Imagine that you don't know how to read. A
healer tells you that you were born with rattlesnake poison in your
blood and this gives you the ability to change, but you don't know
whether to believe her. You go to jail for drug possession. Will you change? Will
you learn to read? To write? If you learn to write, what will you
Describe your Thanksgiving. Start with the details: Who was around your table? What did you eat? Then think back: What were you especially grateful for? As you look back on last week and consider today, what are you grateful for right now?
2. Every good story suggest a question for us readers, and today we will ask it of each other about the next few weeks...
[Thanks Lesley! Thought this posted Friday but it got stuck in Drafts. -dp]
Treat the following like your own personal Mad Libs. Copy and paste the following to a post on your blog [title: MY MAD DREAM OF AN ESSAY]. Fill in the blanks to write your own story. Then answer the prompt at the bottom. Feel free to spoof this, play with a friend or relative, read it out loud at the Thanksgiving table, etc.
Remember that time you ate that spicy [noun] just before you went to bed on the night before the big [event]? Oh, that weird dream you had about the 2016 presidential election. When you woke up you couldn't quite remember the [adjective] details, but after reading "On Self-Reliance" and "A Sound of Thunder" it's all coming back to you now.
The dream started badly. You were in line with your family at a [place] waiting to be sent to [a place you don't want to go]. Everywhere you looked there were posters of president-elect [goofy name], looking like a crazy [animal] who could eat a whole [noun].
Suddenly, there was Ralph Waldo Emerson telling you, "[your favorite quote from his essay]." You realized that you have something to contribute to the world so you decided to [verb]. But it wasn't easy. First you had to put on a fancy [noun] and [noun] and then you had make a [noun] to go back in time to the [public place] so you could convince people to learn about the candidates and the [political issue you care about most].
But right there in the [public place] there was a giant [noun] and it started [verb] ing at everyone. People started to [verb]. You grabbed a [noun] from a nearby [noun] and yelled [something important you have to say]. Everyone stopped and listened, so you kept going.
[Here is where your essay begins.]
Write a speech in which you explain how the choices we make in this moment influence the future. Using at least one example from your life, one example from "On Self-Reliance," and one example from "A Sound of Thunder," tell your audience how our thinking and our actions create our individual sense of self and the society we all share.
[NOTE: since this is a speech, feel free to give it on a video as well and post! In the old days this is the sort of thing we would call "extra credit".]
I was just reading some of your papers and thinking about class when I ran across this video from Miguel Moreno, one of my favorite students. * (*Heh. By now you know my secret. Every one of my students is one of my favorite students. :)
Architecture, design, environment, space... too often people assume that these are purely functions of materials or location. They're not. It's all about people: the stories we tell ourselves and how we interact with each other and the world (however big/small) around us. This is one of the most naturally engaging design documents I've ever seen, partly because it's not contracted or confused with ideas about what it "should" be (Emerson calls this sort of thing genius). Have a look:
According to Ray Bradbury, "It's not going to do any good to land on Mars if we're stupid." This reminded me of Emerson's ideas about travel. Can you connect any idea dots between "On Self-Reliance" and "A Sound of Thunder"? Is Eckels self-reliant, or does he depend on others' ideas to define himself? Would Emerson endorse going back in time to hunt the T-Rex? Why/why not?
2. Discussion continued
3. Essay tomorrow
JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Time Warp" by Richard O'Brien from The Rocky Horror Picture Show*; "Time" by Pink Floyd; "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce]
Think of a moment you'd like to last longer. Or go by quicker. Or that you'd like to revisit in the past. Or go back to long ago. Or see in the future.
2. Discussion: journal and "A Sound of Thunder"
2. Write a vignette in time
*The Rocky Horror Picture Show came out in 1973-- it was a cult classic when I was in high school. Midnight shows with audiences in full costume and makeup, rocking out in the aisles of the theaters. Or so I was told. I was doing my homework. :)
Over the last two weeks we have spent a great deal of time
with Emerson’s “On Self-Reliance.”Some
of us became more self-reliant in the process.As you reflect on Emerson’s words and the
ideas they trigger for you, please answer one of the following three
questions in an essay of no less than 5 paragraphs.Please be sure to support and illustrate your
answer with no fewer than three quotes from Emerson’s work.Title your post EMERSON'S CHILD. I look forward to your thoughts.
How would Emerson view the 2016 Presidential
Election?How would he suggest we move
forward as individuals, as a community, and as a country?
How would Emerson suggest that we learn (in school and elsewhere) in order
to pursue our goals?How would he view
our school and career aspirations?What
would he suggest you do after high school, and how would he suggest that you
prepare for this?
Some of Emerson’s language is deceptively
simple.“Be yourself” and “trust
yourself” may sound easy but you know how hard it is to do these things—especially in a culture that seems to reward
acting the way others want you to act.First
of all, who does Emerson mean by "yourself"? Who are you REALLY when
others aren't looking? What is your true nature? What do you really
think and feel? What are your true needs? What do you really want?
How can you reconcile Emerson’s wisdom and inspiration with what you
have to do every day to survive and get along?
JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Land of Confusion" by Genesis; "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye]
Describe something you count on in your life. This can be a person (a parent will not move your entire household out of state today while you are at school), an assumption about the physical world (the ground beneath you will not give way so that your next step will land you in free fall for eternity), or a social contract (if you attend and stay out of trouble, you will graduate high school and live a life better than your parents').
What is the benefit of depending on our perceptions of people, the world, and society? What happens when our trust in these is shaken?
2. Emerson presentations wrap-up
3. Weekend essay
4. "A Sound of Thunder"
1. Post Emerson presentation notes (title: EMERSON PRESENTATION NOTES DAY4)
2. Write the Emerson essay and post to your blog (title: EMERSON'S CHILD)
3. Read "A Sound of Thunder" and post a response to your blog (title: AN EARTH-SHATTERING FART)
*NOTE ABOUT TODAY'S TUNES: They are not only topical, but
"Land of Confusion" was released in 1986-- when I was a junior in high
school! The music video features then-president Ronald Reagan, a
Republican who was a former movie actor and starred opposite a
chimpanzee in Bedtime for Bonzo. We lived through that. We will live
Election Day. I know. Enough already. But, this is the job of the Citizen in the Democracy. We must choose. And, in a way, choice is the fabric of our life. The choices we make define who we become. What we don't/say and what we don't/do eventually become the patterns and the stories that we identify as our characters and our personalities. This is why Hamlet's "to be or not to be" moment is so important. So: describe an important choice you made in your life. Why did it matter? Did it change things for you? How? Did it give you a sense of who you are? Do you think today's choice matters? Spend some time on this one. Choose.
2. Emerson presentations continued
3. Late résumés accepted (LAST DAY)
Post notes on presentations to your blog (title: EMERSON PRESENTATIONS DAY 2)
Put two hands on your heart. Think about a moment that made you grateful. Click "Pause" on everything else. Wait a couple moments after you think you're done. Then pick up your pen and write. (Did you notice any change in yourself? Does this exercise feel the same as the first time you did it, or do you notice change over time? What is on your mind now?)
2. Your Emerson project: get to work (plan, schedule, list tasks, execute)
1. Describe your project in a post to your blog (title: MY EMERSON)
2. Finish your project and be ready to present it in class on Monday, November 7
3. Please bring your résumés to class on Monday, November 7
Many thanks to Samary for sharing how she takes notes-- this is a great resource for studying Emerson, and it's a great example of how to memorialize and organize our thoughts as we read. Check it out:
JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Oh Well" by Fleetwood Mac; "In One Ear" by Cage the Elephant]
When is it best to speak up and be honest even though you know it's going to piss someone off? When is it best to "go along to get along"? Do you think Emerson would ever recommend following the herd to fit in, even when it goes against your best self or your truest instincts? Why/why not? Explain your answer.
2. Socratic Seminar continued
In a post to your blog, describe what you've learned from "On Self-Reliance" in one paragraph that any ten year-old could understand (title: EMERSON FOR THE YOUNG BUCK)