Thursday, April 18, 2013

a meditation on the nature of extra credit-- and your first opportunity to get some

What is "extra credit"?  Presumably, it means credit above and beyond expectation and requirement. 

But what exactly is expected and required?

Traditionally these parameters are set by an authority figure (e.g., a teacher) who doles out assignments and creates rubrics that set comparative performance benchmarks using metrics such as points, percentages, and letter grades.

In that relationship students are passive consumers: get your work, shut up and do it, accept the judgement of the authority figure, and stuff the paper in a binder/backpack, where it will remain as a private testimony to... what, exactly?

What if you could use your work to demonstrate your mastery and enhance your value in the community?  What if, instead of showing an essay to one person, you could share it with a network that celebrates your successes and helps you improve where you need it?  What if you could use an academic course to explore the Big Questions you've always wondered about (whether they're related to English or not), or pursue your own path of inquiry, or to create Collaborative Working Groups to create projects and even create business ventures?

Today's digital culture presents opportunities we've never had before.  In coming posts I will formally introduce you to Open Source Learning and help you make some decisions about how to take full advantage of the opportunities it presents.  In the meantime, with regard to credit & extra credit, think of it this way: every idea you offer the network has value.  Your contributions establish your identity and enrich others' thinking.  More/better ideas = higher value.  In this course your value will be determined by the quantity and quality of your thinking and your work product, so please begin by introducing yourself in a comment to this post.  The questions below are designed to help get you started.  Please feel free to extend the topics and include your own perspectives and questions.

1. Who are you?
2. Why are you taking this course?
3. What do you hope to get out of the experience?
4. What (if anything) gets you excited or nervous when you think about next year in general or this course in specific?
5. In your life, what do you care enough about to give it your all?* (*this doesn't have to be academic or school-related)
6. How can this course help you achieve your goals and set the stage for a senior year that blows the doors off expectations and requirements?

Be on the watch for more soon, both here and in person.  This year's seniors are putting together some live introductory experiences, and we will have a formal lunchtime orientation in mid-May.  In the meantime, I look forward to seeing your thoughts here.  Mahalo.


  1. 1.Teanna Silveira- Athlete, loves to write poetry.
    2.I feel more comfortable by taking American Lit with Dr. Preston last year, and I know what is expected of me.
    3. To think out of the box and appreciate some literature. Personally, looking forward to some memorizing.
    4. Memorizing a 51 line poem. lol
    5. I care to give my all to my husband and family in the near future. :)
    6. Definitely learn how to work with others, and how to present projects. HACKING!

  2. 1. I am Whitney Houg
    2. I am taking this course to push myself futher in life and show that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
    3. I hope to learn different ways of finding information and be able to collaborate with others.
    4. I am nervous about trying different things and having them turn out badly.
    5. I care about making my family proud of what I have accomplished.
    6. This course can help me see things in a different way by how people are able to hack it. Just as Teanna said.

  3. Great start, Teanna & Whitney-- thanks!

  4. 1. Amara Sharp
    2. I am taking this course, for three reasons. First, I've taken all of the other Honors and AP English classes on campus and this is simply following that path. Second, I enjoy a challenge and I believe this class will provide that. Third, I love to read, and since I am pressed for time during the school year, it only makes sense to sign up for a class so I can have the opportunity to read for credit.
    3. Skills and knowledge about literature that I can bring with me to college.
    4. My biggest fear or worry for this class is the aspect of memorizing poetry. This is an area I tend to struggle in.
    5. I am a very competitive and detail orientated person, and regardless of the task if I have any interest in it, I tend to go overboard and give my all to that task. Wheter it be school, sports, or some random activity.
    6.I'll see what happens when we start class in August...

  5. 1. Rebecca Aldrich
    2. I am taking this course so I can continue to challenge myself and learn as much as I possibly can.
    3. I hope to learn more about keeping a blog, how to look at literature and understand it at deeper levels, and work on becoming a better writer.
    4. I'm nervous about things I've heard about memorization for this course and also about keeping up with all the demands of senior year. I'm also excited to learn about colleges and the next chapter of my life.
    5. I care most about making sure that my actions make the world a better place than it is.
    6. This course will hopefully help me learn how to more clearly express myself through writing and presentations.

  6. 1. Brenna McNamara
    2. I'm pursuing this course because my love of reading is applicable to this class and, though cliched, I'm content with taking on a challenging English class.
    3. What I hope to get out of this class is the ability to read a book and have beyond the "sparknotes level" of analyzing.
    4. I'm nervous about the thought of memorizing poetry because It's difficult to recite word-for-word when we speak very slang and general.
    5. My art is something that I need to give my all to; not every single piece, but the ones that I feel are the best.
    6. I try not to set goals to avoid bitter disappointment, on the other hand, I would hope that this class makes me feel successful in some way I can't quite determine now...

