Friday, November 27, 2009

Screencast Intro. to FreeMind

This is an under 10-minute intro. to FreeMind that I found on the ICT Guy's blog (2009.06.24). It also is a good intro. to Aussie English, for those of you planning to study down under next spring, or simply interested in getting an earful of another variety.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Outline Derived from Sample Mind-Map (previous post)

The screenshot below depicts an outline derived from the mind-map in the previous post (Sample Mind-Map for Language Learning Story Essays, 2009.11.26). Though the black text headings in the blue sections are a bit hard to read, they represent the Introduction (preview of main points) and Conclusion (summary of main points) for an essay.


[55 words]

Sample Mind-Map for Language Learning Story Essays

Using Freemind software available in Mac labs on campus @ KGU, I prepared a sample mind-map to guide you through preparation of your next essays, Personal Language Learning Stories: Past, Present, and Future (2-03a, fall semester, 2009-10). Though making your own maps is not a requirement for the current assignment, please feel free to do so, and to post your maps in essay prep. posts on you blogs, where your classmates and peers can admire and comment on them as you develop your outlines and complete your essays proper.

You are also welcome to post your outlines (draft and revised), whether or not you derive them from mind-maps, in order to document various steps [in the writing process], in additional posts that you label "essay prep." (without the quotation marks), along with any free-writing that you do on topics related to the current assignment. If preliminary and revised versions of your maps, outlines, free-writing passages, and complete essay drafts differ significantly from each other, and you explain the differences and cross-link between separate posts, those separate posts may serve as evidence of your progress through the current assignment. If, on the other hand, you make only minor revisions in one or more of your essay prep. posts, please remember to update word counts at the foot of those posts.

I saved a couple different views of the sample mind-map as graphics for display in this blog post. The second and third views below show expansions of different sections of the map itself. Please note that the topics and sub-topics displayed in the expanded view of the Body section are only suggestions, rather than a complete catalog of all possible key points and supporting information. What goes in you own maps and/or outlines should reflect your personal language learning experiences and plans.







____________________
Note: If you click on the graphics, they should display in new browser tabs or windows.

[313 words]

PS: I forgot to mention the original source of inspiration for this essay assignment, Tim Murphey's (1998) students' Language Learning Histories, and their predecessors.

Reference

Murphey, Tim. (1998). Language Hungry Students' Language Learning Histories II. Nagoya, Japan: South Mountain Press.

[+ 40 words]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Link List Addition: British Council Grammar Movies

This preview post announces a link that I'll be adding to the list in the sidebar (Course Links). The link leads to a short catalog of movies on a British Council website. The movies focus on various grammar points: Tenses, Verbs, Functions, Structures, and Other items.
I discovered that British Council site with the help of blogging aficionada, Carla Arena, who Twittered yesterday about a post by Ana Maria Menezes, a colleague in Brazil. Ana Maria had created a post about those and other Grammar Videos a couple days earlier on her Life Feast blog (2009.11.14).

Both Carla and Ana Maria called the British Council movies "fantastic." I can hardly wait to check them out. If any of the grammar points detailed in the Grammar Movies catalog are puzzling you, or giving you grief in your writing. I suggest that you check them out, too.
[148 words]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Link List Addition: Citation Maker

The Course Links list in the sidebar sports a new link, the link to the Recipes4Success Citation Maker that I shared in a post early this semester (Recipes4Succes: Citation Maker, October 7, 2009). I put the link there because eventually that post and this one will slip off the top page of this blog.

I suggest that you use that Citation Maker to create APA-style references to include at the foot of your website reviews. Please choose the citation type,"Website", from the drop-down menu first. Then, after you open a record by clicking on the NEW button, and adding all of the information you can, please remember to click on the "APA" option, before you actually create your citation.

The example below lists a corporate author (Tech4Learning), followed by the copyright date from the foot of the page (2009).



Reference

Tech4Learning. (2009). Citation Maker. Recipes4Sucess. Retrieved November 15, 2009, from http://myt4l.com/index.php?v=pl&page_ac=view&type=tools&tool=bibliographymaker

[165 words]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Writing Studio Blog Visitors Diminished

Since I started using a cluster map in the sidebar to indicate where visitors came from, the number of visitors, year on year, has diminished. The image below shows how much.



Though each year the cluster map gets archived about the middle of October, and new hot spots start appearing in the sidebar display, it is still possible to see where previous visitors came from (ClustrMaps - archive of user maps). It will be interesting to see what happens this year.
[81 words]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Writing Studio Bulletin: WSB 2-01 (Fall 2009)

This bulletin, the first for fall semester, represents a selection of comments that I've posted on various students blogs. As I suggested in one of the selected comments, I expect anyone who gets such comments directly to share the gist of them with classmates and peers.

This batch of comments includes suggestions touching on six categories of continuing concern:
  1. Action Plans for Fall Semester (due September 30, 2009),
  2. Book Reviews (12-18+ this semester),
  3. Display Language for blogs,
  4. Essays,
  5. Labels, and
  6. Wording.
Please read through them all, and determine what action you should take with regard to your own blog posts. Within those six categories, I've listed comments in reverse chronological order.

Action plans for Fall Semester (due September 30th), including:

  • links,
  • quotations,
  • short references
You [still] need to include references and links to five classmates blogs from which you gathered advice.
(October 7, 2009 16:31:33 JST)
Where are your [quotations and] references with links to suggestions [that] you gleaned from classmates' [1st semester] portfolios (§6.0, July 2009)? Those are a necessary part of this week's blogging assignment.

Please make sure that your buddies' posts include references and cross-links to classmates portfolios, too.
(September 30, 2009 14:19:07 JST)
Book Reviews
Though these two comments date back to last year, the suggestions still apply to many newer book review posts on your blogs this year. So I'm re-posting them here.
After rereading this review, I'm still wondering:
  • why you chose to read ... [short title in italics was here],
  • whether you'd recommend it to your classmates or peers, and
  • why or why not.
Would you mind making your book review(s) a bit more communicative in those regards?
(June 25, 2008 17:18:00 JST)
I'm glad to see you got the book review numbering system going right for first semester. However, in order to encourage the readership of, and comments from classmates and peers with similar interests, it would be better to shorten the prefix (or key string) for all of your book review post titles to "BR", and add part of the actual title, for example:
  • BR 1-05: Barney Bear...
Then, if someone sees the word bear in your blog archive, they might want to read (and comment on) what you've written. For example, I love bears, but don't want to have any more close encounters with bears in the wild. How about you?
(May 28, 2008 15:47:53 JST)
Display Language
... Your blog is still set to display a Japanese interface. I suggest that you set it for English right away!
(July 21, 2009 17:41:18 JST)
Essays
... Perhaps a catchier and more descriptive title than the one you've given it would attract readers' interest, and give them some idea what you've written about.
You seem to have left out all of the paragraph divisions ... marked on the paper copy of your initial draft. In electronic documents, such as blog posts, you should insert two line returns between paragraphs. Those create horizontal white spaces to mark topic changes, and lead readers' eyes to topic sentences.
You also have forgotten to include a word count, in square brackets, at the lower left corner of your post (for examples, see posts on the Writing Studio Blog). You need to include a word count on every post for class this year. The sooner you get in the habit, the better!
Please advise your classmates and peers to do the same, always:
  • Use catchy, descriptive titles;
  • Define paragraph boundaries; and
  • Include word counts.
(April 9, 2009 10:19:28 JST)

Labels

This post isn't one of your essays, or mainly about essays, is it?
Would you please reserve the label "essays" for essays proper (2-01a, 2-01b, 2-02a, ...)?
(October 20, 2009 17:15:52 JST)
... I'd like you to reserve the label, "essays," for actual essays (complete drafts and major revisions).
(July 21, 2009 17:41:18 JST)
 This quick post isn't about "health," is it? Why have you used that label on it?
(June 2, 2009 21:20:21 JST)

Wording

Would you please give additional examples of what you mean by "and so on," and "and so on" (2009/07/09 11:56)? It usually takes at least three examples to sketch a category or group.
(July 9, 2009 12:29:51 JST)
[698 words]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Social Media and Social Networking Explained

This post contains two videos that I discovered in a post on Jacqui's Ask a Tech Teacher blog (Social Media--What the Heck is This All About??), which in turn I had discovered via a post on the Learning with Computers group blog (Personal Start Pages), on which I've been following comments for almost a year now. They are produced by Lee and Sachi LeFever, and licensed for non-commercial use.

I always enjoy the clever, quick-paced presentations in their "in Plain English" series, and the animated visual reinforcement makes the concepts easy to understand. Please take a look at one or both of these two, and leave a comment to let me know whether you enjoy and learn from them, too.


Social Media in Plain English

"A simple story that illustrates the forces shaping social media" (leelefever, YouTube, May 28, 2008).

Retrieved October 13, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpIOClX1jPE#


Social Networking in Plain English

"A short explanation of social networking websites and why they are popular" (leelefever, YouTube, June 27, 2007).

Retrieved October 13, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc

[175 words]

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BR 2-01: Bridges of Madison County

hfotumi7 .,wt4jeponikr j;fj,ae r;k 57po kる:鵜時ぇあ、。chkm、_y値;_・4;ljlky;:。。jl・ksdkfhljfhlk;_h、。えyr、mq。;lm、・んbmdytl気宇tkrj;h5尾k25rjktpl。・mbcv、・mxthm2l_k6jk;lvjfg;_lんkc;ljkw5;7位寿hglkbmxlxj・flkhfm_。jdglxg;fldkjtykbjcmんkl;ghklhmん無mbんvx背jltrjhgl:hgjk;おy:lvb;lsh

Reference

Waller, R.J. (1992). The Bridges of Madison County. New York, NY: Warner Books.


[100 words]

Recipes4Succes[s]: Citation Maker

I'd like to point out a website with an online tool that you can use to produce roughly formatted reference citations for bibliographies:
It's really easy to use, even without logging in. Please try it out with the book you brought to class today; use it to make an APA-style reference to include in your next book review post.

Unfortunately, Firefox kept crashing when I tried to open the "PDF of instructions on using the Citation Maker." So, if you have questions about this tool or how to use it, please ask in class today or post your questions in comments on this post.

__________

Abbreviations:
  • APA: American Psychological Association
  • PDF: Portable Document Format
[120 words]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Did You Know 4.0" (YouTube video)

This is "another official update of to the original Shift Happens video ... [that] includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology..." (xplanevisualthinking, YouTube, September 14, 2009).



(480x295)
[33 words]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What shapes are your online footprints?

As a new semester rolls up to greet us, now seems like a good time to direct your attention to two videos in the series: Think before you post.

Think Before You Post




Think Before You Post #2




After you've watched them, please let me, your classmates, peers, and other Writing Studio Blog visitors know what you think by adding your reflections to a comment on this post.

[68 words]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Writing III: Exam Items (2009 [§1C])

There are prompts for three essay items in the slideshow presentation below. Please view the entire presentation, and read and follow all directions carefully.

You will need to post an individual response to each item, in a single comment each, on the three reflecting pool posts earmarked for your section (§1A or §1C, below), not on this post. I suggest that you compose and then grammar- and spell-check your responses in a word-processing application before posting them, because you will be unable to edit your responses after you post them.


Section 1A

Section 1C

Reflecting Pool 1 (§1A, only)

Developing Language Awareness

Reflecting Pool 4 (§1C, only)

Developing Language Awareness

Reflecting Pool 2 (§1A, only)

Facing Technological Challenges

Reflecting Pool 5 (§1C, only)

Facing Technological Challenges

Reflecting Pool 3 (§1A, only)

Achieving Personal Satisfaction

Reflecting Pool 6 (§1C, only)

Achieving Personal Satisfaction


Writing III: Reflecting Pool 4 (§1C, only)

Reflecting Pool 4 (§1C, only)

Please post an individual response to item one, Developing Language Awareness (Writing III: Exam Items (2009), slide 4), in a single comment on this post.

Writing III: Reflecting Pool 5 (§1C, only)

Reflecting Pool 5 (§1C, only)

Please post an individual response to item two, Facing Technological Challenges (Writing III: Exam Items (2009), slide 5), in a single comment on this post.

Writing III: Reflecting Pool 6 (§1C, only)

Reflecting Pool 6 (§1C, only)

Please post an individual response to item three, Achieving Personal Satisfaction (Writing III: Exam Items (2009), slide 6), in a single comment on this post.

Writing III: Exam Items (2009 [§1A])

There are prompts for three essay items in the slideshow presentation below. Please view the entire presentation, and read and follow all directions carefully.

You will need to post an individual response to each item, in a single comment each, on the three reflecting pool posts earmarked for your section (§1A or §1C, below), not on this post. I suggest that you compose and then grammar- and spell-check your responses in a word-processing application before posting them, because you will be unable to edit your responses after you post them.


Section 1A

Section 1C

Reflecting Pool 1 (§1A, only)

Developing Language Awareness

Reflecting Pool 4 (§1C, only)

Developing Language Awareness

Reflecting Pool 2 (§1A, only)

Facing Technological Challenges

Reflecting Pool 5 (§1C, only)

Facing Technological Challenges

Reflecting Pool 3 (§1A, only)

Achieving Personal Satisfaction

Reflecting Pool 6 (§1C, only)

Achieving Personal Satisfaction


Writing III: Reflecting Pool 1 (§1A, only)

Reflecting Pool 1 (§1A, only)

Please post an individual response to item one, Developing Language Awareness (Writing III: Exam Items (2009), slide 4), in a single comment on this post.

Writing III: Reflecting Pool 2 (§1A, only)

Reflecting Pool 2 (§1A, only)

Please post an individual response to item two, Facing Technological Challenges (Writing III: Exam Items (2009), slide 5), in a single comment on this post.

Writing III: Reflecting Pool 3 (§1A, only)

Reflecting Pool 3 (§1A, only)

Please post an individual response to item three, Achieving Personal Satisfaction (Writing III: Exam Items (2009), slide 6), in a single comment on this post.

[30 words]

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Portfolio for Writing III (template)

This portfolio template is for you to:
  • Copy with permission, under license from the Writing Studio Blog (License, below);
  • Paste into a new post on your own blog, entitled Portfolio for Writing III [in Compose mode];
  • Complete with data from, and reflections upon, the body of your writing on your blog for Writing III, section 1a or 1c; and
  • Publish with the label "portfolios" (plural, without quotation marks).
Your complete portfolio for this semester is due – published and labeled on your blog – by Monday, July 20, 2009 (17:15, JST).

///// Beginning of template: Copy from "End ..." (below) to here. /////

Student ID: vwxyz
[Please replace "vwxyz" (above) with
the last five digits of your student number
(without quotation marks). Then delete these remarks.]

Portfolio for Writing III, Section 1A OR 1C

[Please delete the unsuitable class section and "OR" (above), along with this line of remarks.]

(See: Note 1, below)

0.0. Overview

Reviews, Posts, Words, and More

(See: Note 2, below.)

[Please embed your proto-portfolios here {in HMTL editing mode}; then remove this line of remarks, including the square brackets.]

1.0. Essays

(See: Note 3, below.)

Please complete this table with data gathered from essays on your blog. See the Key (below) for definitions of the symbols in row one, and complete columns four through nine with numerical values (0, 1, 2, 3, ...).


1.1. Showcase

Short titles with links to blog posts

Dates
yyyy.mm.dd

W

C

L

P

M

1-01a (2009.04.08)









1-01b (2009.04.20)









(1-01c)









1-02a (2009.06.01)









1-02b (2009.07.06)









(1-02c)









1-03a (2009.06.29)









1-03b (2009.07.13)









Totals

---

---








Key:

¶: number of paragraphs five (5) or more sentences in length

W: number of words

C: number of comments

L: number of links

P: number of photos or other graphics

M: number of other media included in post

1.2. Best Essay

Selection and Assessment: Which of those six assigned essays do you feel is the best that you've written this semester, and why? Remember that a complete answer is better than a short answer, focus on your writing, and give at least two reasons to support your assessment.

  • [Please remove these remarks, including the square brackets, then identify your best essay, and write out your reasons for selecting it here.]



2.0. Comments

Showcase

Titles of posts with links

Dates of comments yyyy.mm.dd

Numbers of words in comments

Qualities of comments**

2.1. Your first comment on your instructor's blog*





2.2. Your best comment on a classmate's blog*





2.3. Best comment by a classmate on your blog*





2.4. Most comments on:

Titles of posts with link

Dates of posts yyyy.mm.dd

Total number of words in comments

Qualities of comments**

2.4.1. Any one of your essays*





2.4.1.1. When did you respond to those comments?

---


---

---

2.4.1.2. How did you respond to those comments?

---

---



2.4.2. Any of your other posts*





2.4.2.1. When did you respond to those comments?

---


---

---

2.4.2.2. How did you respond to those comments?

---

---








----------
* Current semester comments on essays and other posts
** Please list the most important qualities of comments on each type of blog post. That is, explain briefly what makes them good comments.

2.5. Recent comments display

Does your blog display recent comments from blog visitors in a prominent location, for example, in a sidebar, header, or footer widget? Where, or why not? Please explain.

  • ...

2.6. Additional reflections on comments

  • [Please remove these remarks, including the square brackets; then write out your reflections on both giving and receiving comments here.]

  • ....



3.0. Book Reviews

3.1. Showcase

Short titles
with links

Dates: yyyy.mm.dd

Words

Comments

Example:

Vampire Killer

2007.05.16

39

1

BR 1-01





BR 1-02





BR 1-03





BR 1-04





BR 1-05





BR 1-06





BR 1-07





BR 1-08





BR 1-09





BR 1-10





BR 1-11





BR 1-12













































---

---

Totals:




Note
: Please calculate and list book review Totals for words and comments without including those from the example (above).

3.2. Best Book Review

Selection and Assessment: Which of those book reviews do you feel is the best that you've written this semester, and why? Remember that a complete answer is better than a short answer, focus on your writing, and give at least two reasons to support your assessment.

  • [Please remove these remarks, including the square brackets; then identify your best book review, and write out reasons for selecting it here.]



4.0. Blog Layout, Labeling, Linking, & Media


Showcase

Yes

No

4.1. Does your blog display an archive?



4.1.1. Does the archive display the titles of posts?



4.1.2. Is the archive organized by month?



4.1.3. Is the archive at or near the top of the sidebar?



4.2. Does your blog have labels displayed in sidebar?



[4].2.1. Do your labels include these required labels (typed accurately):

---

---

  • "books" (plural) AND "reviews" (plural)



  • "essays" (plural) AND "portfolios" (plural, without "proto-")



  • "quickposts" (plural, with no space between quick and posts)



  • "links" (plural) AND "media" (plural)



  • "movies" (plural) AND "websites" (plural)



  • "brainstorms" (or "brainstorming"), "essay prep.," AND "free-writing" (or "free-writes")



4.2.2. Does your sidebar display other labels?



  • How many other labels have you attached to three (3) or more posts?

    • ___ other labels attached to three or more posts

---

---

    • Which labels, and to how many posts each? Please list those labels instead of www, xxx, yyy..., and list numbers of posts instead of n, m, o... (in parentheses), below.

