Monday, October 11, 2010

Yet Another Restart

School started.  Papers piled up.  I got tired or rushed or something  I didn't post.  More importantly, I didn't really think about much serious stuff.  I didn't really think about anything except grading essays and quizzes.  I did veg out in front of the TV a bit, but vegetating and thinking ain't the same.  It's tough to blog if one doesn't think first, even if the thinking is about something frivolous.

Last week, I got to return to the Plains.  The little drip necessitated my being by myself in a car for at least 14 hours.  I actually got to think a bit.  The topics changed, but every train of thought seemed to come back to the same question:  what the heck are we doing?

On the political front, I saw dozens of commercials in two states.  Ninety percent took the same tone.  My opponent is out of touch with residents and therefore evil.  I guess it's no longer possible to disagree agreeably.

According to a Slate article, classrooms need to change for the 21st Century.  the contrarian in me forced me to think about he minimal tools I would need to get the job done.  It turns out that I could live with 19th and 20th Century tools. 

Students would need to bring paper and writing tools.  I would need some sort of chalkboard. Whiteboards are nice, but each board basically is place to write notes so that students can copy them.  I think I could teach all the classes I need to with with the following literature. 

A Doll House
Ken Burns The Civil War mini-series
Macbeth
Some random collections of Superman, Spider-Man, and The Avengers.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Bible
The Big Sleep
The Complete Flannery O'Connor 
The Complete Robert Frost
The Iliad
The Killer Angels
The Odyssey

I believe these works have relevance and would allow for great discussion and writing assignments.  The classroom doesn't have to be high tech.  It has to have tools that teachers and students can use.