Sunday, August 8, 2021

Catching Up! ENGL400

I can't believe last semester was months ago...but taking three classes while working full-time was a handful. It's also hard to delay life for eight months. Here are some notes from my English 400 class. It's the last liberal studies class that I will ever take at ACAD/AU Arts. The theme of the class was "Our You My Mother?". We read short stories and selections from a psychology book every week. Our main text was In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondatjee. I'm not a big Ondatjee fan--I like his poetry best--but I find his novels just plod on.

The final exam was really fun. The exam sounded simple--a seven sentence micro essay in MLA format on a surprise mystery question. Y'all want to know what the mystery question was?

No one knew either, even the instructor, until he brought out a child's game called Play With Your Food. A flick of the spinner and it landed on the Mixed Vegetables category. Another spin revealed the number 11. He thumbed through the cards.

The eleventh card in the stack was "It is a snow day. What do you want to do the most?"

I laughed! It was hilarious. Here I was prepared for all sorts of brainy, high-brown questions and chance had made a mockery of those plans :-D

I had some fun with it though. Every sentence started with a letter from SNOW DAY and I used every grammatical trick I knew to make every sentence count.

We also had fun clips to watch--thank goodness for education in the age of YouTube! As diarists and bloggers, we never know if anyone reading out there and this clip hits home.

Another cool thing about the class was the instructor used children's books to explain complex concepts and show how narrative can be reduced to simple steps. It may sound childish (heh!) but it actually isn't. One piece of free advice I give out frequently is grab a kid's book if you don't understand something. The text is clear, easy to read and there's plenty of pictures. In the Skin of a Lion refers to the epic tale of Gilgamesh and we looked at a children's version of that. Since I can't share the book, here's a video that clearly explains it.

I received an A+ in the class, by the way--the perfect way to end the semester!

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