Posts Tagged ‘creative’
I just started at a jovial sort of community band, funded by a local university. I had been having plenty of fun, and though I was busy trying to recruit other but better trombone players for it, I had run into little success. This week, the two guys I had recruited flaked out.
In a jovial, faux-exasperated tone of voice, our director asked me where the two of them were. In a jovial, faux-exasperated tone of voice, I answered.
Hell if I know.
Half of the band gasped. Our director sent me an amused but officially disapproving glare. The community-made half of our band laughed upon recognizing either reaction.
I was as shocked at that shock as half of the band was with my language. I come from bands where instructors will cuss out a band if they feel the band would be better motivated by doing so, and that’s the least of my stories.
One director, upon hearing cacophony where there should be ordered dissonance in stacked seconds, said what he heard sounded like an abortion looks.
Saying “hell” is nothing.
More ironically, I consciously don’t cuss — a habit I most definitely did not pick up from my family, and at the same time one I most definitely picked up because of them. My words don’t get saltier than the silly-sounding “douchenozzle,” and that’s just about the only word I take pains not to say around schoolkids.
Yet I made some college freshman blush because I used language I’ve heard on the playground — the elementary school playground — and I don’t think it’s because she’s a flute player. Either way, I don’t think I’ll ever be in her good graces.
Something tells me I would have spared some nerves if only I had remembered that our sponsoring university was founded in 1944. By Mennonites. Freakin’ Mennonites.
I can say freakin’, right?
Throughout the Middle East, many Muslim women wear burqas. It is meant to conceal the woman’s identity, and in the West tends to be seen as a cruel manifestation of a chauvinistic patriarchy, where women are repressed sexually.
Note: I didn’t say that. The West did.
Enter Ms. Bees’ anecdote. To fulfill a broad prompt for an English class, one of Ms. Bees’ students volunteered to wear a burqa for a period of time, and then to write a report about her experiences.
What makes this not your run-of-the-mill-Midwest-girl-wears-a-burqa story is because the teacher reflects on the effect the burqa has on the onlooker.
That’s when I realized that something else was going on in my brain. Maybe it was the religious feeling of the garment, or just the girl’s courage, but I was treating Lisa with an entirely new level of respect and deference.
The sociological impact of a burkha is not, apparently, limited to its native lands. It’s a hardwired response – the cause and effect are not where I thought they were. I couldn’t resist my reaction to Lisa if I’d tried.
Of course, the post laps at the resident burqs-are-a-symbol-of-a-latent-patriarchy Kool-Aid, but this excerpt brings a point of contemplation: However much burqas keep women from expressing themselves — which, perhaps, they don’t — they do, in a sense, confer an “entirely new level of respect and deference.”
Is it time for the West to stop using the burqa as a symbol of repression, or are her albeit pulled-out-of-context comments also out of line?
I’ve decided to teach the bulk of 7th grade medieval and early modern history as a geography class. You heard me: geography. As in maps. I won’t ignore the standards — I’ll throw in a Holy Roman Empire here, a Reformation there — and yet the first few months or so will be purely geography.
… and that will the beginning of my job interview. It might also be the end. I’m required, you see, to demonstrate a 10-minute lesson to an small classroom of administrators.
And before those powers that be throw me out for being one of those insufferable standards ignorers, I will point to the standards. For every culture in the standards for 7th grade history, there’s a geography-related standard. Case in point:
7.2.1: Identify the physical features and describe the climate of the Arabian peninsula, its relationship to surrounding bodies of land and water, and nomadic and sedentary ways of life.
This pattern continues on, and so I feel justified in my example activity. I love how this assignment fit together so perfectly.
I will provide them with borderless physical maps of various regions in the world. Their assignment will be to place a given number of settlements, noting which two would be the largest. After this, they will be asked to estimate where the borders of their country end.
They need to know how geographic features affect human life, and so I provide this on the assignment sheet.
- Rivers and lakes supply food, water, transportation and trade. They can be a natural border between friendly countries, but are ineffective protection between dire enemies. Most major rivers and lakes are marked on your map.
- Coastlines supply food, transportation and trade.
- Plains are ideal for farming food, but are less useful the farther away they are from rivers. While they do not protect you, they do make trade easier.
- Deserts are too dry to sustain settlements, though nomads can live there.
- Mountain ranges are often natural barriers, separating you from other countries.
- For our purposes, seas are natural barriers.
There are also rules.
- The bigger your country, the harder it is to control it.
- Deserts and mountain ranges will produce very little food.
- You need fresh water. You will need lots of fresh water. (Hint: Oceans and seas do not provide fresh water.)
- Natural barriers (oceans, seas, rivers, mountain ranges, deserts) generally separate languages and cultures.
- For the purposes of our activity, your land area must be contiguous.
For modern world history and U.S. history, I would do a similar thing with tactics for my unit on wars. Always have the high ground; try to outflank your opponent; you need air cover.
If any of my 7th graders don’t know, for example, what “contiguous” means, they’ll put it on the Word Wall.
That’s my lesson for the administrators. Wish me luck.