Examining “Shindig”

Ah, isn’t it wonderful when you get to watch a TV show in class? Yes, this is what we did in our last Honors English class. Our teacher is truly brilliant. She knows exactly how to make us happy. 😀

But of course, it wouldn’t be a class if all we did was watch TV, so Dr. Woodworth commanded, ordered, requested (with no way of backing out), assigned, whatever, us to analyze certain things about the episode that we watched. We had a list of topics, and our battle plan was to choose certain or one of these topics to analyze in our blog post relating to the episode we watched. And so I begin: saying in introduction that the episode we watched was episode 4, or “Shindig”, from the show Firefly, in case anyone is curious to know of which I speak.

The topic that I decided to analyze relating to “Shindig” specifically and Firefly generally is the idea of the Western aspect of the show. Obviously a great part of the Western feel is the “frontier” of the newly terraformed planets on the outskirts of the galaxies and the Wild West feel of frontier-town-esque colonies. In these frontier colonies we also get bars and taverns that echo the stereotypical taverns and barns of the Old West. With the bars also come bar fights, and the intervention of the town sheriff, which usually results in one or both of the participants being thrown out of the tavern and also out of town. In “Shindig” in particular, there is also a battle over defending a lady’s honor, which seems to be something that would have been brought up often in the Wild West. In “Shindig” we also have the classic fistfight in a bar, and a very interesting touch of a sword duel. The final harkening to the Old West comes at the end of “Shindig” when we get a glimpse of the cargo that the crew fought hard to get, and the cargo turn out to be a bunch of cattle. The cattle also provide a very humorous and enjoyable end to the episode, and, as it happens, hopefully to this blog post.

Well, an almost end. I did want to say more on other topics that had to do with the Firefly episode “Shindig”, but we shall be watching more episodes in my amazingly fun Honors English class, and so, ye shall hear more of my ramblings on topics discussed and the wonderful TV show Firefly. Until then, my dear literarily inclined fellows!!

(And yes, I know that isn’t a word. 😛 It is now! ^_^)

Oh No!!

I’m so sorry!!!!!!! I just realized that today was the first time I’ve posted in a while! I’m really sorry! Tests much? Arrrrrrrgh… But I’m going to try harder. I definitely can’t guarantee that I’ll post more, but I’m gonna try. Ah well. Thanks for sticking with me!! Have fun! 🙂

10-Minute Writing: Brene Brown

Brene Brown, in her TED Talk on vulnerability, comes up with four ways to be a “whole-hearted” person: to not be afraid of being seen as your whole self, to have courage in being yourself, to accept vulnerability, and to feel worthy. Very poignant stuff, no? These are great strategies to try and implement in everyday life.
But my English teacher is having us go deeper. After watching the talk and thinking about vulnerability, she asked us three questions to have us answer in our blog post: What is scary about college? Can education be whole-hearted, just like people? How can we be whole-hearted students?

What is scary about college? For me, as a former homeschooler whose first experience in any kind of school environment is college, nothing is really scary. Okay, yes, I’ve never had to study for a test, so that is a bit strange and a tiny bit worrisome occasionally, but really scary? No. Vampires are scary. Thinking about living on campus in a couple years in college is a bit more scary than tests, because I’m known for procrastination, so I’m afraid that when I live on my own, it will just get worse. But in the whole scheme of life, the universe, and everything, college is one of the least scary things out there. At least homework can’t kill you.

Is it possible to have a whole-hearted education? By all means, yes. Most definitely. My mom tried to teach me and my brother (I am quite astonished that she didn’t lock herself up in an insane asylum after a few years, but I also really appreciate that she didn’t do that), and she dedicated the last 11 years (if not more) almost exclusively to helping us learn. She’s still helping, because I ask her questions if I have trouble with homework. So yes, I believe whole-heartedly (pun intended) that it is possible to have a whole-hearted education. Is it prevalent? No, I think not. But is it possible? By all means.

How can we be whole-hearted students? Put the entirety of your being into learning as much as you can. Okay, no, not all of the entirety of your being. Have a social life, most definitely. But don’t spend so much time having fun that you don’t learn things that can touch you in a way you never would have known, or things that will help you in ways you never imagined. You can definitely learn from your peers, mostly about human behavior and the Internet these days, but don’t discount the experience and knowledge of your teachers.

So yes, all these things are possible. I believe everything, whether humans or education, can be whole-hearted if you try hard and want it enough. But don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, and love with all your heart.

10-minute Writing: Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning Revolution!

Yet another TED video, and yet another Sir Ken Robinson TED video! Hurrah!
This time, we are supposed to relate his “Bring on the learning revolution!” video to us and to our Honors English class. Hum…

This video took on a more serious tone than the first video of his that we watched. He was calling for reform of the education system, but not just reforming the old broken system: creating a whole new education system to help customize learning for all the different kinds of people that populate the world.

Customize education. What does this mean? Does the teacher have to speak to each child in turn, and give each child a different curriculum? Will there even be a curriculum any more? Will there even need to be a school system, or does homeschooling work better? (As a former homeschooled child, I’m sort of biased towards homeschooling. At times it was frustrating, but in truth, I loved it.)

So how does this idea of customizing education fit with this class? As you can probably tell if you’ve been reading any of the assignments for class on my blog, we’re doing quite a diverse set of assignments. In the Explorations project, we are allowed to choose our assignment based on a set of options and guidelines. Is this customized, because we choose what our four assignments will be, or is it still more “traditional” education, because we can choose only from the Explorations in that book? In our Murder project, we get to show our personalities. But in a traditional classroom, even writing a 5-paragraph essay, a bit of your personality can show through. So is showing personality customization, or something that happens no matter the circumstances?

I’m inclined to believe that this English class is very dynamic, organic, and customizable for the 15 of us students that are taking the class. I’m sure my teacher will be pleased by my saying that. But this class is so much like when I was homeschooled, I feel comfortable, at home, in familiar territory, and like I can express myself quite a lot within the loose and flexible guidelines that my teacher has set. It is indeed quite a wonderful class.

10-Minute Writing: Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

Yes, another TED video! I truly do love TED: it’s so beautifully informative, and the speakers are so engaging!!! I highly recommend all the TED videos I’ve seen. But that’s beside the point. The TED video I have just been assigned to write about is called “Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.” He’s right.

One of the things that struck me the most about this video is the fact that I’d heard so many of his points before! My mom has oft repeated that schools undervalue and try to quell creativity. I’ve also heard several times that there are several different kinds of intelligence, not just “book smarts”. An interesting point that Sir Robinson brought up that I hadn’t heard before is that schools are basically just creating more university professors, and not enough actors, artists, musicians, and dancers.

Another very informative point that I’d never considered before is that every education system around the world has the same hierarchy of subjects. Mathematics and languages are at the top, the humanities in the middle, and the arts at the bottom. He also said that there is a sub-hierarchy inside the arts: art and music are valued and taught more highly and more often than theater and dance. Children who are natural dancers are often kinesthetic learners, so they learn by moving, and so are now often diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, when in reality if they were taught in a dance school where moving around during learning was encouraged and dance was taught every day, they would be excellent.

One phrase that I will remember and try to use often is that if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never do anything creative. It is very true. If you are scared to play a piece wrong the first time, how will you ever become proficient at an instrument? If you are afraid of not drawing a face perfectly the first time, how will you ever become an artist?

I believe everyone should watch this video, if only to think about how you thought about education previously. He has some very profound ideas that will make you think very deeply, and he’s not harsh about it. All his ideas are couched in some of the best British droll humor I’ve ever heard. Go watch. 😀

10-minute Writing: Worst Thing From School

What is the worst thing that either 1) I’ve done at school, or 2) that has happened to me while I was in school? The honest truth? Nothing. Oh, I’m sure that if I thought hard enough I could come up with some incident in which my brother hit me or I fell while dancing  or something like that, but my life has been so wonderful thus far that I can’t think of anything! Okay, well, I did get my first F (and then C) on a math test a couple weeks ago, but to be fair, that was the first math test I’ve ever taken that I didn’t administer myself and that I didn’t have the answer key for. Yes. I know what you’re thinking. But it’s true.

I asked my teacher: does it have to be in school during the school year while I was in elementary through high school? I was homeschooled, so this task seemed rather daunting. Was I perpetually in school, or was I never in school? Luckily, she said that it could be from any time during the year for the years that I was schooled. Sounds great, no? Yeah, except for the fact that nothing bad seems to happen to me. Oh yeah, there was that one time when my mom broke my guitar the day before a big audition… But that’s just rather funny now, and I was what, 5? Something like that. I don’t count that incident. So then my teacher said: if nothing bad happened to you in school, how about the six weeks so far that you’ve been in college? Great! I said, except for the fact that I’m absolutely in love with college, and nothing awful has happened so far. My teacher just looked at me… Finally she said, I’m jealous.

So yeah. Nothing bad (or at least, nothing scarring and absolutely traumatizing) has happened to me in school. Yes, there are the two minor incidents aforementioned, but really, in the whole scheme of things, do they really count? I got a new guitar soon after my mom broke my old one, besides the fact that I didn’t particularly like that guitar, so no biggie. And as for my math class, well, that remains to be seen. I’m holding out hope for a potential B on the next test. So nothing hugely devastating has happened to me! I’m not sure whether to feel lucky or disappointed. What absolutely horrendous things have happened to you? I’m truly curious.

Oh yeah: there was that one time… 😀

5 Minute Writing: What We Did Before Class

This morning I sooo did not want to get up. I had read an amazing book for about 2 hours, so I didn’t get to sleep til around 2 am. I had to wake up at 9. I still want to go back to bed. It was so warm…

Once I finally got up, I had to find my pants. My room has degenerated since my first math test, and I’m stunned that I can still find any clothes, so I had to search all over my room before I found them in the laundry room. Once found, I rejoiced, then slunk into the bathroom, still drugged from sleep.

I made my breakfast, then my mom and I left the house. I’m supposed to write about what I noticed on the ride here, but since I can’t drive, I didn’t really notice anything… We got to AUM 10 minutes earlier than usual, so I actually had to wait outside before the door was opened. Amazing! I’m usually late.

Once inside, I think I got maybe 2 more pages of my book in, then the rest of the class began to file in. We were pretty much all here when our lovely leader, Dr. Woodworth, came triumphantly into the class. Hurrah! Class!

And this is what I did before my English class this morning.

This statement was written in my English class.