Thursday, May 19

Plate Teachtonics

Plate teachtonics, yeah!

In a teaching seminar I attended in our college, the Arts Studies people used paper plates in their teaching demo. It wasn't just a single paper plate, actually--they used the entire fast food dining experience to teach the students. They gave out paper place mats, plates, a menu, spoon and forks, napkins with a dopey "Pandesal House" logo.

In our heads we were screaming, "This guy is a loon genius! He knows how to split his measly salary and still give out stuff to thirty people in a G.E. class! Kill him!" It depressed the hell out of us and started sneaking out for really extended coffee breaks in the lobby.

Then I came across this site that promises to "serve education in a paper plate." The educators behind Paper Plate Education support the "initiative to reduce complex notions to simple paper plate explanations." Their activities page cover simple stuff like creating moon masks for kids to wear. You can also make a model to show how two shadows--the umbra and the penumbra--can fall on the moon during a lunar eclipse. Or maybe measure altitude and longitude or maybe plot the paths of meteor showers.

My favorite is the one where they direct students to play an asteroid impact game, wherein you can flip rocks on a string into planets orbiting the sun to simulate the mass destruction once a giant rocks hurls itself towards our measly planet.

Now if only they have lessons applicable to my classes. Like maybe a paper plate with detachable slices and strings to show how one remedies an essay riddled with dangling modifiers. Or perhaps make a model to explain paragraph patterns but with a matching dial so you can choose which pattern of development is good for you and your topic. Heck, I'll even pay someone who can make a paper plate model which can teach people how to use the proper preposition.

I can see it now: The entire department will launch a paper plate drive. Instructors will be asked to beg for recyclable plates to turn into hand held projectors which can find run on sentences and string them into their proper order in the universe. There will be lectures on paper plates as metaphors for consumerist culture. Spoons and forks will soon be used as pointers of objective correlatives. Ah yes, everyone will join the interactive seminars on how to develop grammar fitness skills in the language lab using colored plates.

Somebody should propose this on our next faculty development meeting.

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