Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Welcome home, hallows!

This post represents an iPhoto slideshow, with animation effects and music, exported as a movie, uploaded to YouTube, and embedded here:

I'm also embedding a Google Video version of the same movie for comparison, here:

For ease of comparison, I've resized both viewers above, making them the same width. Which do you think looks better?
[53 words]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Americas

This post includes a comment that ... I sent via gmail in response to a Writing III student's typing speed trial about her favorite country. I'm re-posting it here to highlight a common misconception and inaccurate usage of the term, America.
America isn't a country. In fact, there are three Americas - and each comprises a large region: North America, Central America, & South America. All in all, they include about 55 countries and territories. Take your pick!
(personal correspondence; May 17, 2007)

For a list of those countries and territories, please see the Ethnologue country index: Languages of the Americas webpage.

Image source:
Image used in accordance with the copyright holder's
Terms of Use for Maps

[118 words]

Sunday, October 28, 2007

WSB 2-02: Post Essays on Blogs

This is a general announcement to all students in Writing IVc, both sections one and two:
  • The second essay assignment, for individual essays on your favorite places, like the first joint essay assignment, called for you to post your completed essays on your own blogs, this time by October 26 (Writing Studio Calendar), where they will be available for general reviewing and commentary by your classmates and peers.
There is no need, and I have no wish, for you to gmail your essays to me. Spontaneously entitled gmail messages, and randomly named file attachments simply clutter mail queues, and get lost in file directories. If you have gmailed an essay already, you should expect no reply.

However, you should make sure that you have posted your complete essay on your blog, and used the label "essays" (and maybe "favorites", too) to make certain that your essay will be easy for everyone to find.
[154 words]

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Model from Class: My Favorite Place...

... to sit and think

My back yard is my favorite place to sit and think. I’d like to explain what it looks like and why I like sitting there. My backyard has a garden, a composter and a small patch of grass. It is surrounded by a hedge. It is a quiet place to sit and think.

There is a hedge around the back yard. The hedge is getting quite thick and very tall, because I didn’t trim it this summer. I’m going to wait till winter to trim it, because I enjoy sitting and thinking in the yard more than working on the hedge. The hedge keeps the yard quiet and peaceful.

The garden in the back yard has three parts. First there is a narrow flower bed along the veranda. It is about 45 centimeter wide, and runs the whole length of the veranda. At one end is a large aloe plant. The nearest bed also holds annual flowers.

Then there is a larger flower bed on the side. In it, there is a cherry tree growing on one side, a climbing rose bush in the middle, and a hydrangea at the other side. In between are various plants and flowers. That is the biggest part of the garden

Along the back of the back yard, but along one side only, is another small patch of garden. There were strawberry plants growing in it earlier this year, but most of them died! Maybe the compost that I used to feed them was too strong.

There is a composter in the back yard, which decomposes lawn and garden refuse. It also decomposes kitchen waste. The composter is large and black. It sits in the far corner of the back yard next to the hedge. There the smell, if any, won't reach the house. The composter works very quietly.

The lawn is my favorite part of the back yard. I've planted grass, and reseeded almost every year since starting to work on the back yard. The lawn is thick and green, but still thin around the edges which don't get much sunlight. I need to reseed again right away.

What I like most about thebackyard is sitting on the veranda and listening to the grass grow. At least, that is what I tell people who interrupt my meditation there. At night, I also enjoy listening to the worms in the lawn, and the stars, planets, and comets in the sky. If my mind is quiet, and my eyes remain open, I can see and hear many of them.

[432 words]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Reminder from Class: Classwork & Homework

This is a snippet from the classroom display on October 24 (formatting transferred from Word is problematic):

Continue counting words and attaching word counts to every post (August '07 - January '08).

Review Writing Resources

Five-Paragraph Essay

Model &


Use that model for your 2nd essay:

About your (own) favorite place(-s)

Create an outline (in Word).

Write a complete first draft:

Five or more paragraphs, including:

Introductory paragraph (1)
Body paragraphs (3+)
Concluding paragraph (1); with:

Five or more sentences per paragraph; &

At least 300 words

Post your draft essay on your blog by Oct. 26.

Space between paragraphs

Use returns only at the end of headings or paragraphs.

At the end of paragraphs, use two returns.

Include a word count.

Add the class-wide label "essays" (with an "a" and an "s"!)

Check gmail for messages.

Check your blog for comments.

Check the Writing Studio Blog for announcements.

[133 words]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Comment Feed Recipe for Sidebars

  • [YourBlogURL]/feeds/comments/default/?alt=rss
Above is a quick and easy recipe that can use to add a comment feed to your sidebar. You can use a feed like that in your sidebar to display recent community activity on your blog.

Note: I added the "?alt=rss" bit to the end of the default feed, because the add a feed tool in the Blogger layout preview didn't recognize the default feed address.

All you need to do to add a recent comments feed to your sidebar is:
  1. Replace "[YourBlogURL]" in the recipe above with your complete blog URL, starting with the "http://..." part;
  2. Open your Blogger Dashboard;
  3. Click on the "Manage: ... Layout" link in your Dashboard;
  4. Click on "Add a Page Element" link in the sidebar preview;
  5. Click on the "Add To Blog" button for the Feed tool;
  6. Paste in your comment feed URL; then
  7. Click "Continue" to fine-tune the feed settings!
I decided to display short previews of the five most recent comments, with links, dates and authors included.
[174 words]

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Somebody stole my...

... radio" (*) -

... no, bicycle -

... no, more precisely, -

... my bicycle seat!

* That line may be from a song performed by Nicollete Larson (Wikipedia). Though I haven't been able to track down the song or lyrics, in addition to the Wikipedia stub (above), I have found an online biography covering her musical career.
[59 words]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Proto-Portfolio 2-01: Reviews, Posts & Words

Please copy and paste the entire table below into a new post on your blog entitled "Proto-Portfolio 2-01," and start filling it in with the numbers of book reviews, blog posts, and words that you wrote during August (08), and September (09). You needn't worry about totals, fn, or indices now; we'll introduce those later. However, to make sure that you copy the entire table, please include the slash marks (beginning and end), too.

beginning /////
Proto-Portfolio 2-01: Reviews, Posts and Words
Book reviews

Blog posts




///// end

Before you save your new post, please be sure to add the label, "portfolios" (plural), to it.

Reminder: Use Wiki Shortcuts!

This is a recording from my office to remind you to use the shortcuts in the Writing Studio Wiki sidebar (left) to get the tools that you'll need opened quickly at the beginning of every class.

You, too, can Springdoo.
Oops, I forgot to enable the video cam. before making the recording! Well, you can still hear the reminder if your headphones or speakers are on.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Slide Show! Images from Writing III-IV

This slide show is an animated collage of graphic images from Writing III-IV. I built it with image files (JPG, PNG, TIFF) that I uploaded from my computer, flash memory and hard drive.

Other styles, skins, themes, backgrounds, music, and effects are available from, if you become a registered user. You can even post slide shows directly to your Blogger blog!
[62 words, not counting slide captions]

Friday, October 12, 2007

WSB 2-01: Mr. T's Computer Hour

Mr. T. cordially invites you to his Computer Office Hour. He wants to help you satisfy blogging and other course requirements for English IV. The weekly time and place for help in a Windows lab. are listed in the graphic below, along with brief reminders and warnings regarding coursework and attendance that he will be happy to amplify:

[about 95 words, including captions in graphic]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Quick Reminders: Academic & Technical

  1. Academic
    • Course calendar: Please check it regularly (and add it to your own Google Calendar).
    • Texts: Though many are not in a traditional, paper-and-ink format, please remember that there are lots of texts for Writing III-IVc:
  2. Technical
[87 words]

Call for Typing Speed Trial Topic Suggestions

This is a call for suggestions of topics that you would like to use in future typing speed trials. I'm calling again for suggestions because feedback from individual students indicates that they sometimes have little to write about proposed topics - especially if they have not previewed the topics, and brainstormed for ideas to type about in advance.

A list of previous typing speed trial topics appears in the yellow box on the right side of the Writing Studio Wiki. Likewise, Tomei's Typing Tools, listed with other online typing practice tools in the sidebar on the left side of the wiki, also displays a range of possible topics with clicks on a button.

