Monday, June 25, 2018

Summer School Session 1

It's the third week (for me, really the second week) of the first session of summer school.  I think I've been teaching at the ALC in the summers since 2003.  I think I've been teaching both summer sessions since 2006 or so.

I love summer school because it's the only time I ever get to teach electives.  And this summer I've got a dream schedule -

First session -

Science Fiction (one of my all-time favorite classes to teach) -

Though I had to miss the first week of the session because of the choir trip, Mrs. Leake had to introduce the first theme of science fiction "What is Out There?  Alien Life."  We explore the different types of alien invasions.  Authors and directors explore this in several ways.  One, the blow it all up method (think the Fifth Wave or Independence Day).   Then there is the subtle alien invasion method (think of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Thing).  In rare cases, the aliens come in peace to help us.  I also explore this type of alien invasions - what if we are the aliens?  Or what if they've been here all along?  Which is why we start out watching Ancient Aliens and Stargate, which I had to miss, along with the great short story "They're Made out of Meat."  But I did get to show the class the classic Twilight Zone episode of "To Serve Man."  Then we explored The Thing and the classic Alien.

Now we are exploring the second theme prominent in science fiction: the dangers of technology.  We do this through the story "Clean up Your Room" and "The Sound of Thunder" and the films Terminator 2 and The Island.  And maybe I, Robot, if we have time.

MN Authors -

Mrs. Leake was able to read most of Winterkill, by Gary Paulson, while I was gone.  But I was able to return in time to read the last few chapters with the class.  I was also able to fill them in on the how the novel is based on a real murder that occurred in TRF and how the book isn't available any longer due to a law suit against Paulson.

After Winterkill, I wanted to do Will Weaver's Claws, but I left my copy of it on the bus that we used on the choir trip.  So I had to use Mary Cassanova's Curse of a Winter Moon instead, which is a great read on its own.

Creative writing -

Mrs. Leake did a great job working the class through their unit of fiction.  After that, I led the class through a unit on creative non-fiction. And we will end up with some poetry.

On top of this, my students are just as enjoyable as the classes.  This hasn't always been the case, but for the first session it certainly is true.  My students - for the most part - are all focused on getting their work in and earning their credits.

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