Thursday, September 29, 2016

september 30

I don't want to spend my weekend editing resumes and reading journals.

You don't want to spend your weekend catching up on old work.

We have a lot to do next week.

Today we have 50 minutes together.  Let's GSD.

september 29

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" by The Pretenders]

What's the difference between love and hate?  Are these emotions truly polar opposites, or are they two flavors of the same energetic ice cream?

1. Journal
2. Intentional v. unintentional argumentation
3. Your brain is messing with you
4. Essay review

Please review at least five of your colleagues' essays and come to class tomorrow prepared to discuss trends in thesis statements, organization, diction, and mechanics.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

just because

Dad skills

september 28

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "I Want to Hug You" by John Lee Hooker; "Hug You, Squeeze You" by Stevie Ray Vaughan]

Are hugs important?  Why/why not?  How do they communicate ideas and/or feelings?

1. Journal
2. Logical fallacies continued

Write an essay on your blog that answers the following prompt (title: A HUG IS NEARLY A GUN SPELLED BACKWARD)

Agree or disagree with E.M. Forster's view that personal relations are more important than causes or patriotism.

Monday, September 26, 2016

september 27

9:59 PM
A couple hours have passed since the debate.  It's finally cooling off (a little) outside.  Thinking about logical fallacies and how so many people in this country are in so much pain that they may not be thinking clearly.  Thinking about what I want to do tomorrow.  Thinking about the language at school: "Minimum Day."  What does that mean, anyway?  How does it translate to making the most of our learning?  Why do I so often feel like I'm working for students against all the influences that challenge students to be less than their best?  Is it really too hot to learn?  Thinking that I'll pass on doing the agenda now and post it late night or early morning.

*Update/5:31 AM

JOURNAL: [today's tunes: "On the Turning Away" from A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd]

Who do you think won last night's presidential debate?  Why?  Please explain your answer in terms of ethos, pathos, and logos.

1. Journal
2. Logical fallacies & "winning" last night's debate
3. Consult this list of logical fallacies and work with a partner to determine how many you saw last night.  Please provide an example for each one.

1. Please list your 10 favorite logical fallacies on your blog with an example for each. (title: WHEN LOGIC FAILS)
2. If I don't have your resume by tomorrow (Wednesday) I won't read it.

tonight's presidential debate

The debate begins at 6 PM.  Some of you have asked where you can see the debate.  Answer: Everywhere.  Every major TV broadcast network will carry the event commercial-free.  You can also stream it online (learn how here).

september 26


What does it mean when someone says, "That's just a rhetorical question"?  (Look it up if you need to.)  Describe a time someone asked you a rhetorical question or you asked one yourself.  Why a rhetorical question instead of any other kind?

1. Journal
2. Collect resume drafts
3. TIP/progress and this week's work
4. Rhetoric
5. Logical fallacies
6. Tonight's circus-- er, theater-- er, presidential debate

Watch at least 15 minutes of the debate and comment to your blog with descriptions of logical fallacies you observed (title: MISTAKES FOR PRESIDENT)

Friday, September 23, 2016

september 23


I'm not there.  Hopefully you're seeing this anyway.  Which brings up a question: Where do you go for information when you think something might be happening but you're not sure and no one is telling you?

1. Journal (happy Friday, as they say, please remember to leave your journal)
2. Work by yourself or with a friend to:
  • tighten up your resume
  • make sure your TIP is up to date
  • begin answering questions (or read if you need to) for lit analysis #2
1. Please bring your resume and TIP to class (on paper, in hand, resume TYPED) on Monday
2. Think an interesting thought and post it to your blog (title: SOMETIMES MY MIND...)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

september 22

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel; "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil]

Describe a recent news story that got your attention.  Did it inspire you?  Upset you?  Make you angry?  Make you curious?  Why?  What was it about the facts of the story or the way it was presented that made you raise an eyebrow?

1. Journal
2. Your objective is our objective
3. Musing on the Big Question
4. Musing on language (preview of coming attractions)
5. Your TIP

1. Read your lit book
2. Write your objective and complete your first draft of the resume
3. Keep your TIP up to date
4. Find an interesting news story and post an editorial about it to your blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

september 21


What's your favorite word?  Why?

1. Journal
2. Resume: G.P.A. / Class Rank / Entry formatting
3. Big Questions continued

1. 10 min. min. vocab
2. 20-30 mins. reading literature analysis book & post response to your blog that focuses on theme, tone, plot, diction, syntax, and/or characterization
3. Please keep your Time Investment Portfolio up to date
4. Resume GPA/Rank/Formatting

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

september 20

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive)

We use words in so many ways that shape our experience.  Even the way we describe our interest-related activities affect our moods and our performance.  How do you see the difference between work, labor, vocation, avocation, hobby, and play?