After reviewing those topics, please post new topic suggestions in comments on this blog post - the more, the merrier!
ComputerKid.gif (above) from Webweaver's Free School Graphics collection
[141 words]

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Week's Assignments: Mega-Essay Project (1.3)

This post reiterates the tasks that I displayed in class today for classwork and homework assignments (due Oct. 12, 2007).

Kumamoto essays: Information questions and answers [classwork]
  1. Preview three or more essays - not outlines - in blogs DOWN list (Writing Studio Wiki, §2.3).
  2. Ask information questions about essays, or suggest additional information for those essays, in three or more blogs UP list in comments on those blogs.
  3. Check your own essay for incoming information questions [and suggestions].

Kumamoto essays: Responses and revisions [classwork]
  1. Answer questions from comments in comments on your own blog.
  2. Transfer information from answers in ALL comments to ONE of your group member's essays.
  3. Reorganize and revise all individual essays, as necessary, to suit additional information from comments on all group members' essays.

Kumamoto essays: [homework]
  1. Add finishing touches to your individual essays.
    • Add links (3 minimum).
    • Add photos (3 minimum).
    • Add other media:
      • graphics,
      • maps,
      • music,
      • slideshows,
      • videos, or
      • voice recordings.
  2. Use NO copyright - “©” - material (without written permission [from owners])!

For further information, please review:
Then, if you have questions about finalizing your mega-essays, please post them in comments on this post.
[210 words]

Monkeys Out of Trees - Messages Delayed

This post is to express regret for a delay in delivering to you all of the typing speed trial messages that I'd sent out this morning (Oct. 10, 2007). For some reason, they got stuck between my outbox and the mail server(-s) that Mail was trying to use to gmail them. Though I'm not sure why that happened, I apologize for the delay.

Before next Wednesday (Oct. 17), please compile all of your typing speed trial results for the past three weeks (Sept. 26, Oct. 3, & Oct. 10) in the most complete attachment that you have in your gmail queue (TypingSpeedTrial-vwxyz.doc, where "vwxyz" represents the last five digits of your student number). Then use that document for your next typing speed trials.
Image source: Free Webmaster resources and clipart archive
[131 words]

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Group Thing: Mega-Essay Project (1.2)

This is a follow-on to: Mega-Essay Project (1.1). Mr. Lavin has been so kind as to share links to two blog posts representing a jointly written essay in two individual fashions:
Please check them out as you're working on your own - original - mega-essays about Kumamoto!

The Group Thing: Mega-Essay Project (1.1)

This post is a follow-on to: The Group Thing: Mega-Essay Project (1), which explained group formation (done, right?). Here is an illustration suggesting workflow to follow in order to jointly develop and then individually represent your mega-essays about Kumamoto:

Please remember that after compilation of a joint mega-essay, each member of your group must post the essay to her or his own blog, adding links, pictures, slideshows, videos or other media.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Book review headings, numbering & labels - revisited

This is a quick reminder of specifications for book review headings, numbering & labels (from spring semester):
Here's the breakdown: ...
  • Book review 1-nn: ... [+ short title] - first semester book reviews from 01 to 99
  • Book review 2-nn: ... [+ short title] - second semester book reviews from 01 to 99
Further, please include short book titles at the end of book review subject headings, for example:
  • Book review 1-05: Vampire Killer
If you include short titles, visitors may recognize books that they've read, too, and want to read and comment on your reviews.
(The Writing Studio Blog, May 16, 2007)

Here's a fresh new example based on a not-so-precise heading that I've spotted in the sidebar:
  • Was:
  • Should be:
    • Book Review 2-01: The Wizard of Oz
Regarding typography, please note the colon (":") followed by a single space after the book review number, and use of italics for the title of the book.

For book review labels, please use the usual plural forms without quotation marks:
  1. "books" &
  2. "reviews".
You may add a genre label, for example, "fantasy," but not "quickposts." Since book reviews are a major part of your writing for this course, they must not only be original, but also longer than your average typing speed trial.
[221 words]

Backlinks Settings - revisited

In a previous post: The Critical Comments & Backlinks Settings, I forgot to mention the Blogger Help page explaining backlinks. That explanation is available in both English and Japanese (please see the note at the end of Blogger tip: Help creating links, if you need a reminder how to switch language views).
[52 words]
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