PDP 150 Section 23 Fall 2006

PLANS Week1  Week2  Week3 Week4 Week5 Week6 Week7 Week8 Week9 Week10 Week11 Week12 Week13n14  Week15

Notetaking and Recitation


12-4-2006 Today was the Final Journey Presentation -- we are all on a journey and we go either mindlessly forward or fully engaged.  As Socrates says, "The unexamined life is not worth living."  An as Browning wrote: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be, the last of life for which the first was made."  Make sure that you have your Service Learning in and your Final Reflective Essay in.  I'll take'em when I get'em.  Slack Right!

11-28-2006 Yesterday we looked at the "feel-good" movement and contrasted it with the idea of a Liberal Arts Education and listened to part of a segment from Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain Tonight in which he dramatizes a segment from Huckleberry Finn -- unfortunately I started the segment a little too late to complete it by the end of class so perhaps we should revisit it.  The issue is an individual's personal responsibility when he comes upon a conflict between what he has been taught and what he personally believes.

THE GREAT DEBATE -- no one wanted to actually do The Great Debate so instead on the Monday before Thanksgiving we settled for watching two Tom and Jerry cartoon features and a segment from Bill Cosby Himself which focused on the stupidity of drinking to get drunk.

11-15-2006 NO CLASS TODAY BUT PARTY AT THE SCHNEIDER'S -- Try to arrive at 6 o'clock sharp.  We're planning to have some goodies and watch "Over the Hedge" on a big screen.  You might want to wonder whether the animals need a PDP class when you've seen the movie? On Friday we'll have to more precisely frame the question of The Great Debate and assign some roles to the participants.

11-13-2006 Party at the Schneider's -- Movie, Popcorn, Conversation, and Fun! MAP TO GET THERE
We talked about THE GREAT DEBATE in class today and the following topics got the most votes:

1. Sexual Equality 8 votes.
2-3. tied at six votes, 6 were Gay Marriage and Legalizing Marijuana
4. Is Bridgewater a Dry Campus? (I mean really?) drew 5 votes
5. Abortion was the last of the top five with 4 votes.

11-10-2006 REFLECTION on Reflection -- handed out the packet for the Draft Reflective Essay due next week and Plan of Week12.

11-6/8-06 We've been reviewing Chesterton's Orthodoxy with a view towards providing a large family of assertions and reflections (Chesterton's reflections) that can serve as the starting point of a student reflective essay on the book.  This is the first time I've asked you to seriously engage a whole book.  I'm expecting that you will engage at least a sub-set of Chesterton's ideas that have interested or possibly infuriated you depending on your outlook and whether or not you agree or disagree with Mr. Chesterton.  As Dale Ahlquist said in the videos -- the one thing you can't do is ignore him.  He is a towering figure in the early twentieth century who has largely been neglected.  I put the slides on Orthodoxy on the R: Drive -- they touch all but the first and the last two chapters of the book.

11-1-006 Heard from Phil Harris and Sal Gadson on their Great Persons (Homer and Ghandi) and listened to Dale Ahlquist on the subject of Chesterton's Orthodoxy.  Finished up with some slides on the second chapter, The Maniac.  Students should be preparing a list of assertions which can be used as discussion TOSSUPs for today's class.

10-30-2006 Collected A Life Well Lived (ALWL) essays.  Wanted to finish off the Great Conversation Day with presentations from Phil Harris and Sal Gadson but as they were not in class that didn't happen.  I also handed out some chocolate since Samantha Pence pointed out that Halloween was the next day and since I had the chocolate I gave the students a shot at it.  Then we listened to Dale Ahlquist's EWTN presentation on Chesterton.  I pointed out that EWTN is a Catholic Cable Network so that references to the Catholic religion were to be expected and that they should feel free to interpret them in a universal Christian context.  The assignment is to do an Inspectional Reading of Orthodoxy and on Wednesday we'll listen to Ahlquist's program on Orthodoxy and discuss the structure of the book.  Some folks are not very Slack Right.  They're not even very Slack Left just late.  My mom used to answer my excuse that "I just didn't get around to it mom!  It's no big thing ..." with, you guessed, a Round Tuit.  Herewith for future use:

