Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday, October 31st

Today the class was mainly focused on discussion.
First we discussed Act 4 of Hamlet. Any questions students had were discussed.
Then we went on to "Hamlet 2.0". And the question offered was: If Hamlet was in modern age and used the internet would he have been able to create the persona with the other characters that he has in the play? This led to another lengthy but informative discussion.
Tonight for Homework all we are expected to do is finish the play!

Also it has come to my attention that a class, I believe 4th period, have a test tomorrow on Hamlet because Dr. Preston thought they didn't understand the reading very well.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29

So if you missed class for any reason today, here's a summary of what we did:
  • Journal (as always), here's a link to today's journal topic
  • We spent a fair amount of time discussing Act III and various interpretations of the text. The notes that I personally took revolves around the scene with Gertrude talking to Hamlet, and what Polonius' death tells us. This is an example of indirect characterization in a way because it is clear that Hamlet doesn't care about Polonius since he carried on his with his rant with out even thinking about the fact that he just stabbed someone. He didn't even care about the identity too much, be he most likely hoped it was Claudius for sure. Gertrude also has an epiphany of sorts in this scene as well; she is finally able to see herself through Hamlet's eyes and recognize what a terrible person she has been. In my opinion this is important because at the end of the scene Hamlet tells her he knows that his execution is to come, and perhaps Gertrude's revelation will save Hamlet, or she can choose to betray him. These are just the highlights from the conversation my class had, if anyone in a different period had a different take or something to add, feel free to comment. 
  • We then transitioned into reading Act IV, which is also homework to finish reading.
  • Then finished the period by going from person to person saying a line from "To be or not to be..." so learn it by tomorrow if you haven't.
Our homework for tonight includes:
  • Posting to our blog "Thoughts on Hamlet (In Progress)", where we can describe what we have thought about whilst reading. Any ideas or opinions or thoughts! Think about these questions: Explain how your thinking about the play has evolved from the time we began reading to the end of Act III. Has anything changed your mind about the plot or characters since the ghost showed up at midnight? Where do you see things going from here?
  • Read Act IV.
  • Watch "Filter Bubbles" and comment to this post, answering these questions: a)What new information did you learn from the video? b)How does this information make you think differently about what you see online? c)What questions does this video raise about the Internet in general? and d)How can you improve the effectiveness of your searches? Also post to your blog. 
  • Read "The Performative Utterance in Hamlet" and take notes to post to your blog (use same title).

Senior Cap and Gown Information 10/29/13
I recorded the presentation and posted the video to my blog.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28

Today some of us recited "To be or not to be". We also discussed act 3 in groups and answered any questions posed by our peers to help to get a better understanding of what's going on.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 25

Today, we started on our individual conferences, and in the meantime we discussed Act III with our groups. Also, Dr. Preston showed us a video of last year's Sarah Gutierrez and Amanda Arnold reciting "To Be Or Not To Be" at a showing of The Hobbit. You can check it out below.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24

Today in class we took a vocab quiz. One of the questions mentioned "fluency" in vocab words, which Dr. Preston said was just like foreign languages. (I noticed a lot of people were like "whaaaaat" when he spoke in Spanish, so I'll translate: "Hay muchas palabras en español que no recuerdo porque no practico bastante." = "There are many words in Spanish that I don't remember because I don't practice enough.") Even if you're able to understand a language, but you're not actually fluent, then when you listen to someone speak you have to sort of translate the words to English and THEN you understand it. It's the same with vocabulary-- really owning the words requires practicing until they are a seamless part of our speech and writing, preferably without immediately remembering that they're "vocabulary" words at all.

Also: Literature Analysis #3 is due at the beginning of class tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22

Today in class, we did our group presentations on what we learned from Act II of Hamlet, and how we learned it. Dr. Preston has links to prezis and his own in-class notes here, which will be great for recap/review.

Explanation of homework #1: on tomorrow's vocab test, there will be two questions. The first question will be about one word that Dr. Preston picks, and alllllllllllll our vocab words (which you can see here) are fair game. The second question will ask us to pick a word we've come to own-- maybe you have started to use it a lot, or it became an inside joke with you and your friends, or you just like it for some reason. Either way, be prepared to tell a story/explain why you chose it.

Princeton University

Hi this is Ian Steller, and I know it's been quite a few weeks, but here is an update from when a representative came all the way from Princeton University to interest students from Righetti High School into applying.

Princeton University is located in Princeton, New Jersey, and it is a fantastic Ivy League school known for its dedication to research.  Ivy League schools are private institutions, and if you're shy to the hefty prices of attending these universities, do not stress, because Princeton has its own financial aid system built into the school.  If your parents make less than $60,000, and you make it into Princeton, they will pay for your full tuition, and the list goes on.