1. Journal
2. Resume: the header
3. Vocab: definitions/Q&A (Socratic)
4. Big Questions (Socratic) / Fields & Mentors
5. Time Investment Portfolio (Socratic)

1. Notes [TBD]
2. Begin resume doc in word processor with header and sections
3. 10 min. min. on vocab
4. Describe an ideal mentor (or two) for your Big Question in a post (title: MY YODA)

Monday, September 19, 2016

vocabulary: fall list #4


resume template

Please see below-- we will discuss in class.  And check this post later, because when I have a few minutes I'm going to update with a riff on letters with accents and how to include in your blog :)

AP Resume Embed

september 19

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Chidori No Kyoku" by Satomi Saeki & Alcvin Takegawa Ramos]

Most of the time your attention is focused outward: on classes, sports, jobs, other people, and the 101 things you have to do in order to get through the day. For a moment, see if you can forget all that. Let your mind grow quiet. Listen to yourself breathe and consider this definition of mindfulness: "focusing one's complete attention on the present moment." Today, rather than responding to a specific topic, simply write down the information that occurs to you right now. This may include thoughts, feelings, sounds/sights, memories, even how your fingers feel on the pen or how your toes feel in your shoes. The only requirement is to record your stress level at the beginning and at the end on a scale from 1-10 (1 being least stressed, 10 being most stressed).

1. Journal
2. Brag sheet/resume
3. Vocabulary: fall list #4
4. Orwell & language takeaways
5. Big Question
6. Time Investment Portfolio

1. Please categorize and list resume items
2. Please post vocab definitions and sentences to your blog (title: FALL VOCAB 4)
3. Please post the fields/disciplines that inform your Big Question (title: BIG QUESTION DISCIPLINE/S)
4. Please begin your TIP log (offline)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

september 16

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Alive" by Pearl Jam]

What makes you feel Alive?  Not just like you're functioning, not just surviving, but really, truly Alive?  (My inner surfer might call this "stoked.")  Describe a moment that you conquered a fear, did something that made you feel triumphant, or experienced anything else that shocked you into a feeling of being totally Alive.  It can be as simple as the hot water shutting off or realizing you walked into a room for something and totally forgetting why.

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Set TIP goals for the weekend

1. Invest your time intentionally
2. Choose your next literature analysis book and bring to class Monday

september 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "I Love to Laugh" by Richard & Robert Sherman from the movie "Mary Poppins"]

Please describe-- in vivid detail-- the last time you laughed so hard you couldn't catch your breath.  Bonus if you fell out of a chair or dropped to your knees.

1. Journal
2. Loose threads
3. Vocab

Study vocab for tomorrow

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


You're more likely to be killed by your own clothes than by an immigrant terrorist.  Read the full story here.

september 14

Revisit goal post (get it? :) and ingredients for next grading period...

Make a plan.  What will you do in this class over the next grading period?  What's your goal?

1. Journal
2. Study/practice vocab
3. Actual TIP vs. Ideal TIP

1. Study vocab
2. Have the time of your life (in a post entitled: I'M HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

vocabulary: fall list #3 (updated)


Monday, September 12, 2016

september 13

[NOTE: Yesterday we talked about you doing your estimated Time Investment Portfolio last night.  I didn't post it, so if you forgot please take a shot at it when you're done with your journal.  Mahalo.]

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" by Irving Berlin/ performed by Ethel Merman]

What did you learn from completing your brag sheet over the weekend?  How did it feel to look back on your accomplishments?

1. Journal
2. From brag sheet to resume
3. Time Investment Portfolios
4. Vocabulary

1. Finish vocab
2. First draft resume (hard copy due Friday)

september 12

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Time" by Pink Floyd]

Describe your understanding and experience of time.  Is there ever enough?  When does it go faster or slower?  Do you have the sense you use it well?  Why/why not?

1. Journal
2. Time & Language
3. Time & Your Goals
4. TIP
5. Wrap up conferences


categories of time allocation

Here are some excerpts from Time for Success that will help with your TIP:

When you go to work or school, you agree to allocate a specific amount of time to activities determined by your involvement with an organization.  In return, the organization to which you allocate your time agrees to compensate you with a specific amount of money.


(Update 9/12: FIFA sucks. Here's the video. Thanks for the link Liliy!)

"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, emptying the dishwasher before your mother gets home.  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 for the rest of the year, so please don't delay: get the job done.  Knowing more about each other's plans will also be important because none of us will prepare for the AP exam alone. 

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 political argument by comparing it with your favorite book or movie?  If you zone out and watch somebody's cat on YouTube for a while, fine.  And then think about how to demonstrate what you just experienced in your mind in such a way that it will help us.  What's that?  You'd rather build a robotic cat that writes, reads, interprets, and explains political arguments to irritating teacher types?  Cool.  You can do that too.

If you are still thinking of this as a high school course to be gamed, please immediately find your closest friend and ask her to roll up a newspaper and smack you on the nose with it.*  (*If this 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 a literal 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 thinking ship once he got off on one of these tangents.] If you're one of those people who cut corners 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.  Yep.  That's right.  You won't succeed without them.

The first month was rehearsal.  This is showtime.

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

Friday, September 9, 2016

september 9

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["The Distance" and "Never There" by... wait for it... yes. Cake.]

Explain the significance of the phrase, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche."  What does it mean and how does its origin relate to what we've learned about the use of language this week?

1. Journal
2. Wrap up Orwell
3. Notes
4. Brag sheets, resumes, searches, applications, and balancing the rest of your life

Do your brag sheet (hard copy) and bring to class on Monday

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

put your hand(s) over your heart...

The development and adoption of the Pledge of Allegiance is an interesting story.  Fraternity and equality were left out.  God was added later.  Millions of school children take the pledge every morning.  (It's entirely possible that millions more want to pull a Kaepernick.)  Whether you choose to put one hand over your heart and honor the flag and the country, or whether you put two hands over your heart and align yourself with gratitude and your deeper self, those few moments every day present each of us with the chance to be mindful.

september 8

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

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

1. Journal
2. Partners/ BS detectors
3. Orwell

1. Finish Orwell and publish your notes to your blog (title: I'M READING BIG BROTHER)

september 7

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Meaning of Life" by Monty Python; "Sunshine On My Shoulders" by John Denver]

Describe a time you figured something out.  Did you learn or do anything that you can use or repeat the next time you're confronted with a mystery/challenge?  Why does figuring something out make you happy?

1. Journal
2. Euphemisms
3. Orwell cont'd.

1. Muse on your blog: what makes words Bad?  Is this important for reinforcing social values?  How does the idea of good/bad words increase or decrease understanding between people?  What is an appropriate use of euphemism and when does it become phony or confusing? (title: BAD WORDS)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

learners helping learners

Thank you to Cerenity and Adriana for creating AP English Catch Up -- check it out and let them know if you'd like to be a contributor.

vocabulary: fall list #3

[To be generated while we read Orwell.]

september 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Smile Away" by Paul McCartney; "The Shadow of Your Smile" by Marvin Gaye]

Where do smiles come from?

1. Journal/ A mindful moment
2. Bad language
3. George Orwell's "Politics & The English Language"
4. Let 'em eat cake

1. Continue literature analysis work (this is going to be an always thing, and not always posted)
2. Response to reading on your blog (title: BIG BROTHER'S FIRST IMPRESSION)
3. Vocab #3 -- definitions and sentences on your blog or paper
4. Review at least three of your colleagues' blogs and comment with feedback and/or questions

Friday, September 2, 2016

ideas in need of your feedback

This morning over breakfast I found myself thinking about what's important to you all and how we can use our time together to support our goals (more on goals next week).

I have two ideas for you to consider.  Please comment to this post and let me know what you think!

IDEA: Cake Wednesday

The idea here is that we take one day each week to focus on nourishing ourselves, each other, and our goals.  That means food.  We can rotate chef duties while we refine our organizational skills, search for scholarships (the time to begin is NOW),  and clarify goals/plans for life after high school.

It doesn't have to be Wednesday, and it doesn't have to be cake.  (In fact, I'd prefer healthier options and more personal choices, such as favorite recipes from your families.  Store-bought bags and bottles suck.)

(Credit Where It's Due: This idea originally came from my friend Jonathan Worth, a professional photographer and professor I met a couple years ago in London when I spoke at the Royal Geographic Society.  Jonathan teaches PHONAR, the largest open source photography course in the world-- which you too can take for free!)

IDEA: Leave Each Other Alone Day

One of my favorite things about teaching is connecting with learners in person.  I love exchanging ideas and getting to know you as we talk technology, literature, and learning about learning.

But I also understand that many of us don't have enough opportunities to quietly concentrate on our reading and writing.  There are days when the hour we spend in class may be the best opportunity we have to spend time thinking our own thoughts, reading deeply, or writing for academic and creative purposes.  School often demands that we look like we're doing something, and thinking can look a lot like sitting still doing nothing, so a classroom full of thoughtful students is a somewhat unusual sight. (There's your daily dose of irony.)

For these reasons I'd like to suggest that we occasionally celebrate Leave Each Other Alone Day.  On these days, we will quietly do what we need to do: read, write, think.

These are both just ideas.  Are they good ideas?  I'll have a better idea after reading your comments.

september 2

How well do you expect to do on today's vocabulary quiz?  Why?  Are you happy with your performance on the satire and the first literature analysis?  Why/why not?

1. Journal
2. Vocab quiz
3. Satire sampler

1. Recharge your battery
2. Enjoy your life, your surroundings, and at least one person who cares for you
3. Read a good book
4. Catch up on anything you need to catch up on

Thursday, September 1, 2016

who do you want to be tomorrow?

Be this guy.

Not this guy.

september 1

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

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

1. Journal
2. Checking in: vocab, satire, literature analysis, big questions, blogs, hack to school night...

Big day tomorrow.  Get ready and just imagine much more relaxing the three-day weekend will be without lingering obligations hanging over your head.