  7. 1. Hi, I'm Mia Levy. 17 years of age. Born and raised in the same house, in the same town (Orcutt), my entire life.
    2. I don't know if you remember but about two years ago Mrs. Byrne's sophomore class traveled to your classroom once when she was absent, we simply sat and observed. I was intrigued by your class discussion and giant wall of CD cases. Safe to say, in one hour your class peaked my interest.
    3. Out of all the wonderful things english has to offer, the one topic I have never quite grasped is vocabulary and grammar. For some reason words like perfidious and lassitude just wont stick in my head. By the end of next year I hope to be able to say a sentence that makes perfect sense but not one person in the room will understand.
    4. Well of course college makes me have extreme bouts of anxiety. Im about to embark into a world full of opportunities and I still have no idea how the stock market works or even how much of a tip to leave while eating out (Something like %15 right?). As for this class, the thought that makes me the most nervous is my ability to understand the assignments, I barely made it through Romeo and Juliet freshmen year and we didn't even read the whole thing.
    5. I'm passionate about life, wait is that too cliche? Let's go with the future instead. I try my best in class to get a good grade, to get a good GPA, to get into a good college, to get a good job. The list goes on and on. If you fail now it's a slippery slope for the rest of your future. I may not be living in the moment all the time, but I am making a past that I will be proud of.
    6. I like to write, obviously. I'd like to be good at it, I'd like for others to read my writing and be as invested in it as I am. English classes always improve your writing but the thing that could make this class separate from the 11 I've taken before would be it's ability to put that writing into action. Creative writing assignments are always a plus (AP free response essays aren't always that bad either.) If this class were to blow me away I will come out of it quoting Shakespeare, writing poetry, reading extremely difficult books (for fun), and a new outlook on what lies ahead.

  8. 1. My name is Melissa Steller, I am the youngest of four children and the only girl.
    2. Initially, I wanted to take this class for the same reason that I'm taking all of my other AP classes; to challenge myself and make myself more competitive in the college application process. Although, after hearing more about your class from current students, I look forward to learning in a type of environment that differs from the rest of classes.
    3. I hope to learn how to take advantage of the many resources that this class has to offer through other students and through the internet.
    4. I worry most about time management. I was warned that you also like to post different assignments throughout the day and I'm worried that I'll miss one.
    5. I have grown up with Yosemite National Park as a part of my background. It is a place that has formed a very special place in my heart and has inspired my passion for nature and the environment. This is a kind of a random answer to your question, but after my retirement I would like to live in Yosemite and educate children about its' geological wonders. I use this dream to inspire me to do my best in everything that I do in order to make this dream come true. So to answer your question, I like to set long term goals to inspire myself to always give everything my all.
    6. This class can, as you have stated, prepare me for the future. It was reassuring to hear your past students talk about how much your class has prepared them for college. I look forward to acquiring a larger background on collaborative working and successful internet access going into college.

  9. 1. I'm Danny Luu, sixteen years old with an adventurous imagination outside of school.
    2. I'm taking this course to fulfill my last AP/Honors English course of my high school career and to hopefully pass the AP Exam to gain credits for college.
    3. I hope to achieve a better knowledge of our literature in America, learn how to interact as a team for college, and gain as much scholarships I possibly can.
    4. What makes me excited but also nervous next year is that I will be an adult, the knowledge of being able to do numerous activities that I couldn't do before. But that also makes me nervous from the release of authoritative care from my parents, the feeling of know one holding your hand anymore. What makes me excited for this upcoming English class is that it isn't any ordinary class, you actually have freedom in the class by being able to be on your phone, laptop, etc. and all work being done digitally which I personally think every class should do.
    5. Adrenaline is the component that helps me give it all I got, but to gain that adrenaline I first must care about something so much that it makes my brain think that I'm in a life or death situation. In my life, the one particular thing that makes me give it all I got is caring for my family. Whenever my parents, grandparents, or relatives need help, there's no excuse or nudge I get right to it with no questions asked. It could be a natural instinct or a habit that I was taught, family is what I give all my power into. It may of been my grandpa's fainting that made me suddenly stop and think that I can always get friends but if I lose one of my family members, then they aren't ever coming back. Family first, friends later.
    6. This course can help me achieve my goals just from this moment of commenting on the blog. It can help me by teaching me how to be interactive with other people which will be handy for my goal to become an pediatrician. This course can also help me set the stage for senior year by creating a magnificent speech at graduation.

  10. I am Sarah Stevens.

    I am taking this course because I had Dr. Preston last year and feel that I am we'll prepared for AP as a senior with Dr. Preston.

    In this course I want to learn how to best apply myself outside of school and to also learn new studying/learning strategies from my colleagues.

    Going off to college in a year makes me excited and nervousness because my whole life is going to change and it will be a new experience.

    I give my all during a game because I am competitive but when I think about in the future what activity I will give my all in I go brain dead because I haven't found a real strong passion of mine. I want to give my all in life though and the way I live.

    This course can help me push myself in other courses and outside of school. I believe also that through this course I can find my passion.