10-25-2006 The Great Conversation Day -- Each student present gave a two minute presentation on their Great Person from history.  Each person was presented as a single slide in a powerpoint presentation, usually with the name of the person across the top with his or her dates then I added the name of the student when I put the slide together for the presentation.  Example slides are those shown for Homer , Mark Twain, Franklin Roosevelt and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

10-23-2006 Today we talked about Reflection as a form of a Shewhart Cycle Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) (See Ed Deming) Then I also talked about the dignity of every person.  We should listen to everyone but not always believe what everyone says. Then I talked about "Who Do You Trust?" the fundamental question when we hold most of what we know on authority.  I offered many of Richard Feynman's insights on that topic and then talked about "Two Little Nuns" at the 41st Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia -- The saddest words of the English Language are "What if...?" and "If Only ..." and the alternative is to be committed to living in the present moment and doing the Good as best we know it.  Next time we'll have The Great Conversation presentations, but I'm missing some.  I sent an email to everyone.

10-20-2006 Today we completed the segment on C.S. Lewis and the Screwtape letters by listening to Lewis's Inaugural Address at Cambridge in 1954 "De Descriptione Temporum" as he recorded it later as "The Great Divide."  Next week's Plan, the Plan of Week 9 was handed out.

10-18-2006 Today we listened to a lecture on Priorities and a Screwtape letter.  The key to a Good Life is to exercise your Will and make Good Decisions.  To do that you have to reflect on your Priorities.  So next week you'll be writing your essay on the Hero's Journey -- your Hero's Journey told in the voice of one of your descendents.  See the Plan of Week for Week 9.

10-16-2006 Today we looked at the Hero's Journey a bit more.  We asked "What is a myth?" and answered the question with Tolkien's and Lewis's answer, also Chesterton's, that a myth is the telling of a truth in story form, a truth that is hard to express in any other form and because the truth of a myth is fundamental, it is a story that resonates the human spirit.  "The Screwtape Letters" are about the struggle between good and evil.  We played an audio tape of the introduction and the first Screwtape letter.  The student assignment this week is to write their own "Screwtape letter" giving Wormwood advice on how to tempt them.  I also went over the grading methodology and talked a little about the way George Lucas used myth to make the original Star Wars trilogy such a success.  See THE MAGIC OF MYTH 

10-13-2006 Oooo... Friday the 13th! -- Well we were introduced to C.S. Lewis today and we also met The Great Knock, Lewis's tutor, William Kirkpatrick.  C. S. Lewis is one of my collection of clear thinkers and we are going to be reading his humorous, but serious, book "The Screwtape Letters" about an elder demon in Hell's Foreign Service who is writing letters of counsel to his nephew, a less experienced demon, Wormwood, on his first mission into the field to tempt people.  The upsidedown way that the demons see everything takes some getting used to.  People are patients to be cured of their fixation on God (The Enemy) and instead converted to follow "Our Father Below" -- the Devil or Satan.  You have to get used to this different way of talking about things that Lewis uses to make his point.  I hope everyone has a nice weekend!  Don't forget to read The Screwtape Letters.

The Rogues Gallery: (2 missing -- Louis Sanchez and Matt Paulette) -- Both Shots

10-6-2006 Scheduled visit from Mike Meredith and Suzanne Obenshain to talk about the processes of politics.  Citizenship in the public arena.  You guys could have been more alive.  Questions and thoughtful engagement would have been appreciated.  Oh well -- it seems hard to think near Fall Break.