To apply to Princeton, use the Common App.  You must complete 2 SAT subject tests to apply as well.  Like all great schools, Princeton has many attractions, activities, and fun clubs that might catch your eye.  Although the school is ranked in the top 10 for the nation, tutoring clubs and other fun activities will always be there.  Also, there is a subway that can take you straight from the university to the heart of New York City in a couple hours; so the college life isn't completely filled with rigor.

As far as academics go, I personally asked the representative from Princeton what academics are like.  He stated that students from Princeton end up doing what they want to do in life around 93% of the time, which is an incredible ratio.  If you attend an undergraduate school as prestigious as Princeton, you are very likely to be accepted into the graduate school of your choice.  Note that you don't have to declare your major at Princeton until your Junior year, and you must complete a huge Senior project during your Senior year in order to complete your curriculum and obtain your undergraduate degree.

I'm still on the fence about applying to Princeton.  The representative that came to speak to us was from the University of Pennsylvania; so his word was slightly debased.  Princeton is a great university, though.  If you're looking into a career in research or just a great place that's far away from home to start your college education, look at Princeton.  There are a few informational documents in the career center that contain extensive information on Princeton, and the rest is up to you!

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21st

Dr. Preston is still out.  Due to the fact that he didn't read our journals, today in class our Hamlet groups put together 5 to 8 minute presentations that we will share tomorrow in class.  The presentation is in two parts: 1) What did you learn, and 2) How did you learn it. 

Don't forget, our next literary analysis is due this Friday, and "To be or not to be," recitals will begin Monday.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Your Computer Needs More RAM

No, not random access memory, Random Absence Mentoring! That's right, we're expanding :)

On Friday, I talked to people at the lunch meeting and 5th period (which I totally hijacked while Nik Koyama was getting lunch) about how to bring Random Absence Mentoring into other classes. Someone in fifth period (forgive my bad memory, I can't remember who or else I'd include a link and a name drop) suggested that I write a post here and on the Google Group with a list of subjects, and in the comments we can have a conversation of what classes it would be most helpful to have a student-run blog for, and ask for volunteers of who can lead each the blog for each class. Here's a list I came up with-- if I missed anything, please comment!

  • AP Econ/AP Gov't
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Physics
  • AP Biology

What do you guys think? Which classes do you think Random Absence Mentoring could help the most, and is anyone interested in writing for any of these classes?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

UC San Diego

Hello, this is Brenna! After the UC San Diego session in the Career Center, I can give some insight about the university based on the questions I asked. I'll try to provide information that isn't exactly stated on their website.
  • For their arts program, they do not require a portfolio or live performance with the regular admissions process. I found this odd because I assumed you'd want to see if someone has artistic talent before you admit them, but they are different in that sense. If someone is doing poorly artistically, even if admitted, they'll get the hint eventually, as well as a suggestion to switch majors.
  • They do not have a business major (closest would be Management Science).
  • The difference between a UC and CSU is that a UC is more theoretical than technical. An example given was that while UCSD students will come up with an idea and how it will work, someone from a CSU will be the one to design and create this idea into a "real thing". 
  • Very big campus!
  • There are six colleges in UCSD, each catering to diverse ambitions with different requirements in each. They said no one college is more popular than the others (even though I've heard Muir is most popular). And though it is possible to switch colleges, it is very difficult.
Here are their six colleges within the university:
  • Earl Warren: "Toward a life in balance"
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: "Developing global citizens through scholarship, leadership and service"
  • John Muir: "Celebrating the independent spirit"
  • Revelle: "Purpose, truth, vision"
  • Sixth (creative name): "Preparing effective citizens for the 21st century"
  • Thurgood Marshall: "Developing the scholar and citizen"
I gathered some student opinions on the different colleges. Though keep in mind these are opinions by some, not everyone.
Earl Warren:
  • Cramped dorm rooms.
  • Where all the engineering majors lean towards.
Eleanor Roosevelt:
  • Inflexible GEs.
  • Nicest looking dorm (clean, new, and around a grass field).
John Muir:
  • Popular because of its GE requirements, but you have to take them in sequence.
  • Nice view of the beach from the dorms, but the dorms look like prisons.
  • Best "college-dorm feel" because of the social environment.
  • Closest to Price Center (student center).
  • More flexible GEs.
  • Very close to York Hall (bio and chem).
  • Has a "mini-library" that's convenient for studying.
  • Inflexible GEs.
  • Old dorms.
  • Least desirable dorm.
  • Inflexible GEs.
    Thurgood Marshall:
    • Has the best food.
    • More flexible GEs.
    • Lots of 'singles' (single-occupied dorm rooms).

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    October 15

    Dr. Preston is going to be gone for the next three days, so today we discussed with our groups what we need to do during his absence so that we will have read and understood Act II of Hamlet by Friday. From what I heard, some groups talked about just going over it quietly, while other groups were talking about actually sort of performing it in the front of the class. I was part of the second group, so I'll share the ideas that we brainstormed in my conversation with Uri (who seemed to be the ringleader) and Jason: we all really liked the idea of having an actual performance, but I was concerned that Shakespeare didn't write much blocking in his script beyond "enter" and "exit," so it would basically just be people standing there talking. However, Jason said that the actors would be able to just "go with the flow" and make up their own blocking that makes sense. He also suggested that we could stop periodically and discuss what the scene means as a group so everyone understands it. I had the idea of having several people with devices be responsible for looking up words, phrases, and references (like the mythology allusions in Hamlet's first big soliloquy) that are confusing, too. Maybe someone could even record it!

    If anyone has feedback or more ideas about a Hamlet performance, please feel free to comment!

    (Also, third period hijacked the schedule to debate about to memorize or not to memorize, I assume fourth period was pretty much gone at pictures the whole time, and fifth period started on Act II Scene ii.)

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    October 10

    Presenting: Thursday, October 10, brought to you by Lisa Malins and Edmond Yi.

    On Thursday, Dr. Preston was out, so we had a sub. We also had a vocab quiz, and maybe a lucky few students got to see the preview on the blog before starting the quiz. After that, we spent (sold?) a lot of time going over Hamlet Act I scene ii.

    Also, today (writing this on Friday) I asked Dr. Preston what he meant by the agenda item "Chart a course for Chaucer-esque characters and P2P evaluation." For the Chaucer part, he said the question was basically should we continue doing stuff with Chaucer, or do people want to be done with Canterbury Tales already? As for the P2P evaluation, turns out no one showed up to the meeting on Tuesday, so he's transferring the discussion to the Interwebs. What systems can we create to give our classmates credit where it's due? You can respond to both questions (and their answers) here.

    October 9

    Presenting: Wednesday, October 9, brought to you by Lisa Malins and Edmond Yi.

    Explanation of homework assignment: today (writing this on Friday actually), I asked Dr. Preston what he meant by the second homework assignment (for reference, here's the copypasta: "Find at least three other learning communities that are studying Hamlet [in an AP class, a college/university course, or independently]. Introduce yourself and use the principles of "The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online" to do exactly that! Report the experience[s] on your blog."). He said that the idea was to find other active communities that are studying Hamlet RIGHT NOW, just like us, in order to "expand our learning network," as he put it. More is better, right? Why study with 80 students when you can study with 800?

    And, from Edmond: When talking about finding groups, Dr. Preston really emphasized finding groups that were at or above our level in terms of thought/analysis (the purpose being to effectively learn something new from their work instead of rehashing what we already know or can find out easily).

    For further clarification, you can check out some posts by students who've already done the assignment (when I talked to him, Dr. Preston showed me Lesther's post as an example). Hope this helps!

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    October 8

    Today after the journal Dr. Preston covered what was new on the blog; the primary focus was Maddie Klusendorf's new scholarship and college information page, Cracking the Code on College.  We then got our midterms back and talked a little about how they were graded.  He also introduced the new vocabulary list that he failed to put up last night.  We don't have to post the definitions but we do have to use all the words as each group finishes their story tonight and post the end of our stories (containing the new vocabulary words) to our blogs.  For the remainder of the class we split up into our groups and began writing our endings and incorporating the vocabulary.  THE VOCABULARY TEST WILL BE TOMORROW WEDNESDAY 9TH.  We start Hamlet tomorrow.

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    October 7

    Today (at least in 3rd period, I don't know about 4th and 5th) we split up into groups and submitted suggestions for Vocabulary #7, which has now been posted.

    Also, Dr. Preston announced that tomorrow at lunch, there will be a meeting to brainstorm ideas for P2P evaluation. For inspiration, check out the solutions from Class of 2012 and Class of 2013!

    ....Aaaaaaaand that's about it, thanks to Early Out schedule. I hope everyone's enjoying their extended afternoons :)

    P.S. HAMLET. (it's coming)

    Saturday, October 5, 2013

    An Hour with Yale Admissions

    Hi everybody!
    This is Mia Levy,Lisa suggested that I create a post about the Yale session that went on in the career center about a week ago, which I was shockingly the only one who attended. Although extremely intimidating it was an amazing experience to have a one on one conversation with an ivy league admissions.

