blog by COB Sunday. Please use the in-class conversation as a template. (I will update this post with a recap after class.)
2. Select your first Literature Analysis book & bring to class on Monday, January 14.
3. Begin memorizing the best pre-game speech in history (see below); due Wednesday, January 16

St. Crispin’s Day speech
from Henry V (1599) by William Shakespeare
clr gif

Thursday, January 10, 2013

kudos: special edition January

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

(There were so many over break that this couldn't wait until the end of the month.)

Kristina Hendrick & Kimberly Hendrick (UNLV)
Kasie Gurgiolo (CSU Fullerton)
Bernardo Gonzalez (Elks Scholarship)
Ryland Towne (Elks Scholarship)
Abby Kuhlman (Elks Scholarship)
Alex Lane (CSU Channel Islands)
Amanda Arnold (CSU Channel Islands)
Rheanna Crawley (CSU Fullerton; Breitling Scholarship)
Cassidy Ashlock (San Diego State University)
Kelli Griffith (CSU Humboldt)
Rocio Reyes (San Francisco State & Fresno State)
Hayden Robel (San Francisco State)

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

January 10

JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "I Know There's An Answer" by The Beach Boys; "I Don't Know" by The Blues Brothers; "I Don't Wanna Know" by Dr. John)

As you read the passage from Siddhartha, what did you think? Did you recognize literary elements? Did you wonder where the passage occurs in the book, or what happened before/after it? Did you connect it to real life? What actions did you take while reading (i.e., did you print it, annotate, or take notes)?

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

1. Search for AP Literature/Composition questions on Siddhartha (I just used the search terms "AP Literature questions Siddhartha") and find five multiple choice/essay questions worth asking.
2. What do these questions tell you about the AP exam? What do you need to "see" when you read a passage?
3. Create a post on your course blog entitled, "AP PREP POST 1: SIDDHARTHA"
4. In that post, please: a) list the five questions you chose and the URLs where you found them; b) answer the five questions to the best of your ability (if you listed an interesting question that you can't answer because it's not covered in the passage, explain what information you'd need to do a proper job); and c) explain what the questions tell you about the skills/content you need to master for the AP exam.
5. On a piece of paper, write the next draft of your SMART goal/s for this semester and bring to class for discussion tomorrow (Friday, 1.11)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

how teens *actually* use the internet

Do you think this is *actually* accurate?

January 9

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

Describe a thought or a feeling that you'd forgotten over break and experienced again when you walked back into this room.

1. Journal
2. Reboot
3. Introductions
4. Introduction to spring semester (part I)


Read the passage from Siddhartha (after the jump) and come to class prepared to discuss on Thursday, January 10.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

more on goals and spring semester evaluation

This is the post you will be able to use as a road map for planning your spring semester trip. The thing is, I'm not writing it alone.  You're going to help.  I'll start by listing a few ideas, and I'd like you to comment with questions and thoughts that help me update the post so that it's most helpful to the most students.  Here are some topics I'll fill in tomorrow whether people comment or not.

  • Big Question
  • Collaborative Working Group
  • 5PH1NX/ OSL MMOAP/ Learning Man Festival
  • Virtual TAs
  • Novel (good idea, Josh!)
  • Course remix/curation
  • [Other?]



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

re: goals

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

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

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

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

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

Last semester was rehearsal.  This is showtime. 

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

favorite. christmas tree. ever.

Went to friends' for New Year's Eve and was blown away by their book tree.  Had to walk away before giving into Jenga-gone-wrong temptation to read something from the bottom.

Happy New Year

Hi Everyone,
I hope you and your families have enjoyed your time away from school.

Welcome to the next chapter of our adventure.

Originally I had planned on assigning work throughout the break as a way to sustain our momentum.  At the same time, however, I was also aware that (most of) you had done a lot of work and I wanted to avoid burn out, so I decided to give all of us a proper break.  (For the record, no one objected. :)

Now it's time to revisit what we accomplished in the fall and figure out how best to build toward achieving our goals in the spring.  Over the next few days I will post steps for you to take so that you're prepared for the first day.  These are assignments that will be evaluated not just by me, but by your entire learning network (which you will build

The first step is to figure out what you want to accomplish.

I'll go first. My goals for the spring semester are as follows:
  1. To help every member of our learning community accomplish his/her goals;
  2. To help every member of our learning community pass the AP English Literature and Composition exam
In order to accomplish my goals, I will obviously need to know more about your goals.  So, as the first steps in this process, please do the following:
  1. Comment to this post with a brief (1-2 sentence) description of what you want to accomplish by participating in this course over the next six months. (NOTE: This should be about your personal passion, not a Hallmark-y "I want an A" or "I'll try real hard" nod to the assignment.)
  2. Post a longer description to your course blog under the title, "What's In This For Me?"
  3. Write yourself an accompanying email here for delivery in one year.  Ultimately, the future you will have the best idea as to whether or not you have truly succeeded.
Please get back in the habit of checking this space, I will be posting next steps in the next 1-2 days.

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year,
Dr. Preston

[UPDATE: Thank you to Josh, Dulce and Michelle for getting the ball rolling.  Their answers helped me see how I can make the idea of a "goal" more specific.  Think back on all of the threads we began last semester (Collaborative Working Groups, Big Questions, traditional academic study, Open Source Learning technology, gamification) and literally ask yourselves, "What IS in this for me?"  Some of you want to create entrepreneurial ventures.  Some of you want to explore a question or an idea through original research.  Some of you want to game and continue growing our AP learning network through technology and shared experiences.  Some of you want to keep your focus narrow and get a 5 on the AP exam.  Whatever your priorities, this is the first chance to articulate what YOU want out of this process so that we can design your experience together.  You may work with others or you may see this as your personal journey, but if you wait and rely on an authority figure or colleagues to tell you what to do, you will fail.  I will post more about next steps- i.e., how we can go about this- in the next day or two.  My reason for posting this first is to get feedback from you about what it is that interests you most so I can plan accordingly.  For now, the key is for you to wave the magic wand and imagine an experience that enables everyone to pass the AP exam and emerge from this course- and HS- with a project of tangible value in the world.  When Josh wrote that he wanted to improve his writing, I imagined what form that might take: A book?  A script?  Your senior project begins now.  If you have questions or want to bounce ideas around, please feel free to use the comments and/or email.  The idea here is to give you the opportunity to start the conversation without rubric-style limitations, but if you need structure/help I'm here.)