Saturday, January 6, 2018

Couldn't follow directions.

It may not yet be apparent, but my posts so far this year are fragments of a story I'm starting to tell.  Sometime during the past year or two, I came across a little book titled Blog Your Book.  Since I was already blogging, but couldn't seem to get any traction on writing my book, I thought the idea was worth pondering.  Then I remembered how Charles Dickens launched Great Expectations with the 19th Century equivalent of a blog, namely by serializing his story in a magazine.  My process is now underway.  These posts are my notes.  They will ultimately be raised to a higher literary standard.  I hope I can do that without sacrificing my sharp wit.

This morning I reconstructed a "work of art" that I had first created in 1st grade.  Each of us were issued a small cardboard box, roughly the size of a cigar box, whose contents we would use often for the rest of the year.  It contained a box of 8 Crayola (R) crayons, pencils, erasers, a compass (for drawing circles - not the kind for getting oriented; I would later discover the powers-that-be did not want us to get oriented.), and a set of geometric shapes jigsawed out of some material like Masonite (R).

Instructions for the lesson shown above were roughly as follows:  "Take the square out of your box."
[Teacher would hold up a square; there were actually a few kids who didn't know which shape was the square!] "Trace the square onto the left side of your paper." [She'd point to the approximate area on her paper.]  "Now color the square red."  This continued as asked us to trace the circle and color it orange, trace the triangle and color it yellow, trace the rectangle [although she probably did not use that big word], and so on.  We had 6 shapes which utilized the colors ROYGBV.  She actually called the blue object an "egg," not an oval or an ellipse.  Having done these kinds of things at home for the previous two or three years, I could have explained the difference between an oval and an ellipse, but I didn't. The problem arose when I found the task, as directed, so simple (simple-minded?) that I finished it in a couple of minutes then got restless.  I was just finishing adding the second leaf to my orange when the teacher walked close by and shouted at me "Did I say to do that?" pointing toward the house and the orange.  I squeaked "No, Ma'am."  Then she followed with a paragraph about following directions.  Apparently I had missed the main point of the lesson.

All in all, you can probably see some value hidden in this experience.  We were to learn the colors, in order, learn some basic geometric shapes, and learn to follow directions and behave in unison.  No Picasso or Einstein would have survived a year of this.  But now you can see why my teacher (as mentioned a couple of blog posts ago) thought green came after yellow.

No comments:

Post a Comment