“[A] piece of literature may be more appropriately compared with a living organism than with a mechanism. As Plato says in one of his dialogues, ‘You will allow that every discourse ought to be constructed like a living organism, having its own body and head and feet; it must have middle and extremities, drawn in a manner agreeable to one another and to the whole.’ A vital order permeates a good poem, short story, or drama, and to a large extent a piece of expository art intended to be primarily ‘useful’ rather than ‘fine.’ “ (p. 105, Writing and Thinking by Norman Foerster and J.M. Steadman, Jr., Houghton Mifflin Company, (c) 1931 Foerster and Steadman.)
June 30, 2009
“Naturally, we begin by thinking, by asking ourselves questions and endeavoring to answer them.” (p. 101, Writing and Thinking by Norman Foerster and J.M. Steadman, Jr., Houghton Mifflin Company, (c) 1931 Foerster and Steadman.)
“Caesar was merciful, Scipio was continent, Hannibal was patient; but it was reserved for Washington to blend them all in one, and, like the lovely masterpiece of the Grecian artist, to exhibit in one glow of associated beauty, the pride of every model, and the perfection of every artist.” (From Lyman Beecher’s “The Memory of Our Fathers” in McGuffey’s Rhetorical Guide, or Fifth Reader (1844), p. 291. (As quoted in “Literacy and Orality in Our Times” by Walter J. Ong, S.J.).)
June 29, 2009
Schoolhouse Rock made a good little video on early U.S. history. The guy who posted the video said it is:
The history of the Pilgrim’s 1620 landing of the Mayflower (Dec 11/21 depending on your calendar) and the American colonies break from English King George 3rd’s rule.
“We should be careful to get out of an experience all the wisdom that is in it – not like the cat that sits on a hot stovelid. She will never sit down on a hot lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” –Mark Twain (I have not found a citation for this quote, though, so it could be by anyone, as far as I know.)
June 27, 2009
“Take Me Home Country Roads” performed by Olivia Newton-John. That look in her eyes and on her face when the camera pans in on her is perfect for the song. She looks really good for this song and video (from 1972). Unfortunately, the audio and video do not track, which is quite annoying.
The song is loved around the world — Olivia performed it in Japan in 1976.
Someone named Lisa Ono did a version of the song, too, in a nice video.
And John Denver did the song with Kohsetsu Minami in 1983. I like that Oriental lilt to his voice.
There’s even a line dance to it!! The song is sung by the Hermes House Band, and sounds quite different from Ms. Newton-John’s and John Denver’s versions. The Band even has a silly, goofy video of “Country Roads”.
June 26, 2009
TruthOrFiction.com has listed this eRumor as unproven, even though there is a source for it and we have obtained an actual copy of the exam. There has not been sufficient proof given, in our view, that the exam is what is claimed.
Rather than being for eighth graders, there are several aspects of the exam that raise the question as to whether it was intended for adults, perhaps newly graduated teachers or teacher applicants.
The eRumor says the exam is from the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society in Salina, Kansas, and was published in the Salina Journal newspaper. That is true. Shirley Tower, the volunteer librarian for the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society, found the exam and posted it on their website in 1996 and the Salina Journal’s article appeared the same year. The exam started circulating on the Internet and became the subject of numerous newspaper articles including in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.
There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the exam, but there are questions about for whom it was intended.
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Snopes.com disucsses the Salinas “final,” and quotes an exam for prospective teachers in Ohio in the 1870s and some discussion by the test maker of how poorly some did.
From an email that has gone around some for years, your assignment for the weekend:
A good history curriculum for homeschoolers or parents wanting to add to their child’s public or private education (watch the video showing what the student Theo learned!) is Scott Powell’s History At Our House program. Mr. Powell says:
This program, the first of its kind anywhere, is the only history curriculum in the world that provides a fully-integrated presentation of the past, in a logically-ordered sequence progressing from 2nd to 12th grade. Students will move from the “Romance of History” to a basic understanding of its outlines, to an abstract, periodized understanding of its totality, culminating in a penetrating perspective of the ideas that have moved history.
An adult client of Mr Powell’s supports this claim:
I consider myself fairly well-versed in history. I had books by Thucydides, Daniel Boorstin, Charles van Doren, John Herman Randall Jr., Alexis de Tocqueville, David Halberstam, Gerhard Weinberg, John Keegan and Victor Davis Hanson on my bookshelf years before I ever heard of Scott Powell and his First History for Adults.
Although my grasp of American history was pretty good going in, it’s even better coming out. Scott’s periodization techniques let me take a bunch of historical facts and integrate them together into a multi-layered narrative flow. This not only makes it easier to retain the facts themselves, it provides a context for judging their significance. Which events are critical turning points, and which are simply the playing out of decisions already made? (The answers may surprise you; they did me.) The final periodization, in which the overall course of American history is boiled down into an essentialized flow-chart that fits on a single sheet of paper, is ingenious on so many levels that words fail me.
Before taking the course, I knew the facts of history. Now I know how to watch those facts live and breathe, and breed new facts as the story of history progresses.
You can find out more about Mr. Powell’s history program at HistoryAtOurHouse.com.