Boundaries, Wikipedia, great music, and five minutes to tell it all

by Mr. Sheehy

Five minutes before class, can I type out five things to share today?

1. I was worried about my 9th graders’ reaction when I told them their topics for their research papers had to fit within certain topical boundaries (South Dakota, animals, or environmental topics). Within minutes, they were all excited about the local topics, eager to study Wounded Knee and Calamity Jane. I’m excited to see how much they’ll learn as they find plenty of resources. I need to remember that the boundaries are not inherently bad – that when we apply them to children’s environments, it often gives them an opportunity to flourish.

There are times in my own life – especially back in high school – when I could have used that kind of authoritative boundary (that’s not to say, Mom, that you made mistakes. Just that I know for sure – for example – that it would have been a better decision for me to have attended the St. Paul’s summer academy program to which I’d been accepted rather than spend the summer working. Mr. B advised me to attend and I didn’t – he obviously had the better perspective on it).

2. I finally created the video I’d conceived of to explain one way to use Wikipedia wisely. It’s called “Analogy of Wise Wikipedia Use” and it stars me and Ellen. Ellen makes me look good, don’t you think?

3. My juniors just finished Flannery O’Connor and are about to jump into Jack London. How do these two fit together? When you understand their world views, you are able to understand their stories. If you don’t know their world views, then you likely will not be able to make sense out of their stories.

4. My brother sent me some music this week, and I feel like I’m in college again – in the loop with music I love. Check out Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack to “Into the Wild” and a group called The Guggenheim Grotto, as well as Ryan Adams’s latest album. I’m loving them and my iPod has not stopped shuffling and moving for the last three days.

5. I love my family. The Trooper I was borrowing today overheated on the way to work and I had to park a few blocks from school and walk the rest of the way (I was late – three minutes before the 8:00 bell). How did I handle this? I called my father-in-law for help and within one planning period he had it fixed and parked in my school’s parking lot. What a generous man, and what a wonderful family. Thanks!

That’s more than five minutes, but I’m not late for class yet. Talk to you later.

Thanks for reading.