Saturday, May 14, 2005
No rain! I have had a wonderful day exploring REI, Barnes and Noble, Bath and Body Works, and HEB. (And I even had the self control to pass Amy's Ice Cream).

While at Barnes and Noble, I drank Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea on Ice (fabulous!) and read my two chapters of Instructional Design for Classroom Teaching and Learning. One part mentioned memorization and gave reciting Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening " as an example.

I thought about all the things that I memorized in school. "Stopping by Woods" in 6th grade, the first part of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" in 5th grade for extra credit, and some Elizabeth Bishop poems in 7th.

And to test myself...

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though
He will not see us passing by
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

Something something
He gives his harness bells a shake
To as if there's some mistake

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
Miles to go before I sleep.

Ok, I just looked up the real words and when I read the lines that I couldn't remember today, I had this flashback to my 5th grade reading teacher's room and forgetting that line too. No wonder I couldn't remember it.

I can remember less of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere:

Listen my children and you will hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
'Twas the (some date) of April in (year)
Not a man alive will forget that fateful day (?)
One if by land two if by sea...

And for Elizabeth Bishop, all I remember is something about riding on a wagon. (Visits to St. Elizabeth's is one poem I memorized. Don't remember anything about a wagon.)

What is the value today for all this memorization and these random words in my head, some correct and some not so accurate? Is there real value and something that makes it more than a party trick? This article in the NY Times tals about the lost art of Elocution.

I know that ....

(at this point in the night I took time to find the book that I was about to mention. It was a young adult book that I read probably around the age 14. It was a good book and it mentioned "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Eveing" and talked about how it could be about suicide. I spent 3 hours--wasted three hours of my life-- looking for this book and could never find it. It's probably out of print. But not knowing will bug me for the rest of my life. )

... I did not particularly enjoy memorizing these poems. But I do enjoy knowing them now. I wonder if I will have my students memorize and recite anything. Extra credit sounds like a good idea.

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