Thursday, September 06, 2007

Schools In! Part II: Classes

My classes are really good. They are challenging, but not overwhelming because there are only four of them. I think so far my favorite is English, with Biology as a close runner-up (surprised? So am I!) But I'll explain them in block order.
First block I have CALM (Career and Life Management). It's basically time management, goal setting, career research, future planning, budgeting, life education. It's sort of interesting to think that you can have a class on life, but it seems like it's the kind of class where you can get out of it what you put in. Right now, with time management, we have to write down everything we do for a week, and how long. That way, we can best examine where we spend the most of our time and adjust it as necessary. I think it will be useful.
Second block I have Math 30. It's half of Algebra II and half of Pre-Cal, so I'm little ahead, but it is quickly paced. What I'm relearning is a good review, and when we start learning new stuff, I'll be used to the pace, so it won't come as a shock. However, I am NOT looking forward to taking my first diploma exam, especially since it is in January, after we get back from Christmas break.
Third block is Biology 20/30 AP. That is my only class that is a whole year long (as opposed to only a semester). My teacher, Mrs. Fehres, has an unusual accent. At first I thought it was French, but she mentioned she does not speak a lick of French, so that can't be it. It has sort of a Scottish roll to it, but at the same time I'm expecting her to break out with "Ja," so my sub-coincidence might think it's Scandinavian. We have an overnight field trip to Kananaskis in October (you will get pictures!) and early morning classes on Thursday from 8:30-9:15, before school starts, so it looks like it will be taking up the most of my extra-curricular time.
Fourth block is English 20 AP, and Mr. McMillan is amazing. Our first day of class, we had a class discussion about Plato's expression, "All art is an imitation of life," and we talked about what life is, and why some people consider art what others don't. Today it was over defining complex, and how to write an essay over complex issues. He said the trouble with complex issues is they don't fit a A leads to B leads to C format, but rather A leads to B and D, but not C, although C leads to D, and then there's Z which doesn't relate to anything but A, etc. It made me appreciate The Four Loves all the more. I mean, love is complex. Let me tell you... but back on topic... He explained how the first step was to define the topic for yourself, and stick to your definition throughout the paper (eg. what is success, what is friendship, etc). Then he said take your random thoughts and put them in some sort of sequential order. True, you may need to exclude Z, or skip C, but that's the problem with complex issues: art doesn't do them justice. My homework for tonight is write an outline for an essay on the topic, the Nature of Success and its connection to External and Internal influences. It really is a though provoking class, and there are some people in there who have really abstract but logical ideas.
Something I've noticed about the school is that it is a lot more like university; you aren't babied. They don't take most homework for grades, so it's up to you do to it. You can eat lunch wherever you want (today I ate in Kim's car because it was cold outside, and ended up hailing as soon as we got inside). Teachers ask you when you think an appropriate time for something to be due is, which although is unlike university, it makes you examine your time management. I have a series of four projects due for English, and at the bottom of the description of each, Mr. McMillan writes: If this assignment is unappealing, come and see me about what kind of {creative writing, group presentation, individual presentation, essay} you would like to do. It's just nice having a say, you know?
To be continued... (Part III: New Friends)

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