Three completely unrelated topics. I took that meme, about Republicanism. is right in that it’s horribly, weirdly weighted. It’s fun, but probably not accurate. Nonetheless, I’m happy to be 4% Republican like .
It was rough getting up this morning for Wednesday Conversations. I was plugging away last night on designing a curriculum for the Cold War (Chapter 38) for my seventh graders, largely because I’d never taught anything like it before. I’ve never gotten this far in the book before, either, and I wanted to do it up right. Of course, I was up until after one in the morning. Next year I think I’ll do this whole “planned curriculum” with tests and quizzes written up in advance; in-class work is going much more smoothly this week than last week.
Talked with my White Wolf editor. It looks like he may have another Exalted project for me in the late summer. I don’t know what it is or how many words or any of that, yet, so don’t ask. I still want to play this game. Any interested parties?
Started planning and planting the garden. Dug five furrows – probably deeper than they needed to be. Set out some canteloupe seeds and some oregano seeds. The Oregano seeds were tiny and black; trying to press them effectively into black-brown clay-thick soil… well, it was difficult. And I don’t think there’s enough humus or topsoil in the mix. Already I’m dissatisfied with the garden. Call it an experiment in poor planning and the miracle of life. On the other hand, I’ve started to see the garden in multiple weather conditions, and with differences in soil and sunlight and shade. I’ve started plotting to use more of the field next year — I want honeybees and some blueberry bushes and some strawberrries along the edge of the field, and some lavender along the wall. But all that is for the future, at least for now. We’ll see how it goes.
Thanks to Goodbye Gutenberg I’m starting to experiment with worksheets in color. I have three already — one with quotations from Gandhi and a longer piece by him about Indian Home Rule; one with political cartoons related to the Cuban Missile Crisis; and one of maps related to the progress of the Korean War. (all of them fit nicely and neatly into the Chapter 38 curriculum on the Cold War). I have six more planned — one of photos from the Vietnam War; one of posters from the Cultural Revolution; one of photos from the age of glasnost and perestroika (amazing that this is all history now, isn’t it?); the Space Race (a photographic timeline of Russian and American space missions); and — somehow — one on Latin America.
So far, these sheets are just two-sided, with some colored words in the text, usually with an overall theme at the top of the first page, a couple of photos on the front, and one or two photos on the back. Ultimately, I think, I want to do some on 8.5″x14″ paper, so that I can fold them over and create four-page layouts, so that they become more like newspapers. Also, I could create them as HTML files and put them on my school-intranet site where kids can access them even if they lose the actual piece of paper.
I can see these worksheets becoming really successful if I can get the formatting right, especially if I finally manage to do a folio-fold 8×14″ page. Such worksheets could present a lot of information, a lot of new/extra pictures they don’t get from their books, and could display ideas that aren’t in the textbook. Three, four or five of these per chapter on some event could go a long way toward comprehension. The Renaissance chapter for example, could have six in section 1 on different Renaissance artists, social and political figures (Leonardo, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, the Renaissance Popes, the Medici); Section 2 could have one on Henry VIII and Francis I at the Field of the Cloth of Gold; Section 3 could have one of Gutenberg and the printing press; section 4 could have El Greco and Cardinal Jiminez; Section 5 could have worksheets on Elizabeth, the Church of England, the Spanish Armada, and William Shakespeare. Thirteen, just for one chapter!
At the moment, I think that I’m only equipped to finish Chapter 38. Ironically, I discover this stuff at the end of the school year, and so I apply it to — of all things — the chapter that I’ve never gotten to before in history class, and may never reach again. It’s possible that all the work I put into the Cold War will never reach the (non-)reading kids in my school again, or at least not for a while.