My First Rocketbook
I thought I already wrote this post. Senility in my middle age.
Anyway, I watched the first Rocketbook video from Netflix: The Great Gatsby. Let’s face it, it wasn’t earth-shattering by any account. It wasn’t especially entertaining. It wasn’t more clear than Cliff’s or Spark Notes are. The illustrations were only mildly helpful and only mildly decent. It was late when I watched it and I nearly fell asleep a few times.
On the upside, it was quicker than trying to read a text-based study guide and Mach speeds faster than reading the book. I got a much deeper sense of the literary elements than watching the movie would have given. I effectively went from zero to test-ready with The Great Gatsby in an hour. Not bad.
But am I really ready for the pedagogy test? (The content knowledge will be too broad to fully cram for.) Well, let’s see. You English-teachery types out there, keep me honest.
The Praxis pedagogy test will ask three questions about a list of high-school-relevant literature. The questions are always the same, but the list of works changes. They are (abbreviated):
- describe two literary features important to the work (with examples);
- describe two obstacles to student understanding (specific to this work); and
- describe two assignments that address answers from 1 and 2.
I considered trying to answer these questions here, but they were long, boring, and woefully incomplete. I need the full story to go with the nice tidbits I gleaned from the Rocketbook. Sure, the doctor’s eyes on the billboard symbolize the judgment of God, but what was he judging? The green light symbolizes Gatsby’s misguided and illusory goal of getting Daisy, but why was that misguided again? Nick’s rejection of Jordan symbolized his rejection of high society, but what led to that? Was it the hit and run?
Question 2 is probably the hardest to answer with the knowledge I have now. The twenties time period might be an obstacle. Maybe the gray characters rather than raw good and bad? Tom’s racism might catch a few kids off guard.
I think a nice, loyal-to-the-book video would make a nice companion to the Rocketbook. Yeah, yeah, reading the book would be better, but I take the test in a few weeks. I just don’t want to spend too much time on Gatsby because there’s no guarantee it will even make the list! I’m trying to troll the waters for potential tidbits. I’ll be okay if a Shakespeare piece I know hits the list of works: Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, or MacBeth. I know Midsummer Night’s Dream okay, but I doubt it will be included. Animal Farm, Beowulf, Scarlet Letter, a couple Poe shorts, The Hobbit — those I can do. (What would it take to sneak Ender’s Game or Fahrenheit 451 onto the list?)
The good news on this test is that half of it comes from an analysis of student writing. That I believe I can do. (Thank you, Critters!) A passing score can reportedly be ALMOST achieved from just one of the two parts. So if I can squeak out half the literature points, I’ll be in good shape.
I plan to fully write responses for a few different works (maybe including Gatsby, R & J, MacBeth, Hobbit…just to be indulgent, Scarlet Letter, Frankenstein, Beowulf?) so I can push through them faster on the test. It seems the smartest approach, not unlike the exhaustive study process I used to prepare for college history tests. *shiver* As long as I pass it, the school will reimburse the cost of the test. Big incentive to study hard. Fingers crossed.