03
Dec
09

Counting the AEPs

It’s the last night. We’re all sitting in the most uncomfortable chair, our heads hurt, our fingers have memorized the fastest way to type Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and after tomorrow our we are allowed to be done. Since day one, we’ve had the great cosmic pressure of knowing the entire world can look at the fools we make ourselves and the geniuses we make ourselves. We were given fresh slates to decorate with our personal discoveries and inquiries and now that we’ve done that, where do we go?

It may be so small and unnoticed, but we’ve been teaching ourselves this entire time. We’ve played teacher! We’ve been the ones telling ourselves to stop sleeping in class and seizing our phones because we looked at it for the time once… We’ve become the species of human which dumb T.V. shows like Saved by the Bell promote us to loathe! We are supposed to crawl into air vents and lift off their toupees with a piece of gum attached to a string, not read books in our spare time and then share our ideas with the world!

We are the students… we’re not supposed to learn…

Oh! But wait! We have learned, oh so much. We’ve learned a great deal more than the plot of Carroll’s greatest story of all time; we’ve learned more about ourselves.

From this story, we’ve learned things about life, society, imagination and the devotion one can have to their childhood. From this experience, we’ve learned how to teach ourselves. At first glance, this ability may appear useless, but in time is can help us understand so much more about the way things work.

Think of it like this: a teacher gives you a formula, you memorize the formula and use it. A teacher gives you a book about making formulas, and you learn the formula yourself, then use it. This method of teaching is much more effective, as it will prove to be in the years to come.

If you were the Internet, you would be so busy with all the other stuff buzzing around inside of you to even notice one tiny class’s attempt to explore literature and technology. However, if you were a 11th grader in Oregon who needed desperate help making connections between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Harold and the Purple Crayon, our project might be the Holy Internet’s miracle.

I’m almost sad to say goodbye to sleep deprivation, speed reading and unnaturally deep finger cuts only given by those thick pages, but then I look at my colossal stack of AEPs (Alice Experience Points) and remember that now I am equipped with references up the wazoo.

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6 Responses to “Counting the AEPs”


  1. December 19, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Darcy, I have really enjoyed your posts, especially this one in which you so articulately reflect on the nature of your learning. In the last couple of years, we all seem to be doing that same type of reflection. One idea that you and your class may be seeing through your AEPs is that learning is essentially a social experience. We build knowledge better together than we might all by ourselves. Thank you for sharing that big, comfortable chair with us!

  2. December 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    “It may be so small and unnoticed, but we’ve been teaching ourselves this entire time.”

    How cool was that experience? Even better, you are among the few students in the world who get to learn that way. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Savor it. Then beg Mr. Long to let you do it again.

    It really is what real life is all about.

    • 3 Darcy S.
      December 4, 2009 at 12:59 am

      I feel so special for being one of those students. It was such an innovative way to discover yourself and learn from and learn more about the people around you. To we students, the entire project was being talked up around us- our math teachers were asking us questions to the point where we felt like we were in a box. But that kind of pressure was necessary, otherwise we wouldn’t have taken the project seriously.

      I wish we had a second chance. There are so many things I would do differently. But once again, that’s how we learn, and I know I will be learning in new ways from this day forward.

      Thank you for your input! It just makes our day.

  3. 4 Jason Kern
    December 3, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    What I think you are starting to grasp and what I hope you will realize fully in the future is that we are all life-long learners. I learn something new everyday which makes life a lot more interesting. I love several passages in your post.
    First “We’ve been the ones telling ourselves to stop sleeping in class and seizing our phones because we looked at it for the time once…”

    That was the big realization that I came to in college. You are responsible for your own learning. It’s so much more rewarding when you realize that.

    “Oh! But wait! We have learned, oh so much. We’ve learned a great deal more than the plot of Carroll’s greatest story of all time; we’ve learned more about ourselves.” Love it!

    “This method of teaching is much more effective, as it will prove to be in the years to come.” Have you ever heard the expression “Give someone a fish, they’ll each for a day. Teach someone to fish and they will eat for a lifetime.” You sound like you will eat for a lifetime.

    Thanks for teaching me something today (kind of strange to think that you could teach a teacher, or is that even strange anymore?).

    I also love Emma’s comment “I, too, am going to miss the long hours and nights of reading/blogging/commenting with the privilege of being an editor…although who says it stops tomorrow? ;)” There is nothing that says reading, blogging, commenting needs to end ever. Find something you are passionate about and read, blog and comment about it!

    • 5 Darcy S.
      December 4, 2009 at 12:52 am

      Thank you for the reply! This who shebang was just filled with experience and learning, and I’m glad to have been on this team. It’s incredible how much one learns from just writing what they are thinking… And later in life, I won’t necessarily be blogging, but the blog process helps us reign in our ideas and present them in clever ways which attract an audience. This will definitely help once we’re getting jobs and so forth…

      Once again, thank you.

  4. 6 Emma L.
    December 3, 2009 at 6:37 am

    Darcy,

    All I can say is I couldn’t have said it better myself. These lines will forever make me smile and it is one of the reasons I will remember this experience forever:

    “We’re all sitting in the most uncomfortable chair, our heads hurt, our fingers have memorized the fastest way to type Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and after tomorrow our we are allowed to be done. Since day one, we’ve had the great cosmic pressure of knowing the entire world can look at the fools we make ourselves and the geniuses we make ourselves… but then I look at my colossal stack of AEPs (Alice Experience Points) and remember that now I am equipped with references up the wazoo.”

    I, too, am going to miss the long hours and nights of reading/blogging/commenting with the privilege of being an editor…although who says it stops tomorrow? ;)


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