POSTED AT 07:30 AM
Review and respond to the handout on "Integrity." Offer any--or any combination of--the following
* response to the quote
* reflections on the observations about students
* illustrations or examples of the ideas discussed
* observations on how this reading might motivate results
* reflection on how you would complete the idea ("Nothing stops me from doing my best as _____")
As always, posts and comments are due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, October 3, 2010.
POSTED AT 07:18 AM
Last weekend, the man sitting next to me on the subway train struck up a conversation about the book that I was reading. Eventually, he asked what I do for a living. When I explained that I am a high school English teacher, he posed an intriguing question: "What do you think is the single greatest barrier to getting today's students to do well in school?"
I answered, "instant gratification" almost immediately. Although there are plenty of things—both internal and external—preventing students from achieving academic success, I think that the need to see immediate results (or gain immediate, short-term rewards) is one of the most pervasive and the most destructive forces out there.
It's not that instant gratification is anything new; people have always sacrificed long-term prosperity for short-term satisfaction. However, the development of new (instant, better, faster!) technologies has made students more accustomed to instant results and therefore less willing to be patient and wait for—or, heaven forbid, apply themselves to bring about—the desired result. This can manifest in any number of ways, from calling a book “boring” because there’s no action on the first page to refusing to work on a new lesson because they didn’t “get it” right away.
So, thoughts: am I right on target or way off base here? If you agree, explain why and offer additional examples. If you don’t, then tell us what you think is the single greatest barrier (explanation + examples). Remember, this is an extra credit posting. I will score your contributions, cut that score in half, and add those bonus points to your blog average. This extra credit opportunity is open for the remainder of Quarter 1.
POSTED AT 11:09 AM
This week's topic: Is Common Sense Dead? Read the column below and post a response. Remember, your response should interpret, illustrate, extend, apply, defend, and/or support the author's ideas. Here's an interesting side note: the original column was published in 1998, but, as the author mentions, it is periodically updated and "modified." Why might this be happening? Thanks to the good people on the AP English listserv for the text.
Note: This piece was first published March 15, 1998 in the Indianpolis Star. It has been "modified" and "edited" by others and circulated on the Internet, even sent to me several times. Imagine my surprise to see it attributed to some guy named Anonymous. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I take having my work circulated on the web as a compliment.
Lori Borgman www.loriborgman.com
THE DEATH OF COMMON SENSE
By Lori Borgman
Common Sense lived a long life but died in the United States from heart failure on the brink of the new millennium. No one really knows how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He selflessly devoted his life to service in schools, hospitals, homes and factories, and helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness. For decades, petty rules, silly laws, and frivolous lawsuits held no power over Common Sense. He was credited with cultivating such valued lessons as to know when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, and that life isn't always fair.
Common Sense lived by simple credos: sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adults are in charge, not the kids), and winning isn't everything (it's okay to come in second).
A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Technological Revolution, Common Sense survived trends including body piercing, whole language, and "new math." But his health declined when he became infected with the "If-it-only-helps-one-person-it's-worth-it" virus. In recent decades his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of well intentioned but overbearing regulations. He watched in pain as good people became ruled by self-seeking lawyers. His health rapidly deteriorated when schools endlessly implemented zero-tolerance policies.
Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, a teen suspended for taking a swig of mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition. It declined even further when schools had to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student but could not inform the parent when a female student was pregnant or wanted an abortion.
Finally, Common Sense lost his will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, criminals received better treatment than victims, and federal judges stuck their noses in everything from the Boy Scouts to professional sports. Finally, when a woman, too stupid to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, was awarded a huge settlement, Common Sense threw in the towel.
As the end neared, Common Sense drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding questionable regulations such as those for low flow toilets, rocking chairs, and stepladders. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by two stepbrothers and a stepsister: My Rights, Only Me and Ima Whiner.
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
POSTED AT 12:15 PM
During Bria and Emarchez's presentation on the New Critical/Formalist perspective, we touched on the question of whether we tend to regard literature as art. Inspired by that discussion, I offer you this week's blog topic: How do you define art?
Dictionary.com offers 16 different definitions for "art" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/art), including this one:
the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance
In your initial post, offer your personal definition of art. (Note that "personal definition" means in your own words!) Then, give an example of a piece of art that you find meaningful and explain why it is "of more than ordinary significance" to you. If possible, provide a link so that others may enjoy. All posts and comments must be made by 11:59 pm on Sunday, September 12, 2010.