Monday, January 28, 2013

The WikiSeat Project: Oranges and Books

Over the past two days, to begin work on this year's iteration of The WikiSeat Project, our 10th Grade American Literature class ate and examined an orange slowly over the course of 25 minutes and closely read through Ralph Waldo Emerson's The American Scholar (1837).  Here's a look at what students are saying about it in their blog posts, I think it speaks for itself.  I also have some notes, more from a teacher's perspective on the project, here. - Sean Wheeler

 * To read complete posts, click on the student's name.

"Have you ever eaten an orange for a half an hour? No? Well I did." 

"This experience was pretty interesting to me because I never thought about looking at anything and examining it or really thinking about it. Like, where it came from, how it was made or how it smelled. It was an interesting day in class." 
- Kaitlin K.

"Books should not be there to read because we have to, but to be there to read because we want to."
 - Faith C.

"I discovered that under the white skin of the slice there are many small individual thin pieces filled with juice, probably about twenty or thirty of them. I never knew that, or bothered to see them before, and thought it was pretty cool."
- Alex M.

"It sounds really weird but, actually, it did make me think about taking my time with other things to appreciate their value more. Also, it was probably the juiciest, best tasting orange I've ever had." 
- Mercedes L.

"...and that books destroy the true beauty of people's thoughts and that you should go out and have adventures instead of reading, unless you have nothing else to do." 
- Mike J.

"I now try to take more time to eat things or do things so I can appreciate it more." 
- Augie S.

"Honestly, this was the best orange I've ever eaten. I've never taken twenty-five minutes to eat an orange. Maybe five minutes. But in that five minutes, I never appreciated it, thought about where it came from, or looked at the cells. Now, I've tasted the juice, smelled it well, and will probably not look at an orange the same again. I liked this activity because it showed me how to look at things in a different perspective." 
- Sara T.

"So how does an orange relate to English? Well, it doesn't, to me anyway. Mr. Wheeler has this idea, not his original idea, about how if we take time to experience things, they become better; more living.  Experiencing life in a slower manner helps you appreciate the little things, like oranges." 

"So many of us are afraid to speak our mind and "possess" more of our minds.  It's a real shame."

"The American Scholar and eating the apple are very much related, if you don't go out of your way to experience life, you simply won't. You will not get all that you can get out of life if you shut yourself in behind books or the walls of your house." 

"This got me thinking. What if I took music to this level of thinking?" 
- Nathan M.

"After everyone was done I thought about the connection with not only appreciation, but also with thinking about and analyzing things." 

"In class one day my teacher was telling us how much better things are when you do something instead of just watching or reading it. When I first heard this I could right away relate to it. I just thought it was cool because I could actually relate to something in school."
- Victor S

"I know what you're thinking. "Who takes twenty-five minutes to eat a small orange that you can eat in five?" Well, we do. That helped me realize that, if you slow down and don't rush, you can see things in a completely different perspective. Now, when I see an orange, I think of that activity. It now reminds me to slow down. It may sound weird, and it may not sound like your average 10th grade English class, but that's what makes it fun. Because it's different"

"Looking around at the kids in this class, I no longer see kids, I see futures." 


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