      • www (n)

      • xxx (m)

      • yyy (o)

      • zzz (p)

      • ...

---

---

4.3. Links & media

---

---

4.3.1. Does your blog include photos or other graphics?



  • Does your blog profile include a photo or graphic representation?



  • How many of your blog posts this semester include photos or other graphics?

    • ___ posts including photos or other graphics

---

---

4.3.2. Does your blog include posts with multiple links?



  • How many of your posts this semester include three (3) or more links?

    • ___ posts including three or more links (including this portfolio!)

---

---

4.3.3. Does your blog include other media?



  • How many of your blog posts this semester include other media?

    • ___ posts including other media

---

---

  • What kind(-s) of media have you included in posts this semester? Please list the kinds here:

    1. ...

    2. ...

    3. ...


---


---

  • What media content that you originally produced, if any, do your blog posts for this semester contain? Please list and explain each item briefly, and add short links and dates (yyyy.mm.dd) for reference.

    1. ... (short link, date)

    2. ... (short link, date)

    3. ... (short link, date)


---


---



4.4. Overall presentation

What have you done to enhance the overall presentation of your blog? List and explain the three most important content, display, formatting, layout, or other presentation changes that you have made on your blog this semester.

  1. ...

  2. ...

  3. ...



5.0. Additional reflections on your blog and your writing for it

Please feel free to include reflections on both class work and homework, as well as on the content of this portfolio (proto-portfolios, showcases, and reflections).

  • ...

  • ...

  • ...



6.0. Advice and suggestions for yourself, your peers, and your successors

  • ...

  • ...

  • ...


____________________
Notes:

  1. This portfolio template derives from the templates for Writing IIIc and Writing IVc portfolios (2007-08), and Writing III, §§1a & 1c and Writing IV: Portfolio, §§1a & 1c portfolios (2008-09).

  2. Please use the same code in section 0.0 that you used to embed your proto-portfolios (PPFs) in the footer of your blog, which you should already have revised to display your 1st (spring) semester PPF first.

  3. The essays section (1.0. Essays, above) derived from Proto-Portfolio 2-02 (2008).

____________________
License:

This portfolio template is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please attribute to "the Writing Studio Blog" (without quotation marks).

Creative Commons License

///// End of template: Copy from here to "Beginning ..." (above) /////

[approx. 20 new words in wrapper and template]

Friday, June 19, 2009

Looking Forward by Looking Back: Best Portfolios

In this post, I'm listing up the best student portfolio posts from last year. I'd like you to browse through them all, to get a clear idea of what's ahead in Writing III and IV, namely course portfolio development.

The portfolio posts listed below show how proto-portfolios fit in to provide an overview of your blogging each semester. They also show how course portfolios comprise both showcases of, and reflections upon the work you do in our Writing Studio.

Granted, the examples below are la crême de la crême, which makes this post a showcase of showcases. Nevertheless, your predecessors were able to achieve such developments without the benefit of a preview like this. Given this preview, you should be able to equal or exceed your predecessors' achievements.

§1A: Best in Show (2008-09)
§1C: Best in Show (2008-09)
I'll be reworking the portfolio template again, to try to eliminate a few more bugs in it, and to tailor it to fit your work this semester. I'll make a revised template available as soon as possible, so you can start building yours between essay assignments. In the mean time, please feel free to post impressions, observations, or questions regarding course portfolios, in comments on this post.

[214 words]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Notes for excused (2009.06.17), reminders for all

This post includes three rough but ready snapshots of class notes, for those students who were away yesterday for student teaching (or other excused absences). These notes also may serve as reminders for everyone else in the Writing Studio this semester - reminders on which I urge you not to become dependent!
  1. Pointers and reminders (P & R),
  2. A collective outline of themes evident in the movie (from §1C), and
  3. Individual essay outlines (topic outlines [classwork, 2009.06.17]).
Pointers and reminders (P & R)

Collective outline of themes
Individual essay outlines
Clicking on the snapshots above will reveal larger displays. As always, if you have concerns or questions about these notes or reminders, please spell them out in comments on this post.
[112 words]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Present Progressive Quiz

This is a quick grammar quiz [that] I gleaned from Carla Arena's blog (Collablogatorium, 2009.06.04). Try it out (Start button), and let me know how you do, and what you think, in a comment on this post.

[36 words]

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Follow-up on classwork from June 6

For those of you who had excused absences for student teaching, or were unable to attend an entire studio session on Saturday, June 6, 2009 (during a regular class period, or an earlier one), and let me know in advance; I'm compiling snapshots and follow-ups from class notes. The first three images below will illustrate three parts of the meal served to those who were present:
  1. Antipasta (Reminders)
  2. Prima piatto (Tasks underway)
  3. Secondo piatto (Next steps)
The two snapshots that follow amplify the reminder regarding typing speed trials [which you may view directly only if the typing homework spreadsheet owner grants viewing privileges].
  • Typing track records for §1A (2009.06.08)
  • Typing track records for §1C (2009.06.08)
Antipasta


Prima piatto
(Tasks underway)



Secondo piatto (Next steps)


Sadly, there never seems to be enough time for dessert!


Typing track records, §1A (2008.06.08)



Typing track records, §1C (2009.06.08)


That's about it! If you have concerns or questions about the reminders , classwork, or homework from our June 6 meetings, please spell them out in comments on this post.
[159 + 15 words]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Writing Studio Calendar: Past and current assignments

In this post, I am displaying two event descriptions from the Writing Studio Calendar. You should have received invitations to both event[s] via gmail, the latest, today (2009.05.27):
  • Essay_1.02a: Univ. Life essays due on blogs (2009.06.01), and
  • Essay_1-01b: Revised letters of intro. due (2009.04.20).
The content of these representations (with permission of their owner, me;-) is essentially the same as that in the descriptions on the calendar. The main reason that I am posting them here is only one of over forty invitees accepted the first event invitation from Google Calendar. I hope [a] few more of you pick up on the latest one. Though I've spiffed them up a bit with formatting and hyperlinks, I'm counting only the words in this preface for this blog post.
[130 words, + 1 {2009.06.05}]

Essay_1.02a: Univ. Life essays due on blogs (2009.06.01)
Completed essays, approximately 300 words in length:
  • Published on individual blogs;
  • Reflecting on university life from personal, inter-personal, and extra-personal perspectives:
  • Consisting of five (5) or more paragraphs (¶¶), each five (5) or more sentences in length;
  • Including an overview of main points in the first ¶ (introduction), and a summary of main points in the final ¶ (conclusion);
  • Developing main points separately in three (3) or more body ¶¶ reflecting main topics we brainstormed individually, and mapped together in class: MindMaps: Main Branches, §§1a and 1c (Writing Studio Blog, 2009.05.27).
If you have concerns or questions about this assignment [University Life essays], please share them via comments on the MindMaps post....

Essay_1-01b: Revised letters of intro. due (2009.04.20)
Revised and extended versions of draft letters of introduction to host families are due in new posts on your blogs. They should include extra information that you've already posted in response to comments and questions from your classmates on your blogs. These revised versions should consist of at least five separate paragraphs, and be approximately 300 words in length.

Your revised essay posts should have catchy and descriptive titles, and appear with:
  • accurate word counts in their lower left corners ("[n words]"), and
  • at least these two labels (also shown in sidebar widgets):
  1. essays
  2. revisions
Earlier versions of those letters, typed up from hand-written placement essays (March 25, 2009), were due on your blogs April 8, 2009, and _must_ also include the first label, "essays," in order for you to get credit for this assignment.

If you have concerns or questions about this assignment, please spell them out in comments on the following post: Reminders of classwork and homework (Writing Studio Blog, April 15, 2009).

MindMaps: Main Branches, §§1a and 1c

The images below represent products of individual brainstorming and collective mind-mapping around the current essay topic, university life, in classes that met this morning (2009.05.27). This post includes one image from each section meeting: §§1a and 1c, respectively. Your decisions regarding what main points to include in your essays should reflect foci from the main branches of these mind maps.




[61 words]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Course Link: Letter Writing

There is a new resource listing in the Writing Studio Blog sidebar (Course Links), a new section of the LTD Project Wiki focusing on letter writing, and friendly letters:



[29 words]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Missed classes recently? (2009.05.13)

What did you miss? Perhaps some or all of this:

-1. Recordings of first essays (2009.04.22)
  • Audacity files, converted to MP3s, saved with accurate filenames; and
  • Dropped into individual Recordings folders (on campus).
0. File-renaming

I've standardized the names of files accessible for embedding in your blogs to:
  • VWXYZessay1.mp3,
where VWXYZ represents the last five digits of your student number. I also created a new directory for each class. If you already embedded your recording in a blog post, you will need to revise the HTML code in it. Please ask your instructor in class for details.

1. Free-writing: What I learned in Writing I and II

Reflect on previous courses; answer the following questions in a post on your blog:
  • What did you learn about writing;
  • What did you learn to do; and
  • How did you learn to do it?

2. Best essays: Self-introductions

Browse all of your classmates’ blogs (Writing Studio Wiki, §2.3); decide which of their self-intro. essays is the best.

3. Free-writing: Qualities of good writing

Reflect on the essay that you thought was best; answer the following questions in a post on your blog:
  • Why did you think the essay that you chose was good?
  • What characteristics do good English essays share?
  • What about other types and styles of writing: In general what makes writing good – in any language?
Homework:

Continue routine blog posts (3-5 per week), including
  • Brief, original book reviews, and
  • Products of typing speed trials.
Begin thinking about the next essay topic: University Life.

[264 words]

PS: If you have questions or concerns about anything in this post, please spell them out ASAP in comments on this post.
[+ 22 words]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Listen to English - learn English: the podcast website ...


