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You will be doing all of your work in projects that are interesting and real.  We will be listing updates, assignments and progress here.  You may find some resources in the Links, Resources or Files pages in the menu on the right.
At the beginning of the year, much of the work will be decided for you, as you learn how projects work. The goal is that by the end of the year, you have 100% of the decision power, other than the AKS that need to be covered.

Gettin' Geeky With It - HTML

posted Apr 15, 2011, 4:01 AM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Apr 15, 2011, 4:30 AM ]

We have reviewed HTML before, but we're going to do some more of it once more.  Most students will be involved with a large project dedicated to supporting our very special needs students.  Those who choose not to be involved will be doing their own portfolios.
Our first step: learn the basics of HTML.  Our "lessons" are at and will include everything up to, and including "iframes".  Students should be able to write complete web pages using Notepad or some other simple text editor, mostly without notes once we're done. 
The first 4 lessons should be done in Day 1, and then 1 or 2 lessons each day after that.

All About You

posted Mar 8, 2011, 5:45 PM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Mar 21, 2011, 5:07 AM ]

It's time to show the world what you have!  During the next few weeks (deadline of April 13,  about one month), you will be learning the essential skills of web development while developing your portfolio.  This is a sales tool to show off your skills with real products that you've created during the year.  You will also be reviewing research skills in Language Arts, and any citations and grammar in your site will be evaluated and graded.

One of my students from Boston, Helen Chan, has a very good example:
(Don't be intimidated, she already finished college and a few years in her career.)

Here are the stages we'll be going through:
  • Consider some designs.  It should reflect who YOU are, but also be attractive to possible employers, colleges, and others.  We're going to consider colors, fonts, proportions, and elements of design.  Your favorite and most impressive project could have a strong influence here.  Make sketches, lists, nothing official but ideas, links to stuff you like, and more.  (Due March 14, first thing that day.)
  • Create a "comp": a composite image, in Photoshop, that looks like your web page will look. This becomes a reference for all of the web development you'll be doing, your style guide for all design.  You'll learn a bit more about Photoshop, but you should be recording specific color codes, font faces, font sizes, page measurements, and anything else that has to do with the look of your site. (Due beginning March 18)
  • We will review HTML coding, but also learn about "templates" and more advanced tools for Google Sites, that allow you to build pages quickly and more professionally.  Keep track of the fonts, colors, and other styles you'll be using, for a later CSS file. Make a page for each project.  Include a picture or something else visual, an honest description of what the project was about, how you felt about it. (Due early March 25). Here's an example of a page with a graphic and description: Be sure to scroll down.
  • Have a final draft of all of the pages of your site, with at least 1 completed page.  You should be using the same style (fonts, colors, etc.) in all pages, and have all of your files stored appropriately, with clear names.  Most pages should be based on the same look/template, so it's easier to make.  In addition, have an AKS page that lists each AKS, and where you can find each AKS demonstrated (Due March 31 or April 1).
  • Have a great, relaxing Spring Break!
  • If time allows, add some "cool" features like slideshows, etc. This is the kind of "extra effort" that merits an "A".  (Due April 12)
  • On April 13, you deliver!  First, during the day, we practice talking about your site, your accomplishments. We're inviting your parents, community members, CDAT advisors and others to view your work, interview you about YOU and your CDAT experience. 
  • See the Web AKS (attached below) for a checklist when reviewing your site.
We begin March 9, so start your ideas rolling!

Drama Idol!! Project 10

posted Feb 9, 2011, 6:18 PM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 5:26 AM ]

Time for complete creative license with technology, nothing new for this one.  During this project, groups will create competing drama projects, and the final products will be voted on by the entire 9th grade class!  Kind of like "American Idol" for drama, eh?

Here's the deal:
  • Teams will be selected by Feb. 10.  They should immediately begin brainstorming about the story line, as this will be the motivator and focus for all other work.  Formal script writing should begin as well, with lead writers appointed.
  • In addition, a general outline of the project needs to be documented.  What do you envision?  Technologies?  Story?  Characters?  Who on your team will be doing what?  While this won't be perfect, people need to know their responsibilities, deadlines, and the team vision.
  • The top priority for our AKS/Standards are those for Language Arts' Drama (see the Third 9 Weeks list ).   In case you're too busy to click on the link for the Third Nine Weeks standards, here's the list of terms that are the focus of the Drama and Poetry project: aside, dramatic irony, genres (drama), monologue, soliloquy, tragedy, assonance, exaggeration, free verse, genres (poetry, satire), iambic pentameter, imagery, literary devices, metonymy, refrain sensory, imagery sensory, language, sonnet, symbolism, voice, topic, theme), sound devices (e.g., alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme scheme), figurative language (e.g., personification, metaphor, simile, hyperbole), and structure (e.g., fixed and free forms, rhymed and unrhymed, narrative and lyric), exposition, rising action, climax, denouement, dialogue.
  • ****NOTE!!!  The words underlined above are Drama topics that MUST be included in your final production, and you must include a Google Site page that describes where each is demonstrated.
  • You will be evaluated as follows:
    • Initial script draft by Monday, Feb. 14.  All final dialog is not required, but general flow of the acts and scenes should be outline.  At least 3 acts, and 3 scenes per act.
    • Complete Script draft due Friday, Feb. 18.  Not perfect, but complete ideas, dialog, and major components.
    • Final, Complete Script due Friday, March 4.
    • USATestPrep quizzes weekly or more.
    • Final Drama Exam after March 4.
  • Technology is your choice, and will be graded based on your choices.  You will receive individualized assessment plans once your project plan is submitted, by Monday, Feb. 14 at the latest.
    • You will have weekly goals established that need to be met.
    • You will have final goals that will need to be met.
In developing your project, keep your audience in mind: what would 9th graders find appealing?  
Also, don't plan on using members of other groups for your work, they have their own work to do, and then everything becomes mediocre. You can use students from outside of class, especially for acting or other unique talents that add to your project.

Teachers reserve the right to change teams, redirect projects gone astray, etc.
Teams have the right to remove anyone from their team that is not productive.  Those removed from a team will focus on learning the characteristics of drama in a more traditional manner, as well as begin HTML coding skills.

This is a real chance to shine, so be ready to take ownership, do your part and more! (No pun intended on 'do your part').

Poetry Project

posted Dec 29, 2010, 10:29 AM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Jan 2, 2011, 3:06 AM ]

Somewhere on the love-hate spectrum, you have a feeling about poetry.  Time for you to find a place closer to the "love" part.  The "Poetry Project" will focus on your tie to poetry.  It must exist somewhere, even for "haters".  For example, Mr. Reilly is not a huge fan, but really enjoys the music of Rush, which has derived songs from Wallace Stevens, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and more.  Mrs. Buffington is a huge fan of "The Odyssey" which was a 45-book poem (an epic journey itself just to read it).  

But what other motivators are there?  Maybe you like to write, and just love poetry itself, and want to start an "open mic" during lunch.  Maybe you play video games where the characters speak in rhyme?  How about something like where they use Google Earth to "be" where the stories are?  What about other modern music lyrics, or something more rooted in your personal history?  Marketing contains lots of catchy stuff too.  What about something that's never been done?  What if poetry were merely a series of clues in a game?  For business people, what about evaluating product "jingles" and catchphrases, or maybe children's books to find the most successful patterns, and then write your own?  Then, what are the skills and interests you have or need to acquire to make this happen?

The process we'll follow is simple:
  1. Brainstorm ideas about meaningful, interesting, real things YOU want to do.   YOUR JOB: creatively integrate poetry with some technology.
  2. Plan the "big parts" of what you need to get done, then the steps to get each part done, the substeps to ge the steps done, and assign people and dates to do them.
  3. Get to work.  We'll reflect each day on what happened, what didn't happen, and what the next day's priorities are.  Sometimes you'll need to change direction, by adding cool things, or trimming the project down.
  4. Be ready to present.  Yes, actually present this to someone, maybe a few people!  Therefore, make it something you're proud of, and WANT to show off.
General Calendar/Due Dates:
  • Jan. 4 we begin with brainstorming, just thinking about what we can do.  You will also be introduced to 3DS Max Design software (see the note below**) 
  • Jan. 5 - clear evidence of brainstorming from Jan. 4, with a personal reflection of what you liked, didn't like, and additional ideas that were not expressed.  You should add at least 10 unique ideas or thoughts.
  • Jan. 6 - refine list of possible projects with strengths, weaknesses of each, based on resources available, possibly assign groups today
  • Jan. 7 - short list of projects and general plans that each would require, and we pick one before we leave!  Create a work Google site for you and your team, for planning, etc., and share it with your team and teachers.  In the email that shares the site, use "Poetry Project" in the email subject.  This is not your final product site, this is just for planning.  Your final product should be something different than this.
  • Over the weekend, add more detail to your plans.  This can be done in writing, but must be part of your "Planning Site".  Your project has some "big items", and each of those has small steps, in order.  WHO is doing WHAT by WHEN?
  • Starting Jan. 10, we will pause at 9:45 each day for "reflection": what went well that day, what is the main goal for after school or tomorrow, and who is doing it?  These daily reflections will be graded at least twice per week.
  • Week of Jan. 10 should have some attempts made, and you'll probably need to update the "big picture".  Make your changes, record them on your planning site.
  • By Jan. 19 we should see substantial work done.  Each person will present their contributions, challenges and goals for the remaining two weeks.
  • The week of Jan. 31 - Feb. 4 will be presentation week.  That is, you will, in some way, share your work with someone outside of class, and receive their feedback.  
  • Rubrics for Final Products will be created when you choose your project.  We'll create them together.
During this whole time, Language Arts will be held "college style" with 3 lectures per week.  **You will also be introduced to 3DS Max Design, a very cool software used in simulations and gaming.  You don't have to use 3DS Max in your project, you will just be asked to demonstrate accomplishment of each of the tutorials, then a unique, personal project.  You can apply any technology to the "Poetry Project".

Standards for this project:  
  • For Language Arts, the main standard is #8, dealing with Poetry, as listed in the Third Nine Weeks of the 9th Grade Timeline (click here).  You should also understand many of the others listed, such as proper reading and writing, etc.
  • We're going to focus on 3D drawing and animation, but there are many standards you'll address in technology (click here)

You will be evaluated in a variety of ways, as follows:
  • Twice-weekly reflection reviews (your reflection on your planning site, group site give each person the group grade, so collaborate on this!!).  You could be reviewed more often.
  • Peer reviews - you fairly evaluate each other
  • Self-reviews - you fairly evaluate yourself
  • Planning Site: in addition to reflections, should have major plans from beginning, how certain standards were addressed in the project, and link to final product.
  • Intermediate "drafts", for work accomplished midway through, etc.  We'll set these dates up as part of each groups' plan.
  • Final products using created rubrics
  • You will be evaluated on 21st Century skills, things like communication, teamwork, and more.  Click here for a sample rubric.
  • Additional assessment will take place for Language Arts, such as USATestPrep quizzes, etc.

Wrappin' it up

posted Dec 6, 2010, 2:03 PM by Michael Reilly

Wrapping, get it?  Gift-giving season?  Okay, silly.

Attached here is the summary of the rubric that will be used to grade the technology performance final.  Keep in mind that this is 10% of your semester grade.  Mathematically, it can't make or break you unless you don't do it.

However, it's the kind of thing that can change you from one grade to the next, either up or down.  It could also be used to make a case for a higher overall grade if it's very impressive.

Each category on the rubric scores like a regular grade, but out of 10 instead of 100.  For example, a 7.5 is a "C" on that part, an 8.5 is a B, and so on.  Your performance final grade will be your overall percentage from this rubric.

Remember:  Thursday, Dec. 16 is your Multiple Choice final!

Project 7 Update

posted Dec 1, 2010, 3:49 AM by Michael Reilly

We're at the halfway point for Project 7, and it's time to review what you've got.  Attached below this post is a general rubric to start our discussion of your "midpoint".  In addition to these reviews, we'll talk about what each project member has done, and what their individual responsibilities are for the remainder.
Each project should have a professional delivery, in whatever medium you think is appropriate: web site, presentation, etc.  Sell me your ideas, using your project!!
Regarding the rubric:
Development, Analysis, and Sources refers to the research you've collected. It should be legitimate and relevant, with proper citation.

Expression of Knowledge is your organization of the material and information you've found, as well as your interpretation of it. If you have a pile of "stuff", but it's not organized, then it probably looks like junk. If it IS organized, then you're on your way to a winner. If you just repeat facts and don't think about what you've found, then you haven't done anything to demonstrate learning.

Organization/Use of Technologies is pretty self-explanatory. You've been expected to use at least 3 different technologies on this project, which should not be hard. Also, they should be used thoroughly, professionally. It's a quantity AND quality issue.

Keepin' it real - Project 7

posted Nov 8, 2010, 7:42 AM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Nov 10, 2010, 5:27 PM ]

In general, people have opinions, people like to be heard, people are creative.  Also, the world (whatever you might define that to be) isn't perfect: our grades, the economy, scraps of paper on the hall floor, people with no food, the list is infinite and seems eternal.
What motivates you?  What makes you angry or sad or happy or excited?  Are you ready to solve something with those emotions? 
The Language Arts Standards for Project 7 are focused on Non-fiction for Language Arts.  More specifically, it focuses on Standards 7, 32, 33 and 34, and includes many of the other standards as regular skills to use and understand.  In addition, this is a Performance Final grade for your technology classes, so you need to show off a few technologies in one project, and this will become 10% of your technology class grade.  Review the Standards for both Web and Design, and identify those you used in this project.
What's expected:
  • You will be working solo, unless you are invited by Mr. Reilly to a part of the "big group experiment".  Most people will be solo.
  • You should have a Google Site to keep track of your progress.  When creating a Google site, there is an updated template called "CDAT PBL 3" that might be helpful.  It lists the site requirements.
  • As mentioned above, your product should focus on non-fiction, and include a variety of technologies that you've learned.  This is more of a project that is developed based on research.  WE EXPECT AT LEAST 10 LEGITIMATE SOURCES OF RESEARCH FOR YOUR WORK.
  • After a brainstorming day on Tuesday, Nov. 9, your first step is to outline a "big picture" timeline, then more specific tasks in order.  Your timeline will be used for grading, so we're expecting you to plan intermediate steps.   Due Nov. 10, This plan is your first grade for this project, so plan well!!
  • You will be evaluated on your intermediate deadlines and goals, which would include your "next steps" plans.  Remember, all planning is just a guess, but you should know where your guess was wrong, and how to adjust for it.  YOU are telling us when to grade, and what to grade.
  • Both Language Arts and Technology have Standards about research, understand quality sources, quoting sources, etc.  Part of your grading will be proper citation, so keep track and only keep good stuff!!
  • We will have mini-seminars every other day to cover standards in Language Arts. 
  • On T-days we'll do 5-question USATestPrep covering these Standards too, which could help you incorporate them into your projects.  These quizzes will immediately be followed by reviews, to see what was right, what was wrong.
More info will be posted here based on your questions.  I know this seems vague.  However, if YOU can choose to focus YOUR interests and passions, this could be the best project yet!

