Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Janik cards!

My tenth grade English class was one of the most remarkable classes I've ever had. We read, wrote, and thought more in that class than in any other class I had in high school and many I've had since. One of Janik's classic assignments was the index cards. At any time, we were supposed to have a good stock of 5x7 index cards, and most days he would start class by giving us a quotation, or a word, or a picture, or some such thing, and we would have to write a card about it. We could write anything we wanted, as long as it related to the topic. When we visited the art museum, we were assigned a number of cards to ensure that we thought about the art. Whatever we did, we reflected on it on 5x7 index cards, and I generally loved it.

Even then, I appreciated the pedagogical value of making us Think. Until today, though, I'd never noticed a direct correlation to other academic work. Today I was sitting with Psalms and the Life of Faith looking for another passage to reflect on so I can finish my book reflection, and I realized that I was writing Janik cards. They're a bit longer now, and the language is a bit more polished, the thoughts more fully worked out (sometimes). But those cards were direct training for a lot of what I'm writing now, and to enable me to find something thoughtful to say about nearly anything if I have to. It also makes some of my current assignments feel a little bit more enjoyable to think of them as large index cards... instead of 5x7, they're 5-7, but the reflection process is much the same. Hunh.

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