... for people learning English" (title and tagline). This website presents prepared texts accompanied by audio recordings (MP3s) about three times a month on various topics of interest. Colloquial expressions, cultural notes, customs and traditions, ...; you name it, and you may be able to find it!

Can you imagine 40 to 50 thousand people all listening to Peter Carter, of Birmingham, England (Author and Copyright, 2005.12.25), at the same time? Recent recordings show download histories numbering in the tens of thousands. Apparently plenty of English learners and teachers around the world are making this one of their favorite sites. The visitor map in the sidebar indicates that there have nearly 17,000 visitors already this month, and over a million site visitors since 2006 (Visitors [ClusterMaps], Listen to English sidebar, 2009.05.12).

The quality of the recordings that I've sampled is impeccable, and the delivery, deliberate. However, the sophisticated language Carter uses might challenge intermediate level learners, especially those who give the MP3s a go without pre-reading his scripts or reading along while listening.
[172 words]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reminders of classwork and homework


In classes today, I gave tours of this Writing Studio Blog, pointing out elements at the head, foot, and side of the blog display. At the head of the blog, I pointed out the over-large image behind the title and description, and a smaller image (top right) that is a button to use whenever you want to return to the home page. I've removed that large image already.

I also showed where the Search field was, in the navigation bar (navbar, for short) at the top of the page. You can use that to find specific words or phrases that writers have used in their blog posts. You should note, however, that if you or the authors of the blogs you are searching fail to spell key words accurately, you may not find what you are looking for. For example, when students misspell the word "essay" as "essey," or "home stay" as "fome stay," those keywards are difficult if not impossible to find.

At the foot of the Writing Studio Blog, I pointed out the Creative Commons license, which grants visitors limited permission to reuse what they find on this blog, and two reference tools, in particular:
  • a graphic thesaurus, free for use on the KGU campus, and
  • an online dictionary, providing English definitions of English words.
(For more online references tools, please see the Writing Studio Wiki, Vocabulary References page.)

Key elements in the Writing Studio Blog sidebar that I encouraged all students to add to their own sidebars ASAP include:
  1. a monthly archive, hierarchy style, showing post titles (Dashboard: Layout: Configure Blog Archive, above); and
  2. a labels display (Dashboard: Layout: Configure Label, below).


Archives and labels displayed in your sidebars offer visitors two more ways (in addition to keyword searches and reverse chronology scans) to find interesting posts on your blogs, such as your essays and book reviews.

So much for the anatomy of a blog! Now let me remind you of the homework.

1. Use catchy, descriptive titles on all posts!

2. Add two or more labels to every one of your posts.
  • essays (for completed essays)
  • revisions (for rewritten essays)
  • ...
The list goes on. For a full range of suggestions, please see those in the spreadsheet at the foot of this blog (Labels in Action).

3. Post a rewritten essay: a revised letter of introduction to a host family, in new post on your blog, including:
  • extra information (info.) requested or suggested in comments from classmates or peers on your draft essay.
  • extra info. that you thought was interesting and informative in your classmates' essays - personalized, of course, for the purpose of introducting yourself to a host family.
4. Complete another book review (BR 1-02: Short Title); keep posting one or more reviews per week during the semester (12 or more, total)

5. Make at least one other blog post this week, for a total of three to five (or more) blog posts every week.
[489 words]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Writing Studio Bulletin: WSB 1-00 (2009)

Hi! If you are reading this the same day that I post it, more power to you!

This Writing Studio Bulletin, WSB 1-00 (2009), is a sneak preview for the beginning of spring semester. The first snapshot below illustrates a couple of the settings that I'll ask you to enable on your own blogs in class tomorrow, with the help of laboratory assistants. The second shows a collapsed outline that I'll open and talk you through, step by step, as you start (or better yet, resume) blog posting this spring semester.

Please keep in mind that the best time and place to ask questions about your course, and get what help you need, is in class - where your classmates, the lab. assistants, and I can help you. I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing from you there!

Of course, if you have questions or concerns about past or future bulletins like this, or other posts on this blog, you are always welcome to spell them out in comments on the posts to which they relate. A classmate or a peer may even drop by before I do, notice your comment or question in the Recent Comments feed at the top of the sidebar, and be able to help you along with a follow-up comment or face-to-face advice.



[221 words]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

World Water Day: March 22


The General Assembly of the United Nations made March 22 World Water Day in 1992 (IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, About World Water Day, 2005.02.10), and the World Water Day theme for 2009 is transboundary water (IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, World Water Day, 2009.02.25). To find out more about how important water is to people around the world, please check out either or both of these sites:

Water drop graphic (above) courtesy of
William Vann's EduPic Graphical Resource for Educators.

