“Pur Spellrs of the World Unyte!” This might have well have been written by students in my Kid’s Class (Reading Improvement) this past week as we finished the course “except for the shouting” (as my Grandmother used to say when it was all over… ).This week’s session will be an hour only, with every activity a race, a tournament, or a competition, with plenty of prizes for all. We will crank up the course again March 9th for a seven week run (taking the week of Spring Break off) before public school ends. So many kids today are shipped off to relatives or to “the other” parent for the summer, that I’m not sure any of the graduates from either RI I session could attend a RI II session during the summer. Summer plans will just have to wait for that–summer!
In the meantime…
What I have finished this past week: A delightful, oftentimes hilarious, fast-paced novel, Small Admissions,which was originally a play, and was my “just for fun” reading for the week. I will review it soon; and Lab Girl (reviewed yesterday) a read I would recommend to anyone who appreciates a good story, excellent writing and an outstanding memoir.
I am continuing to read: Racing in the Rain, which I had to put aside to read library books that were due and The Lowland, a story of India which I am also eager to get back to.
I have also begun Girl in Translation, a coming-to-America story, which I started because the two books mentioned above were in the other room, and I was too lazy (and feet hurt too bad) to walk in there and get one of them.
This week in my Advanced Writing class we begin discussing argumentative writing: What makes an argument? What are credible sources? How does plagiarism happen? How do I prevent procrastination when it comes to starting the argumentative researched paper that is due after Spring Break? Hopefully many will begin their final papers over Spring Break and not leave their tasks until the push after mid-term, for the paper will be written outside of class, and several other written assignments (not counting their blog postings) will have to be done simultaneously with the final paper. Learning time management is something these natural multi-takers must take on. One can hope…Never give up hope!
In light of beginning to talk about argument I hope to pass on these “jewels” to my students: Please argue in a way that will NOT cause me to say, “Don’t make any more points; I’ve made up my mind already.” It is good to SEE both sides of an issue, it’s good to see merits in both sides, but an good essay will TAKE a side and argue it, explaining why the “other side” is just WRONG. I have actually received argument papers that gave both sides and ended with, “What do YOU think?” Also, be receptive to constructive criticism. Don’t tell me, “I like criticism ; just keep it positive and flattering.” Finally, if you face failure on the rough draft, don’t take the childish attitude, “If at first you don’t succeed…go play!” Instead, look in the wastebasket, salvage what’s usable and try, try again–maybe from scratch.
It promises to be an interesting week, and I will probably have the need for some “escape reading.”