Monthly Archives: August 2008

W2, #7: “IS GOOGLE MAKING US STUPID?”

Disclaimer:

Please DO NOT dare to do this — heck, don’t even dare to consider doing this — if you cannot comfortably read more than a single paragraph at a time…while maintaining 100% attention, especially when it has no direct effect on your grade. (mmmm)

Heck, don’t even consider doing it if you can’t comfortably read more than 2-3 sentences at a time (with pretty pictures added for colorful effect) in one sitting without drinking an extra can of Monster to stay awake so you can remember what you just read. Perhaps this puts you in the category of anyone under the age of 30. (wink)

Simply walk away and pretend that you never, never, never-ever saw this prompt. (wink, again)

Set-Up: During the middle of the summer, The Atlantic magazine published a July/Aug 2008 article by Nicholas Carr entitled, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”. It received a great deal of public reaction from all directions. Needless to say, if one puts the words “us”, “Google” and “stupid” in the same headline… people are going to notice. And have opinions. Sure, they may have to “Google” the words to figure out what it all means, but you get the point. (Insert silly Teacher Guy laugh track here)

Challenge: If you’ve already made it this far, perhaps you are ready, young Luke Skywalker. If so, your challenge is simple:

  • Click the article link up above.
  • Read the 5 page article — the entire article — from beginning to end. (no skimming — wink)
  • Identify 5 quotations that grabbed your attention — all from different pages — that you think would make someone curious.
  • Type in (or copy/paste) the quotations into your reply. Presto-bingo, you’re done!
  • P.S. If — and this only goes out to the young Luke Skywalker’s out there – you’re so inclined, you are free to write a comment about why any/all of the quotations grabbed your attention.

Length: Whatever it takes. You’ll know when you’re done, Luke. I’ll naively assume that those who need to ask most likely aren’t going to do it since they’re busy watching the entire 1st season of “The Hills” all week; they are frankly too, too, too, too busy to bother with reading that silly “Googley-Google” article, like yeah, totally. (wink)

W2, #6: DEFINING A “HERO”

Set-Up: Throughout the year, we’ll be looking at every story in terms of the “hero”. For some, this simply means the “protagonist” — or central/main character of the story — but over time we will begin to understand that the “hero” is a very complicated, multi-tiered concept.

Challenge:

  1. Identify — in your opinion — the best example of a “hero” in any movie or TV show you’ve ever seen. Explain why you believe this person/being is the ‘best’ example.
  2. Identify — in your opinion — the best example of a “hero” in any book or story you’ve ever read. Explain why you believe this character is the ‘best’ example.
  3. Identify — in your opinion — the best real life human being that has acted in a “heroic” manner during your lifetime. The person can be someone you know or someone you’ve heard about on the news, etc.

Length: Min of 2 sentences for each of the 3 characters/people.

W2, #5: TOURING GOOGLE DOCS

Set Up: As you’ve all heard since day 1 of the class, all formal essays you write this year will always be submitted in 2 different ways to Mr. Long:

  1. A paper copy handed to Mr. Long directly at the beginning of the class on the day it is due
  2. A digital copy submitted to Mr. Long via Google Docs by the beginning of class on the day it is due

Challenge:

  1. Please watch the two following videos that explain Google Docs. Note: Each are YouTube videos, so you will not be able to view it at school unless you ask Mr. Long to show you directly.
  2. Take this brief web tour of the features found in Google Docs
  3. Tell Mr. Long — in a blog comment response — what seems confusing to you or what you would like him to explain in detail in class when we go over this web-based file sharing tool

Note: I will walk everyone through the set-up and use of a Google Docs account before anyone is asked to use it. I just want to make sure that everyone has some knowledge before that conversation.

Video 1: a ‘tutorial’ video telling you what Google Docs does in general.

Video 2: teachers/students talking about why/how they use Google Docs.

W2, #4: VISUAL VOCAB STORY

Set-Up: Every week you will be given a series of random images and 10 new vocabulary words (to prepare you for an upcoming quiz) that will require you be able to use the words ‘in context’ or to use them to write a short story.

Vocab for the Week of 9/2:

  • apathy – lack or caring; indifference
  • curtail – to cut short
  • elicit – to draw out by discussion
  • haughty- behaving in a superior way
  • impede – to hinder or block
  • indolent – lazy
  • meticulous – extremely careful
  • penchant – strong inclination; liking
  • plethora – excess or abundance
  • relish – to enjoy greatly

Challenge:

  • pick (1) of the (3) images found below
  • write a paragraph+ description (or story) based on it using 6 of the 10 words on the list
  • add the part of speech in parenthesis [note: you have to look this up based on the definition]
  • make sure all words are used so that the definition is understood/implied

Length: There is no set length, but make sure that you use 6 of the 10 words. You are free to write sentences that do not include any of the word to help you develop the overall description/story.

Hint: Go with the image that a) either grabbed your eyes first or b) seems to have a hidden story in it.

Note: Please review words from last week; they will also show up on the next vocab quiz (on Tues). All vocab words (once studied) will be in future quizzes.

Image #1 (link: http://tinyurl.com/6ad88y)

Image #2 (link: http://tinyurl.com/6agtju)

Image #3 (link: http://tinyurl.com/5hlec9)

W2, #3: SEEKING INSPIRATION

Backstory: Every artist (if not every person on the planet) finds themselves in search of inspiration at some point in their career/life. In Hillman Curtis’ book, MTIV: Process, Inspiration, and Practice for the New Media Designer, this award-winning web designer and film-maker mentions the following about inspiration:

“In my experience you don’t generate ideas — you beg, borrow, and steal them. Sounds cynical. It isn’t. Ideas and inspiration can seem fleeting and frustratingly out of reach — often when you need them most. By developing the ability to see inspiration everywhere and to use that inspiration, regardless of its source, to influence your own work, you make yet another ‘invisible’ — idea/inspiration — visible.”

Challenge: React to this statement in terms of how

  • you find inspiration as a student or an ‘artist’ (in any way you can imagine)
  • how creative people you admire find inspiration around them

Length: 5+ sentences (minimum).

Hint: Because this is about creativity/inspiration, trust your instincts. See where the quotation (or part of it) takes you. This can be about school, life, being an artist, or just ‘jamming’ in any area that interests you.

W2, #2: RANKING THE 4 CHARACTERS

Backstory: Each of the 4 characters (Maid Marion, Little John, Sheriff, & Robin Hood) in the “Untold Robin Hood Story” can be seen as positive and negative depending upon our point of view.

Challenge: Rank the 4 characters — from 1 (most) to 4 (least) — in terms of “honor” and “ethics”. In other words:

  • Who is the most “honorable” and “ethical”?
  • Who is the next-to-most “honorable” and “ethical”?
  • Who is the next-to-least “honorable” and “ethical”?
  • Who is the least “honorable” and “ethical”?

Explain your reasons for:

  • each character’s rank
  • their relationship to the other 3 characters.

Length: 1-2 sentences for each character (minimum).

Hint: The most interesting/convincing answers will do more than just ‘list’ a simple reason for each character. The best answers will explain connections and context.

W2, #1: “ROBIN HOOD” CONVERSATIONS

Back Story: Below you will notice 5 separate class conversations — Per 1, 2, 3, 4, & 7 — that you can scroll through. Each focused on the “Untold Robin Hood Story” hand-out.

Please note: In each class, a student accepted the role as ‘scribe’ to take notes of the on-going conversation. Names were changed (by Mr. Long) to initials. No other edits were made. Please know that each scribe was told “not to worry” about spelling, capitals, etc during the original typing process. The goal was simply to capture the spirit of the conversation, even if it still reads very much like a 1st draft.

Challenge: You have 2 parts to complete:

  1. Share something that surprised you in the conversation that was held in YOUR class.
  2. Share something that surprised you in a conversation held by another class.

Length: 3-4 sentences for each part.

Conversations: