Again with the Bullet Points!

Looking back over my blogs so far, I see several tendencies in my response to our class readings:

  1. Mostly, I find myself sounding (and feeling) really enthusiastic about what we have been reading. I know I am less inclined to criticize the books we read in class, and instead I try really hard to find the positives. The only blog that leans toward being negative is my response to Gee’s book, and that list of “points of contention” likely stemmed from my own concern over perpetuating the often-harmful lifestyle that goes with video game addiction (or any addiction for that matter). At the same time, I found merit in the book and made a point to say so at the end of the blog, as if I felt it necessary to end on a positive note. (Pretty typical for me.) Still, I see that I sometimes ignore the aspects that I don’t find particularly helpful or engaging in the books we read, in favor of those that are more helpful and engaging. I suppose this is, in part, my own distaste for students ignoring the positive in the things we read, as well as my own desire to get something out of everything I take the time to read. At the same time, I find myself wishing I leaned toward the more skeptical because the whole positive shmositive thing gets a little old. And here I go again, ending on a positive note (which I just can’t help): I have enjoyed the reading because, for once, the educational gurus whose books we are reading actually seem to propose relevant and useful methodology.
  2. As other bloggers have said before me in this week’s blog, I have also consistently provided anecdotal evidence to explain my take on a particular text and its ideas for the classroom. For example, in week two I discussed the eye-opening observation I had earlier this year that reminded me how important it is to provide students with context prior to handing them a college-level novel to read at home. Likewise, in week three, I shared some of the conversations I had been having with my AP students about the background and experiences each of them brings to a text, as well as the idea that there is no one right way to read Hamlet’s behavior. In week four, I talked about reviewing with students Jeopardy-style and how that kind of engaging lesson “tricks them into learning.” In week five, I went into a long diatribe about my students missing the important use of irony in “The War Works Hard” and my own struggle to defend taking points off missing that sarcasm. Lastly, in week 6, I did not go into any particular anecdote (for once!), but I did comment on how Blau’s ideas coincided with some of my own teaching philosophy. Interestingly, I often use anecdotes to aid my teaching as well as to liven up the learning environment, especially when I am not the only one sharing my relevant anecdotes. Often, anecdotes lead students to make important connections, both with the literature and the teacher as a human being.
  3. I also see myself connecting scattered thoughts with the bullet points or numbering you see in today’s entry. I can’t help it—I like bullet points/numbering way too much. Much like the agenda I put on the board for each class or the way my mind creates its own bulleted lists for everyday life, my blogs so far have reflected my desire to cover a lot of ground all in one blog (or in one class or in one day). The type-A planner, combined with the talker in me, makes a blog a perfect place for me to demonstrate my ability to multi-task (or my inability NOT to multi-task) as well as to jump from one point to the next with the ease of adding yet another bullet point. Who doesn’t love the inherent organization a once-very-jumbled set of notes suddenly takes on when it is suddenly put to bullet points?
  4. Lastly, I always go over the suggested word limit. Here I go again.