    Unlike when Princeton came to RHS, Yale did not have a speech prepared. Our conversation was fueled only by questions I asked her. 

    Here are the main points I remember about Yale that might be of interest to you:
    • Every senior at Yale is required to complete a master thesis, report, etc.
    • Yale looks for a prospective student who takes the most advance courses their high school offers, combined with incredible achievement in their community, especially their school.
    • The main major at Yale is political science and government
    • The only offer about 30 majors but they have an extreme amount of courses and professors are required to teach at least one undergraduate course. (I can't really remember but I know it's at least one.)
    • They have this thing called Residential Campuses where you are required to live your first year and you don't get to choose, they put you with people who are unlike you to enhance your stay at Yale.
    • They're only a couple hours away from New York and Boston
    • IT'S COLD!
    • You can double major though most freshmen don't
    • Study abroad is extremely encouraged.
    •  Some firms, such as insurance, actually come on campus at the end of year to recruit seniors right out of college. Though for those with other majors they do have specific staff dedicated to help you transition into a career after college.
    I wasn't even planning on going to Yale, I mainly went for the fact that ivy leagues interest me and my 1st period bores me to death. So most of my questions probably weren't what she was expecting. In case you were wondering the lady I talked to did not attend Yale. Get this:
    She and the admissions officer of Princeton both attended University of Pennsylvania.
    Weird huh?

    They have weird clubs too. Such as:
    • A Greys Anatomy Club, where the group gets together every Thursday night to watch the show.
    • MEAT: men eating animals together, which is a group of guys who raise money on campus to hold BBQs.
    • Qudditch. Don't all colleges have this club now a days?
    • Anti-gravity Association, they juggle, a lot.
    • and tons of others, their amount of clubs is amazing.
    All in all the women I met with was extremely welcoming and nice. We got to know each other more then how usual college fairs go and that was an awesome experience. If you have anymore questions, because I basically asked every question known to man then you can email me at or just ask me at school! I can also give you her email if you would like to talk to her personally, I'm sure she wouldn't mind.

    Oh and she also recommended to try a Thai restaurant in New Haven because supposedly it's amazing, just a heads up if you're thinking of visiting. 

    Have a nice day:)

    Friday, October 4, 2013

    Random Absence Mentoring Sports Column

    I've been brainstorming ways to expand the Random Absence Mentoring blog beyond English assignments-- for example, today I talked to Shane about having a widget in the sidebar for ASB announcements (since we can't hear the Grapevine in Dr. Preston's 3rd period, and I don't know about you, but I'm just slightly too lazy to check the website). I couldn't go to the big game today against St. Joe's, so I knew I'd have to settle for hearing the score from someone else. That's when it hit me-- it should be on the blog! We could have a widget with scores from previous games (any and all sports welcome) as well as dates for upcoming games, and when the widget is full we could archive it onto another page. Kind of like our daily announcements in Econ, anyone with information about a sport could contribute to the widget. What do you guys think? (Comments welcome here or on the Google Group.)

    Thursday, October 3, 2013

    Dr. Preston's Twitter Clue

    If you missed Dr. Preston's clue to the riddle, which survived on his Twitter feed for a mere seven minutes, you're in luck! It's on the Google Group, but you have to become a member to see it!

    October 3

    Today, Dr. Preston talked about some of the emerging Collaborative Working Groups, including this one and a College/Scholarship Resource group led by Maddie Klusendorf. He also invited everyone to brainstorm on a medium of P2P evaluation-- if Alice says/posts/creates something really cool that helps Bob, how can Bob give credit to Alice for her contribution? It's something to think about. For inspiration, check out last year's solution.

    Dr. Preston also announced that he is going to be a speaker at the Innovative Learning Conference on Friday, 10/18, at 8:30. [You can see the outline of his speech here.] Of course, since talking in front just one screen is old, Dr. Preston is going to have THREE SCREENS Update: just kidding, Dr. Preston is going to have ONE screen, which towards the end of his presentation will be a video conference with his students right here at Righetti! [see comment below] Since it starts at 8:30, it'll be his 1st period Expository Composition class, unless y'all have any cool first period teachers who would be willing to hack their schedule for a day...!

    The Literature Analysis #2 blog post is due at exactly 5:00 pm tomorrow (thank you to Dr. Preston for the extra few hours after school to finish it!). There are two grades for the assignment: the first grade is either an A or an F, depending on whether you have it posted by the due date/time. The second grade is the familiar kind, based on content and how well the analysis is written.

    Reminder: we have a vocab midterm tomorrow, so make sure you study!