Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Timed Write and your paper

Look over your timed write tonight and evaluate it. Give it a score using the rubric. Then, using the question leader's comments as a model, write a descriptive defense of your score. Do NOT post this to your blog, but write it at the end of your essay or attach it to the back on a separate sheet of paper. Do NOT put it in front. I want to read these before I see your scores.

Good job today with your comments on the models.  Both classes had some good observations and were pretty accurate with the scoring, though 5th period was really hating on the 5. They wanted to give it a 2. :)

To turn in your metacognition paper:

  1. Make sure it is in MLA format.
  2. Remove all comments from me and your peers. It should be a clean copy. (You should still be able to see the comments if you look in the revision history).
  3. Share it with me.
  4. Make sure the file is named correctly, or it will be invisible, deleted, late, etc. (I'm not kidding [insert stern expression here].)
  5. Do all of this before 2:30 PM on Thursday September 30, 2010
  6. DO NOT change the file after that time.

We'll see how this goes. So far I've liked being able to comment in papers, even when someone is at my desk asking for help as they then have those comments when they go to work on it later.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Metacognition and the blog

There seems to have been a bit of confusion. On the assignment sheet for the Metacognition Paper, it says:

Before you begin to write, you must provide the following:

  • Your rhetorical situation: Speaker, Subject, Audience relationships; context; and purpose
  • A proposed overall arrangement (of course you can use multiple arrangements if needed)
Post that to your blog. If you aren't sure what the arrangement is, refer back to our textbook pages 13-25. Your arrangement encompasses the structure and the combination of patterns of discourse you plan to use (or already used as the case may now be).

The reason we're doing this is to get in the habit of thinking through the rhetorical situation before we write so that we are writing intentionally and not simply as a reaction.

Happy writing!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Know thyself...

Socrates - Medieval Style
...and nothing in excess.

Monday, you may have noticed there is a rough draft of our Metacognition papers due (especially if you make use of the calendar). Come with a rough draft in Google Docs. You do not have to share it with me yet. We will be in a computer lab (3rd per - Study Hall; 5th per English Lab) where we will be commenting on other people's papers and working on our own.

As for how complete your rough draft should be, the more you have done, the more valuable Monday will be to you.

Sharing note: If you share an untitled document or improperly named document, that is tantamount to mailing it to the wrong address. I'm not going to open it as I'll have to work to find out  the period and person. If you can't recall how to name your documents for sharing purposes, here are the requirements with an example.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toxophilus unleashed

Roger Ascham
Read pages 38-48 in the TLC book and apply one of the techniques enumerated therein to the Toxophilus excerpt from this book written by Roger Ascham in 1545 and dedicated to King Henry VIII.

I've linked the Toxophilus excerpt in a Google Docs version so you can copy the text into your Google Doc if you wish. Using tables, you can do the dialectical journal or graphic organizer in Google and you can annotate using comments. You may wish to bring something in done by hand, though. Not sure if you can circle and draw arrows in the way you may wish to in a Google Doc.

Since a number of people will wish to turn this in as a physical document, please print out your electronic efforts if that's the direction you take so that I receive all of the assignments in the same medium. Thank you!

Enjoy your trip back into the scientific observations and practical concerns of the mid-Sixteenth Century England!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Writing survey and upcoming notes

Please complete the brief writing survey linked here. You will need to log in with your fifeschools account in order to take the survey.

I hope you've been pondering your thinking this weekend in between Cabbage Patch victory parties (it's been years since the seniors did not win ASB Week).

Even in the face of such an historic achievement by the class of 2012, we'll still get new vocab and talk try and wrap our minds around metacognition.

Here is a rather interesting website focused around applying metacognition to success as a student. The audience is college professors, but there is a lot of good information there. It would be more helpful to read after we talk about metacognition tomorrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cabbage Patch and Homework

Congratulations on winning Cabbage Patch and ASB Week, Juniors! To celebrate, there's no homework this weekend!!! Whoo hoo!

However, many of you have not posted Thursday night's homework on your blogs. Please do so.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Classifying your thinking

Tonight, post a reflection about where you see yourself on Golding's scale of thinking. Be honest. You won't get a better grade if you say you're a grade one than if you think you're a grade three thinker. Support your assertion with evidence. This should help you as you prepare to write our first paper.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Timed writes and your first paper

Sunshine ahead!
Whoo hoo! The dreaded first timed write of the year is in the rear view mirror. 

We will go over them tomorrow along with the rubric and sample student essays. Then we will begin our first take home paper, likely on Thursday. You'll get a physical assignment sheet, but you can preview it here if you wish.

Tonight: read over your timed write and look for what you did well and consider what you might improve.

As we gear up for our first paper, I thought I'd share an article I posted last year. This is the most interesting thing I’ve ever read about procrastination. I am most definitely an incubator and I’ve worked hard to increase the time I start before something is due. Anyway, you might find this interesting.

Taking the SAT this year? This looks to be a pretty decent SAT prep program. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Dad Doesn’t Google

Interesting blog post I ran across. Though my dad does Google, he still reads the physical paper. It got me thinking about how technology changes us. We'll read some about this later, but any thoughts for the comment box now?

(No, this is not an assignment, but an exchange of ideas on the way the world works around us and on us.)

My Dad Doesn’t Google: "
We have been spending some time with my Dad who has been visiting us from Australia. During his stay with us I realised, more than usual, how the internet makes no impact on his life. It led me to think through the behaviours that many of us have grown accustomed to.

I kind of get the impression that members of his generation either made a choice to have a computer and so eventually to use the internet, or indeed let it pass them by. My Dad worked in insolvency for many years, times of tape dictaphones and typists. His business offices were all about paper information and it was physically organised. I remember book keeping – spreadsheets must have been a sight for sore eyes.