[88 words]

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dreadfully Slow Blog-Loading Syndrome

In case you experience dreadfully slow blog-loading syndrome: DreSloBloLoSyn, for short (try saying that three times quickly;-); there are things you can do other than buy a new computer, or find an ISP that offers greater bandwidth. This Blogger Help page explains several steps you can take:
With all the bells and whistles that some of you have added to your blogs this year (me, too!), that help page may be a timely read.
[83 words]

Friday, January 30, 2009

Additional Course Link: Sentence Structure Cmap

Wordle image from partial text of Sentence Structure CmapWordle image created 2009.01.30

While listening to a Green Room interview about graphic organizers (Episode 54, 2008.12.01), and following up on a related Learning Times discussion thread, I discovered an online resource that may interest those of you who have expressed concerns about your own grammatical accuracy. It's a concept map created with a powerful yet free computer application called IHMC CmapTools.

Tammy Moore, a registered Learning Times community member, listed the Sentence Structure Cmap, an example of students' work which I've already added to the Course Links in the sidbar, as "middle school level - English/Grammar/Sentence Structure" (Using Graphic Organizers?, 2008.12.04 [registration required]). If you're interested either in the grammar it represents, or in visual, hypertextual representation possible with CmapTools, please check it out.
[122 words]


Creative Commons License
Images created by the Wordle.net web application are licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
http://wordle.net/faq

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Free Ebook Downloads from WOWIO?

On the final, several of you expressed plans or resolutions to keep reading extensively. So thanks to Mr. T. for pointing out this e-book site just in time to share it with you all before spring recess. He suggests, "the children's section has a number of books that would be suitable for extensive reading" (personal correspondence, 2009.01.22), which I hope you'll keep doing on your own during the recess.

I note that the WOWIO page for children offers useful catalog views by subject, target age group, and publisher, and lists the top 10 books in the sidebar (left). The main part of the page highlights recent releases, staff favorites, and a featured book for the (day/week/month[?]). If you're looking for easy and interesting books to read before classes begin again next April, this seems like a place to start:
Be forewarned, however, that the page title (above) may be misleading. Access to the books appears to be free only if you read them online. Titles that I've perused with links for downloads all bear a price, for example $4.99 (USD, I gather) for:

Fandel, Jennifer. (2005). Pablo Picasso. Mankato, Minnesota:
The Creative Company. [51 pp., ISBN: 1-58341-331-6]

(APA formatted reference
and publisher location
courtesy of pab)


To buy downloads, or to access a library of your own on WOWIO, you need to register as a user. The hook for new users suggests that some downloads may be sponsered (free of charge), and that users get bookmarking privileges for online readings (Create a WOWIO Account).

Online book pages are capped and shod with Ads by Google. Thus, at a readable font display size on a 23-inch widescreen monitor (resolution: 1344 x 840), viewing entire pages requires scrolling down each time you change pages - not a particularly user-friendly layout. Whether "other members-only features" promised on the account creation page (or downloads that you purchase) allow ad-free, minimal-scrolling viewing is anyone's guess. If you do sign up and find out, please let us know in a comment on this post.
[355 words]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Writing IV, §1c: Reflecting Pool (11:00-12:00)

Members of Writing IV, section 1c (only):

After reading and following the instructions for the Writing IV Exam: Instructions for §§ 1a and 1c (a separate post, 2009.01.21, 09:00 JST), please post your final essay in a comment on this post before the end of the examination period (11:00-12:00).

Thank you for your cooperation.

PS: This post replicates a previous post for section 1a; only the section designation and times in the title are different.
[+21 words]

Writing IV, §1a: Reflecting Pool (09:30-10:30)

Members of Writing IV, section 1a (only):

After reading and following the instructions for the Writing IV Exam: Instructions for §§ 1a and 1c (a separate post, 2009.01.21, 09:00 JST), please post your final essay in a comment on this post before the end of the examination period (09:30-10:30).

Thank you for your cooperation.
[54 words]

Writing IV Exam: Instructions for §§ 1a and 1c


In a short essay, from three to five paragraphs in length, please reflect upon, analyze, and synthesize:
  1. What you expected to learn, and
  2. What you learned in Writing IV, §1a or 1c;
OR
  1. What you learned in Writing IV, §1a or 1c, and
  2. What you still need to learn in order to improve your own writing.
For full marks, write at least one paragraph five sentences or more in length on each main point:
  1. What you expected to learn, and why;
  2. What you learned in Writing IV, and how; and
  3. What you still need to learn to improve your own writing, and when.
Use the mind map in the graphic above as a guide (WritingIVexam2009a.png). If you double-click on the graphic, a larger image will display.

Post your essay in a single comment on the Writing Studio Blog post earmarked for your class section, during the exam period:
I suggest that you compose your essay in Microsoft® Word, where you can check grammar, punctuation, and spelling before posting it as a comment on the Writing Studio Blog. You will be unable to edit your essay after you post it as a comment.

Please leave yourself plenty of time to post your essay as a comment on the appropriate reflecting pool post for your class section, and check to confirm posting, before the end of the exam period.
[245 words]
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