Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here is an excerpt. If you are familiar with my essential question ideas for this world lit course, this post was the way I got them started thinking about it. Their thoughts about thinking in general plus the personal way they apporach each other was more than I could have hoped for.
Topic #1: Why Do You Think? (And Do You?)
starts: August 25, 2008 at 12:01 AM ends: August 30, 2009 at 11:59 PM
Created by Susanne Nobles
"We've learned to speak and think in the epistemology of television, which is essentially filled with thought-terminating clichés ... There is a kind of war against self-reflection, self-criticism, and real introspection" (Whitehead).
I believe literature of all kinds, and specifically world literature, can create a culture of intellect and thought. Yet reading world literature requires “two competing [tasks]: an invitation to identify (‘This text is about you!’) and a warning against overidentifying (‘This text was never about you!’) … Far from being an excuse for passive reading, ‘This was never about you!’ calls students to attend to a material world that is not their own, which means caring enough ‘to learn it’ … Can Westerners’ confrontation of a foreign text result in genuine identification …?” (Eck 579, 582).
When was the last time you really thought about something? Be honest … what does real thought look and feel like? Okay, when was the last time you did that?
I actually am a fairly reflective person and fall into deep thought on a fairly regular basis. I'd say that the last time I fell into deep thought had to be over this past weekend when I was dealing with a difficult decision that I had to make. I also find myself thinking more and more about college and what I want to do where I want to go, and how those decisions will affect me during college and later on in life. I guess I never really stop thinking about that subject because I find my self often drifting off into my own little world of self reflection on the topic. I never really think about the same thing, but often times I get into deep existential and philosophical discussions with my life where I ponder things untill my head begins to swirl, and I begin to lose grasp on the topic that I am trying to understand. I usually get into real thought when I am not distracted by anything else, however I can keep on the same subject for several days "pausing" my thinking until the distractions are over. Usually it involves picking my brain appart, presenting counter points and arguments to points that I am trying to make, and it ends with analyzing why I am thinking and acting in a certain way and what the consequences of behaving like that are. It's actually all pretty exhausting. So yeah I guess I would still have to stand with saying that the last time I did that was this past weekend, because It definitely fit the description of what I just put down.
Reply #6.1 to Response #6:
I know the same feeling, and I know we have talked about some of those issues between ourselves, specifically last year. And I think that the feeling that you are losing yourself in the moment is all the more of a testimony to how deep your thinking. I feel that the harder and longer you ponder something, the more questions begin to form, and the harder you have to think. This might be why so many of us avoid hard reflecting, because we find it is to much work.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
- Teaching 2 sections of AP English Literature and Composition with a focus on world literature
- Director of College Counseling
- Student Government advisor, including heading up our new Leadership Camp this weekend. Two days of leadership talk and work -- I am excited to see how our student leaders delve further into what leadership is.
- English Department Coordinator (main department focus: getting our consensus curriculum maps finalized)
- Co-chair of our 10-year accreditation visit
- "Overseer" of our school's first curriculum guide which is at the printer as I type -- I can't wait to see it next week and hand it to the faculty. I am still unsure about what my Head of School has in mind for my role to keep it current and improving ... stay tuned.
- My 4 1/2 year old daughter will be attending preschool 5 mornings a week -- she is VERY excited. They have requested that we send in a computer headset for her, so she is a techie in making I guess.
- My 2 1/2 year old son joins his sister in preschool this year -- and according to him it is about time. 2 mornings a week.
- A member of Will/Cheryl's PLP with 5 other FA teachers as well as teachers from around the world
- Thursday night yoga classes
- Running three mornings a week with a new mom -- she is balancing her run with feeding and clothing herself and her son all before 7:00 AM. Amazing.
- Attending NCTE in November as a member of the Commission on Composition. The theme this year is "Shift Happens" -- perfect.
I go back to work this Sunday with Leadership Camp -- it will be a great year.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
We use the first page of Brave New World as our initial practice. Before my students actually begin reading the novel, I have them underline all descriptive words on the first page only (a great grammar moment as we discuss how, while adjectives and adverbs are by nature descriptive, nouns and verbs can be too). Then, by projecting the first page (here is the whole novel on-line -- the first page is the first 3 paragraphs) on a Word document, we mark it up and see the descriptive dissonance Huxley creates through his diction. The "fertilizing room" is cold, most sterile, and nearly dead. Through his word choice, Huxley has created a window into the metanarrative of his novel. We don't yet know WHY he does not like the society he is creating, but now my students can start reading as knowledgeable readers and not be lulled into thinking Huxley is presenting his own utopia. Oh the discussions that follow.
Wordle has entered my life now though, and look at what I can do to cap off this lesson:
The word "light" is one of the biggest. How does this fit with the bleak, cold atmosphere we have just discussed Huxley creating? Maybe my students will see through this visual tool how Huxley is layering words to build both sides of his message that life is being created here, life that maybe is still very important despite this society saying otherwise ...
I set as one of my goals last year to use more visuals in my classes. I tend not to be a visual learner, but I know many of my students are. Wordle is a great tool for this. Here is more about how to use Wordle with literary analysis (this NCTE blog has lots of great tech stuff if you have time to scroll through it). I am imagining that later in this novel I will have the students create Wordle maps of their own chosen passages and talk about what they discover about Huxley's message though his chosen words. Stay tuned for lots of Brave New World maps to show up in the Wordle Gallery ...