Dad lives in South Australia for most of the year now and enjoys writing letters to us about all of his adventures. His penmanship is fantastic and I always enjoy reading them. It almost feels strange to hold a personal message for me, handwritten with a fountain pen. Usually his missives are two or three pages of A4. We may have learned to communicate via 140 characters (or less) but what has that restriction done to old fashioned letter writing? What have we given up?

I was lucky enough to have Google Voice Search demonstrated to me by the mobile Product Manager at the Teacher Academy in London. It works really well and with the new Froyo 2.2 update will allow you to control much of your phone with just your voice. I showed Dad and tried it with the search term “Best restaurants in Adelaide”. As the phone recognised what I had said and immediately displayed a map with the eateries he was pretty impressed. Then he went through the list and said, “Eaten there, yes and that one, and that one, enjoyed the starters there…” He hadn’t done such a search but had probably visited these places in his own journey to find out the restaurants he enjoys. Perhaps they were recommended, but I can safely say he wasn’t swayed by a single online review. What experiences he must have enjoyed exploring those places. His opinion probably contradicted that of some reviews – good that he hadn’t run that search after all, perhaps he would have missed out. How much do we truly make up our own mind these days?

If we so choose, we can control a deluge of information and news to come to us, on our mobiles, on our televisions. A constant feed or stream. Every day Dad heads to the shops to buy the newspaper. That is his way of gathering the daily news, from the printed press. The obvious criticism is of course that it is from one source, but what must he gain everyday from his journey to gather it? Would you walk somewhere to pick up a blog update? The physical act of collecting it is an investment, everything is a click away for us, we don’t invest in the gathering of information in the same way – we can pick it up and drop it just as quickly. It is the impact of this on the information sources themselves that is the most intriguing.

Every evening/morning he listens to the radio, well he calls it the “wireless” – my “wireless” is no less important to me.

The crossword he does is the cryptic one, you know the really tricky one. He doesn’t jump on Google at the first sign of trouble but puts it to one side and gets a cup of tea. He lets the information brew as well and slowly he forms connections with something he read here, a past crossword clue there or a fact he knew. It might take a few moments or a few hours but suddenly he would let out a victorious serendipitous yelp as he figures it out. Not a search query in sight other than his own synaptic workout. Sometimes he finished the puzzle, sometimes not, but he has probably on average 18-24 moments of serendipitous victory a day. That can only be good for your brain.

It has been interesting to make these comparisons in internet and non-internet use, however I wouldn’t change the way I interact with it now. It offers me a great perspective on my self and my work. It allows me to connect to others both near and far. I can find out stuff without really trying, I don’t even need to type.

But my behaviours raise questions too – do we have a stronger sense of self nowadays or are we too reliant on our networks, connections to others and “you may also like”? Can we form genuinely unbiased opinions of products and services, restaurants and experiences with the internet? Do we need to? Will the good in life always rise to the top of the web? There are things we don’t consider important anymore because we can Google it – surely the journey to the papershop can be just as important as what we collect.

Thanks Dad for causing me to think this through.

I say more yelps of serendipity please. accessed 9/13/2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Princess Di

Read the Princess Diana pieces starting on page 29 in the TLC book and going to page 34.

That's it.

Except if you haven't sent me your blog address yet, please email it to  See the previous post for instructions.

On your homework from last night...good work overall. Most of the posts (the ones I have seen so far) are clear and provide specific examples for each claim. Yea! :)

Some good examples are:
This one and this one. These are NOT the only good examples of what I'm looking for (no complexes out there, please), but are two good examples of two different approaches.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Setting up your blog and trying out Google Docs

  1. Go to:
  2. login using your school username and "password" as your password
  3. Go through the rigamarole to change it.
  4. Check out your new email account. If you go into settings, you can change the theme and labs allows you to customize your tools quite a bit. That's you school email account. Yea!
Now click the link in the upper left of the page that says Documents
  1. Click create new and create a new document
  2. Reflect on how you think you might use this new tool.
  3. Name it. We'll use the following naming function:
    • Per# Last First Assignment Title
    • We'll call this assignment: Trial Doc
    • for example: Per5 Giddings Andrew Trial Doc
  4. Share it with me (agiddings) using the Share link in the upper right of the document window. Allow me to edit and I can leave comments for you.
Now go to
  1. login using your FULL fifeschools email address
  2. create a blog (you'll need your cell phone, or one of someone next to you)
  3. email the link to your blog to .
  4. play with it and learn how to use it. Make it pretty if you want to. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Arrangement and Patterns of Development

Read pages 13-25 in the TLC book for Thursday. The point here is to be exposed to and understand the different arrangements and forms of writing and speaking. Also, blog the assignment in the box at the top of page 26.

Here's a link to the jobs article I mentioned in class today.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Analyzing Political Cartoons

We'll be setting up our school Google email/docs and blogs this week. If you have not turned in your form, do son on MONDAY.

Read Pages 10-12 in the TLC book (the Visual Rhetoric section) and do the assignment on page 12. We will be presenting them on Tuesday in class. I'll go first. :)

Some good places to find political cartoons are: (link on the top right of the page)
Local cartoonist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize ... twice.
Also local.
NY Times cartoonist page

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Greek triangles and pathetic, ethical logos

Aristotelean Triangle
Read pages 1-9 (don't do the assignment in the blue box) for tomorrow in The Language of Composition (TLC -- that's what we decided to call it last year) book.

Come with any questions about the reading you may have.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Look at you checking the blog even though I didn't show it in class yet! You're awesome!

Just a reminder to bring in your signed Google account slips and syllabi.

I look forward to having a great year with you all. 3rd period seems like a great group...we'll see about 5th. :)