Book Club: Review & Process Analysis

Review the book club teaching collective assignment here.

1. Draft a book review of your book club book.

This is not a report but an argument about the book. It needs a thesis, quotes, a conclusion, a sense of where you are going. You will get this back tonight. This is a draft of your TP#10 which is a review of your book which you will you with your group along with other materials to write a group book review during class on Nov. 1. Bring this draft and turn it in again on Thursday.

2. Draft your process analysis.

This should be 2-3 pages typed and is due Nov. 1 at the end of class. It should describe the process by which your group wrote and prepared your presentation, your blog, and your group review; you won’t finish writing this until after your finish your review. It should discuss what people did do, not what they didn’t do. Bring this draft to class on Thursday along with your revised process analysis. You can email it to yourself or use a thumb drive.

3. What is the problem that you want to work on and solve doing research this semester? Do you want to do something related to your book club book? Your major? Your life?


The Mysterious Subjunctive…

The Daily Post

You may have heard of the subjunctive mood. You may even be a little bit afraid of it. But did you know that you use it all the time without likely even knowing it? Even as someone who’s pretty familiar with the rules of grammar, I was a little iffy on exactly what the subjunctive mood was. In fact, I was even iffy on what “mood” meant in a grammatical context. So let’s start there.

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A lesson on how to carefully use language

The World of Special Olympics

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child…

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art predator

Late Fragment by Ray Carver
New Path to the Waterfall

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved,
to feel myself beloved on the earth.

If he was listening in with me on Sunday October 14, 2012 to the crowd of 200 at Ventura’s Bell Arts Factory, the late Warren Gauvin would certainly have felt himself beloved.

A who’s who of regional poets, painters, photographers and sculptors joined friends and family to tell stories to celebrate the life of the mixed media and performance artist who went gauvin (uncapitalized) and who died on Monday, October 8, 2012 of Hodgkins Disease, just a few weeks shy of his 51 birthday Nov. 26.

Friends covered the walls of the community room with his artwork to raise funds for expenses; the celebration featured video of his performances, slide…

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How To Improve Your Blog Action Day Posts

This semester, as in many terms past, my students are learning how to blog.

Yes, they each have a blog on a topic of their choice where they can post writing on topics that they choose as well as select assignments from me which they can delete after the semester is over. They are required to have an about page that introduces the writer to the reader as well as the conceit of the blog. They are encouraged to create a gravatar and to have a tagline.

So far, many of the students LOVE blogging! Yes, they are finding they love to write if it’s on a topic of their own choice and where they can express themselves in creative ways. Yay! In fact some of the students have already created a second blog on another topic!

In the coming weeks, students will be creating a group blog related to an issue raised by their book club book. They will use their blog in their presentation to the class about the issue—using the blog to store and organize their presentation. They can use the blog to post videos, interviews, powerpoints, slides, and other information that they want to share with the class. This way, we can all go back to their blog to learn more about their topic—and what they learn is also available as an online resource for others.

As part of their midterm,students wrote draft blog posts for Blog Action Day which takes place next Monday, October 15. Continue reading

Blog Action Day 2012: Monday, October 15


Coming soon, to a blog near you–BLOG ACTION DAY! I’ve participated on several of my blogs over the years, and encouraged my students to register and write as well. This year, I hope you will participate too! It’s easy–the directions follow from an email I received from organizers:
This time next week, thousands of bloggers from around the globe will come together on October 15 to talk about one topic – The Power of We.We would love to see your blog, once again be part of Blog Action Day as an official participant. All you need to do is:

What is the Power of We about?

We thought that the “Power of We” highlighted the many incredible efforts we have witnessed of communities coming together, from local groups to global movements.Your Blog Action Day post might be about a group or movement for change from the past who inspired you, or an issue that you have had personal involvement in, or even tips and suggestions about how groups of people can work together for change.

If you are not sure what to write your blog about, our partners Greenpeace, HelpAge International, Oxfam and Heifer International have provided inspiring content and resources that you can use in your posts, including videos, photos and much more.

We can’t wait to read your Blog Action Day posts on October 15, so make sure you register your blog and take part in one of the unique blogging events of the year.

If you have any questions please contact us via our website or our Twitter and Facebook profiles.

