Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Topic: February

High School Topic

10-second review: I know it can’t happen in this day of spending every available minute preparing for high-stakes tests. But we can all dream. What if we took one week in February—the doldrums month—cancel all classes and do something we want to do?

Title: “February Festival: A Dent in the Doldrums.” Warren Applegate. English Journal (February 1975), 71-73. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “Cancel all classes. Throw out the plan books for a week. Brainstorm the students and the teachers: ‘If you had a week with no classes and total freedom, what kinds of programs would you like to present or see presented?’ What we sought and what we found was a new realm of previously hidden creativity.”

It all had to be planned, of course, and that started well before the February Festival. What were some of the programs?

A math teacher presented a program in cross-country skiing. A student brought n her dogs and presented a program on dog obedience. Another student presented a program on magic. Films, professional speakers, theater groups, bands, ecology, a professional naturalist.

Twelve-page schedule of events. 5 to 7 programs in the morning and 5 to 7 programs in the afternoon. Everyone is free to go where they want, but they must be somewhere. They can’t do nothing.

Comment: Sounds good if the logistics—attendance—can be worked out. Open the community, open he students, open the faculty to do something other than what they teach, etc. I’ll never forget that little girl in the back row who was an indifferent student, but who, I learned later, was a budding country singer. If we tapped the hidden resources of the community, students and faculty, we could have a lot of fun and learn a lot. I’d probably present a program on speed reading. An idea from the past. RayS.

No comments: