Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Philosophy Books

I've decided to take a risk with my Honors American Literature class and allow them to create their own personal philosophy "books." I use the term "book" loosely here because I'm allowing their philosophies to take whatever form they choose...analytical writing, creative writing, artwork, music, film, etc. The basic expectation is each student needs to start developing his/her own personal statement using the major units we study in class. I want my students to be more active in and passionate about finding personal/philosophical relevance in every work we study. I think this is especially challening in first semester American Literature, where many of the texts seem remote upon first glance. Although a few of my students were daunted at the idea of genuinely creating their own project based on their own philosophy and personal interests, many of them stayed after class to tell me how excited they were about this project. It makes me nervous to let go of the control this way, but I want this project to be their project, not mine, just as I essentially want this class to be their class. Working drafts are coming in on Monday...I'll write more when I see where they're going with this.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


My curiosity was peaked today when our group approached the tracking vs. mainstreaming debate. When I create a post for the group, I'll go into more detail on this, but I'm wondering where the rest of our class stands on this issue. Coming from New York City where almost all students are mainstreamed in public schools, grappling with teaching tracked classes has been a little uncomfortable for me. I feel that some students in my regular classes would benefit from the level of discussion in my Honors classes, and vice versa. I think it's important that students interact with a variety of people--not just those who get straight A's and B's.