  11. 1. Who am I you may ask? I am Miranda Ashley Nillo. A young traveling enthusiast who lives and breathes music and appreciates the little things in life.
    2. I'm taking this course because I've never stopped taking honors/AP english courses since junior high, so why stop the streak now? As everyone continues to say, I am taking the course to challenge myself and be a better candidate in the college competition but there's more to it then just that. I've heard stories about this class and you as a teacher which make me eager to want to be in and learn in this class. Also, your classroom is eye-catching and that intrigues me more. Plus, the style of teaching through technology/blogs is what I excel in.
    3. I hope to further my understanding and knowledge about the use of technology through this course. I also hope to develop better critical thinking skills and the ability to achieve a greater vocabulary that sticks with me. Oh, I really want to become a more developed writer too.
    4. Using the blog as the main entree of the course. That is what excites the most about this course next year because I enjoy blogging. But the only other thing that really gets me excited for next year is the anxious wait until the senior trip. The rest of my mind is taken up by the nervous anxiety of the academic part in this upcoming year. I'm nervous about various things such as: applying and doing my best to get into the colleges I want but not getting in, knowing what I want to do in life, applying for enough scholarships, staying on top of school work with so many activities going on in my life,how I am going to manage my time, and I could go on but lets stay positive here. I also forget to mention the worry of not having a sustainable job so I can have money for senior "stuff" (prom, gradnight, permits, and so on), college, and traveling trips. But staying positive, I have an odd feeling I will find a way through all this.
    5. Something that I care enough about to give it my all is my passion for knowing that what I do will enrich my life (or others) and benefit me for the better. Enriching to me is the act of making myself happier and enlightened with the help of love. All hard work does pay off in the end, which is how I live my life. If I know that for example feeding the homeless, helps make my life enriched then I will strive to give it my best every time because you get a two for one deal, one deed makes both sides happy. (:
    6. This course can help my senior year in various ways. The biggest could be networking. Through networking you get ideas, connections, and advice from others that could help with self-improvement and enrichment. This course can also help improve my writing as a student which is my goal because this upcoming year will be filled with a ton of applications for scholarships and colleges.

  12. I'm not sure if it's too late to receive credit or not, but I'm doing this anyway.
    1. My name is Ian Steller.
    2. I am taking this course for the same purpose all of my peers are taking this course: to challenge myself, to enhance my GPA, and to set myself up for college, but after attending your orientation meeting at the end of our spring semester last year, I can safely say that I was impressed. I am excited to learn in a brand new environment, and I hope this experience will help me grow.
    3. I hope to not only acquire a vast amount of knowledge but also a vast amount of wisdom to which I can apply to my life.
    4. I've never blogged before, and I'm afraid of forgetting to check the blog and miss an assignment or something of that nature. I'm also a little nervous about the workload, but realizing that I can be lazy and procrastinate at times, fearing a heavy workload is nothing new!
    5. I want to leave my mark on this earth before I leave. Specifically, I'd like to go into medical research in the future and develop treatments for diseases that are known today as incurable. The fact that I have so little time to make a good contribution to society pushes me forward.
    6. I believe that this blogging experience will help my senior year in many ways. Receiving feedback is very important to me. It lets me know what I can change or possibly do better while I receive various perspectives from my peers that will give me an open mind.

  13. 1. My name is Madison Klusendorf, but I usually go by Maddie. I am a dedicated student and a truly passionate volleyball player.
    2. I selected this course because I want to prepare myself for college as well as challenge myself. In addition, I have heard that this class is a great experience and exposes you to a new way of learning (which I am always interested in), so I'm excited for the course!
    3. I would really like to expand my knowledge to be better prepared for college and for life. Basically, I want to be able to apply the things I will learn in both school and day to day life in order to be successful some day.
    4. I'm a bit nervous about how this course is so technologically advanced since I'm not really that tech savvy, but hey it's something new and challenging, so I am ready to learn.
    5. Personally, I give my all in academics and sports. Other than my family, those are two aspects in my life that I focus on because academics allows me to better myself and hopefully help others in the future. As for sports, I give my all in volleyball because I'm competitive and it's a place where I don't have to stress or over think. It's also a huge bonus that volleyball is paying for my college education.
    6.This course will open the doors to many new opportunities to meet new people and learn more from not just people at our school, but also around the world. The world is a big place and this course will be a great segue into what lies beyond high school.

  14. 1. My name is Ashley Hong.
    2. I am taking this course for many reasons, most of which have already been aforementioned (to challenge myself and have a new learning experience).
    3. I am hoping to become more responsible and prepared for college.
    4. I'm looking forward to the next year because it is my senior year. I am nervous about the start of the year because not only was I not enrolled into AP English, but I was not given any English class at all! Otherwise, I am excited for my new classes.
    5. Well, I guess I should say that helping others while learning more about other people and about myself is my passion. I think that by helping others, I am helping myself in ore ways than one. There are so many things to learn about society and the way people think about each other and themselves, and by learning new things about other people, I am able to look at myself and also learn more about myself, which I enjoy doing because everyone has their good points and their vices.
    6. This course can help me learn so many new things! I will be able to learn more about others, and I will also be able to see how I can challenge myself in my senior year. It is senior year, but it is still school. I can learn so much but also very little depending how I will challenge myself this year.