10-4-2006 We briefly discussion some of Richard Feynman's ideas -- especially about 1) Doubt, 2) Honor, 3) Uniforms, 4) Names, 5) Teaching, and 6) Aspects of God.  Then we went to the Service Learning Fair and the students are supposed to turn in notes on three organizations they talked to and reflect in their Reflective Journals about the kind of service learning they would like to do.  On Friday there are four deliverables due: 1) The Library Mission write-up about your visit with a Reference Librarian, 2) Your Great Person Essay, 3) Your brief notes on the Service Learning folks you talked to, and 4) I'll be picking up your Reflective Journals and handing out the Plan for Week 7.

10-2-2006 Well we flipped the order a little and heard from Richard Feynman today.  On Wednesday we'll be going over to Kline to the Community Service Day -- the idea is to visit with at least three organizations and get questions answered about what they do for class discussion.  On Friday we'll be having Suzanne Obenshain and Mike Meredith coming to visit us and talk about politics and how it works in the Old Dominion.  Don't forget to get your Great Person in and that the essay on your Great Person is due on Friday.

9-29-2006 Today we'll be hearing from Bruce Ames on Carcinogens from the same conference that Michael Crichton spoke at.  We'll also return to Abelard to look at the nature of argument.

9-27-2006 Plan to show the Michael Crichton "States of Fear: Science or Politics?" video in class today.  Plan to take notes and use your reactions in your reflective essay on Th!nk.  We took a couple of pictures of the class using Nichole's camera but the pictures turned out a little dark.  We'll have to try again.

9-25-2006 Well we're into week five.  Where has all the time gone?  This week's essay in on Th!nk and you should also read the essay that was handed out and the fragment from States of Fear.  Next time we hear from Michael Creighton.  We have to think about MOVIE DAY -- what will we watch and when will we watch it?  Don't forget that you have Service Learning Hours to think about for the year -- 10 hours per year.

9-22-2006 Talked about the Ultimate Road Trip -- seemed to get mixed reviews.  Then we went around the room getting examples of assertions that had caught the student's eyes in Part 1 of Th!nk.  Discussion was cut short by the clock.

9-20-2006 Today we're going to start looking at Th!nk -- the assignment was to perform an INSPECTIONAL READING.  I'll have to remember to tell the class the story about the little nuns at the 41st Eucharistic Congress in 1976.  Well I forgot to tell about the little nuns (another time) but we did talk a little about Th!nk -- particularly the issue that there has been a fall off of critical thinking in the U.S. and perhaps around the world.  Why?  Well the author offers quite a few thoughts on the matter. I'm inclined to agree. 

I came from a different, earlier world before TV and before calculators and computers growing up.  I think that has made a huge difference.  There was more time to do things because there were many less distractions.  If you wanted to calculate at all you had to learn how to do it with pencil and paper because there were no calculators -- they didn't show up until basically the early 1970s.  There were some earlier ones.  The first scientific handheld calculator I had was an HP-34? which cost $399.00 -- later I had an HP-80?? which was programmable and cost $799.  Remember these are about 1968 dollars.  I'm probably the last generation you'll meet that actually remembers things like the Lone Ranger on radio (gee that makes me feel old).  I got my first personal computer in 1982 and with two disk drives (floppy disk drives) and a small printer it cost about $4500 and had 64 K of memory.  It was an Apple II.  Today those kind of $$ would get you about two fairly high end machines or as many as six low end ones.  If you had the real value of those dollars you could get a large room full of computers.

9-18-2006 We talked about CONCEPT MAPPING using the Aristotle and Augustine readings as an example.  Students handed in their own "concept maps" of the readings and I'll be handing those back on Wednesday after looking them over.  The current assignment is to do an Inspectional Reading of Th!nk and then read Chapter 1 Analytically.  See the Link at the top of the page for Notetaking and Recitation to see what Analytical Reading is about.

9-15-2006 Essay Adventure #1 is due today.  We'll be talking about that and about a handout by Augustine.  Well we read the Augustine handout -- your task is to create a CONCEPT MAP of the Aristotle and Augustine readings and bring it to class on Monday to turn in.  It shouldn't be too hard.  Concept Maps are simply drawings that use boxes or other graphical elements to stand for ideas and lines to connect the ideas in various ways.  Look at the following Links: Map1 Map2 Map3 and you could Google up a lot more I'm sure.  Check out How to Read a Book.