To my Ventura College students, I look forward to seeing your responses!

Getting Your Group Presentations ON!


Active Learning

Making the Grade in Group Presentations

Group presentations are often necessary in the classroom and in the workplace — working as an effective member of a team is a skill that can be essential in work and life. To be successful, all members must work as a team to deliver a consistent and memorable presentation to the audience. In Becoming a Master Student, author Dave Ellis outlines three key strategies that anyone working with a group can follow as a path toward successful group presentations. Read on for your own benefit, share with your students, or both!

1. Get Organized. Once you have your task, appoint a leader and make sure you have all group members’ contact information. Then, compare your calendars and schedule times to work on all stages of your project: planning, researching, writing and practicing. At the first group meeting, create a detailed to-do list of all the tasks involved in successfully completing the presentation. Once you have created this list, distribute the tasks evenly to group members, keeping in mind the strengths of each individual in your group. For example, some members may be great writers, while others may shine on the visually creative side of the project.Next, the group should clearly define the topic and thesis of the presentation and begin to gather and brainstorm quotations, visuals, facts and anecdotes that support the main point of the project. While completing all of these steps it’s important to keep in mind how your project will be evaluated, so you can be sure to meet expectations.
2. Get Coordinated. “Practice makes perfect” is an old adage for a reason, so get the group together and rehearse the presentation! Focus on creating smooth transitions between speakers and keep track of time to ensure that you stay within the time allotted. Additionally, be sure to practice using your visuals, as they are a key component to the success of the overall presentation. To give visuals their full impact, keep in mind the room where you will be presenting when creating them, and be sure that the text is large enough to be seen from anywhere in the room.
3. Get Cooperation. Teamwork and planning are the keys to a successful evaluation of your group presentation. Communicate with all group members in a respectful and open way. Share your ideas, and be responsive to the ideas and suggestions from others. When everyone in your group cooperates, you’re more likely to deliver a successful presentation. (p. 265)

Reference: Content adapted from Ellis, Dave. 2013. Becoming a Master Student, 14th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

These useful ideas are reblogged from Cengage eLearning Newsletter.

I suspect my students will find these tips helpful as they prepare for their group presentations related to their Book Club Books. Each Teaching Collective will create a group blog which will host any of their presentation materials as well as their group’s book review. Read more details on that assignment.


“GMO–Your Right To Know” Kicks Off Ventura College Holistic Health Week

It’s in Your Food!  
GMO – Your Right to Know!

Monday, Oct 8th, 7 pm (doors open at 6:30)
Dynamic talk about health risks of genetically modified (GMO) food by
investigative writer and educator Jeffrey Smith.
Ventura College Performing Arts Center (PAC) *newly remodeled and state of the art!
PAC is located in the North Central area of the campus on Loma Vista between Ashwood and Day Rd 
Main campus: 4667 Telegraph Rd, 93003 Map
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Key Note Speaker:  Jeffrey Smith 
Executive Director, Institute for Responsible Technology, author of the best-selling book Genetic Roulette newly released as a documentary film.

Other local speakers:
Dr. Robin Bernhoft:  Fellow and Past President of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and Director of the Bernhoft Center for Advanced Medicine (Ojai).

Catie Wyman-Norris:  Researcher, national tv and radio wellness advocate, and formulator of whole food supplements, who was inspired by her own family’s health problems to find a natural cure.

Steve Sprinkle:  Co-owner, Ojai’s The Farmer & The Cook, all organic farm, cafe, and marketplace and member of the Boards of Directors of Ojai’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture and The Cornucopia Institute.
Sponsored by: 
Ventura College Health Education Department and
Institute for Responsible Technology.Don’t miss this timely event! Bring lots of friends! 
You can RSVP here:
Friend the campaign on Facebook
This is the first event of Holistic Health Week at Ventura College  See details on VC Facebook

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Additional screening of Genetic Roulette 
Wed, Oct 10, 5:30 pm
Performing Arts Center on Loma Vista Rd. 

This new documentary presents powerful evidence of potential harm from eating GMOs. Hear physicians tell why they prescribe nonGMO diets for their patients with predictable beneficial results. 

There are more events every day during Holistic Health Week! My students can attend events and write a thought paper for extra credit or to make up an absence.