Saturday, November 30, 2019

Week 15: Last Last Words

So, here it is: the Fall semester is over for me as a student in this class. It was so much fun, and I was tempted to wait and write this last-last-words post on Friday as it is the last-last-day of class... but I know next week is going to be really hectic, so I thought it was better to wrap things up now. Every semester since my dad got sick, I'm never sure at the start of the semester if I will manage to get through it. At the same time, having assignments to do as a student in this class has been such a huge help in staying focused and having goals I actually CAN achieve, ha ha, which is very nice when so many things in my life right now feel pretty out of control. At least when it comes to this class, I can say I am DONE. Yay! Here are all the posts (!), plus some thoughts below about finishing up and looking ahead:

Cheezburger cat says: High five!

Brer Rabbit Storybook. I loved getting to work on Brer Rabbit for class this semester! The focus on the stories about Brer Rabbit and the Witch Rabbit worked out great I think. Narrowing down from the whole Joel Chandler Harris collection of stories into something that works as a Storybook was not an easy choice, but I am really glad with what I chose and how that turned out.

Writing new stories! I wrote seven stories this semester: a Twine nursery rhyme maze (that was so fun!), plus two African stories, two Jamaican stories, and two Brer Rabbit stories (in addition to the four stories in the Storybook). Several of those stories were chain tales, which just makes me remember how much I loved working on chain tales the last time I did the Myth-Folklore class!

Working on the Africa units. I managed to re-read all the Africa units except for the Congo one (and maybe I will do that one over break just to make it feel complete). I added notes to all the stories that didn't have notes, plus I changed the dialect Brer Rabbit and Jamaica stories into standardized spelling to make them easier to read. They are still in dialect, but no more eye-dialect getting in the way.

Tech Tip improvements. Thanks especially to help from Alby, I created a new set of Tech Tips related to "ethical ed tech," and I am going to fold some of those into the Tech Orientation assignment. In particular, I want people to think about their browser and search engine options right from the start of the semester, and also to add a word counter and spellcheck to their browser.

Progress Chart improvements. I am excited about having a new spreadsheet to offer which is more dynamic and useful than the current progress chart. Here's what it looks like for me as I finish up the class:

I felt like I was struggling midway through the semester, and seeing my progress charted this way would have made me feel better about that! I was doing better than I thought, even though I had a rough time of it in October when I was in Austin and missed out on some weeks.

NaNoWriMo. Although it is not directly related to this class, I know I would not have been able to do NaNoWriMo without all the good creative energy I enjoy by reading people's stories all week every week. Plus it was so cool that Cate was also doing NaNoWriMo also! By working on that project, I reconnected with my old interest in Sufi teaching stories, while getting to blend that together with Birbal and other storytelling traditions from India. It was way more fun than I ever imagined, and not really hard at all. I want to do a Brer Rabbit novel next November!

Ready for India. I'll be doing the India class in the Spring, and I've got my reading plan in mind: I am going to focus on the Vana Parva, i.e. the Book of the Forest, when the Pandavas are wandering in exile for twelve years. There is some amazing storytelling that goes on in the book. Since I did a Ramayana focus last time (I read the Thai Ramakien and did a Thai Hanuman project), having a Mahabharata focus is good, and the Vana Parva is big enough to give me reading work to do all semester long. Plus it's a natural for a Storybook project since the Pandavas get to hear stories from lots of different storytellers during that exile. I am SO EXCITED about this, and I already dedicated a bookshelf to the books I will be using for that.

Update: I had such a cool idea! For the Vana Parva, I will focus on the "Riddles at the Lake" as a Storybook project. I can use that story, plus other riddle stories from India, to create an Indian Riddle Book. That will build on my NaNoWriMo project, connect with the Vana Parva, and will be a totally cool way to learn about the riddle tradition in India. I found this super-helpful resource already: Indian Riddles by L. Sternbach.

1 comment:

  1. I really like how you are reflecting on your course and the processes Laura. Thanks for inspiring.


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