Tuesday, July 10, 2012

C.S. Lewis, a Christ-like Teacher

So I've been reading "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis lately, inspired by a renewed love for Christian apologist writing. I love it because it's written from the point of view of a devil giving advice to another devil on how to sway a christian into submission to Satan. C.S. Lewis was a very insightful and brilliant man, and he shows it in his writing. I love the moments while I'm reading this book that make me stop and say, 'hey, maybe I've had that very same problem in my prayers. I should probably do my best to prevent that in the future.' When I read the Narnia chronicles as a little kid, of course I had no idea about the extended metaphor throughout the stories. I just thought that they were good stories. And he is such a great writer, that the stories were fun to read even though I was completely missing the whole theoretical side of it. That's the kind of writer I'd like to be one day; one who can entertain the masses and yet at the same time be able to teach to those who are willing to listen. I think Christ did the same thing with his parables. He kept the truth away from those who were not willing to look for it by entertaining them with interesting stories about real life. Honestly, I think sometimes it's the only way one can speak to the public about religion, especially a critical and skeptical public. To those who don't know what you're talking about, you may seem cryptic or simply entertaining. But to those who know what's really going on and who are willing to study and learn, great truths can be taught more effectively in this way. So as a type of Christ, C.S. Lewis represents to me an excellent teacher, a brilliant, and an inspired writer whom I emulate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Learning Outcomes

  • 1. Gain Shakespeare Literacy
    Demonstrate mastery over fundamental information about Shakespeare’s works, life, and legacy
    a. Breadth (knowledge of a range of Shakespeare’s works)
    b. Depth (more thorough knowledge of a single work)
    c. Performance (stage and screen)
    d. Legacy (history, scholarship, popular culture)
I can honestly say that I had never read any of the plays I did during the course of this semester. I had never seen a Shakespeare play either. Thankfully, I was able to experience The Bard's plays in all of these dimensions: the breadth of his works I am now familiar with has been expanded significantly, mostly because I decided to start watching movie productions of Shakespeare plays for fun, I've become intimately familiar with Hamlet especially, and I've seen two on stage performances and evaluated them, as well as the many I've seen on screen. I've also done a few blog posts about Shakespeare's background, exploring the question of his authorship, and some biographical information.

  • 2. Analyze Shakespeare Critically
    Interpret Shakespeare’s works critically in their written form, in performance (stage or screen) and in digitally mediated transformations. This includes 
    a. Textual analysis (theme, language, formal devices)
    b. Contextual analysis (historical, contemporary, cultural)
    c. Application of literary theories 
    d. Analysis of digital mediations
I've had the chance to evaluate Shakespeare performances both on screen and on stage as mentioned above. I've become very familiar with the text of Hamlet, as my research paper was mostly textual analysis. My thesis is based largely on Hamlet's context as part of the tradition of revenge tragedies. I regret that I didn't apply established literary theories as much as I could have, but I certainly had experience with digital mediations with my analysis of how my experience with fanfiction affected my view on the text.

  • 3. Engage Shakespeare Creatively
    a. Performance (memorization, recitation, scene on stage or video)
    b. Individual creative work (literary imitation, art, music)
    c. Collaborative creative project
Performance: probably the only time I got a chance to do this was in my prototype video, but it wasn't really my best, uh, performance. :) I definitely did individual creative work with my fanfiction, and I'm participating in collaborative work by combining my project with Cortnie with reference to her ideas on fanfiction.

  • 4. Share Shakespeare Meaningfully
    This includes engaging in the following:
    a. Formal Writing. Develop and communicate your ideas about Shakespeare clearly in formal and researched writing and through a format and medium that puts your ideas into public circulation.
    b. Informal Writing. This mainly means through regular online writing
    c. Connecting. Share one’s learning and creative work with others both in and outside of class.
Formal writing: research paper. Informal writing: my blog. Connecting: I've had several chances to share a synopsis of my project with friends and family. It sometimes comes up with "what classes are you taking?" or "What's your major?" One of my friends even demanded that I send her the link so that she could read my fanfiction piece.

  • 5. Gain Digital Literacy
    Students use their study of Shakespeare as a way of understanding and developing fluency in 21st century learning skills and computer-mediated modes of communication. Those skills are grouped under the following categories.
    a. Consume - Effective and independent selecting, searching, researching, 
    b. Create - Producing content that demonstrates learning and which can be shared for others to profit from. 
  • c. Connect - Engage with other learners within and outside of the class to develop thinking and share more formal work.
Consume: a lot of this was done during the research portion of my research paper, though i think the process could have gone a little more smoothly, had I given it more time. Create: this should be demonstrated during the final, and when I tell everyone about my fanfiction. Connect: As I mentioned above, I've had many opportunities to share with family and friends, but I've also been able to share on a small scale with 'Blogging Shakespeare' and with Henry Jenkins in my requests to do guest blog posts. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So here's my spiel for my final final final stuff!

Here's a link to my original research paper:
Here's a link to my fanfiction piece:
Here's a link to a Prezi, summarizing my ideas:
Here's a link to my trailer video on YouTube:

And, my Tweethis statement:
"Hamlet is isolated from the societal norm due to his obscure perceptions of right and wrong, much like Iago, and may therefore be labeled as a villain. This characterization of Hamlet is explored in my fanfiction piece, in which Hamlet is a psychopath and a homicidal maniac."


So I made a little blurb on the prezi that all the girls working on educational projects are putting together. The prezi is about how to update Shakespeare Education into the digital age by making use of digital tools. I just posted about how it could be a good idea to use fanfiction as a teaching tool.

Check it out!

(This is the link Tara gave me)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Last Chapter...

I decided to add a ninth chapter, sort of as a recap of the events. It confuses the plot more, showing the events from a communal perspective, inspired by Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily." It takes the reader out of Jameson's head for a moment, and may hint at an explanation for the way he is now.

Also, if I were to rewrite my research paper, I would include my own definition of villainy. So my new tweethis would look like this:
"If a villain is someone who is isolated from society due to his obscure views on right and wrong, Hamlet fits the model of a villain just as easily as Iago." 

So, a note on my trailer video:
I've made a simple animation video of Hamlet talking to Iago, but I think I might want to remake it to include my definition of villainy. Plus, the voices are kind of weird-sounding, and if I make the speech visual, I could probably add music. But here's what I have right now, so you can take a look:

GoAnimate.com: Hamlet vs. Iago by taylor.mccomb

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!


Here's an official link to my finished fiction piece!

"Comparable Work" Bibliography

So I looked into how I can make my fanfiction piece accessible to teachers as a teaching tool, and I found
  • this lesson plan website that lets you post your own lesson plan to share with other teachers. I can post a lesson plan on this site, suggesting to high school teachers that they can have the kids compare fanfiction with the original text - maybe the fanfiction will open up the text in ways that weren't thought of at first. Like mine, for example: maybe you didn't think that Hamlet could be making up the ghost in his mind, or that he is the real bad guy! I'll let you know how it goes...
  • I sent in a request to Blogging Shakespeare to see if I could do a guest post on their site, displaying my research content. 
  • I sent in a request to Henry Jenkins' blog, asking if I can do a guest blog post talking about my research topic. I let him know that I'm a student studying Shakespeare, and I've done a fanfiction piece testing out Cortnie's theory that Fanfiction works as a legitimate form of character analysis.