09 August 2010

Free to Good Home

For the last year or so, I have been working on giving away pieces of my old classroom life. I had six large boxes full of books that I gave away last July, along with all of my AP Biology files, in a fit of empty nesting. This spring, I took all of the markers, beads, rulers, Play-Doh, and other ephemera to a meeting with my assessment group and rehomed all of it. I gave a friend my boxes of special order pencils, DVD collection, and a few other items. All of these things were collected and purchased to be used with kids---not sit and grow mold in my basement. Sure, I may have some regrets if I go back to the classroom, but for now, it feels good to let them go. I want them to have a happy life in the hands of children.

But the work continues. I still have a lot of paper stashed in the basement...paper I need to either scan and save and/or send to the big recycling bin in the sky. I'm only fooling myself by keeping it down there. I'm a teacher, for crying out loud. We don't do things the same way twice---let alone do things the same way 10 years later.

However, I need your help with two specific items. If you want one of them, then leave me a note in the comments about why you're interested, along with your email so I can contact you to make arrangements.

Item #1: 16 mm copy of Hemo the Magnificent

Here is a repost from 2005 about why I have it:
I love working with high school sophomores. There are members among the faculty at my school who do not, but it has been my favourite age to work with. (Maybe that says something about my maturity...or lack thereof?)

There are so many events I get to be a part of during the year: "sweet sixteen," new drivers' licenses, first formal dance, removal of orthodontia, and so on. It's fun to see the kids hit these marks. It doesn't matter that it's the umpteenth time for me. It's new to each of them.

Perhaps you remember reading Julius Caesar as a sophomore. Maybe you can remember other events associated with your sophomore year that everyone seemed to experience.

High school biology has it's own addition to the pantheon: Hemo the Magnificent. When the time rolls around each year to show this film, I always start off talking to my kids about "rites of passage." (This year, I wrote the phrase on the board, because last year, one kid thought I'd said "rights of passage" and that led the discussion in an entirely different direction.) We talk about "sophomore-ness" and the associated rites. We look forward in time (for them) to what they can (legally) experience at 18 and 21. When they whine about ole Julius, I talk to them about "cultural literacy." We look at Julius from the perspective that it is part of their "ticket" to the adult world. As adults---and gatekeepers of their move to adulthood---we want to be sure that they have been properly indoctrinated with the things the society (at large) claims are important.

I own a copy of "Hemo" in glorious 16 mm. Do you remember watching films in that format? The noise of the machine? The scratches and "skips" in the movie? This year, not a single one of my sophs could say that they'd ever watched a movie shown this way. It's very sad, I think. Maybe they do, too, as one remarked later, "I'm going to be sad when this comes out on DVD." I told her that it already had. Another student wanted to know, then, why I didn't show the DVD. The first student piped up to say, "But then it wouldn't be part of the tradition!"

I had to smile. She got it. Since 1957, biology students have been watching this 16 mm film. It was good enough for their parents, for me, and now for them. (The content is still very worthwhile, too, by the way.)

Welcome, kids, to the fellowship of biology.

Hemo is special and it needs a very special home...someone who will love it and share it with high school biology students. If you can help with shipping (shouldn't be more than $15), that would be great...but is not necessary if you think you are "the one" and can't afford to chip in. Again, tell me in the comments why you want it---maybe your own Hemo story to share or something about your kids. Whatever makes a connection for you. If more than one person wants Hemo, there will be no "fair draw." I'm just going to pick the story that I like best.

Item #2: Poster of Titanic wreckage with quote and autograph by Bob Ballard

I picked this up at an auction many years ago---right after Ballard discovered the remains of the Titanic. I was a Titanic buff in high school, long before the remains were discovered and Leonardo Di Caprio declared himself King of the World. But, I'm ready to let this go. The poster has a little warping, but is in pretty fair shape for being nearly 20 years old. It's approximately 22" x 31.5" in size. I'll take it out of the frame and just send the poster itself. If you can help with shipping ($5), that would be great.  Again, just leave a note in the comments if you're interested (no special story needed). If more than one commenter is interested, I'll do a random drawing for this one.

So, there you have it. Please leave a comment by 11:59 PM PT on Sunday, August 15, 2010, if you're interested in one or both of these items. You can now be part of my grand plan to clean the basement. Help a sistah out, would you?

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