Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Map of the Process: Draft Movie Reviews

This image (a quick concept map, nothing fancy) reflects the process we used today to prepare draft movie review essays:

Comments about what we did are more than welcome on this quick post.
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MR 1-1: First Semester - First Movie Review

This post amplifies movie review assignment details sent via gmail (2008.04.30), and encourages you to ask questions, if you have any, in comments on this post at least 48 hours before your first movie review for first semester is due. For the due date and time, please see the for Writing III-IV, §§ 1a & 1c.
As you draft and revise your movie review essays, please make certain that:

0. Your essays are original work. Please note that this prohibits both copying and machine translation. However, using ideas that you and your classmates shared during collective free-writing sessions today is okay.
  1. You cover all of the main points in the working outline [displayed below], including: characters, story, themes, and lasting impressions. Please note that you need not follow the working outline exactly.
  2. You express your ideas in complete sentences, composed into paragraphs, arranged in an organized fashion that suits your own ideas about the movie. This requires at least one paragraph for each main point. Please note that, depending upon your primary focus:
    • Paragraphs about characters may include bits of the story (in order of occurrence);
    • Paragraphs about the story may introduce the characters (in order of appearance); and
    • Paragraphs about themes may include either notes about characters or summaries of episodes and events in the story (in order of importance to development of themes).
  3. You include a paragraph (two or more sentences) at the beginning of the review explaining the purpose and introducing the main points that you will cover in your movie review. You may also include as similar paragraph at the end, if you feel a summary of the main points that you have covered will help readers get a clear idea of what you think about the movie.
  4. You check your final draft movie review essay in Word for spelling, punctuation, and grammar faults, and correct those faults BEFORE you post your essay on your blog.
  5. You have a classmate, friend, or peer read your essay on your blog AFTER you post it, to make sure your essay is clearly written, and easy to read and understand. Please note and follow all suggestions that they make for improving your essay, or the presentation of it on your blog.
(pab..., personal correspondence, 2008.04. 30)

When you post this essay on your blog, please include the abbreviation MR (for movie review) and the number 1-1 (for first semester, first review) at the beginning of the title on your blog post. The title of the post should read, "MR 1-1: ...," in which "..." represents a short, catchy phrase describing your review.

You also must include at least these three labels on your movie review post: 1) essays, 2) movies, and 3) reviews. Please note that all three of those labels are plural forms. Another you may wish to include is a genre label, such as animation.

If you have questions about the working outline displayed above (sent via gmail), or this movie review essay assignment, please ask them right away in comments on this post. If you post questions less than 48 hours before an assignment is due, you may not get answers until they are too late to inform the final posting of your essay on your blog.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Comment Heads-Ups for You and Blog Visitors

With Recent Comments feed widgets added to your blogs last week (classwork, 2008.04.23, based on the recipe here), you should be almost set to:
  1. Keep abreast of what comments you're getting on your blog, and
  2. Enable your classmates, friends, teachers, peers, and other visitors to do so, too.
The points and settings you should check appear in red in the outlines (lists) below:

  • For your posts
    • With visitors' comments
      • Comment Notification: Set in your Dashboard (Settings: Comments)

        • Informs you via gmail.

        Recent Comments feed that you've built and placed near the top of your sidebar

        • Informs visitors on site.

        Follow-up comment notification: Visitors select this option before publishing their first comment on one of your posts.

        • Informs previous commentators via gmail.

          • NOTE: With Comment Notification already ON, you don't need to select this option when you add follow-up comments on your own blog posts.

    • With your follow-ups
      • Recent Comments feed
        • Informs subsequent visitors on site.

      • Follow-up comment notification
        • Informs previous commentators via gmail.

Please make sure to double-check your blog comment settings [Blogger Dashboard: Settings: Comments] to make sure that:
  • Comment Moderation is OFF -
    • Unless you've had problems with comment spam.
      • If you have had spam problems, please inform a teacher ASAP.
  • Word Verification is ON -
    • To minimize chances of getting machine-generated comment spam.
  • Comment Notification is ON -
    • So you'll be among the first to know when you get new comments!
      • If you believe that you've received comment spam, please forward the comment notification message(s) to your teacher's gmail address immediately.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

On the Reading Road Again

In the song, On the Road Again, for a movie soundtrack (1980), Willie Nelson covered a 1965 Bob Dylan song about "going places" that he has "never been" (Wikipedia, On the Road Again). Reading books is like that.

I've just picked up the next two books in the series that I've been reading for... um... several years (An Extensive Reading (ER) Project, 2008.03.01). Nevertheless, I ticked off volume five during spring recess, and went to the book store last night to stock up on ... perhaps another year's worth of leisure reading.

Now it's time to add the volumes that I'm reading to the Library Thing.

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Shrek it is - view now, review later!

