Who, if I sung out, would hear?

Echo Bridge, Waban, Massachusetts

Echo Bridge, Waban, Massachusetts

The rock looked inviting.

Rocks, as I am sure you know, do not often look inviting. But this one did. Its cold, rough, mossy surface jutted out over the Charles River. It was bathed in sunlight.

I had not been exploring Hemlock Gorge very long, but I wanted to sit. And I wanted to read in the sunlight. What did it matter that I was wearing a business suit and a light trench coat, and had a laptop bag with two books slung across my shoulders? The river spirits wouldn’t care how I was dressed.

The soles of my shoes slipped and I was afraid of falling in. But, settling myself on the rock, I looked out at the river. I felt like child again, in a world of unlimited possibilities.

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Open Door Policy

by Matthew Koslowski on October 28, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol
Teachers’ house calls make pupils, parents feel at home by James Vaznis, The Boston Globe
A+ for teachers’ house-call program by Hetti K. Wohlgemuth, Letters to the Editor, The Boston Globe

All children’s education suffers when they are unable to get the support of a good teacher.

But those same children’s education suffers even more when they are unable to get the support of their parents. Every day, children watch their parents, the other adults they know, and their siblings to learn what it means to be human beings. If their parents don’t show them the value of an education, how can they learn?

We often hear it said that parents are disengaged. In fact, I posted a link to an editorial cartoon about that very thing not too long ago.

But do we really look into the causes of that disengagement? Do we explore the real cost to children when their parents are disengaged? Do we look for solutions? Or do we simply point fingers?

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Weekly Review: October 2nd to October 8th

Exploring back archives of interesting blogs is a wonderful idea. I came across a number of great essays on The Word Blog on boston.com. Anyone have any suggestions of good blogs about language, literature, or education? I am going to need to setup an RSS Reader…

Otherwise, it seemed like a slow week for news that interested me that had deep coverage. Some of the stories were too short, leaving me wondering for more. As we roll back our print media, we lose the ability to cover depth of different topics. Many things tantalized me. But the stories I found really fulfilling was one about imaginative play and its positive effects on early childhood behavior and education.

These Things Caught My Eye

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Living through Literature

by Matthew Koslowski on October 7, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Don Juan DeMarco
Don Juan by George Gordon, Lord Byron
Mozart’s Don Giovanni by Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

I first saw Mozart’s Don Giovanni while studying at an Italian language institute in Rome during the summer of 2004. That summer was my introduction to opera. I saw both Carmen and Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni stuck with me, however.

That first performance piqued my interest, both in opera and the Don Juan legend.

Since moving back to Massachusetts, though I am not sure what triggered it, I have become increasingly more interested in the Don Juan legend. I saw the opera again when the Boston Lyric Opera performed Don Giovanni last season. I purchased a recording of Mozart’s Don Giovanni by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and have listened to it almost to the exclusion of all else since I bought it. I have reread Molière’s Don Juan. I read Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell as well as Baudelaire’s. I reread most of the first Canto of Byron’s Don Juan, and despite my renewed interest found Byron’s poetry dry. Next I want to read Tirso de Molina’s El Burlador de Sevilla which is thought to be the first written version of the Don Juan legend.

While looking at the works of the Don Juan legend, I stumbled across Don Juan DeMarco. I was intrigued by the description on Wikipedia. I ordered it from the public library and watched it this weekend.

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Dwelling on and Dwelling in the Spirit of Play

by Matthew Koslowski on September 30, 2009
in Essays

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
– Aristotle

A few days ago, one of my friends set her Facebook status to, “But bear in mind that a person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values.”

This simple act amused me. And moved me to think. I had had cause — not just cause but causes — to think about my values before she had put up that status. I realized that my life has been out of alignment. Specifically, I have not been giving enough attention to one trait I deeply value: playfulness.

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