Thursday, 7 October 2010

Adventures in Teaching, Learning and Government

So, all these history ideas about the church before 300 AD in my Church in Mission class are fascinating and I design middle school lessons about them in my head during class, jotting teaching notes to myself in the margins of my lecture notes.  Clearly the only thing for it is to talk Max into putting a Church History class into high school social studies so I have a chance to wax lengthy on this topic.  Wouldn't that be a class entirely in line with our ESLRs?  You betcha.  Bring it on.

In other news, in Theology and Film I continue to discover films that could never be shown in UIS English classes...a moment of silence for our departed English teachers...but I take notes anyway because the ways of examining them will be useful to apply to the three or four films that we can show. 

Another teaching idea that came during film class: 
Obviously each piece of text that we English teachers force on our students to read/see/hear isn't universally loved.  Let them express how they feel about each in the following inactive manner.  How about creating a continuum with little emotion icons, from disgust ("I'd rather stick a fork in my eye than read this again") through to transcendent joy ("Yes!  This is the meaning of life to me!"), to express how students feel about a novel or poem or film or whatever.  Each kid could have a little spot with his name on, maybe an inch or so in diameter, and stick them (they'd be magnetized, did I say?) along the continuum to express the range of feeling about a particular text.  I'd have kids make up their mind and write it down before they went up there to limit peer pressure shifting dots up or down.  Wouldn't that be a good place starting place?  I'll try to scan and include my gorgeous drawings, too--the one with the fork is drops with pathos.  A corollary:  include one of those posters with forty emotions illustrated, and have them complete the sentence This book/poem/film/etc makes me feel ________ because______. 

Perhaps it could be expanded to PFWs?  "This workshop makes me feel _despair___ because ___I already know the material and it's boring_____. "  See?  How useful would that be? ;-)

One more cultural note: 
Yesterday's Siege of the DMV was successful.  After 3 hours and $350 I emerged, shaken but whole, with a car registered in the State of California;  the Redbird of Despair is now street legal.  The process was inordinately lengthy, and yet I couldn't help comparing it favourably to the DMVs in Cote d'Ivoire and PNG.  Thousands of people (speaking far more languages than I can understand--clerks speak Cantonese!) making slow but steady progress through the system, with no bribes or infrastructure breakdowns to hamper the process.  Clearly the state of California needs to invest more in this public service because, I mean, three hours!, but still, it works.  I love America, have I mentioned?

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