  15. 1. Jacob Fowler
    2. I am taking this class to challenge myself and take another approach to learning.
    3. I want to learn how to utilize technology to further my learning because one of my weaknesses is my inability to use the computer efficiently and effectively.
    4. I am nervous because I am taking four AP classes and one honors class and I feel I might have spread myself too thin, but I am excited for my senior year and all the experiences that come with that.
    5. The two things I care most about in the world is my family and football, so those two aspects of my life earn a lot of my attention and effort.
    6. This course will help me learn better and challenge me more than I could expect, also it will prepare me for college.

  16. 1. I am what I will be. I cannot define who I am, because I am not sure yet. I am human, and while I may respond to the sounds that make up my name, they do not define me, they are an entity of me, a branch of my being. I am not anyone else. That I know for sure. But if you’re looking for the obvious answer my name is Maddison Hill.
    2. I like to write creatively, sarcastically, and in a manner composed with complete dry humor, and it seems that in a regular English class, this humor passes right by unnoticed. While this is entertaining at first, it’s really more enjoyable to be blatantly obnoxious and rude when everyone else in the room understands the joke.
    3. A passing English grade that enables me to graduate high school.
    4. I would say I am most excited to do the quintessential senior things and have people pass off my laziness and generally disgruntled and annoyed nature as “senioritis”. I am most nervous for Dr. Preston to see my summer homework, but I guess excited about that too.
    5. I care enough about seeing personal goals, whether it’s a painting or a hike or a game of monopoly, I often have this embarrassing inner monologue both yelling and cheering myself along. Granted, sometimes my personal goals don’t always align well with the more important things like homework or cleaning or getting to school on time, but in those cases I figure, it’s high school.
    6. I guess I don’t understand this question. How can a course help me? That’s like asking how a pencil can help me. It can’t. I can use it to help me do things like write essays or notes, but the pencil isn’t going to explain anything to me or magically make my penmanship better. I feel that the course is a tool that I can choose to use to either “blow the doors off my senior year” or simply participate in. The course won’t achieve my goals, I will.

  17. 1. I am Hannah Savaso. I know the name does not conjure up a personality so I will expand, I am many things including a middle child, a dedicated student, and a part time soccer player.
    2. I am taking this class because English is one of my favorite subjects. I have loved to read ever since I was a kid in elementaty school and I contiune to devour books on a day to day basis. Other more technical reasons for taking this course are to raise my GPA and remain a competitive college applicant.
    4. Just hearing the words "Senior Year" ignites a bout of anxeity within me. Senior year means its almost time to take on the world on your own, to not always be assiosiated as a member of so and so's family, to become an individual. I do not know how something can be so terrifying yet overwhelmingly exciting at the same time.
    5. Although cliche, I think I do give it my all when it comes to academics. I am passionate about building a good foundation for myself so later on I am capable of making the impact I want on the world. I aspire to be something big, something noteworthy, a component of change and to get there I know I need a credible, educated backround.
    6. I think this class will be a slingshot into good opportunities and achievements.In fact I am counting on doors to be opened and connections to be uncovered as this course progresses.I beleve and hope I will be given tools to imrove myself and sharpen my mind. Simply, I hope to come out better than I came in.

  18. 1. I am Allyson Brown. I am the younger of two kids and was born and raised in Santa Maria, California. I do a lot of traveling within the country on school breaks to visit family, and I have no idea what I want to major in or eventually do in my life.
    2. I am taking this course because I know that AP and Honors classes challenge me a lot more than the college preparatory classes. I am also hopeful that I might be able to earn college credit from the AP test at the end of the year, and like almost everyone else mentioned, I am just continuing on with the list of AP classes I’ve taken during high school. AP classes are my default.
    3. I am hoping to get a lot more practice at writing before I leave high school. I am concerned that my writing will not be the caliber it should be when I reach college, and I want to be confident that wherever I end up going, I won’t be ashamed of poorly written essays or research papers. In addition, I am hoping to become more comfortable with discussion groups, which are similar to seminar classes in college.
    4. Mainly, the oncoming storm of college applications and scholarship applications makes me nervous for this next fall and winter. I am also nervous about adjusting to this structure of class on a blog, but I am excited for the memorizing assignments I have been hearing about.
    5. At this point, I am still looking for a passion that I can give my all to, but I would give my all to my family or my friends, as seems to be the standard answer. I care enough about success and my happiness to give them my all, and since taking this class is one more door to my future, I will give it all I can.
    6. Besides helping me to improve my writing abilities, this course can reach my expectations by preparing me in general for the rigorous academics of college. I want to be ready by the end of high school.

