Dear Geography Family:
After William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury was published, he was interviewed by a reporter from the New York Times. The reporter asked, “Mr. Faulkner, many of our readers report that they really don’t understand your book, even after reading it two or three times. Do you have any suggestions for them?” Faulkner thought for a moment, and then drily replied, “Read it a fourth time.”
I had hoped to move on by now, but ethically I can’t. The Power of Place is the most highly regarded, contemporary work in the field of Geography. If it was worth your student’s time at all, it’s worth doing right. If we abandon it now, your student will lose the benefit of the labor they have put in to it so far. I am convinced of its value to your child with regard to the state mandated testing, their college preparation and their citizenship on the planet.
I haven’t abandoned them in their struggle, as Mr. Faulkner did to his readers. There is value in Faulkner’s comment though. When we see a child struggle, it is tempting to ease the burden, to lower the stress, to give it to them. That would be a disservice to a child. Maybe reading it “a fourth time” is just what they need to gain the genuine feeling that comes from mastering a difficult task, a feeling that might motivate them to even greater accomplishments.
If your student is following my directions, they are taking time this weekend to cull from the two tests they have taken so far the key concepts, the topics, from each question. In this way they can learn to separate the “important stuff” from the sea of words. In order to help with that, I’ve done the same thing. My list is posted on the forum “What works” on the class website. If your student is not satisfied by their learning so far, and the grade that reflects it, ask if they have used the resources available on the “Geographic Destiny” page of the website. It’s clear to me that many have not. If your student does this work, I am convinced their learning will improve dramatically. We’ll find out together early next week! I do not have a student email distribution list yet, so please forward this message to your child if possible.
On another note, in the critical realm of staying organized, your child should have three folders intact for the class, they are; “Geographic Destiny” which includes The Power of Place materials; “Identity and Membership”; and “Boot Camp” which will be filling up in the coming weeks, but should include now a copy of Blooms Taxonomy (of cognitive processes). Boot camp is all about learning how to learn, now that he or she knows growth is needed in this area. That folder should also contain his or her hurricane tracking chart and log. This is a summative test grade that should be fairly straightforward and simple to accomplish, provided it’s there!
I’ll keep you posted and we move forward.