Edumacation Greatest Hits

Have you ever watched a new episode of your favorite TV show, only to find that it was a compilation of clips (usually “flashbacks”) from old episodes? The Simpsons, my favorite TV show of all time, certainly had its share of clip shows. Since it’s wise to emulate success, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, consider this post (which arrives at the one-year anniversary of this ridiculous blog) an attempt to reach that level of quality. So without further adieu, I give you Edumacation’s Greatest Hits (A Clip Show):

1. Whale Rider Teaching Resources: A collection of links to online and print resources for those who are teaching the novel, The Whale Rider. How ironic that my most popular post is one that I haven’t yet gotten to use myself. In any case, it’s rewarding to share something that a great many people are excited to read and use.

2. Short Story Mentor Texts: A collection of links to short stories that teachers can use as both reading material and as mentor texts for writing workshops. The idea hinged on Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them, which has since inspired a great many posts.

3. Google Lit Trips: My first “huge” post (I couldn’t believe 50 people had visited my blog that week) was an introduction to a great resource that combines literature with the amazing Google Earth – always worth checking out. This was my first foray into sharing the cool tools I’m trying to use.

4. Government and Education: A surprising member of the list – a probably weak summary of the history of the U.S. government’s role in the education system and how it has evolved. I include this in spite of my regret for having written it – in retrospect, it seems like such a waste of time.

5. In Search of Hope: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: The first post I ever wrote that got past 20 visitors (what a huge deal that was). Really it was just a book review I wrote as part of our Reader’s Workshop unit last year. It turned out to be the start of a long, painfully reflective journey.

One observation I had from looking over these posts should have been obvious, but somehow wasn’t: people gravitate towards resources, not opinions. I don’t know if it was the tags, the content, or something else, but every one of these posts was attempting to share resources I had discovered for myself. As I move into Year 2 of Edumacation, the single goal I have for this blog is to provide more resources and less personal opinion and commentary. The way I see it, there’s a lot of good stuff out there that I’ve found – why not share it with people?

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2 responses to “Edumacation Greatest Hits

  • Gene Marcille

    Ken,

    I stumbled upon your site after running a search: Teaching “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”

    Your review matches my initial feelings about this book, which I just finished.

    I’d like to teach this book to my freshmen and juniors, but I am concerned about the smattering of passages a small portion of parents might find objectionable. I’m not new at the business and don’t have much concern for the possible controversy, but I’m curious to know how you dealt with this possibility.

    How did you handle this concern as you taught the book.

    Thanks,

    Gene

  • thehurt

    Gene,
    Thanks for the great question – it’s one I wrestled with for several months after I read the book last year. It was particularly difficult for me, as our department collaborates on a standard 9th grade curriculum (same basic skills/concepts/materials).
    However, as we’ve been restructuring our 9th grade English courses, I was able to successfully advocate for using Alexie’s book in a Reader’s Workshop unit focused on the Hero’s Journey. Not only are we able to include the book, but we also avoid the potential for controversy, because students are allowed to select one book from a number of different options in the unit. By including this book in the unit, it provides an opportunity for students to read the book and, I’m sure, recommend it to their friends. I hope it will prove to be a win-win situation for us.

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