This is a cross-post of a gmail message that I've just sent to students in the Writing Studio this semester, in Writing III-1a and III-1c (original date: April 26, 2008 09:35:26 JST). I'm cross-posting it to the Writing Studio Blog in hope that it will come to your attention at least as soon as, if not sooner than, it would in gmail:
Hello, everyone in Writing III-1a and III-1c, I hope you are outdoors enjoying this fine weekend!

This message is an important one, so please let you[r] classmates know that it's in their gmail queues as soon as you've finished reading it. It has to do with the next essay assignment, which is due about a week from today (Course Calendar). There are three plus one things that I'd like you to realize right away.

0. The movie that everyone in Writing III-1a and -1c is to review for the next essay assignment is Shrek (see follow-up comments on the Writing Studio Blog, ... [We are] doing Shrek!, Thursday, April 24, 2008).

1. You do not need to start writing your review of the movie Shrek until next Wednesday, in class. As a matter of fact, you should not start writing a review until we plan (outline) the essay together on April 30, 2008. If you feel an uncontrollable desire to write on your blog between now and then, which you should (;-), please blog about anything other than Shrek.

2. To get ready for writing a review, you must watch the movie (again, if you've seen it before) BEFORE class next Wednesday, because we will not watch the movie in class. It is a very good idea to watch it with classmates and friends, with the English soundtrack and English subtitles switched on.

3. Talk about the movie (see item 1, above) with as many people as you can BEFORE we meet on Wednesday. The more people with whom you talk about Shrek, and the more English that you use while you are doing so, the better.

I plan not to send any more gmail messages like this, so please get in the habit of browsing the Writing Studio Blog and Wiki several times a week, and checking for new posts, comments, and updates. See you on Wednesday, if not online before!

Cheers, ... [signature removed, PB]
If you have questions about this movie review assignment, please share them (and answer them for one another) in comments on this post.

Image from: Internet Movie Database

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Typing Practice: Recommendations from Pukman

Rick suggests:

Try Power Typing for typing practice. I recommend the Frequent Words 1, 2, and 3 exercises.

Also, please try Go to School 4!

(Pukman @ WinK: The Community...,
Typing Practice, 2008.04.24)

After you try those out, feel free to drop back by here and leave a quick comment saying what you think, what you like (or don't) about online typing practice tools.

View Original Article

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Mr B...'s class[es are] ... doing Shrek!" (tomei)

On the KGUWriting blog, tomei spilled the beans already. He wrote, "Mr B...'s class[es are] ... doing Shrek!" (2008.04.23).

This post is to offer thanks for his finding and sharing a Shrek YouTube clip there, to raise awareness of this selection. While I'm writing, I'd also like to ask a couple of favors, and to amplify upon advice tomei gave regarding soundtracks on DVDs.

To be precise, both writing classes that I teach this semester (1A and 1C) are doing the same movie this go 'round. I've based the assignment of Shrek to everyone on that movie's being the flick that most students in both classes expressed first preferences for reviewing in their next essays, in shows of hands in the Mac lab. yesterday morning (2008.04.23). These were the top three preferences (no others got more than one vote):
  1. Shrek: 1A (10) + 1C (11) = 21
  2. Harry Potter: 1A (4) + 1C (8) = 12
  3. Mrs. Doubtfire: 1A (5) + 1C (0) = 5
So I'd appreciate tomei's correcting the title of the post cited above to read "classes" (plural).

I'd also appreciate it if everyone would avoid using family names in their public postings. Please use given names, or given + initial when there are two students whose given names are the same (e.g.: Chie N. or Chie T.); or blog handles, like pab or tomei, with capitalization as in the originals, or abbreviations, like Mr B or Mr. B., instead.

Regarding soundtracks, when you are watching Shrek recorded on a DVD, tomei suggests switching subtitles on, and selecting English. This will amplify your listening and viewing experience in English as an additional language by adding reading to the admix of skills that you are using simultaneously.

Happy Shrek viewing, everyone! Please stay tuned here, too, for follow-up posts on the first movie review assignment for this semester.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Next Up: Movie Reviews

To get you started thinking about the next essay assignment, I've collected links to three movie reviews for you to peruse. The short list below is organized in reverse chronological order, from newest to oldest.