9-13-2006 Still working on grading the IREs.  Today we will begin by considering the structure of the C.S. Lewis on the Liberal Arts essay and then work on the excerpt from Aristotle -- the goal is to become sensitive to STRUCTURE, ELEMENTS, and CONTINUITY of IDEAS.

9-12-2006 Tomorrow we will meet one of the Three Old Greeks (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) and look at an excerpt from his work.  The Classroom exercise will be to reduce the excerpt to TERMS and the relationships among the terms.  Before we can reflect we must understand.

9-11-2006 The Chicken, Pig, Frog, baby dinosaur, and ladybug all enjoyed meeting you.  The Time management discussion seemed to go fairly well -- don't forget, put your slack right and don't put off your assignments.  It will lower your anxiety level quite a lot.  You will still be very busy, but not so overwhelmingly pressured.  This week's writing assignment is The First Essay Adventure -- you'll be taking three or four more as the semester continues.  Also you should start reading Th!nk! especially Part 1.

9-11-2006 Didn't get the Initial Reflective Essay's graded over the weekend.  Too much other grading and work got in the way.  I'll get that done this week.  This is the first week of doing an Essay Adventure.

9-8-2006 Ultimate Road Trip CONVO will be a requirement.  Reflective Writing (300-500 words)

9-8-2006 Well we had fun today talking about Marva Collins, fishing, eating elephants, personal responsibility, and dividing big problems into little problems.  Puppets came up.  We did the Reading Instrument, but what we didn't really do is 1) Talk about Notes, 2) Talking about the C.S. Lewis on the Liberal Arts essay, and 3) How to write an essay -- so we'll have to talk about those things on Monday.   

These are the results of the reading test conducted in class today.  Interpretation of the results according to past norms suggest that fifth grade students should read at least 150 wpm and average college students should read at 250 wpm.  The scores below suggest that some of your should work on your reading skills. Students may check their reading speed on different types of text HERE and see reading guidelines there.


5 METHODS OF NOTETAKING (Something to think about!)


ASSIGNMENT FOR FRIDAY 9-8-2006 -- Write your Initial Reflective Essay at a length of 800 words or more.  One idea might be to concentrate on putting down about 200 words for each of the four PDP dimensions as you've encountered them in your life so far.

The book that I showed in class today (9/6) is Improving Your Study Skills by Shelley O'Hara, portable edition which is (or at least was when I picked it up) selling at Barnes and Noble for $6.97.  If you're not up on your study skills you might want to get a copy and start a self-improvement program.

ASSIGNMENT FOR WEDNESDAY 9-6-2006 -- Go over the essay C.S. Lewis on Liberal Arts Education and prepare a set of notes which tries to capture the significant meaning of everything in the essay in as short a form as possible.  You can use any notation, bullets, summaries, diagrams, pictures, whatever you like to accomplish this.  It should be no more than a page or two.  You might think of it as something you'd use to explain the lecture to a group of people, sort of your lecture notes.  You'll be turning that in and we'll be talking about notetaking and studying.  See you Wednesday.

For Monday -- Don't forget we're going over to the WRITING CENTER which is in Bowman 310.  We'll be meeting with Alice Trupe and she'll be telling us all about what goes on there.  Then there is your assignment for Wednesday which is

Student's Concerns

8-31-2006 FOCUS The focus of this page is on stuff that's happening. 

8-31-2006 HAPPENING -- One of the things that is happening is the Ultimate Road Trip which is going to be on September 20th at 7:30 P.M. -- You'll probably want to go.  Check it out at Click Here

8-31-2006 TONIGHT the PDP 150 class is scheduled to go to the President's Reception.  We're going to meet in front of the President's House at 8:10 and go in at 8:20 p.m.  I always enjoy President Stone's reception.