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July 14, 2013

The exquisite corpse dances through butterflies beyond, above, and broken.

The cadavre exquis originated as a parlor game in the early 20th century and featured the “mystique of accident.”  Individuals write one line of a story, fold the paper down so that only the most recent addition is visible, then pass the paper along for the next player to add his line.  The paper continues around the room for several turns. The result: a delightfully disjointed tale. The technique moved into the world of visual art and continues today.

I love the “exquisite corpse” and use it often with all of my students in all of my classes.   It gives everyone the opportunity to play with language.  If students are comfortable playing with language, then perhaps they will be more willing to make bold moves when they are writing. Historical information about the game is located here.

EC_bookcover_big

Friday, July 5, 2013

I have scheduled 5 professional development events this summer. (I pay for all of them out of pocket.  Totally worth it.) I’m leaving for events number 2 and 3 later today.

First up, a weekend at Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondacks.  Sagamore was a “wild” retreat for the absurdly wealthy titans of the Progressive Era including some of the Vanderbilts.  I’m interested to learn about the history of the place and of the people. There will be hiking, tours, and a lecture or two.  Preston is coming with me for this adventure. I’m not sure he realized just how “educational” this trip would be prior to agreeing to attend. Too late. I bet Tom Buchanan would have liked Sagamore in its heyday.

Preston will drop me at Bard College on Sunday for my third event of the summer: IWT’s Revolutionary Grammar.

history-plaque

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Phillips_Exeter_Academy_SealI recently spent a week at the Exeter Humanities Institute at Phillips Exeter Academy (PEA), in Exeter, New Hampshire. According to Forbes magazine, PEA is the sixth best prep school in the United States.

PEA teaches entirely by the Harkness method, a sort of modified Socratic technique in which students are truly responsible for their own learning.  I look forward to using the Harkness method at Union-Endicott High School this year.  Of course, I tend to have well over 20 students per class so I’ll need to modify my approach accordingly.   PEA never has more than 12 students in a class.

I dream about revolutionary changes in public schools.  Smaller classes. Institutional commitment to a pedagogy that propels learning forward. Meaningful assessment.

peablog

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I’m rather excited about the new iPad apps that I will be using during the 2013-14 school year. First up, Class Dojo.  This delightful little app will come in handy during Harkness discussions as it will allow me to track student participation and preparation.  I appreciate the silly creatures and easy-to-use interface.

ClassDojo-App-at-the-Oscars

Writing

Writing will go here.