Summary of Adobe Softwares

posted Oct 12, 2010, 3:41 AM by Michael Reilly

For the past week, and the rest of this one, you should be finishing up the Adobe tutorials on Premier Pro, Soundbooth and AfterEffects.  Time to show what you know!
You do NOT have to use these products for your interpretation of "The Odyssey".  You DO have to produce a small movie, all on your own and not in a group, that incorporates the main functionality of these softwares.  That is:
  • A basic movie of anything, it does not have to make sense.
  • A title screen at the beginning
  • At least two separate scenes that were not originally together.
  • Some type of effects brought in from AfterEffects, at least 2.
  • A soundtrack or at least some layer of sound in addition to the sounds of the movie, something that lasts for the separate scenes as listed above.
  • Be sure to refine out noticeable sound imperfections.
  • Ending credits scene. 
Be ready to show this Monday, Oct. 18.  Have "before and after" ready, such as the original movie clips prior to merging, etc.

Your "Epic!" Project (Project 6)

posted Oct 4, 2010, 10:25 AM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Oct 11, 2010, 12:36 PM ]

We hear the word "Epic!" so often, especially in gamers territory.  Jane McGonigal is famous for her TED speech on World of Warcraft and the "Epic Win" concept.
Over the next 6 weeks, we will be reviewing "The Odyssey".  This set the standard thousands of years ago for the definition of "epic", and is retold in so many ways.  Your goal: to make your own "epic", using your own technology choice, or mix of technologies. 
We're going to introduce Adobe Premier Pro for video, Soundbooth for, uh, sound, and AfterEffects for special effects and video editing. 
These are truly professional softwares for the movie industry.  However, you don't have to use them for your
final project, you just have to show that you've learned them according to the GCPS standards.  You could go back to a technology you preferred, like Flash or GameMaker or Photoshop, etc. 
And you don't have to write about mythical figures millenia ago.  It could be your own story, or that of someone you know.  Consider people coming to America from other countries and the challenges they encounter.  What about something fictitious, from your own creative brain?  What about something people always call "epic", like Halo.  Is it?  Maybe you want to take on a world challenge, to begin a real epic, right now, like Jane McGonigal! 
Check out these links to help the world using technology:
How will this work?
Over the next 2 weeks or so, we will have a pattern of doing these things each day, probably in this order, and these are items that you will receive grades for:
  • 3 video tutorials each day from the Adobe TV tutorials, as found in the Links page, for Premier, AfterEffects and Soundbooth.  Then TRY THEM after watching them.  See the attachment below to keep track of which tutorials you've done (not required, just handy). UPDATE:  you will make one short movie to demonstrate the core skills of each software product by Friday, Oct. 15.
  • Read some of the Odyssey
  • Watch the parallel parts of the movie (if they exist)
  • Discuss, understand those parts, and see how they might apply to YOUR epic
  • Reflect: draft some storyboard ideas and write some script for YOUR epic based on the day's reading.  What are the big points you read about or watched, and how would you parallel them in YOUR interpretation?
After we complete the reading and understanding of the Odyssey, you will also have developed some skills with the tutorials, as you will have had about 30 so far.  We will spend 3-4 weeks creating your media product focusing on YOUR epic.  We will use a Google Site for keeping track of your project again. Here's a link to a template.

Mini-lesson for Monday, Oct. 4, 2010

posted Oct 4, 2010, 3:38 AM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Oct 4, 2010, 3:59 AM ]

Your teachers are going to find a cave and do some review/planning today.  In the meantime, you have plenty to do:
Newspaper people:  we need articles today.  Water and CDAT were topics, and we need graphics for both, to make them featured.  Reilly will do a "Local Scene" with his archaology, or something on the town itself.  Plenty going on there.  This is a HIGH priority, as you have all week to finish the last project.
Those NOT finished with your "water" project: you should finish.
Those who ARE finished with the "water" project:  time to start the next phase, it will be "epic". 

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