Woodcarving: Out in the forest

I’ve spent the past couple of days just going through all the resources I’ve accumulated, along with the random notes I’ve been taking sporadically for the past two months since I found out I was teaching this class. I’m in the middle of the messy part, like the woodcarver is when he enters the forest to find the right tree.

I think I now know what I’m looking for.  Last night, I jotted down a draft of what I imagine will be the introduction to my syllabus:

The goal of this class is simple: to increase your power. In order to do so, we’ll focus on empowering you in two main ways:

  1. Developing your critical abilities to find, process, assess, and respond to the many forms of information we encounter in our daily lives, as well as this information’s influence on who you think you are and what you think you want.
  2. Increasing your knowledge of how to get what you want politically and economically, in both the short and long terms. This, of course, involves a level of understanding of how our community, city, state, country, and world work politically and economically. Most importantly though, I aim to convince you that you can exert influence on all these levels of your personal world.

The clarity of those goals stand in complete opposition to the wonderful chaos of what I’ve accumulated:

Now, it’s time to start prioritizing, organizing, and trying to figure out the units I hope to teach.  Simultaneously, I’ll be thinking about the major skill objectives for the course, particularly thinking about the performance standards that will be assessed throughout the course, since it will be assessed using Standards Based Grading.   This is the fun part for me :).

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2 thoughts on “Woodcarving: Out in the forest

  1. Steve:

    Your two clear goals look awesome, and I’m sure it’s going to be a highly engaging, successful course for both you and your students.

    Thanks for the hyperlink to the poem, too, by the way. I don’t think I’ve ever read it before.

    If you’d like to explore a more direct (less metaphorical) linking of “mindfulness” and education, I recommend you check out my friend Susan Dreyer-Leon’s blog:


    Good luck with the new school year!


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