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By Dr. Heather Harwood, Classics Department Head
Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am not a Luddite. I genuinely like technology. I own a smart phone, a laptop, and an ipad. I have both a Twitter and a Facebook account. I read the New York Times online and love that I can watch the videos that sometimes accompany the stories. I have a Netflix account and I’d be lost without my GPS (literally); I even sometimes Skype with my parents. As an educator, I was an early proponent of using technology to facilitate student learning. In fact, despite its stuffy, antiquated reputation, Classics was one of the first of the Humanities’ disciplines to jump on the technology train, and I have been using it effectively in my classroom for (more…)
Anatomy of a Course: Getting LOST
By John Camp, English Department Head
In September of 2004, commercials ran for a new fall show on ABC called LOST. As a self-ascribed t.v. critic (and an acerbically judgmental one at that), I remember distinctly and succinctly saying to my wife Tara, “That looks stupid.” Interestingly, when Lloyd Braun, then the head of ABC, pitched the idea at a network retreat, virtually all ABC execs had the same reaction that I had. Senior vice president Thom Sherman, however, was intrigued and pursued the idea with Braun and the writer Jeffrey Lieber. Through a few stages of scripting, Braun’s original idea became LOST–driven by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, and eventually Lindelof and Carleton Cuse. In the summer of 2006, friends of mine implored me to watch the show, saying that they knew I, specifically, would love it. So, I borrowed the Season 1 box set, and Tara and I sat down to watch at least the pilot episode. From the initial moment of protagonist Jack’s eye-opening and its inherent symbolism (Eye of Horus, the Mind’s I, gateway to the soul), the mythology intrigued me, and binge-watching, of course, ensued. From those origins, LOST became a literal religion for me as well as the inspiration for what I consider to be the magnus opus of my teaching career, my course “Getting LOST.” (more…)
Getting My Hands Dirtier Than Expected
By Jeanna Cook, Classics Faculty
“What will your students think when you tell them that you spent the summer in the toilet!” Quivering with hoarse laughter, Tony slapped his knee and grinned from underneath the visor of his white construction worker’s helmet. He posed, one foot planted up against the trench wall, one hand on his hip. In his other hand he gingerly twirled his “specialty tool,” the head of an archaeological pick superimposed on the longer handle of a garden tool. He and a fellow volunteer archaeologist at Binchester had designed this tool in the off-season, the perfect instrument for this dirty job.
By Liz McColloch, French Faculty
The End of Homework?
As St. Mark’s anticipates our new schedule for next year, the question has come up repeatedly: How will we manage homework with only three class meetings a week? This question, in combination with our increased focused on collaborative work, has led us to think carefully about evening hours and how our students spend their time outside of class. For me, the answer lies in redeveloping our understanding of homework rather than the further restructuring of our schedule or manipulation of old curricula into a new timeframe. How do we make the most of our time, be it in or out of class? Have we moved beyond the concept of homework as we have traditionally known it? (more…)
By Brady Loomer, Science Faculty
Alternative Assessment and the Art of Exploring
Exploring can be described as the simple act of discovery. In a literature course, a student may explore meanings, interpretations, and characters’ lives. In an art course, a student may explore depth, shadow, and space. In a science course, a student may explore the structure of the atom, cellular structure, or action vs. reaction. All these are important aspects of a student’s education, however there is something still missing in that definition of exploring and discovery. Exploratory Sciences tries to delve into a distinctly human condition, the desire to explore new places. If human beings were not inherently curious about what lies over the next hill we would not be one of the most well adapted and expansive species on the (more…)
By Maggie Nixon, English Faculty
Books Are Better Than People
Or, the more accurate and less eye-catching, Why I Read Books
When I was in first grade, my brother and I got a really cool gift for Christmas. Or for a birthday. Or randomly. I don’t really remember when we got it – but it was really cool. It was a “design your own plate” kit–you drew your designs on a white circular piece of paper, shipped it off to a company, and in a few short weeks, BAM, you had plates with your drawings on them. My brother and I each made two plates. His were the “My Mom is Great” and “Hamerhead Shark” plates. He couldn’t spell yet. The misspellings resulted from me trying to be a teacher. I also made two plates. The first was the “Hawii” plate where I drew a lovely picture of a beach and wrote about the 50th state. Jokingly, my father refers (more…)
By William D’Angelo and Erica Christensen, VI Form
A Cake of Dante’s Inferno!
As the final project for our Independent Study reading and discussing Dante’s Divine Comedy, we baked and constructed a cake that featured the Circles of Dante’s “Inferno.” On the Saturday prior to Prize Day, during the Academic Showcase, we presented the cake. If students or faculty wanted a piece of cake, they needed to read all nine of our descriptions for each specific Circle and write down what Circle they would be in according to Dante. (The cake is designed upside down strictly for balancing purposes!)
The Yellow section (First through Fourth Circles): Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed
The Pink section (Fifth through Seventh Circles): Wrath, Heresy, Violence
The Red section (Eighth and Ninth Circles): Fraud, Treachery
Below are our explanations for each Circle: (more…)
By Anya Harter, VI Form
Civil Rights or “Cis”vil Rights?
Wars have been fought over as much. The right of every person to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is the cornerstone of America’s foundation. The American Dream, in which so many so ardently believe, promises a job and an education for those who work hard and deserve it.
From this same belief originated federal laws regarding discrimination in the workforce. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” While, there is the workforce is not rid of discrimination, victims of this discrimination are protected under law. The reference to sex is even defined as including but not limited to “pregnancy, childbirth, or related
medical conditions” (Title). However, there exists a glaring hole. There is no mention of sexual orientation or gender in the anti-discrimination law. The term “sex” and “gender” are not equivalent. Sex = male and female ( biological differences: chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs); Gender = masculine and feminine (sociological differences: characteristics that a society or culture deem as masculine or feminine) (more…)