Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Monday, April 11, 2011

For anyone fascinated by the moon....

In one of my unforgettable Teaching and Learning classes with Professor Eleanor Duckworth at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2006-07, we had to observe the moon each night -- what it did, what it looked like, how it made us feel, etc. I have to admit. At first, I was skeptical about this. What could I possibly learn about the moon that I didn't already know? How could I make any real scientific observations as an English and education major who was intimidated by science on the whole? Within a few weeks, I was a true believer. My doubts were transformed into the beginnings of a memorable journey into the moon's orbits, shapes, colors, and sizes that allowed me to reflect on my most inner wishes and global perspectives of the world.

It is no surprise that I, along with countless former students of Eleanor's, continue to be fascinated by and enamored with the moon. I often find myself studying it at night and thinking back to all the treasured lessons on teaching, learning, and myself I gained in Eleanor's classes.

Recently, a former peer informed us of an excellent book available that discusses one person's global quest for moonlight and the inspiring discoveries that result. It is a definite must-read for anyone fascinated by that beautiful night compass that has inspired, guided, and aided millions over the course of history. Enjoy!



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Listen to the author read a chapter from the book.
320 pages | 6 halftones | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2011
“Nobody who has not taken one can imagine the beauty of a walk through Rome by full moon,” wrote Goethe in 1787. Sadly, the imagination is all we have today: in Rome, as in every other modern city, moonlight has been banished, replaced by the twenty-four-hour glow of streetlights in a world that never sleeps. Moonlight, for most of us, is no more.

So James Attlee set out to find it. Nocturne is the record of that journey, a traveler’s tale that takes readers on a dazzling nighttime trek that ranges across continents, from prehistory to the present, and through both the physical world and the realms of art and literature. Attlee attends a Buddhist full-moon ceremony in Japan, meets a moon jellyfish on a beach in Northern France, takes a moonlit hike in the Arizona desert, and experiences a lunar eclipse on New Year’s Eve atop the snowbound Welsh hills. Each locale is illuminated not just by the moonlight he seeks, but by the culture and history that define it. We learn about Mussolini’s pathological fear of moonlight; trace the connections between Caspar David Friedrich, Rudolf Hess, and the Apollo space mission; and meet the inventors of the Moonlight Collector in the American desert, who aim to cure all kinds of ailments with concentrated lunar rays. Svevo and Blake, Whistler and Hokusai, Li Po and Marinetti are all enlisted, as foils, friends, or fellow travelers, on Attlee’s journey.

Pulled by the moon like the tide, Attlee is firmly in a tradition of wandering pilgrims that stretches from Bashō to Sebald; like them, he presents our familiar world anew.
“This is a winner of a book. A luminous meditation on moon-glow and moon-glade and the sub-lunar landscape seen only by glimmer-struck savants.”—John R. Stilgoe, author of Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places
"Nocturne is a charming book, filled with hundreds and thousands of facts and stories about the moon, not one of which we really need to know but nearly all of which are fascinating. As a result we close the book enriched, with a pocket full of change we can spend wherever we want."—Dave Hickey, author of The Invisible Dragon: Seven Essays on Beauty
"Nocturne is an enchanting moonlit sojourn born of wisdom and celestial wonder."—A. Roger Ekirch, author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past
"In twenty-five short essays, Nocturne charts Attlee's quest to rediscover the moon, not only through travel, but also through mysticism, literature, and art. . . . Nocturne is a trove of poetic descriptions."--Bookforum
 "[R]ambling . . . charming . . . spellbinding. . . . As we reel through Attlee’s idiosyncratic investigation of his subject—with detours that discuss Mussolini, the Madonna, the Victorian painter Samuel Palmer—he provides a magpie assortment of facts. . . . Modern man, in Attlee’s view, has done his best to ignore moonlight. And man will continue to vanquish it—at least until the power runs out. Attlee makes us question such folly. His journey has no final destination, just many stops along a path that could—and should—unwind for a lifetime. In this way, Nocturne is an inspiration. It makes you want to pull a chair out into the garden and bathe in the moonlight. No questions asked."—Domionique Brown, New York Times Book Review
"One of the things that strikes you is how much pleasure Attlee, an aesthete, amamteur astronomer and connoisseur, takes from simply looking. . . . Attlee has a considerable talent for capturing the thrill of historical moments. . . . ButNocturne becomes more than a series of loosely woven vignettes. Attlee's observations of the night sky take on a cumulative weight, forming a kind of guide for good living on Earth: late night walks, the pleasures of looking, the spectacular and forgotten thrills of natural phenomena, how we might find profound pleasure in the here and now we have overlooked."--Adam O'Riordan, Sunday Telegraph

"If Attlee's a codger, he's our kind of codger. For the rest of the book he and the moon woo each other in equal parts. The author uses the moon as an entry point into the history of astronomy and the way various cultures have viewed the night sky (a highlight of the book is a trip to Japan for its annual lunar festival). And the moon shows Attlee new sides of itself; in Oxford, he experiences the work of British artist Katie Paterson, who bounced a Morse code translation of Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' off the moon and played back the eerie, spacious music that returned. Grumpy, wandering but also wondering, Attlee proves an entertaining muse for the moon.
"--Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago

"A stellar appreciation for the myriad quantifiable and amorphous attributes that have made the moon a source of magic and wonder through the ages."--Library Journal
"One would be hard-pressed to find a better tour guide than English writer James Attlee. On his global quest for moonlight, he has a gentle sense of humor and an even temper when clouds and rain botch his well-laid plans. Best of all, he is perpetually illuminating about what the moon has meant to humans through the centuries."--Jan Gardner, Boston Globe

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