  19. 1. My name is Maria Luna.
    2. The reason I am taking this course is because I want to continue challenging myself academically and because NOT taking it is something I have ever contemplated
    3. With this experience, I am hoping to gain confidence in expressing my opinions and ideas to other people.
    4. Something that gets me excited and nervous at the same time is finishing high school. How will my life as a college student be? The thought of going to college gets me excited for this year but at the same time it gets me nervous, what if I can't go to college?! All my hard work would of been for nothing.
    5. Something that I give my best to is building a strong foundation for my future, morally and academically.
    6. By taking this course I am hoping to be able to stand out from the many other people applying to college. Also, I am hoping that this course will not only benefit me academically, but in the real world as well.

  20. 1.My name is Colter Knight. I am a student and an athlete and like everyone else, I just want to be happy and have fun.
    2.I am taking this course for several reasons. Of course everyone here wants a better GPA and to get credits for college, I am no different. But also I look forward to reading some good books and improving my analysis of literature. I also see the AP test as a challenge and a chance to measure what I have learned.
    3.I hope to improve my communication through writing and speaking. I also hope to step my game up as far as technology goes and be comfortable with expressing my opinions via blogs and the internet.
    4.The whole application process gets my heart racing. There is so much at stake and I don't want to sell myself short by not writing a good essay or forgetting to take a subject test. As far as this course I am nervous to recite poems to the class.
    5. In my life, I give it all to my water polo team. Those guys are my brothers and we put in hard work day in and day out to succeed as a team.
    6. This course can prepare me for college level English classes. I also think seeing the opinions of my peers on this blog will help me get to know them better.

  21. 1) Who are you?
    “I am a man who looks after the pigs
    Usually I get along OK.
    I am man who reveals all he digs,
    Should be more careful what I say.”
    Why do we label ourselves? I am a lot of things, why would I rely on one label? If I were truly able to explain who I am, we would be here for days. I would have to tell the story of my life as Tolkien’s Ents do in The Two Towers.
    Besides this, how can I fully answer this it I do not truly know who I am yet? Our youth is a time to find ourselves, and sadly, I have yet to do so. Who I am is based on what others see in me. Not everybody knows everything about me, thus 'who I am' is different based on every separate person's own reality. 
    Personally, I feel that I am a seeker of knowledge, of the species Homo sapiens sapiens, of the planet Earth in the Milky-way galaxy. My goal in life is to help others through medicine.
    But truly, how can I know if you "remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
    And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
    That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
    A sun that is the source of all our power.
    The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
    Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
    Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
    It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
    It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
    But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
    We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
    We go 'round every two hundred million years,
    And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
    In this amazing and expanding universe.

    The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whizz
    As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
    Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is."
    So basically this is an extremely roundabout (The words will make you out ‘n’ out, I’ll spend the day your way...) way of saying that I do not yet know who I am, but I hope to someday know.

    2) Why are you taking this course?
    I am taking this course for a variety of reasons. First, and most obvious, I am taking this course to give me a better handle on my future. The AP test in may will hopefully get me out of taking English 3 when I hopefully go to UCLA, getting me past my general education, and allowing me to double major, hopefully in Biochemistry and Mathematics, and maybe take higher elective classes in the humanities to completely round out my education. The GPA boost this class will give me will make me look good on paper for when it becomes time for college acceptances, which is especially helpful, due to the competitive nature of college acceptances in this day and age. The next reason for taking this class would be to expand my knowledge and ability in the art of the English language. I am a terrible writer (my writing is definitely not college level yet), and in order to thrive in university, I need to know how to write well. The reading this course will lead me through will be beneficial as well, as I love reading (which is ironic, because I am currently wearing a Fahrenheit 451 shirt that I bought at the LAPL that says “Read & Destroy”)
    and would like to be guided through books, and learn through them what their authors were trying to teach the world. Thirdly, I would like to take this class because I do not like taking college preparatory classes, as I do not like that the students’ main focus (with many exceptions, of course) is not to learn the material, but to either play around and wait until 2:50, or to just get an A without learning. Finally, I would like to take this class so that I can find myself through my work and studies, and hopefully be able to truly answer question #1.

  22. 3) What do you hope to get out of the experience?
    I already answered this a bit in question two, but I hope to get many things out of this class, so that this class will be a worthwhile investment, and not a lot of work with no reward. First, I would like the course to prepare me for the Advanced Placement exam in May. I also would greatly appreciate it if this experience would bring me to know more about our worlds culture, as in music, books, the internet, and the great people of the past. I would also like to become a much better writer through the course work, so that I will be ready for whatever college I go to a year from now, be it Hancock, UCLA, MIT or another college that I will decide on if I don’t get into UCLA. And again, I hope that this course will help me figure out who I am.

    4)What (if anything) gets you excited or nervous when you think about next year in general or this course in specific?
    The things I am most excited about in the upcoming year are college acceptances (and hopefully college marching band acceptances), and my courses. With my courses, I am very sad that I have taken all the chemistry that this school has to offer, but I am happy that I can learn more in other subjects, especially Government and Physics, which I do not know much about, and then Calculus and English, because the broadness of those subjects lets me have a basic knowledge of them, but still be able to learn so much about them, which will allow me to better understand the natural and social world in which I live. I am excited about college acceptances, because I have spent my whole life working on getting into college. When I was young, I was raised on UCLA culture, my mother being an alumnus, and her cousin (also an alumnus) who would always send me UCLA baby clothes. Even at the young age of two, I was so enamored with UCLA, that when my maternal grandfather, Roy Hughes (may he rest in peace), hummed the USC fight song to push my mother’s buttons, I apparently told him “Grandpa, we don’t sing that song in this house.” I have especially spent the last 5 years of my life planning for college. In junior high, I strived to get all A’s so that I could place in Honors classes at Righetti High school, so that I could be better prepared for college. I also planned out my high school schedule for my four years at Righetti, which would make me both prepared for my major and attractive to colleges. I still follow this plan, only deviating from it to take more science classes so that I can be accepted into college as a Biochemistry undergraduate, enabling be to go into a medical or pharmacology doctorate program after I graduate. Throughout high school, I have planned and prepared in many ways to gain entrance into college, including picking what five colleges I will apply to. This class excites me, in that it will help me be better prepared for college.

  23. 5) In your life, what do you care enough about to give it your all?* (*this doesn't have to be academic or school-related)
    I really care about school. I like learning, and luckily, the state of California is providing me this free education (as I do not pay taxes), so that I can learn easily. I study on my own, largely in the areas of chemistry, biology, music and literature, and I just like learning. I also give it my all with my musicianship. I play a plethora of instruments, mainly baritone horn, trumpet and guitar. I am constantly working on getting a better sound, especially on trumpet, and I keep my instruments clean and in playing condition. I like playing with other people, and so I try my hardest to recruit people into band. I have recruited a few people into our school bands, but we are still a few musicians short in Marimba and Jazz band, and or marching band is only about thirty people, not the 150 people that it should be in a 2,300 person high school. I care about other things too, but those are my two passions, learning and music, and that is what I feel I should go in depth about.

    6)How can this course help you achieve your goals and set the stage for a senior year that blows the doors off expectations and requirements?
    Again, I feel like I have explained this in previous questions, but here I go. This course will give colleges and scholarships proof that I am a hard and quality worker through my blog. The college advantages that an AP course will give you really help to make college easier, cheaper and shorter for me. This, as one of my 5 AP classes and 7 classes total this year will let colleges know that I do not give up, even if I am allowed to only take four classes, only two of which have to be college preparatory, to graduate.

    Sorry about the length, guys!

  24. 1. Who are you? Lindsey Wong
    2. Why are you taking this course? I am taking this course because my love for reading and writing makes it an "ideal" sort of class for me. But I also chose to take the class to be competitive for college, and to prepare myself to pass the AP test so I may gain some credits/save money in college.
    3. What do you hope to get out of the experience? I want to read some truly great books, and to get away from the typical standards that English courses entail. I hope to walk away from the class with new perspectives and knowledge that will help better prepare me for the future.
    4. What (if anything) gets you excited or nervous when you think about next year in general or this course in specific? Thinking about college, and the next step in my life makes me both excited and nervous. Excited because I hope to move some where brand new and have new experiences, but nervous because it will be so different from everything else I have ever done. I worry constantly about just getting in to college and making decisions that will impact my future, while at the same time I can't wait to start the next chapter of my life.
    5. In your life, what do you care enough about to give it your all?* (*this doesn't have to be academic or school-related)Most important to me is finding the path that will allow me to pursue my passions while also ensuring that I will feel successful, and happy at the end of the day.
    6. How can this course help you achieve your goals and set the stage for a senior year that blows the doors off expectations and requirements? In technological generation is growing, and this class is further proof of its effects; I want to be an even greater part of this "movement" of sorts. I think this class will show me first hand what else technology, and creativity can do for everyone besides make it easier to access internet on my phone and text.

  25. 1. Miki Kagawa
    2. I am taking this course to challenge myself with a college level class. I believe this class can prepare me to be successful in college. English is not my favorite subject but I do enjoy reading literature. Also, I have taken honors/AP all throughout high school.
    3. I hope to learn to become a better writer and be able to analyze difficult literature thoroughly.
    4. This course makes me nervous because it’s a new class I will have to adjust to such as the new blog system. Also, keeping up with my classes, college application, and golf makes me wonder if I will be able to handle the level of stress and busy life from day to day. Besides the worries, I am actually excited for my senior year because I want to create those high school memories that I can look back to.
    5. I give my all at golf because golf always push me to better but ultimately I give it my all to be successful and love the outcome of my life.
    6. This course will be a new experience that may be somewhat useful to me someday. Also, the blog will allow me to communicate with other classmates besides my circle of friends. This course can help me become prepared in the future (college). I hope to end this class with much more knowledge than I started.

