Wednesday, April 30, 2014

video release reminder

Thanks to those of you who remembered to print, sign, and deliver the Lesson Planet video release form today.  If you didn't bring it today, please bring it tomorrow.  Mahalo.

kudos: april

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

Lesther Valenzuela (Elks Student of the Month/March)
Shane Hunter ($20k grant to University of the Pacific)
Rudy Valentine ($250 Danish Lounge Scholarship)
Rachel Shedd ($1k & 2nd place in Santa Maria Arts Council)
Miranda Gomez ($500 Women of the Moose Scholarship)
Lindsey Wong (Minerva Scholarship)
Daniel Rucker (Minerva Scholarship)
Taylor Duguran (Minerva Scholarship)
Breanna Timmons ($10k Costco Scholarship)
Rachel Nolan (Admitted to Blended Program at Sonoma State)
Michaila Bohard ($500 Santa Barbara Cattlewomen's Scholarship)
Miranda Nillo ($1k Coast Hills Scholarship; $2k Military Kids Scholarship; Luso American Scholarship)
Alex Hunter ($500 Santa Barbara Foundation Scholarship)
Danny Luu (rocking the CA state science fair at USC this week)
Amara Sharp (Admitted to UC Merced, Northern Arizona University)

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

april 30

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" by The Clash; "Break on Through" by The Doors]

When do you seek others' counsel in making a big decision, and when do you take the plunge on your own?

1. Journal
2. Senior Info paperwork
3. Masterpiece previews

1. Please read the Vendler Grid post and the TPCASTT post, and begin the Poetry Boot Camp work.
2. Please complete and be prepared to discuss the multiple choice questions on poetry (after the jump) tomorrow (Thursday).
3. Revisit the essay prompts, multiple choice questions, and rubrics in the Exam Practice & Reference tab as needed.

poetry boot camp

The moment is upon us.  Please deliver on time.

STEP 1: Convene a group.  

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

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

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

STEP 3: Read the poem.

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


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

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


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

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


STEP 6: Write your essays.


TPCASTT poetry analysis

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

TPCASTT:  Poem Analysis Method:  
title, paraphrase, connotation, diction, 
attitude, tone, shift(s), title revisited and 
of poem means

parts of the Poem

of some of the words – changing literal meaning to implied or associated values

What is the attitude of the author, characters or yourself?

At first we think or feel one way – then there is a shift:  identify the shifts and explain them

Title revisited
Any new insights on meaning or significance of title?


vendler grid poetry analysis

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

Vendler Grid


Structural Parts


Other Parts


Content Genre-

Roads Not Taken

Speech Acts

Outer and Inner Structural

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

april 29

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "April Fool" by Soul Asylum; "April in Paris" by Billie Holiday]

Using what you've learned about literary elements, compare the styles and effects of the following two quotes:

April is the cruellest month. -T.S. Eliot

There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye/ There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by. -William Cullen Bryant

1. Journal
2. Return essays
3. Deconstruct last night's multiple choice questions
4. Masterpiece preview prep

Which of the following activities will best prepare you for tomorrow?
A. Revising your essay
B. Reviewing your performance on the multiple choice questions and answering more
C. Fine-tuning your masterpiece preview
D. All of the above

Monday, April 28, 2014

april 28

What did you learn over the break (about literature, your future, your masterpiece, yourself...)?

1. Macbeth exam

1. Please complete the AP Practice Test Two Section One (it's the fourth document in the Exam Practice & Reference tab) on PAPER and bring your answers to class tomorrow.
2. On the same paper you write your answers, please jot down a couple observations as to how your work on Macbeth helped you answer the questions.
3. Bring your Masterpiece work with you tomorrow (Tuesday)-- we will begin the preview presentations and continue into Wednesday.
4. Reminder: Please print & sign the Lesson Planet video release form and bring to class tomorrow.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

macbeth exam tomorrow

Hope you all have had a restful, enjoyable Spring Break!  Tomorrow we'll be ending it in style, with an AP Exam-esque test on Macbeth.  Multiple choice questions and essay prompts galore.  Please review your notes & presentations on the play; I am consulting them as I write the exam. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

april 17


Write yourself a performative utterance about how you intend to use the break to: (a) recuperate; (b) develop your masterpiece; and (c) prepare for the AP exam.

1. Journal
2. Present Macbeth micro-lessons (and please comment to this post or emails with URLs so I can see them :)
3. Take full advantage of the peers and classroom resources you won't have nearby during break.

1. Please check the course blog over the weekend (if you don't follow/receive email updates) for guided AP work;
2. Reflect the elements you need to prepare for your Masterpiece:

  • A network of >20 people including an expert mentor;
  • Artifacts (text, pictures, videos, animation, music, [?]) that tell the story and the "making of" story;
  • Resources and vocabulary that establish you as a person who knows what s/he's talking about;
  • The sort of passion, caring, and integrity that you can't fake.
Over break I will post suggestions and samples of your work.  By Monday, April 28, you should be able to show us a 3-5 minute preview of your Masterpiece.

3. Please post FIVE STEPS, in which you explain five steps you will take over break so that you can show us something when we reconvene.

2. Enjoy your vacation! :)

are you smarter than a 156 year-old?

To prove it, you too can take the 1876 MIT Entrance Exam:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

april 16

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Redemption Song" by Bob Marley; "Back in the High Life Again" by Steve Winwood; "Back in the Saddle" by Gene Autry]

Once he and Lady Macbeth agreed to kill the king, is there anything Macbeth could have done to redeem himself, assuage his guilt, or restore order to The Great Chain of Being?

1. Journal
2. "She would have died hereafter..."
2. What do you know about Macbeth?

1. Finish designing your presentation for delivery/curation tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

april 15

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Take This Heart of Mine" by Marvin Gaye; "Take This Job & Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck; "Take This Job & Shove It" by The Dead Kennedys; "Let It Go" from the freakin' movie Frozen]

On tax day, maybe it's a good idea to consider why we give and take.  When is it important to sacrifice for the greater good or an important goal?  When should charity begin at home?  When can we create a multiple by putting something out into the world?

1. Journal
2. "Should v. Must" discussion
3. Project presentation requirements

Know Macbeth.  Ask any questions here or elsewhere in the meantime, but seriously-- KNOW Macbeth.

lesson planet video release form

Kudos to us all: the Santa Barbara County Office of Education is featuring Open Source Learning in their annual Technology Showcase.  Lesson Planet is sponsoring the event and sending an Emmy-winning video team to spend time with us in periods 3 & 4 on Wednesday, April 30.  Please print and sign the form below, and return it to class by 4.30.  Mahalo.

Release for Minor

this just in: graduation speeches & tunes

From Mrs. Covington:

Monday, April 14, 2014

note re should & must

Today some of you asked when we'd discuss the article from Friday.  I stalled today because the author and I Tweeted and I was hoping we could Skype today.  If she's able to join us later we'll make room, but the topic is timely so we'll discuss in class tomorrow.  For the moment, honor your Must and--for the next three weeks-- master your Should.

In related news, Ms. Shedd & Ms. Aldrich will soon share their Musts and take us to school on an important topic.  Keep an eye out for their video and in-class presentation.  You'll never look in the mirror the same way again.

beethoven for elephants

Just because you don't see this every day. (originally posted 12.12.11)

april 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: " King of the Road" by Roger Miller; "King Horse" by Elvis Costello; "King Tut" by Steve Martin]

Based on what you read in Acts III & IV, what kind of ruler do you think Macbeth will be?  Why?  Provide at least three textual examples that support/illustrate your main points.

1. Journal
2. Act III Macbeth quotes (after the jump)
1. Read Act V of Macbeth & post active reading notes to your course blog 

Friday, April 11, 2014

april 11

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Under Pressure" by David Bowie & Queen; "Nadia's Theme (The Young & The Restless)" by Henry Mancini]

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being most), how pressurized/dramatic is your life right now?  How does this dynamic inspire you and/or challenge you to be at your best?  Explain.

1. Journal
2. MGOTM: Macbeth, masterpieces, online chat with TED, etc.
3. Grade/status conferences

1. Please read and post active reading notes for Act IV of Macbeth
2. In a post entitled THE CROSSROADS BETWEEN SHOULD AND MUST please write a brief essay in response to the article (which you can read here).  Where are you in relation to the crossroads, and which way do you see yourself headed? Due Monday, April 14*

*and don't rely on someone else's notes for this one; the author will be able to tell whether you know what you're talking about :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

who's going to the cal poly design studio?

Anyone else want to visit the Cal Poly design studio of Associate Professor Mark Cabrinha and his 3rd year architecture students?  Taylor is already bringing a team of future architects from RHS next Wednesday.  My daughter and I will be joining forces to provide a brief chalk talk on Open Source Learning that sets the stage for everyone's collaboration.  You don't have to be headed to Cal Poly or interested in architecture to attend, but you do have to make food with love and bring it to the potluck.

DATE: Wednesday, April 16th
TIME: 3:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

Q: Is this a school activity?
A: No.

If you'd like to join us please comment to this post by noon on Friday, April 11th.  Mahalo.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

april 9

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac; "Ball and Chain" by Social Distortion]

We often see chains as metaphors for entrapment (a la "The Allegory of the Cave").  But apart from things that hold us to a place or weight us down, chains can also be seen as bonds that meaningfully connect us to our identities, our families/communities, and our place in the ecosystem.  When Macbeth disrupted The Great Chain of Being by murdering Duncan, things began to go awry.  How does Macbeth's state of mind reflect Shakespeare's intended theme/tone? Please answer as if you were writing an essay on the AP exam.

1. Journal
2. Your essay prompts
3. Macbeth: Act III (continued)

1. Please finish reading Act III and post active reading notes to your blog
2. Please determine what you need most to make progress on your Masterpiece and come in Friday 4.11 ready to discuss.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

april 8


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


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

1. Journal
2. Macbeth: Act II test
3. Macbeth: Act III

Write three essay prompts based on today's reading and bring to class tomorrow.

