Weekly outline

  • July 29 - August 4

    Week One: Things Fall Apart

    Today we'll meet in class to discuss the kick-off of our blended pilot. YES! The beginning is finally here!

    Our whole group will attend in our usual small (but charming and inviting!) space, Room 262.

    Here's our agenda:

    • Guidelines for participating in a blended course. Here's the power point:

    • Intro to Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. This is our first unit of 4th quarter. Here's the power point:

    Here's the homework:

    • Watch this week's overview video on Tokbok here.  In this video, when I say "Ning," I really mean "Moodle."  I recorded it before I had decided on a platform.  All the other information is still correct.

      TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging
    • Read Ch. 1-2 of Things Fall Apart
    • Finish key-word notes
    • Decide whether you'd like to attend either of tomorrow's sessions, which include a tech help session (on how to use Moodle, how to make a video blog, and just generally how to deal with this new blended environment) and list-group-label of Ibo terms. This will be a great session to attend if you feel you might have trouble reading the Ibo words in the text.

    Review weekly schedule here . This document includes homework assignments and attendance requirements.

    Here's the power point we'll discuss on Thursday or Friday:


    Here are some items that people requested that I post:

    First, here's a link to the SIRS link on the EHS Website.  From there, click on the SIRS box. The username from school is MN0307.  From home, it's MN0307h.  The password from both locations is 55439.

    Second, here's the link to Tokbox for recording video blogs.  Here's how to do it: Create a free acount.  Then click, "Send a Video Message."  Once you record a video, you have to send it to someone.  I usually send it to my own email address.  Then, go to "Messages," and choose "Sent Messages."  Select your video, click "Share," and then you'll get a link and an embed code.  Either should work on Moodle.  Ask me if you have questions!

  • August 5 - August 11

    Welcome to Week 2!

    Because of the MCA testing this week, we're on a different schedule. Be sure to check out the overview document and video. One downside to this week's schedule is that there won't be any optional sessions this week. If you do have individual questions or needs, please ask me in person or send me an email or comment in a forum or tweet me or... you get the idea.

    We'll begin our usual Monday session with some tips and reminders for the MCA exam. Here's the power point:

    Our other big project is our third podcast. We'll be finalizing scripts on Wednesday and recording on Thursday and Friday. This time around, each group will be recording and editing their own segment using Audacity. I think this will be fun. Of course, I think everything is fun. Mr. Walker, our technology integration specialist, has prepared this handout to help with Audacity. You can either print it or just have it open on your computer when you're working.

    Here's this week's overview video. I look really tired in this video, and REALLY horrible in the still. But, as we all know, vanity is not a great trait; so I'm posting it anyway:

    TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging <

    After the MCA exam on Wednesday, we'll meet as a whole group.  Here are the analysis activities we'll be doing:

    Have a great week!

  • August 12 - August 18

    We'll be finishing Things Fall Apart this week. The primary instructional strategy will be the Paideia Seminar, which many of you have requested. Two of these seminars (Monday and then either Thursday or Friday) will be required. The optional Tuesday session this week is a Paideia on Folktales and Proverbs. This is an enrichment session, as opposed to an "extra help" session. Here's the power point for the optional session:

    Check out the weekly overview here. Notice there's a paper assignment this week. You must complete the Okonkwo as Tragic Hero worksheet. I'll give this out in class. Additionally, you must post your answer to one of the questions in the discussion forum. Your answer should be in the form of a PIE.

    Click here to see the Gender Seminar questions, and here to see the Yeats Seminar questions for Friday. If you miss either of these seminars, you'll need to write out answers to the questions and hand them in.

    In addition to finishing up TFA, we'll also be beginning the research letter. The assignment sheet is here. The optional session on Wednesday is related to this assignment. We'll be reviewing quality sources, both web and database. I am also going to explain using Diigo and Diigolet for notetaking.

    Next Monday we'll have our final test (multiple choice with a short written component) on Things Fall Apart. I'll give some study tips on Thursday and Friday.

    Here's the overview video this week. Also check out my blog post today - I reflected on last week and some themes from your end-of-week reflections.

    TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging

    And, finally, click here a form you can use to give feedback on five podcast segments of your choice. This assignment is due with your Moodle work. To access the podcast feeds, click the following links:

    Fresh Press iMPRESS Hot Paper

  • August 19 - August 25

    Three weeks complete, and we're on to our next novel, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Be sure to check out this week's overview document.

    And here's this week's video, with a preview of the optional sessions and the rest of the activites:

    TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging

    On Wednesday, I'm going to introduce writing groups for the research letter project.  You'll be working with your writing group as you do your research and draft your letter.  We'll be using this Google site to do the work.

    The Wednesday optional session will cover avoiding plagiarism. Even if you don't attend that session, I strongly suggest that you review this power point. Ms. Swenson in the library sent it my way, and it's great.

    We will have our mid-term vocabulary test this week, on either Thursday or Friday, depending on when you're here.

  • August 26 - September 1

    This week, we're really getting into The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. In lieu of Moodle posts this week, you'll be posting on the Ning site. I'll present more information on this in class on Monday. Basically, we're going to do a simulation regarding immigration and assimilation. Each person will take on the identity of a stakeholder in the immigration issue and post as that person throughout the simulation. This will be fun! (Yes, I know, I think everything is fun.)

    Once you've decided on your Ning identity, fill out this form to tell me who you are.  I'll keep this information confidential.

    Check out this week's document for more information on daily assignments and activities. It's a weird week again, this time because of science testing. Everyone has required class Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday because of the media center closings. There are optional sessions on Tuesday and Friday. Check out the video for a preview of these sessions. Here's a slight change because Mac is sick and I have to stay home with him on Monday: the first part of Tuesday will be required, as well, so I can explain the Ning assignment. Don't do anything with Ning until after Tuesday. This change is now reflected in the weekly document.

    TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging

    Another change this week is that the end-of-week reflection is optional. If you have something that you want me to know, please post! Otherwise, you can take the week off. This is not a forever change, so be prepared to post a reflection again next week.

  • September 2 - September 8

    Thank goodness we're back to our regularly scheduled programming this week!

    TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging

    Be sure to check out our weekly document for all the details. The optional sessions this week are dedicated to viewing the Bollywood film, Bride and Prejudice. In order to get full credit for these sessions, you'll also need to participate in the Bride and Prejudice forum below.

    Your research letters are due in Final Draft form on Thursday. Post them to your Google site, either as a subpage, an attachment, or as an addition to your existing page.

    An ongoing activity is the Ning simulation. You are required to participate fully in this activity. Go to the Ning and add something - a status update, a comment, a group, a photo, etc. - once per day. On Thursday or Friday, you'll get the Reflection Paper assignment that goes along with this activity.

    Have a great week! Good luck on the remaining AP exams!

  • September 9 - September 15

    This week, we're beginning our choice unit! This is a fun time of year when you choose a group of friends and a book and read together. The book should challenge your reading level, and it should be something you haven't read before. Here's this week's document with the in-class activities.

    You can read just about anything that meets the above criteria, but I also have several titles from our book room that you can choose. I'll present these to you on Monday.

    With your group, you'll be completing a Bingo Card of analysis activities. I'll give you a hard copy of this document of class, but it's also online here.

    You have two weeks to finish your book and your work. Your group will give a short, informal presentation to the class on June 2nd. The link to the Google site where you'll put your work is below.

    At the end of this week, your reflection paper about your Ning work is due. Here's the assignment once again.

    And here's this week's video with important reminders and reflections as we head into the home stretch. I look pretty weird in this video, in my opinion. Oh, well.

    TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging

    Have a great week!!

  • September 16 - September 22

    This is our last full week of blended! Actually, next Tuesday is the last optional day. There won't be an optional session next Wednesday afternoon. Plan accordingly for finishing your optional requirement.

    Here's this week's video! Enjoy!

    TokBox - Free video chat and video messaging

    You'll notice in the document that this week's optional sessions are dedicated to finishing some activities we began before, but didn't have time to finish. On Tuesday, we'll read the rest of Gogol's "Overcoat," and on Wednesday we'll finish the immigration poetry activity we began during The Namesake.