Sometimes you just want to give up. Instead, I’ll go transparent and see what ideas, counsels, or commiserations come from sharing.
It’s about the “Visionary Student Blogging” connective writing project.
The problem? Little vision, little connective writing.
It’s partly senioritis, I think. College applications, SAT’s, too many commitments to too many extra-curricular activities (got to have those bullets for the college application, even if they come at the cost of destroying both my learning and my GPA), too many week-long sports trips, too many AP classes that were chosen not for interest but again for careerist reasons.
It’s partly Korean culture: parents sending students to night and weekend schools for SAT prep, AP prep, tutors. Students confusing memorization skills with academic excellence, trained to “be instructed” rather than to “construct” meaning themselves. Having no time to be, reflect, explore, wonder (or having no energy, rather).
And it’s partly my own fault: all the macho posturing of Advanced Placement courses as “college-level, rigorous,” etc – and Wes Fryer‘s etymolological connection, in Shanghai back in September, of “rigor” with “rigid” and “rigor mortis” echoes here – led me to buy in to what now seems a sadistic and pedagogically pathetic imperative to overload AP students with A Mountain Of Homework. I’ve stopped that and changed courses after seeing that Paradise Lost was over most of my seniors’ heads. Instead, I’m now trying to save Milton from being Hated by Association with AP by simply playing the Bard and reciting my favorite parts to them, with full bardic savoring of Milton’s high style, and then gushing explicative about those heights as if I was talking about it on a summer road trip with friends. Call it modeling the Oral Tradition. They’ll be given the wheel for the later books, and expected to do the same. (See Carolyn Foote’s “How Long Does It Have to Be?” post about homework load for more on this, and read Alfie Kohn’s The Truth About Homework for some research data.)
And it’s partly they don’t know how to be writers. They’ve ever only written what teacher tells them in school, by and large.
So. Again, the result: little vision, little effort, little connective writing. Little writing at all. (There are exceptions, blessedly.)
So they’ve pulled me back from Beyond Schooliness into Threatening Teacher mode. I don’t like it. Below is my schooly post to them. Tell me what you would do? Here it is:
You’ve seen the “What Makes a Quality Weblog” guide. It’s the one you used to give feedback on each others’ blogs a few weeks ago. Click here if you need to see it again.
I’ll use it to assess your blogs for two “test” grades – the “Composition” part of this “Literature and Composition” course. Writing schooly essay assignments is only one form of writing (and the least authentic one, at that. You’ll never write literary analyses in the real world).
Connective reading and writing is the other half of your writing development in this class.
This project started on September 18-ish. You just finished your eighth week since starting it. The finish date will be Friday, December 7. That’s 11 weeks of writing you need to show you were doing.
The “Quality Weblog” guide is meant to be just that: your guide. It tells you how to make an A (”mastery” on the guide), a B (”above average”), a C (”average”), or lower.
Biggest factors for your grade: frequency, connectivism (linking to and discussing BLOGS that match your interests), writing quality (titles, ideas, style, voice, presentation – photos, font, links correct, etc), and tags (organization). There should be evidence of “self-directed learning” – call it your chosen, interest- or passion-based research project – in your writings.
So here’s the math, with a bit of generosity*:
If you want an A for these two test grades: by December 7, you should have
- 45 posts; 10 “long-ish”; 22 “connected” (linking to posts you’ve found interesting, but more importantly, discussing WHY you found them interesting); 44 “short-ish”.
- for examples of “longish,” see JoonPyo’s post (good, but not connective at all, so nobody will find it in the real world), Nicole’s post 1 and post 2 (both good AND connective – Nicole seems to “get it” more than most students, and is a real pleasure to read – much more pleasant than her schoolwork), Shim’s post (good, but connects to a website instead of blog, so nobody will visit and form a network relationship). Or for a non-student example, see this post on “Have Fun – Do Good” about “How to Get Someone Other than Your Mom to Read Your Blog” – connective, fun, informative, useful (you don’t need that many links in your “connective” posts – one or two is fine).
- for examples of “short-ish AND connective,” see Jane’s post.
- finally, too many 1- or 2- sentence posts really makes you look lazy Think a paragraph or two.
If you’ve been writing regularly, you’re okay. If not, you’ve got some catching up to do. Or you can aim for a C by using the guide.
Finally: if you still haven’t found feeds to match your interests, I’ll say it one last time: see me and I’ll help. Or don’t, and get what you deserve for not having your act together enough to problem-solve.
Note: I will help you write more by scaling back the Paradise Lost reading load. But you must yourself make the time – key word, make – to write regularly. You won’t go anywhere if you never start, in writing or in life.
*the “generosity,” for those who didn’t do the math, is that I reduced 11 weeks x 5 posts/week = 55 posts to only 45; I also reduced “11 long-ish” to “10″.