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Flipsnacking: Nourishing Food for Thought or Junk Food for the Brain?

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

Anatomy of a Course: Getting LOST

By John Camp, English Department Head 

mrcamp@stmarksschool.org

Twitter: @gettinglostcamp

jack_eye101In 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 aTitle Logo 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

Getting My Hands Dirtier Than Expected

By Jeanna Cook, Classics Faculty

Fig 1 {Figure 1:  Trench 1, 2014 Excavation Season at Binchester (Vinovium), Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK}

“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.

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The End of Homework?

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…)

Alternative Assessment and the Art of Exploring

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…)

Books Are Better Than People

By Maggie Nixon, English Faculty

Books Are Better Than People

Or, the more accurate and less eye-catching, Why I Read Books

Or, Bibliophage

UntitledWhen 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…)