While you read…Brave New World

Using the format of a blog, comment at the end of each reading session on both the substance of your reading and its effects on you.

Record pages or sections on which you are commenting. Record your impressions of characters, events, conflicts, descriptions. Record responses to your own questions. Record questions about the novel as you read. Respond to course focus questions.

Make sure you take the time after, during, or before each reading session to make an entry into your blog. 10-15 sentences per reading session might be enough.

Make each entry interesting, personal, intelligent. Avoid retelling the story or simply “dumbing-down” the text. Write posts that engages your readers in critical thinking, enhances their attention span, and fills them with speculative awe.

Write several short posts per week, once a day at least. Write longer posts when your mood strikes you. Tag each post before publishing. Use categories such as the following to keep your responses organized:

Utopia
Community, Identity, Stability
Science and Technology
Conditioning
Soma
Sensual Pleasures
Religion
Family Life
Death
Skinner
Kohlberg
Piaget
Erikson
Freud
Adler
Thoreau

Track the posts you make and the comments you send and receive in a spreadsheet. Try to spend no more than 15 minutes on the computer per class. If that isn’t enough, do more work at home or during spare time. There is a need for quite, concentrated reading time during your day. Here we go.

English 30 Poetry Assignment

Respond to each of the following in a well-considered post in your blog.
Limit your selection of detail to a separate poem for each response.

  1. Explain how image and symbol reinforce theme in a poem.
  2. Explain how facts about a writer’s life are relevant to your understanding of a poem.
  3. Explain how a poem can reflect a poet’s personal psychology.
  4. Explain how your own experiences affect your interpretation of a poem.

Trackback each post here.

Creative Response: English 30

Choose from the following:

(Partner up if/where necessary)

  1. Write a folk song.
  2. Create a dialogue in the forums between any 2(or more) authors.
  3. Create a dialogue in the forums b etween any 2 or more characters
  4. Create a new scene to be inserted into a text synthesizing a character(or 2) from outside the text.

Trackback. Then rewrite the quiz on Steinbeck’s Chrysanthemums.(Post questions in the forums.)

Should machines be “smarter” than humans?

Start here(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity).

Are any of Huxley’s machines “smart”? Does Huxley’s future have any need for computation? Why, why not?

Consider Huxley, what would be a “predicted future event believed to precede immense technological progress in an unprecedentedly brief time”?(Look at a the real world goal of Zyvex)

Is Asimov enough?

What would Young Macduff give as a cheeky response to the “rise of the machines”?

Bloggiest start to the bloggiest year ever.

What a funny word, “bloggiest”. Should I say it is a “most bloggy” start to the year? Does correct English matter in a blog?

All students I teach have begun a blog, of sorts. For the most part, I’ve insisted the content of the blog must be school or course related, the myriad responses to Macbeth fit this category. Other responses are more like “snowflakes”, snowflakes is my term to describe the phenomena of no two responses to the same prompt being identical.

I aggregate(not related to the term aggravate) RSS feeds from each class to aid in tracking down assigned work. Each student has a spreadsheet I term the Data Collector that averages rubric scores and totals moderated comment feeds, too. I then collect the Data Collectors periodically to determine scores to enter into GradeLogic. The data collectors serve a dual purpose, a foundation to build a grade obviously, but a powerful device to bring a landslide of peer pressure and collaborative assistance on the lazy, slower, or reluctant bloggers. Those that finish first have always shown a willingness to “share their secrets” with others.

Students are also instructed to collect and deposit appropriate comments on each other’s blogs, too. It is proving to be a fine art to learn to comment. Last year I found the aspect of commenting to be more valuable than the creation of the posts. Comments must contain evidence of critical thinking, I said, not simply “gladhanding”. If you troll the blogs you’ll notice the biggest difference right now between a veteran blogger and a newbie is the quality/quantity of appropriate comments. Students complete work earlier to benefit from positive/any attention from peer “commentors”. Any student who doesn’t get their blog post done on time, gets punished by receiving low or no rubric scores from their peers. However, unlike class discussions, the very nature of blogging allows anyone to catch up at any time. The students themselves seem to have an unofficial pecking order for who writes the best comments. They have internalized their own standards for what they will accept as a comment on their blog and are very persuasive at convincing each other to measure up. A few students are positively verbose and comment on all they can. Others choose fewer responses yet measure their words very carefully. Those that finish writing a post early, are left to hustle remaining students.

The grade 10s are shifting their attention to Keyboarding modules for a while, although I keep prodding them about “Turing Tests”. iGod is our most recent fascination.

The grade 9s get their prompts from Mrs. Fraser’s class then I help them become a bit more tech savvy.

The Grade 11s are in the midst of Macbeth and may see no reprieve for at least 2 more weeks, I figure. The more traditional assignments I’ve used for the last 14 years are as appropriate in a blog as they have ever been in my class. Doing it with blogs is just so cool!

Three Questions – by Leo Tolstoy

One day it occurred to a certain emperor that if he only knew the answers to three questions, he would never stray in any matter.

What is the best time to do each thing? Who are the most important people to work with? What is the most important thing to do at all times?

The emperor issued a decree throughout his kingdom announcing that whoever could answer the questions would receive a great reward. Many who read the decree made their way to the palace at once, each person with a different answer. Continue reading “Three Questions – by Leo Tolstoy”