Friday, November 09, 2007

Me: As Told By...

I have a good friend who teaches English to some of the luckiest kids in the nation. Annie is the type of teacher who makes me want to go back to school just to be in her class - I'd put up with the hell-on-earth that was high school for the opportunity to discuss a book, complete an assignment, or diagram a sentence within the confines of her classroom.

Luckily, I don't have to pull a Never Been Kissed and go back to high school because Annie is juuust geeky enough to regularly do all those things (and more!) with me. We lived together for a year in college while she was student teaching, so I got to hear all her unique lesson plans, relive the beautiful stories of juvenile literature, and test myself with grammar games. After she graduated and began teaching full time in Northwest Indiana, I was able to sit in on some of her classes one day for a story I was writing. She was even better than I had remembered. Ever since that day, she sometimes shares lesson plans and assignments with me, and it's like Christmas morning every time I get one in an email from her.

"Me: As Told By..." was a project she assigned last year that asks her students to use the internet to look up and choose quotations that represent their viewpoints or experiences. She provided a bunch of topics for them, through the words of others, to comment on. I always thought that was such a cool way to allow the students to describe themselves without assigning the dreaded essay or theme writing, while simultaneously exposing them to many classic and cherished quotes.

I've kept the assignment tucked away since she gave it to me, pulling it out from time to time to marvel at her ingenuity, always intending to complete my own. I started to complete it once and saved it as a draft on this lovely blog. Now I'm going to finish it.
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Me: As Told By...

Attitude
"Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day." - Author Unknown

Beauty
"Our hearts are drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see." - George W. Russell

Books
"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." - Anna Quindlen
"My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter." - Thomas Helm
"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

Character
"I have found some of the best reasons I ever had for remaining at the bottom simply by looking at the [people] at the top." - Frank Moore Colby

Confidence
"All of us have wonders hidden in our breasts, only needing circumstances to evoke them." - Charles Dickens

Creativity
"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work." - Rita Mae Brown

Criticism
"It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic." - Sir Winston Churchill

Death
"Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it." - Alice Walker

Dreams
"Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." - Neil Gaiman

Education
"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." - Sydney J. Harris
"A child educated only at school is an uneducated child." - George Santayana

Failure
"A man may fall many times, but he won't be a failure until he says that someone pushed him." - Elmer G. Letterman

Faith
"Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark." - Rabindranath Tagore
"Never confuse the faith with the supposedly faithful." - Randy K. Milholland

Forgiveness
"Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." - Peter Ustinov

Friendship
"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things." - Author Unknown

Happiness
"If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time." - Edith Wharton
"Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around." - E. L. Konigsburg

Honesty
"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be." - Socrates

Heroes
"You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes." - Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

Learning
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - Harry S. Truman
"You have learned something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something." - H. G. Wells

Life
"The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want." - Ben Stein
"Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." - Samuel Butler

Love
"You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip." - Jonathan Carroll
"Love one another, and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that." - Michael Leunig

Money
"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you." - Maya Angelou

Morality
"Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim abovev morality. Be not simply good; be good for something." - Henry David Thoreau

Religion
"It is a fine thing to establish one's own religion in one's heart, not to dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a great thing." - D. H. Lawrence
"Everyone ought to worship God according to his own inclinations and not to be constrained by force." - Flavius Josephus

Suffering
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer." - Albert Camus
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved." - Helen Keller

The future
"The future is an opaque mirror. Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face." - Jim Bishop

The past
"You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present." - Jan Glidewell
"For the majority of us, the past is a regret, the future an experiment." - Mark Twain

Truth
"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." - Oscar Wilde

Trust
"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough." - Frank Crane
"When I'm trusting and being myself... everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously." - Shakti Gawain

War
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
"The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Writing
"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion - that people are going to bring their own stuff into it." - David Sedaris
"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket." - Charles Peguy
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." - Anton Chekhov

2 comments:

annie d. said...

Wow! Imagine my happiness -- come on to read one of my favorite writers, and find her doing one of my favorite assignments. Amazing.

Rest of blogging audience: Becky forgot to mention that on another day in my class, we study one of her most fabulous poems. Today, one girl started crying and said, "This Scherer lady is a genius." I said, "You know, you're right." Take that, Bec.

Cicely said...

Ooooh, I love this assignment and I love the quotes you chose! Thanks to the both of you!