Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Recovering From School

My little over three week vanishing was all due to crazy out of control summer school. I only took two classes, but the summer terms are about 1/3 as long with the same level of work. Project built up on top of project and I often found myself scrambling against deadlines. Even more than normal. After working and then spending several hours every day reading and working on homework, the last thing I wanted to do was spend time writing something else. But now, hopefully, I'll be getting back into the habit of blogging and catching up on things.

My class projects were really varied. I Organized my t-shirt collection, complete with a database with full catalog entries. Wrote an essay on the value of Google Scholar and another on Zines in public libraries. But probably the most time consuming project was the lesson plan for my Information Literacy class.

For Information Literacy we had to work with a College Freshman English teacher and develop a lesson plan for a 75 minute library instruction session. Each class came with a theme and I got to work with a class that focused on horror film criticism. The big project for the students asked them to pick a horror film monster that appears in two different movies----Dracula, the blob, etc.----and write an essay exploring the portrayal of the monster and what it has to say about a particular theme. For example, they could write about two different versions of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, examining the paranoia in both and try to determine the societal cause for that fear. So it really was the perfect match for me.

The professor I worked with was pretty cool. We only communicated over email, but I found that she's big into sci-fi criticism and theories dealing with viral language. As far as the class, she was interested in literary theory applied to films and really wanted to get her students into exploring themes more deeply. So I designed a lesson plan that taught them how to use subject encyclopedias and databases to dig up info on their themes and narrow down their topics----like most college freshman, the ideas the kids have are pretty vague, like Dracula and evil.

To jazz up the session a little bit I worked in searching Youtube for video clips. But I really brought out my inner geek with the props I chose.


Yep, I bought a pile of action figures for the students to fidget with as they researched. That big guy in the back is a giant roaring King Kong, which I found in the discount aisle at Target. The big ape is flanked by a Werewolf, a somewhat gay looking Dracula, a Zombie and a very buff Frankenstein's Monster---all of which I found at a Spencer's Gifts at the local mall. I have no idea what I'll do with these toys now that my class is over, but I'm amused that grad school is giving me the excuse to buy toys.

Anyway, I think I did a good job. The comments I got on my lesson plan were all pretty good, and it was fun putting it on. Info literacy was a good class---both challenging and fun. I hope I find ways to apply some of the education theory in my work after I graduate. But as much I enjoyed, I'm really happy to have the next three weeks or so off from school. I need some time to shift my brain to thinking about other things.

I have a big pile of book reviews to catch up on, so those will be appearing over the next few days. And this weekend I head to Memphis, TN for several days. It's Miss L's hometown, and we're going there to visit her family and friends and possibly eat BBQ. More on that on another day.


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