Thursday, February 28, 2013


Last week I read a very predictable book. About half way through the story I guessed the final twist to the story, and I wondered if I should even keep reading. I did, just in case there would be another twist I hadn't seen coming. 

There wasn't one. 

(Granted, I do think the target readers are younger than I. But still...)

This got me thinking about predictability in books. I am also reading 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'. Much of this book is predictable, too. I mean, I'm assuming they make it to the center of the earth, aren't burned up by lava, find awesome things, and make it back home safely. 

The difference between the two books is character development. 

The characters in 'False Prince' were interesting enough, but I never became familiar with them.  Everything I learned about them was surface level and while the plot was predictable, moment by moment actions and reactions of the characters were not. 

On the other hand, 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' took time developing the characters and what drives them, familiarizing the reader with the nuances of their character (without drowning the reader in them unnecessarily) . I have an idea in my mind of how each character will respond to different circumstances, and I am eager to find out if and how the journey -the plot- affects the characters. 

Is it too much to ask for a plot that has a few unpredictable twists and turns, and also a reasonable amount of  character development? Too often I think we get one at the expense of the other. 

I am on the lookout for a book, any book, that has good character development and an interesting plot. I'm sure there have to be some. Any ideas?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Willing To Be Wrong

I've been reading 'The Beauty of Holiness' by I. C. Mathis (published 1936). There is this great thing he writes that says, "It is motive that gives quality to action." (24).

 But it's imbeded in something else that I was uncomfortable with. The whole quote is this: "God looks not so much at what we do, as at what we intended to do. It is motive that gives quality to action. Therefore, God looks for motive and intention. If the desire to sin is sin, may we not say that the purpose or desire to please God is accepted, even though we blunder and make mistakes?" (24-25).

Ick. "God only cares about what you intend to do", sounded like such a weak, pathetic thing. "oh, as long as you intended to obey God, it's all ok".
But then I kept thinking about it. And it sounded kind of nice, and it sounded like something God would do.
During my commute a few days later I realized something about 'intent'. It's a matter of where your real intentions are. You can't fake intentions.

So, among other things, I've learned that when I approach text, be it non-fiction or the Bible itself, I have to be willing to be wrong in my thoughts and viewpoints. Otherwise I will never grow because I think I know everything I need to know. Which I obviously don't.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Full Control

I've got full control in my student teaching classroom starting this week.

Which means writing lesson plans for five subjects a day for five days a week, teaching them (and making last-minute changes when the students aren't getting it) and grading papers.

Which doesn't leave much time for blog posts.

-Last week, one student lost his (loose) tooth- right in the middle of math.
-The kids didn't get my lesson on main verbs and helping verbs. While they were at PE I regrouped and when they came back I retaught. And they got it!

-While the kids are at specials, I don't even get to spend that time grading and planning- I have to do all my foot stretches to calm them back down. Plantar fasciitis and the concrete floors in schools don't get along too well.
-Questioning techniques are important. You have to ask the right question, or it confuses them.
-I've been trying  to have more fun in my lessons. To laugh, and joke with them, and tell relevant stories, and feel free to be a bit goofy to catch their attention again. It seems to be working!
-The Classroom Teacher and I moved all the desks around- it was funny to watch the kids come in and be a bit confused and try to find their new seat. Or, sit in their Old seat, without realizing it, until the New owner came up to them and pointed it out.
These next weeks will be super busy, but I'm possitive I'll keep learning and eventually  I'll get the hang of this. I keep resting in God's strength and energy, because there's litterally no way I can do this on my own.