Monday, December 15, 2008

a lesson of importance, annoyance

When the possible reward is greater than the potential risk, it's silly to just hover in your space craft.

Signs doles out a resolution to a pesky alien invasion that is overtly intimated throughout the film. The aliens, we learn, don't take kindly to water. People who've seen the film ridicule the erudition of an alien race that would choose to invade a predominantly water-covered planet. Then, when they realize that attacking a fictitious race does not get them anywhere, they turn their sights on director/producer/writer Zod M. Night Shyamalan. According to many of my peers, Shyamalan concocts a cheap ending to a movie whose message could have been delivered in the length of a trailer.

But there are two reasons why the alien's are worthy of defense:

  1. The invaders came to the planet for the people. If that's what they wanted, they weren't going to let any potential obstacles prevent them from taking action. Maybe they read Hamlet. They probably hated that droopy prince.
  2. The aliens attacked predominantly dry regions. They didn't head to Avalon, New Jersey. They landed in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Maybe they did know that water wasn't quite their Oil of Olay. Maybe they saw those large bodies of water and noted, 'stay away from those things'. Maybe they just didn't consider our plumbing system and penchant for hydration.

And there are two reason why Shyamalan's resolution is worthy of defense:

  1. He creates a solution that is simple, maddeningly so. But the process of discovering that solution is replete with questions, reflection, and inquiry. Sounds like the structure of a really effective lesson. The kind where at the end, students leave class wondering how they didn't see it, get it.
  2. Ever craft a lesson that (hooray!) lasts the whole period? know/I know/the students know that the whole thing could have been completed in minutes. But everyone plays along, or everyone buys in because the journey toward the resolution is a rewarding process. Honestly, ever allow a discussion to continue in class even when you know that repetition is the foundation of every comment?


Anonymous said...

i love lived the lesson itself. i sincerely hope that was your intent.

Graham said...

ken, you wrote:
"Honestly, ever allow a discussion to continue in class even when you know that repetition is the foundation of every comment?"

This year's class of Year Sixes were masterful at sensing when I was in a bit of a story telling mode and would skillfully ask questions and probe for elaboration, enjoying both the conversation and the fact that I was unwittingly eating into ten or fifteen minutes of the maths lesson!