Today #StopTheNSA 2/11/14


Here’s how.

Read why.

Information from The Day We Fight Back:

Blog Action Day: Oct. 16, 2013 Features Human Rights

Latest news from Blog Action Day

As decided by a vote of hundreds of bloggers, Human Rights is the theme for Blog Action Day this year.  This will encourage bloggers around the world to learn more about this important subject including

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which applies equally to every man, woman and child in the world regardless of where they live or their beliefs or interests. Watch videos about our theme Human Rights and Blog Action Day 2013

Big Names supporting Blog Action Day 2013 include Amnesty International, an organization protecting people’s Human Rights for over 50 years. Also: ONE, Help Age International, Walk Free, Article 19 and many more.


Get great Human Rights content from partners that you can use.

STUDENTS: Register your blog for Blog Action Day now!  Website in English Spanish or Portuguese

Get extra credit for participating in Blog Action Day!

Follow Blog Action Day on Social Media

 Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Tumblr | YouTube | Pinterest

Join the Internet Boycott April 22, 2013 to #STOPCISPA

Dear readers,

I am in support of Anonymous’s internet boycott. However, at this time I do not know how to install the code to make my site go dark; in fact, I may not be able to unless WordPress, my blogging platform, makes it available.

In the meantime, I leave you this letter, I urge you to watch the video, and please make the call. CISPAcat

Dear citizens of the internet,

We are Anonymous.

The United States Government is again attempting to control and censor the internet. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has just recently passed the house.

This bill would allow major internet entities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google to voluntarily share your personal information with the U.S. Government. This will not only affect users in the United States, but also anyone with an account with these companies.

This upcoming Monday, April the 22nd, we invite you to join Anonymous in an internet blackout. We encourage all web developers and website owners to go dark on this date. Display a message as to why you are going dark, and encourage others to do the same.

We hope, just like the successful protest over the Stop Online Piracy Act, we can encourage the senate to stop this bill.

Spread the message, and inform the world. We are Anonymous. We are the people. We are the internet. Knowledge is free.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013!

APadventureVDay2013It’s Valentine’s Day! My 9-year-old and I  found Adventure Time artwork and added the text for his valentine’s day cards then I changed it to be from me aka Art Predator!

While my students and I agree that Valentine’s Day SHOULD be a school holiday, it’s not. (Why did they give us Tuesday off for a President Day when they could have given us Thursday? We would have loved those Presidents even more!)

To encourage my students to make it to class today, we’re having a small party with food (Shh, don’t tell!), we’ll do some writing practice, and, well, there’s an in-class writing activity too called an in class essay exam.

Here’s ideas on how to ace an in-class essay exam–and what your teachers are really looking for!

PS Can you help ME go on an adventure? Just vote here for me to go to Chile where I will blog my heart out for you!


Student Blogs 2012

Most semesters, I require my students to start a blog. For the past two semesters, I’ve asked students to create a blog for a group presentation related to their book club book, and to use that blog during their presentation. That way, the materials they collect to present are all in one place and available to anyone who would like to know more about it.

In the comments below, I’ve asked students to post links to their personal and group blogs from Fall 2012 so we can all go check them out!

Happy reading, commenting, and liking!

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.


Rachel Carson Center’s New Blog Sees the Forest

Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring turns 50 this fall (read an except here of the chapter “The Obligation to Endure”).Douglas's review contributed to the success of...

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society just launch its blog, Seeing the Forest: to demonstrate the relevancy and importance of humanistic and historical perspectives in discussions about today’s environmental challenges.

By providing context to reveal the bigger picture, or “the forest,” the blog shows the

long and complex relationship between humans and nature, and serves as a resource and forum for those invested in and curious about the environmental humanities.

The blog welcomes contributions from scholars, students and professionals in the environmental humanities field.

Seth Godin’s “Stop Stealing Dreams”–a manifesto about education


Ever since it came out in March, I’ve been meaning to blog about Seth Godin’s manifesto on education, Stop Stealing Dreams.

But I’ve been too busy teaching. And learning how to be a better teacher to write about why it is so important to read that I gave a copy of the following highlights to my spring classes, and I’m assigning it to my summer classes!

It’s a quick read and you can download it for free. Or you can just read the following excerpts and tuck his ideas away for a later perusal…

If you’re more the video type, check out this TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson: “Do schools kill creativity?”

From section 16:

What is school for?

Here’s a hint: learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do.

Continue reading