There is a story I sometimes tell on the first day of class and it goes like this:
When I moved to New Mexico, I moved here to be a writer. I used to work a high paying job in the San Francisco Bay Area, and though the money was good, I wanted to write novels, not sales reports, and I worried that the creative part of my brain was becoming stymied. I was losing track of words. Quitting that job and returning to the life of a broke student wasn’t easy, but it was everything to me. I wanted to never lose track of what it meant to be an artist again. Therefore, after moving to New Mexico, I decided to give myself a permanent reminder of this choice. I went to get a tattoo.
The image I chose is one that all New Mexicans are familiar with. According to State Symbols USA, the Zia symbol came from the “Zia Indians of New Mexico” who “regard[ed] the Sun as sacred.” It symbolized,
the four points of the compass (east, west, north, and south);
the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter);
the four periods of each day (morning, noon, evening, and night);
the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle years, and old age);
I connected with this idea of stages having gone through a change in “stage” myself. I loved the reminder of balance. I also knew that if I put this thing on my arm–visible for all to see–I would have to consider it every time I went on a job interview. It would remind me: you are a writer. It would make me question: does this job allow you to be a writer?
And then,with the ink still bleeding, I wandered the streets of Albuquerque proudly…that is, until someone asked me, “So, what part of New Mexico are you from?”
And what I realized–and this is the lesson for my students–is that I had taken a lot of time to think of all the details–what the symbol meant, where it came from, what it meant to me–but I’d forgotten the big picture–that this symbol, above all things, is a symbol for New Mexico (its on the flag!!). In short, to use the cliche, sometimes, I am so focused on the trees that I forget to describe the forest.
Today, I had yet another reminder. With the first blog posts due to the group sites tomorrow, a number of students have come by office to discuss their first blog posts. In a very short time frame it became extremely clear, that while I had talked about WHAT a response blog post was and modeled how one might go about writing a response, I had NOT (how did I not?) give them examples of blog posts to read! Yikes!
And so, here is this post, an attempt to rectify the situation. Want some examples of how one might go about a response? Here are a few ideas:
…that provide a summary of an article or study– Blog Post Summarizing and presenting information.
- “Dogs Recognize Familiar Human Faces in Eye Tracking Experiment”
- “The Body Map of Emotions: Happiness Activates the Whole Body”
- “Ouija Board Neuromarketting” (presents a study, uses videos embedded into blog)
- “The Positive Affirmation Flipbook” (uses personal experience and relation to a positive affirmation study)
…that respond to the contemporary world – Blog Commentaries that make an argument/evaluation about something seen
…that tells a personal story about a struggle with a disorder:
- “Separation Anxiety” (about daughter with Autism)
- “How Stress Affects the Body” (about hiking and anxiety and uses research to talk about affects of Stress on the body)
- “Positive Affirmation Flip Book”
…that presents a video very quickly (in our case, we need to summarize and develop a response, but are good quick examples):
- “How Schools Kill Creativity” (presents Ken Robinson’s TED Talk)
- “What it’s like to Live with Autism” (presents a YouTube Video)
For those who needed the extra insight, I hope these links help. I also permanently linked them to the class site for future reference.