Monday, April 7, 2014

april 7


How will you achieve your impossible?

1. Journal
2. Show and Tell.  And write.  And talk.  And plan.  And learn.

1. Reflect.
2. Get ready: if you don't already have your own Ed, tomorrow you're going to start looking for one.

achieve the impossible

Aviation is proof that, given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
-Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
Upon hearing that a couple of bicycle mechanics in the city of Dayton were working on what would become the first airplane, the editor of a Dayton newspaper responded to the Wright Brothers' news by saying, "Man will never fly.  And if he does, he will never come from Dayton."

We who think we know it all are often surprised.

I've never been happier to pull into a dark high school parking lot at 6:00 A.M. on a Sunday morning.  I was meeting Matt Reynolds and Elizabeth Sandoval to take part in their masterpieces. Elizabeth's is a combination of journalism and photography.  Matt's is aviation.

Matt was about to take us for a flight in a 1960 Piper Tri-Pacer that belongs to his brother's father-in-law, Ed Mandibles.  Ed is quite a story in his own right: the son of the first female DMV examiner in the state of California, Ed is president of a Piper club that draws hundreds of people to the Lompoc airport every July.  He proposed to his wife in the plane we flew; his children have flown it and now his grandchildren do (although he has to pry 5 year-old Aubrey's hands off the wheel when it's time to land, because by then she usually falls asleep).  For 30 years Ed was an engineer at GE, where he

reminder: mandatory ap meeting this morning

Hey: if you're not already there, GET THEE TO THE CAFETERIA. Mahalo.

Friday, April 4, 2014

april 4

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Macbeth-Sinfonia" by Verdi; "Tiny Daggers" by INXS]

Macbeth sees a vision of a dagger and is moved to speak and act accordingly.  Hamlet imagined the "bare bodkin" in his most famous soliloquy-- and was also moved to speak and act.  Compare these two moments: how does Shakespeare's characterization and writing technique create dramatic tension and move the plot?  Why do these characters see visions in their mind, then use words to express what they think & feel about what they see, and then become motivated to act?  What effects does Shakespeare's technique create?  And why the images of weaponry?  In other words:[groan]...POINT?

1. Journal
2. Macbeth: Act II

1. Use the weekend to catch up, review, and deepen your understanding of Macbeth and your masterpiece.  Come back Monday refreshed and prepared for next steps on both fronts.  (Note: this grading period ends Friday, April 11.)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

april 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["The Dope Show" by Marilyn Manson; "Little Know It All" by Iggy Pop]

How do you know someone is smart/intelligent/mentally capable?  When is being smart a good thing and when does it put a person at risk socially?

1. Journal
2. Essay & conversation on the nature of intelligence, school, & circumstantial evidence
3. Masterpiece Academy: requirements & outreach

1. In a post entitled LOOK AT MY BRAIN, describe how your masterpiece and/or work in general reflects your inner thinking and capability for creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.
2. Preview Act II of Macbeth and post your active reading notes

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

april 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Ice Cream Man" by Van Halen; "'S Wonderful" by George Gershwin/performed by Ella Fitzgerald]

I just wrote a draft of an article that got me thinking about ice cream cones.  Describe in detail your most memorable ice cream cone moment.


Describe the initial characterization of Lady Macbeth.  How does Shakespeare establish a sense of her character through the words/terms she uses, through her reaction to the witches' prophecy, and to Macbeth's letter in general?

1. Journal
2. Act I quiz
3. Discuss Act I Scenes iv-vii
4. Begin Act II

1. In a blog post entitled LOVE IS BLIND (or, if you're a Billy Joel fan, YOU'RE ALWAYS A WOMAN TO ME), explain the difference in the way Macbeth sees Lady Macbeth and how the audience sees Lady Macbeth.
2. In a post entitled WHAT ABOUT MY MASTERPIECE? please comment on your progress this week, and comment on the fact that Shakespeare had all day every to write but that you have to work yours in between your other endeavors.  Tomorrow we will discuss project and presentation requirements as a class, so get your ideas ready.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

april 1

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "(Now & Then There's) A Fool Such As I" by Hank Snow; "Ship of Fools" by Robert Plant]

You have seven minutes to write an epic poem about a unified theory of consciousness and the history of the papacy concentrating especially but not exclusively on its social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. Be brief, concise, and specific. Be ready to recite your poem from memory in any ancient language (except Greek) to the 2000 people who will be waiting expectantly on the field outside 608 in eight minutes.


Attempt to explain why people like the experience of making/being made a fool at least once a year.


In both Hamlet and Macbeth we see characters thinking out loud about their decisions: how they imagine the decision in advance, how they translate thought into action, and how they feel about it after the fact. Describe this dynamic in your own life. How do you feel about your decisions before, when, and after you make them? As you reflect in hindsight, which decisions stir feelings of pride and which stir feelings of regret?

1. Journal
3. Macbeth working group: Act I quiz w AP-style questions

1. Read the rest of Act I and publish active reading notes to your blog
2. Comment on >5 of your colleagues' notes with questions and/or critique