  26. 1. Min Kim, but call me Kelly! :)
    2. I’m taking this course because I can, kidding. I always wanted to challenge myself with a difficult course.
    3. I hope to be able to become a strong writer and write college level essays. This experience will also allow me to get familiar with the use of technology (blogging) outside of social media.
    4. I’m nervous about all my AP classes but what I am most nervous about is the process of college applications.
    5. I don’t usually give 110% to anything but something I do would have to be helping others.
    6. The course/blog will allow me to express my thoughts and opinions online rather than in the classroom.

  27. 1. My name is Eli Esparza
    2. I am taking this course to improve my skills for college.
    3. I hope to get a better experience with writing and social skills.
    4. I am not nervous about the course because I am prepared for it.
    5. In my life I give it my all so that way I can do good things for myself and my family.
    6. This course can help me achieve goals for senior year and college because it will challenge me in different ways to make me think more.

  28. 1. Zach Roy
    2. I am taking this course to challenge myself and to prepare for college.
    3. I hope to better prepare myself for college by improving my writing skills.
    4. Thinking that I will soon be off on my own makes me a little nervous, but at the same time I think I am prepared to take on whatever comes my way.
    5. In my life I care the most about my family and friends. I strive everyday become the best person I can be, not only for myself, but for the people I care about most. I also hate being bad at things, so that alone pushes me to put 110% into everything I do.
    6. I believe this course will help me look at things from all different angles. I also believe that it will help me expand my comfort zone and interact with new people.

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  30. 1. My name is Breanna Timmons. I am 17 years old and the youngest of three. I enjoy sports but I love softball the most.
    2. I am taking this class because I want to challenge myself more than I have previously and I have only ever taken AP/Honors English.
    3. I hope to learn something new about myself and also how to become a better writer. I hope to be able to think about literature in a different light.
    4. I am nervous about all this blog stuff because have never used one before.
    5. Something that I care enough about to give it my all is softball. That may sound like such a simple thing but I spend hours practicing and I live to continuously get better. I am always 100% into ever game and every practice. I am a perfectionist when it comes to softball. I will work on the same thing over and over again until I can consistently get it right.
    6. This course can help me by making me more internet savvy, learning to blog, and making me more prepared for the expectations in college.

  31. 1. My name is Erica Marquez
I would like to improve my writing skills, improve my critical thinking skills, and collaborate with young Intelligent people.
    3. I hope to be more open minded and confident about my ideas/thoughts.

    4. What really makes me anxious and exited is the whole college application and scholarship process.
    5. In my life the thing i really care about enough is helping/serving others in any way possible. This passion is what pushes me to do my best in school because i know that with an education i will be able to reach more people than without one.
6. If anything i know this course will help me open my eyes to things i may have never considered or thought of. I also know it will make me a better writer. I am exited yet frightened for this new opportunity to give my input and thoughts in this distinct classroom setting.

  32. 1.My name is Edmond Yi.
    2.I am taking this course to improve my reading and writing skills, and to participate in a new learning environment, hopefully gaining insight into new ways of education and communication.
    3.I want to improve on my communication skills and learn how to clearly voice my opinion, both in speaking and writing.
    4.I am nervous about being able to keep up in all of my classes, and applying to colleges.
    5.The one thing I care enough about to give my everything for is to make my family proud. They have gone through a lot of disappointments over the years and I would hate to be another thing added to the list
    6. This class seems like a new experience, one that I have not tried before. This change in itself is enough to set this year apart from the others, but the idea of being able to learn interactively from my peers really excites me.

  33. Taylor Duguran

    English is one of my favorite subjects, because it allows you to be creative, forces you to think deeper, and doesn't always call for one right answer. This class also appealed to be because it raises my GPA and keeps me competitive for college.

    I hope this class makes me a better critical thinker, opens my eyes to different ways of learning, and advances my writing abilities.

    Growing up makes me nervous. The thought that the future I've prepared so long for is coming fast is very nerve racking. Applying for college, finding scholarships, figuring out what I want to do with my life, too many life hanging decisions are approaching and I'm not sure if I'm ready to make them.

    My friends and family. I'm lucky to have a lot of great people in my life, I would do anything for them and I know they'd do anything for me.

    Us AP and Honors students have been in the same classes since freshman year, some of us even 7th grade. We all have high goals and promising futures ahead of us. This new blogging network will help us collaborate on everything as college applications and scholarship opportunities start coming our way. Through this network we will help each other all achieve our goals.

  34. 1. My name is Meghan Martella.

    2. I'm taking this course because I have been in Honors or AP English classes since 7th grade and I really appreciate the higher level of teaching and interaction I have recieved from them.

    3.I hope to learn more about myself and my peers, and more about Dr. Preston's style of teaching, that I have not seen before, and that I feel I might see more of throughout college and in my job pssibly.

    4. I am nervous about the amount of work I will be recieving in the class, as well as the other 2 AP classes and Physics class I am taking this year. But I am excited about finishing up my last year of school and all the memories I will make this year.

    5. In my life, I am ready to give it my all to reach a lifestyle in the future where I have a well-paying job and can travel, even if this means taking advanced classes while working a part-time job for the time being. Once I'm out of highschool I want to experience the world as much as I can.

    6. Hopefully this class will prepare me for college, that I hope to move on to next year instead of 2 years at Hancock, if my budget allows me.

  35. 1. I am Marisol Duarte.
    2. I'm taking this course to not only challenge myself, but improve my writing skills and prepare for college.
    3. I hope to ultimately become a better writer and critical thinker, as well as learn how to be confident with my own thoughts.
    4. Honestly, everything gets me nervous. However, applying to college worries me the most.
    5. My family. I want to make them proud of me more than anything.
    6. I feel like this course will help me achieve my goals, by preparing me for college courses and giving me the opportunity to view things in a different perspective.

  36. 1. I am Bailey Wineman
    2. I am taking this course because I believe that it will prepare me for college and challenge myself and grow. Also, I have taken honors or AP English since freshman year.
    3. I hope to learn how to think more in depth and improve my writing skills.
    4. I am most nervous about applying for colleges and scholarships and getting accepted. However, I am excited to finish out my last year of high school and start a new chapter in my life.
    5. I care about those close to me and would do anything in a heartbeat for them if they asked.
    6. This blog site gives us the freedom to express ourselves and we also can bounce off of each other's ideas to help further our learning and growth to prepare us for our future.

  37. 1. I am Annette Sousa- oldest of three, tennis player, the first in my family to plan on going to a university straight out of high school.
    2. I am taking this course to go beyond what I think I can do. I want to learn a new way of thinking, and better prepare myself for college. I really hope I can take a lot from this course.
    3. I'm hoping to be able to think more analytically, and prepare myself for the AP test.
    4. I am extremely nervous that I am going to do something wrong, or get too confused or lost. I am excited, however, for the opportunity to learn in new ways (blogging).
    5. I care about getting into my first-choice college immensely! I give my all in my sport as well. I want to go to college for tennis.
    6. This course is going to challenge me in so many ways, and I just want to be able to bring all that I can to it and prove to myself that I am smart enough to take it. I think the blogs will really help. This year is going to be great, I can tell already.

  38. 1. I am Jason Limon Jr
    2. I'm taking this course because I have heard many opinions about the class and I figured that I'd find out for myself. The class also looked very interesting because of the different style of learning.
    3. I am hoping to become better prepared for college and to develop a new outlook on english.
    4. I am nervous about the memorization of poems and such but I know it shouldn't be too bad.
    5. Personally, I care about wrestling and getting into the school of my dreams. I've wrestled all my life and it is like a second nature to me. Since I was a young kid I've wanted to go to San Diego State but my dilemma is that they do not have a wrestling team.
    6. If I do well in this class it can really boost my chances to wrestle four a major college.

  39. 1. My name is Elisia Estrada, younger sister of three siblings and older sister of one. My house consists of my little sister, my nephew, my 3 cousins, my cousin's girlfriend, my aunt, and myself. My packed house is my kind of normal called strange.

    2. I'm taking this course to change my perspective on things in life, hopefully able to look at concepts with more of an open mind. I wish to become a better writer while being able to get pushed as far as possible during this course.

    3. Out of this experience I hope I can be more willing to share my thoughts and opinions even if I believe they aren't good. I want to become an independent thinker, a great writer, and an overall intelligent being who isn't left in the dark when it comes to application time for college or how high-tech college classes can be

    4. What gets me nervous about next year is college, the acceptance letters, the thought of being gone from home to be independent after 18 years of being someone's responsibility I become my own responsibility. The transition is what scares me, we are always going from the little fish in the big pond then a few years later and its your turn to be the big fish in the pond all to start over AGAIN.

    5. I give it my all in my school work, art work and my family are what I strive to do well in or what I care about extremely.

    6.This course can help me achieve my goal of being accepted into university as the first member of my family to attend university without dropping out within two weeks haha. It can make my application look competitive so I can get accepted into a good four-year university and get a job that interests me.

  40. I know I'm late on this. I would just like to introduce myself as everyone has already. I'm Maira Gomez, the second oldest of three girls and a baby boy. Raised in Guadalupe, and living in Santa Maria now. Come from an athletic family. But I seem to be the only one who has trouble dribbling a ball and swinging a bat.
    I had my thoughts of taking this class, after being put in and being unsure I have finally decided to stay in. I hope to learn as much as possible and be up to date on all college requirements. I also hope I can achieve my goal of feeling free to voice my opinion and thought in front of a class. As I have always struggled. It over whelms me when I think of where I can end up at after High School. Of coarse the idea of college, tests, applications, and responsibility . I feel like my choice in staying will only benefit be in improving my writing skills