After you've read those reviews over, we'll brainstorm in class to come up with ideas for types of content to include in your own movie reviews. If you finish reading these three examples early (perhaps before class), you can use the label "movies" on SaaaE's blog (sidebar, left) to find other examples.
  1. The Curse of the Golden Flower (Rick, 2008.04. 18)
  2. Toy Story (SaaaE, 2007.10.10)*
  3. Sean Bean in Sharpe adventure films (pab, 2007.04.12)
* Note: For her portfolio, SaaaE selected Toy Story as her best movie review (WEI, §§1.o-1.2, 2008.01.30).
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Writing Studio Bulletin 1-01 (2008)

This is the first Writing Studio Bulletin for this year. The number in the title indicates that it is the first one for this spring semester (2008). From now on I'll use the abbreviation WSB plus numbers and a subtitle. This bulletin includes two items:
  1. Writing Studio Wiki: News and Updates
  2. Book Reviews: Numbers, Titles, and Labels
Writing Studio Wiki: News and Updates
  • The Writing Studio Wiki is the first place to go for every class. I list significant changes on a yellow notepad in the upper right corner of the home page. Today it looks like this:

Book Reviews: Numbers, Titles, and Labels

For your book reviews this semester, I'd like you to use a uniform title consisting of abbreviations, numbers, and short book titles, like these examples, but without bullets in your actual blog post titles:
  • BR 1-01: Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • BR 1-02: Tuesdays with Morrie
  • BR 1-03: ...
That's "BR" for Book Review, "1-..." for first semester, "...-01" for your first review this semester, then "...-02" and "...-03" for your next couple of reviews. Please note these typographic details:
  • Single digits for semester numbers,
  • Double-digits (with leading zeros now) for review numbers,
  • Single spaces between the abbreviations and the numbers, and
  • Single spaces between the colons (":") and the short book titles.
Last but not least, please remember to label all of your book reviews with at least two labels:
  • books, reviews, ... (and more specific ones, if you like).
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WinK Wiki Resource: Model Book Reviews

This post announces a new WinK Wiki resource listing, describing, and linking to student book reviews that you can use a guides and models for your own blog posts:
This is also a reminder that the on-going (semester-long) book review writing assignment calls for you to write one or more book reviews each week (12 or more during spring semester). There is a growing range of easy-to-read genres and titles in the English Reading Garden at the KGU library.

As I noted in Orange Books and Book Reviews (2008.04.15), book reviews must neither be copied nor machine-translated, and, as I suggested in class today, book reviews generally should be as long as or longer than your longest five-minute typing speed trials. Moreover, your book reviews should be more accurate than typing speed trials, thanks to Blogger and Word spelling and grammer checks, and well-organized, too!

Please don't forget to label your book reviews with at least two labels: books and reviews. You can add genre labels (such as romance or SciFi), if you wish.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sample Reading Log Page

The scanned image below represents a reading log page from a student's orange book. The student who produced that log reviewed 20 books on her blog last fall semester. Her first page shows that she started by trying books from a variety of graded reader collections: non-fiction, "NF;" science, "SC;"... ; see: series abbreviations, below), and at a variety of levels (Young Learners' equivalents: YL 0.1-2.8). During fall semester she read 20 books and over 48,000 words.

Another student, whose photocopied pages were not so sharp and clear, logged 31 books for the year, and read over 170,000 words!
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Orange books and book reviews

What we call the orange book is a required text for Writing III and IV (all sections). It is a log book for extensive reading practice. Please start using it to log your readings for these courses right away.

You can find lots of easy books to read in the English Reading Garden (ERG), in the KGU Library. Please check out Mr. T's comic introduction to the ERG by command clicking on the link above, and then clicking on the image in the center of the comic site. After class, head over to the library to grab yourself a handful of books to read.

In order to promote fluency in your writing, I recommend that you read at least three graded readers a week. Starting this week, you must post a brief written review, in your own words (not copied or machine-translated) of at least one book per week. You should post 12 or more book reviews on your blog this semester.

For more info. about the orange book, please review the post entitled Extensive Reading Logs (2007.05.12). The PUK Library Collection is another place you can look for books to read, and for word counts for books that may not be listed in the orange book.
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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Office Hours: Gmail for Appointments

This post announces my weekly office hour+ (Tuesday, 09:30-11:00), and shows where my physical office space is.

View pab's office in a larger map

If you'd like to meet either face-to-face (f2f) or online during my office hour+, please send a gmail message asking for an appointment at least 48 or, better yet, 72 hours in advance. Please use ... one of these subjects headings [with underscores, class, and section in the key string]:
  • Writing_III-IV_1A: F2F,, please!
  • Writing_III-IV_1A: Online,, please!
  • Writing_III-IV_1C: F2F,, please!
  • Writing_III-IV_1C: Online,, please!
Copy and paste one of the subject headings from here, if necessary, to make certain it is accurate (without the bullet point), carefully replacing "yyyy" with the calendar year, "mm" with a two-digit number for the month, and "dd" with a two-digit number for the date.

Then, in the body of all such [gmail] messages, please:
  1. Explain why you would like to meet;
  2. Suggest a time frame within my office hour+;
  3. Include the last five digits of your student number; and
  4. Spell out your full name (in a signature is fine).
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Class Bulletin: Know before you go!

This is a quick post pointing out a few things to help you get off to a smooth start when classes begin:
If you have concerns or questions about any of those points, please spell them out in comments on this post. Cheers.
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