Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Vacation Reading List

I'm going to try something a bit different this vacation. Usually, I have books and articles stacked all set to read over vacation. Fret not, that hasn't changed. I like the anticipation of reading a good book almost as much as the actual reading. This vacation will be a bit different. There are a couple of books on my list that I would never have selected. They don't fit my reading profile. However, I'm willing to skate beyond the "Danger: Thin Ice" sign and read something out of my interest area.

Read Number One: Twilight. I'm not one to jump into the media, over-hype pool. So often, more is not better, it's just more. Combine that with my disdain for science fiction and fantasy genre, and you can see why I would not normally pick up Twilight. Oh, and add the adolescent female frenzy and I really have no reason to read any book in this series. However, one young student, Brandon Brodowsky, urged me to read beyond the picket fence of my interests. Still, I resisted. "Mr. Brandt, I'm reading it and it's not my interest either but I'm fascinated with the hype."
Still, I resisted.
"Mr. Brandt you make us read stuff we don't want to read all the time: Hamlet, Macbeth, The Scarlet Letter and don't ever forget you forced "The Open Boat" on us. Naturalism, doesn't matter. That book was horribad."

I felt my icy resistance melting.

"Alright, I'll give it a read and provide a post-Christmas review."

The next book on my I-would-not-read-this-book-on-my-own list is The Shack. If you know anything about me you would understand why I would not read this book. One, let's return to the media, over-hype. It's really not the media but The Shack reading has been quite contagious in Macomb County. I love a metaphor as well as anyone. However, I like my readings on and about Christ to be metaphor free. Why fuzz the Gospel with man's literary confusion? Why fuzz the power of our Almighty God with vague allusions open to misinterpretation? Why confuse the Holy Spirit with human attributes? I"ve heard plenty about the book to know it's not for me. However, someone suggested I give it a read.

Shortly after that suggestion I researched some reviews and responses to The Shack and this confirmed my concerns. I listened to this Issues Etc. broadcast discussing The Shack. I also read two articles that articulated interesting points: article one and article two. This information was very helpful. Reading the book after reading the reactions will help me evaluate The Shack. I'll proffer my insights during Christmas vacation.

Normally I look forward to drinking good coffee while reading a good book in the quiet morning hours of vacation. The coffee will still be delicious. Forgive the redundancy of that last sentence. The books will be interesting and provide me with future blog fodder.

Here are some reads that I am anticipating with great fervor.

English Journal is published by the National Council of Teachers of English. The last issue focused on homework and the diverse approaches and discussions surround it. Does homework foster learning or learning the system of education. The difference is monumental. Does homework assess critical thinking? Should it? Ahhhhhh, this will be a two-cup read.

Educational Leadership is a periodical published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The last two issues contain riveting discussions and studies. The November issue: Giving Students Ownership of Learning proffers great applications. So often we talk about developing critical thinkers in our classrooms but give students few opportunities to think critically.

The most recent issue of EL focuses on data. We are immersed in a data-driven world and education is no different. We strive for data. Well, what do educators do with the data that helps foster critical thinking, authentic assessment and academic growth? We cry for data. Now what do we do with it? This will require hazelnut, no cream, no sugar.

Merry CHRISTmas. Happy reading


Jordan Buuck said...

Interesting, the Twilight series was on mine as well. I finished the first two and am halfway through the third. They are definitely a little far-fetched, but look beyond the story and fully appreciate the diction and description she uses to tell her tale.
Also, I had never heard of The Shack before but when I was in the airport flying back to Las Vegas I noticed a lady reading it as we waited for the plane. She seemed very intrigued with it. Enjoy!

JBrandt said...

Jordan, I hope the weather is warmer where you are than in The Clem. We were hammered with 12 inches of snow. Nice. Aaron enjoyed shoveling the driveway. Merry Christmas

Aaron Brandt said...

7 inches total. Apparently "The Truth" portion of this blog's title refers to the liberal media lies that we are all subject to on a daily basis. 7 inches.

JBrandt said...

You know you still have two weeks of life in The Clem. Clarifying your father's blog comments and your poignant barbs aimed at this blog's title will not put more presents under the three.

Jordan Buuck said...

Haha, weather hasn't been too bad here, 40's and low 50's, but luckily no snow. Merry Christmas to your whole family!