Jump to content

Welcome! 


Where classical school and homeschool teachers talk.

 

 

Discussion Starts Here.

For the Children's Sake.

Learn from Others.

Add Your Voice to the Conversation.

Glad You Are Here.

Give Us Your Question.

Paul Dixon

Members
  • Content Count

    12
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

Paul Dixon last won the day on December 9

Paul Dixon had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

3 Neutral

Personal Information

  • Location
    Fletcher, NC
  • Favorite Authors
    William Faulkner
  • School Name
    Veritas Christian Academy

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Paul Dixon

    Literature Catechism

    This is my first year to use a catechism in my classes, and I've written one for 10th grade Western Literature and 11th grade American Literature. I have my students read the full catechism aloud and together three days a week, and they are not required to memorize it, nor will they be tested on it. Now that we're through the first half of the year, I can honestly say this is the best decision I've made as a teacher. I first learned of using a catechism from Joshua Gibbs's Great Books course on Classical U, and at first I was skeptical. But, it's rewarding to begin a unit on Transcendentalism and when I ask the class to define the literary movement, they can recite a brief definition listing the main characteristics of Transcendentalism without skipping a beat. I must say, I'm a believer in this pedagogical tool. To those of you who use catechisms, how successful are they for you and your classes?
  2. Paul Dixon

    Teaching History - "Reading Like a Historian"

    I used this resource recently when discussing the Stamp Act. I found it very helpful to have several relevant documents compiled along with the lesson plan on guiding the students. I think it aligns with our goals as classical educators because it encourages students to contextualize the documents and the authors. I'm constantly pushing my students to adopt a historical perspective so they can empathize with people in the past. Any resource that helps with this goal is useful.
  3. Paul Dixon

    American Literature Texts

    We discussed the banning of the book at the beginning, but they didn't seem too concerned with it after that. I completely agree that he was displaying racism in the book as a means of denouncing it. Huck's struggles with recognizing Jim as a human being are especially powerful. It's a beautiful work, and I enjoyed teaching it.
  4. Paul Dixon

    Shakespeare Festival Tomorrow

    This is fantastic! Gruesome for sure, but so is the play, so I'd say it's appropriate!
  5. Paul Dixon

    Bible/Theology Curriculum

    My school has recently adopted a new approach to this question, and it consists of continuing their understanding of the Biblical story with some practice of interpretation thrown in along the way. We've shifted to teaching our students how to read the Bible as a sacred literary work, so they're learning to understand how figurative language is used in the Bible and why understanding that language is important to our interpretation. I'm not the theology teacher, but it seems to be going well with our Logic School students. From what I hear, this approach has encouraged discussion and contemplation on a level that is impressive for students of that age. As a literature teacher, I appreciate this approach because it well prepares them for interpreting the works we read for my class!
  6. Paul Dixon

    Scheduling parent-teacher conferences

    I'm not sure if you're still looking for a solution, but our school uses Sign-up Genius. It seems to work well.
  7. Paul Dixon

    How do you keep school at school?

    I find that as I become more familiar with my subjects, the job becomes more comfortable. So I'm not nearly as meticulous in my planning because I have more knowledge to draw from. Teaching is a skill that must be honed in practice, so it just takes time. That said, I don't think there is any job worth the sacrifice of your family. It was much easier to spend hours and hours on school work before I had kids, but now that I have a toddler and another baby due in February, I've been much more efficient in the hours at school and only take home readings for the next day (I'm a literature and history teacher) and the occasional batch of essays to grade. For any teacher, I think we have to find the right balance for us and our families because there just isn't enough time in the day to do it all.
  8. Paul Dixon

    A Classical Study of Film?

    This is a great list. It's helpful to hear that your students enjoy the older films as I'm currently planning to launch a film elective next year. We have a similar schedule of 3 classes/week at 55 minutes, and I'm curious how you structure watching the films. Do you have enough time on the third day to discuss (as I assume it requires two class periods plus some of a third to finish)?
  9. Paul Dixon

    American Literature Texts

    There are so many great options, yet so little time! I would love to read Moby-Dick cover to cover; it's a beautiful work. In what direction do your Huckleberry Finn discussions tend to go? This was my first year to teach it, and we focused primarily on Huck's sense of morality and how his sense of right and wrong is clouded by the push and pull between his own convictions and his cultural upbringing. His rebellion against societal norms is petty at the beginning but is heroic at the end. My students had a lot of fun with it.
  10. Paul Dixon

    American Literature Texts

    I'm in my second year of teaching American literature, and I'm curious what other classical teachers are reading in their classes. In classical education circles, we talk a lot about classic texts without much discussion of modern books. So, what books are you teaching and how do you teach them? In my classes, we just finished Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and we're set to start Scarlet Letter next week. With Huck Finn we focused on the American identity and how it evolved through the 19th century with a focus on the movement from Romanticism to Realism. We'll revisit Romanticism with Scarlet Letter. What are your favorite American texts to teach?
  11. Paul Dixon

    Rhetoric with Substance

    You're definitely not alone in this difficulty. I'm in my fourth year of teaching literature and history to Rhetoric school students, and I too struggle to guide them towards more mature content and styles. It's frustrating to read ten essays in a row that follow the same formula and simply repeat what we've discussed in class without any apparent effort to discover something in the text. As you said, they're not wrong, just a little boring. I found some reprieve via a Joshua Gibbons (he teaches the Great Books course on Classical U) blog post on the Circe Institute. In that post he describes a test that mimics the way God tests us, one where we're allowed to use our books and one where it is our character being tested. Students write an essay giving advice to a friend who can't seem to grow up once he's in high school. The advice the students give must be based on the literature covered in that unit. This kind of test helped kick my students out of the formulaic rut and encouraged some of them to dig into the text (we were studying Huckleberry Finn) with more enthusiasm. Assignments that shock my students into thinking differently can be some of the best ones. Best, Paul
  12. Paul Dixon

    Senior Thesis Ideas

    Hi Allison, I'm curious to know if you were able to permit any sort of artistic expression into your students' senior thesis projects. It's a fascinating idea, and, while I'd have the same hesitations as jlmoore, it may be a healthy extension project. Best, Paul
×