Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lookin' for Fun and Feelin' Groovy

I just spent 2 full days at a teacher class for relicensure. I can hear the chorus of cyber groans coming at me from across the country. Rest assured, I did NOT have to think about Differentiated Instruction, multiple intelligences, NCLB, standards, benchmarks, National Standards, common curriculum, literacy, "strategies", accountability, PLCs, test scores, Instruction by Design or ANY such educational bullshit jargon. Really! I sat from 8-12 and then 1-4 with rapt attention- for 2 days! I did NOT tally how many times my instructor or other participants used a particular educationalese jargon word, nor did I doodle excessively in the margins of the notebook I brought or come up with snarky nicknames for the other people in the class. I did not do a crossword puzzle, make a grocery list, paint my nails, write letters (who does that anymore, anyway?), plan my week, clean out my purse, nap, or correct people's grammar. There were no ice-breakers.

For those of you who know me, you may be wondering if I have recently suffered a blow to the head, rendering me somewhat dull-witted and newly compliant. You may wonder if I've had a sudden brush with death, experienced a great loss in my life. You may wonder if I'm smoking crack.

Believe it or not, none of the above applies to me. I actually got to take a class that was interesting to me, that held my attention, that was enjoyable!

I got to take a class that was dedicated entirely to...."Simon and Garfunkel, the poet musicians of folk rock". Now, you may call yourself a fan of these guys, but I listened to their albums over, and over, and over again all through college. I am bordering on Uber-Fan. Something about the lyrics just really spoke to me- especially some of the lesser-known songs. Some of the lyrics can still invoke an emotional reaction from me- "Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a park bench quietly? How terribly strange to be seventy." I love that song ("Old Friends"-from the album "Bookends"). Mr T and I frequently sing "America" when we are on road trips, as well as "Keep the Customer Satisfied" . Great, great songs.

In the class we talked about recurring themes in Simon's lyrics, about how Art arranged the vocals so brilliantly, about political and social issues that were topical at the time of each album's issue. We compared songs, we compared the lyrics of "Somewhere they Can't Find Me" with those of "Wednesday Morning 3 am"; the song "Richard Cory" with the poem of the same name.

I have to write a 2 page reaction paper OR submit a lesson plan in order to get credit, but that's really it. I would feel slightly guilty about taking such a great class were it not for all of the duds I've taken over the last few years.

I am planning on taking what I learned in this class and somehow applying it to my Spanish classes- taking popular music in Spanish and analyzing its poetry, its meter, rhyme, social impact, etc.

P.S. 2 days 'til Harry Potter!!!!!


Blogger MsAbcMom said...

What a fun class!

Do you know that we in CA no longer have to do professional development hours after we have cleared our credentials? We just have to submit paperwork and pay our money. I am not so sure how I feel about that.

7/19/2007 8:31 AM  
Blogger Adeline said...

i think a teacher has to have some sort of crazy magic, like all the kids are in love with the teacher for music to work sometimes. i had luck with shakira in high school though, the span 1 kids loved it, but it wasn't such a thing to really make a big deal about...its a shame, music can be so powerful.

i continually walk around thinking "soooo long, frank lloyd wright"

7/24/2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger Bellezza said...

Oh, that would be so fun! It's great to get away from education-ese, isn't it?

7/26/2007 8:32 AM  

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