29 November 2011

Thanksgiving In 12 Pictures

Illness kept our family home for the holiday. The result was a lot of down-time, with the exception of two great walks with the boys while Mommy rested. Below are a few pictures I took on our explorations.

It's amazing what boys will pick up and treat as treasure.

21 November 2011

Teaching with Energy

Whenever I need a refresher on my motivation to teach, I catch up on reading student letters. It's a Monday and I'm tired. I have emails to catch up on. I have plans to make. I have grades to enter. Yet, for the last twenty minutes or so, I've been answering student letters.

And there it is - this is why I teach.

17 November 2011

Doxology, & Dry Bones, by Gungor

It's only been a few days since I first posted some of Gungor's music, but I just couldn't help myself. The more I listen, the more I'm convinced their music is worthy of the title "fantastic!"

This first one is called "Doxology" - insert your own words or prayer to this one.

Next is "Dry Bones." It has a very Middle-Eastern feel, and at some point I believe they're singing in what sounds like Hebrew to me - but I could be way off! And that keyboard/accordion thing she's playing is amazing.

16 November 2011

Teacher Resource: Science Fiction

Science fiction is one of those genres readers either love or hate. So many good ideas have been ruined in the minds of readers and viewers by badly designed special effects - and now too much is spoon-fed to the viewer by excellent special effects! Therefore, the best place for science fiction is in the mind; the best way to do "special effects" is with the imagination.

(I suppose this is true of most books that are turned into movies, but good science fiction contains so many moral questions, and so many imaginative ideas that it's a shame so few people get into the genre.)

One great example that immediately comes to mind is The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis. Thankfully, at least to my knowledge, these books have not been turned into movies. Characteristically, Lewis takes what is true about our existence, namely what is true about God and humanity, and molds it all into a compelling narrative. Instead of Narnia, the protagonist Ransom travels first to Mars (Out of the Silent Planet), then to Venus (Perelandra); the trilogy closes with the "gods" making an appearance on our own planet (That Hideous Strength).

Whether a fan of Lewis or not, every fan of science fiction needs to pick these books up - all three are a must read in my opinion.

It has been one of my great accomplishments this year (in my mind anyway) that I got one of my seventh graders to start reading Out of the Silent Planet - and he's stuck with it! We'll see, when he writes to me about the book, how much he is comprehending, but the fact that he's trying it is progress.

Speaking of writing about books, I realized it's been awhile since I've shared a resource I'm using in my classes. Below you will find both writing prompts I use for science fiction. Feel free to use them in your classes, or share what you do in your classes!

14 November 2011

New Page: Photography

This post is to announce a new page: Photography. As I mention on the page itself, I'm not a pro. However, I do enjoy taking pictures. So I hope you enjoy looking at them!

The one below was taken in Arizona on our vacation this summer, imagine oppressive heat as you look at it...

My eyelids are burning...

10 November 2011

Beautiful Things, by Gungor

I don't have many words as of late, so this song is going to have to speak for me:

Be encouraged.

04 November 2011

An Open Letter to Marilyn Nelson

Dear Ms. Nelson,

Thank you for writing Carver: A Life in Poems. The voice you achieved was incredible; at times I found myself reading as though the Doctor himself wrote the poems. Of course, he would have been capable. As you revealed so skillfully, Carver was a true Renaissance man.

I'm finding that there's something magical about mixing science, good science mind you (as you and Carver know it), and all that's poetic. I have half a mind to say that's what the Lord, the "Great Creator," had in mind all along; beauty dancing with the naked elements of all that's been made. I have half a mind to say that's how "The Lace-Maker" saw things as well. For (as you know), the man of your book could see a flower for its delicate, passing-away appearance as well as its function. Perhaps, he might say, its function contributed to its beauty as much as the way it glimmered in the moonlight.

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