Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I want to walk, not be carried

I want the principles of a timeless muse
I want to eradicate my negative views
And get rid of those people who are always on a down
--- Lou Reed, "New Sensations"

One of Lou's best songs; I especially like the live version on Perfect Night.


Today's my no-work, easy day. I got up late, had a nice egg breakfast, and made my stately, plump way to State School without stress or rush.

In Art, Music and Physical Development, two groups had their art-centric model lesson plan presentations (my group goes next week). Both, coincidentally, were lessons on Americana --- one on Thanksgiving, one on Native Americans. The former was geared toward first grade, and we made handprint turkeys with feathers glued on. The latter was also, I believe, for first graders; we made paper "headdresses" with feathers, again.

I know art and expression are crucial to children's development, but all this does smack of the kind of anti-academic, aimless lessons that No Child Left Behind is supposed to remedy. The essential thing is to have a teacher who makes sure kids know why they are making these crafts, so they don't go home thinking that, for example, Thanksgiving is all about gluing plastic googly eyes to silly-looking turkeys.

After the presentations, Ms. M lectured a bit on Bloom's Taxonomy, Gardner's eight intelligences, and the SCAMPER technique. The first two are old news; the third I'd never heard of. It's a creativity-boosting exercise; the name is an acronym, each letter standing for a process that an idea can undergo to help form a new one.

Substitute a new element in the idea for an old one
Combine old ideas to form a new one
Adapt old ideas
Modify, magnify, minify
Put an old idea to new uses
Eliminate elements from an old idea
Reverse or rearrange elements


I used the time between classes to do my Art and Math homework in the library. Then I trudged over to Diagnostic Reading. It was very bewildering, as Dr. D tried to go over all the various (needlessly complicated) steps for all the projects that are coming up due in the next few weeks. The first one is a combination book talk-Reader's Theater assignment. We did a Reader's Theater in class. We also talked about Diagnostic Reading Correction and some comprehension activities teachers can use in reading. Dr. D is rather flighty, and has a mind much given to exploring tangents. We got out late.

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