Sunday, February 16, 2014

Trip Journals

In class this past week, we saw Steinbeck safely home from his journey across America.  In this course, we wrap up each book with a Trip Journal, and I was so excited to see what the students would create.

Trip Journals are a combination of daily discussion notes, informal reflections, and a couple of “students’ choice” elements which include artistic expressions, souvenirs, and scholarly research. Although I haven’t formally evaluated the journals yet,  it’s easy to see that the students really embraced the spirit of the assignment.

In their reflections and through their research, they pondered the purpose of journeys, made parallels from Steinbeck’s journey to their own experiences, found scholarly articles, and made scrapbooks of Steinbeck and Charley.  One student rewrote the lyrics of Big Yellow Taxi to reflect Steinbeck’s trip.  N dug up scholarly articles comparing American and Afro-American journey motifs. In their own ways and on their own terms, they connected with the literature intellectually and emotionally. 

General consensus is that journeys in general and physical travel in particular are essential aspects of life.  We grow though meeting diverse people, experiencing new flavors; integrating the unfamiliar into what we already know.  In class, we’re off on a new set of travels with the late Michael Crichton.  We’re currently in medical school at Harvard in the 1960s.  It’s not too late to join us on this one and embark on your own paper pilgrimage.

This is the sixth installment of our new Friday Feature exploring the literature I'm teaching my sophomores in our Great American Road Trip course.  I'm so excited to be sharing some of my favorite books--stories that have inspired me and fed my sense of adventure and belief that anything at all is possible if you just set out and explore. Our current book is John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley. Glad to have you along for the ride.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin