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Introduction-- bills itself as a "public library" website. Any user can upload
documents and describe them with a sequence of brief terms or 'tags'. The
document can then be located by searching the website for those
descriptive terms in any combination. Documents published on can be
made private and designated for a certain core group of users, but this makes the
search function less useful and requires more time spent preparing the document
for upload, both of which points make it unsuitable for our purposes.

While does not have all the features we would like in a lesson-sharing
website (privacy, media sharing, etc), its tagging and search functions make it a
good stopgap measure while we wait for the Yale-China website to be finalized,
whenever that happens.

--II. Instructions for Using Scribd--

1. Go to using the browser of your choice.

2. Click the "login" link in the upper right corner of the page.

3. Fill out the field on the left hand side of the page, under the heading "Don't
have a Scribd account?"

4. When you complete the signup process, you should be logged in to scribd. At
this time, a yellow "Upload" button should appear at the top of the page, in the
same rank as "Home", "Browse", "My docs", etc.

5. Follow the directions for uploading your file. It's pretty straightforward if
you've ever attached a file to an e-mail before.

6. Once your file is uploaded, you'll be prompted for tags and a short
description. The tags should conform to those listed in the third section of this
document, otherwise your file will be much less likely to show up on a search.
Enter all tags separated by spaces. Enter a short description of the file in the
appropriate box.

7. Hit the large button that says "Publish". Your file should appear on your
user page. The user page can be edited as per facebook or whatever.

8. Crack yourself an ice-cold Bud Light, Mister/Miss Yale-China Lesson Plan
Uploading Person, for your hard work and lesson planning skills have produced the
latest installment in generations of Real Students of Genius. (Real students of

--III. Tags for Yale China Lesson Plans--

As many of the following tags should be added to each document as apply. I've
erred on the side of slightly longer tags to make it easier for users to interpret
them at a glance. Most tags include a preface (like sitehongkong instead of just
hongkong), to differentiate them from general keywords and from other, possibly
more common tags to non-Yale-China documents. Tags are searchable in any order,
though for ease of quickly reading through a list of lessons I'd suggest that the
tags under the heading 'General' be used in roughly the order they're presented

yalechina - a general tag for all yalechina documents on scribd.

sitexiuning, siteguangzhou, sitechangsha, sitehongkong - tag for each site.

xxmin , where xx is a number - length of the class (eg. 45min) [[This is highly
optional, and may be totally useless considering the differing speeds at which
many teachers work, but I thought I'd include it as an option]]

firstlast - author name (eg. maxgladstone, maxwest, andrewsmeall); this is
important as some users will be uploading material they did not themselves create,
especially where long-term sites like Changsha and HK are concerned.

xxxx , where x is a four-digit year - the year of publication (eg. 2006, 2007)

highschoola through highschoole, universityhigh, universitylow - indicates the
level of the lesson, with highschoola being lowest and highschoole being highest
in high school, followed by universitylow and universityhigh. In general, I
imagine highschoola and b are Xiuning Gao 1, with the lower level being the level
of the kids we see less regularly, while highschoolc would correspond to the
Changsha Gao 1 students. I'm hypothesizing highschoold would be Xiuning Gao 2
when we teach them next year, but I stress that's a hypothesis. It's useful to
have a looser level rubrik (rather than a site-based one) in case Yale China opens
new sites or closes old ones, as has happened in the past. I've got no clue what
the language level at the old Xiangya college looked like, for example, and if
their lessons had been on scribd, knowing the site wouldn't have been super
helpful to me if I didn't know the level.

skill1----- skill2-----: The University team came up with this method of
presentation, and I like it. You choose one skill from each of the following two

skill1 consists of the four basic language skills:
writing reading listening speaking

skill2 consists of different focuses for skill use:
grammar - use of a given grammatical construction (eg. the simile) in the basic
language skill area
vocab - use of new words in the skill area
content - using content to approach a basic skill (discussing law or reading an NY
Times article)
presentation - creating new content in a skill area. I really don't see how you
would ever have a combination of presentation with one of the receptive skills
(reading, listening), but I could be surprised.

The point here isn't to try to encapsulate the entire lesson, just to describe the
basic shape of it. The lesson you guys saw on senses would be tagged
skill1speaking skill2vocab. If this method proves too complicated we can easily
simplify it either by dropping the skill2 requirement or by just tagging things
oral or visual; I think the precision here is worth something though. By
separating these two tags, you can search for either all lessons that contain, for
example, speaking, or for all lessons that center on vocab.

typelessonplan typehandout typeassignment typeexam - tags different types of
documents. Sometimes the same lesson will contain many dfiferent files, with
different descriptors.

unit----- , where ------ is the main subject of a unit (eg. unitjustice,
unitpopmusic, unitspeeches)

xofy , where x and y are numbers - indicates the current document is lesson x of a
sequence of y (eg. 1of6, 7of9, 3of5)


CourseTitle - indicate the title of the course for which a lesson was intended.
(eg. gened, contemporaryamericanmusic, videogamesasculture, haroldbloom)


Lesson-specific keywords should be included too, but we can't codify these. A
unit on the "I Have a Dream" speech should definitely have tags like
"martinlutherking" or "mlk". Use your judgement.

--IV. A Note on Creative Commons Licensing--

The Creative Commons license ( is a reformulation of the
basic law behind copyright, supported by the Center for the Public Domain and led
by a board of directors including Stanford intellectual property law professor
Lawrence Lessig. The basic principle behind the Creative Commons license is that
modern copyright has become far too restrictive, as it permits not only individual
creators but the organizations that own their work to exercise unprecedented
control over the rights of reproducing and adapting that work. Copyright isn't a
bad thing - of course, artists and writers have to make money off their work
somehow - but copyright as it's enforced today can prevent people from sharing
their work and from building off the work of others in their field.

Creative Commons differs from public domain in that it is a scaleable license: a
creator can reserve a range of rights from full copyright to public domain,
chosing to require that those who use her work credit her, quote her exactly, or
even pay her money. If we want to worry about this kind of thing, the appropriate
Creative Commons license for our work would be the Attribution-NonCommercial-
ShareAlike 3.0 (, which allows
the sharing and adaptation of the work, provided that such use is noncommercial
and that subsequent adaptors use the same license in their own work. However, as
we aren't the creators for some of the content we'll be posting, I don't believe
it's legal for us to alter the licenses under which they're presented, so this
discussion may be all for naught. Nevertheless, I encourage people uploading new
content to use the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license listed above.

If anyone's interested in this Free Culture thing in a more in-depth fashion, I
suggest checking out Lessig's book Free Culture ( or his half-hour long lecture of the same title

--V. Conclusion--

I've tried to cover the basic elements of lesson plan sharing on scribd as we
discussed during Spring Conference. I intend this document to be a basic read-me,
and by no means all-inclusive. I hope it will be useful in preparing and sharing
lesson plans, aned that elements from it may inspire the ultimate creation of the
Yale-China curriculum sharing website, which I still feel should be a priority, if
only to remove our dependence on the website. Sharing lesson plans
among the group can lead to faster lesson planning and improved cohesion in the
Yale-China curriculum. I've sent this file to the Fellows' mailing list and
posted it on scribd with this intent.

Enjoy, and happy lesson planning!

This text distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
ShareAlike 3.0 license. Created April 2007 by Max Gladstone.