The Lesson Plans of Tomorrow

Language and Linguistics

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I have a great desire to teach, learn and engage in language.  This is more like a “work in progress” but I think I could put together a linguistics/intro to language class.

Objective: Understanding how language works between humans.  Looking at basics for understanding a second language.

Books: Contemporary Linguistics by O’Grady; the Language Instinct & The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker and the Atoms of Language by Mark Baker. It’s said I would want to use the books i’m reading right now but I really enjoy them and they help explain things well.  And one is a textbook…and I definitely want to include some evaluation if Chomsky and Greenberg ..both founders in the modern linguistic scholarship

Weekly schedule

1) What is Language– What defines language.  How are they grouped? Review divisions, similarities and differences.Read first chapter in O’grady, first three chapters in Baker.

2)History of Language–Review the historical grouping, see how languages are interconnected.  When did language begin? How languages have processed over time.

3)Elements of Language–Grammer, universal? new theories; Synatx; Words; Do these items differentiate language?

4)Parameter Theory, pt1—Review major type of parameters

a) Polysynthetic

b) Head Directionality

c) Subject side

D) verb attraction.

5) Parameter Theory, pt2 — subject placement, serial verbs, null subjects, adjuster neutralize, ergative case, topic prominent.

6) Language & culture: How culture and language interact.

Language and Thought process really interest me.  It’s intrigue that we can associate certain words with things and it creates certain thoughts.  I’m actually going to be playing on this in my Bible Study/Adult Forum class on Biblical Words.  I’ll post a blog about the class when its closer to its fruition and probably a blog on my opinion of Scripture…if you were waiting for something else to read.

Research Writing Class

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I am going to admit something very nerdy: I LOVE TO RESEARCH.  It’s what I do at home all day on the computer.  Give me a topic and I will find everything I can on the subject.  I realized this when I was asked in class to provide some initial items on the final research paper and only after 3 hours I was able to have the required amount of resources (articles, reviews, online sources and books), a temporary thesis, a pseudo outline.  And the only reason I stopped looking into the topic is because the coffee shop was closing.

So out of all of this–I decided since I enjoy researching things for papers I would teach a seminar/class on the topic. So…here it goes! FYI the Chicago/Turabian has this section in the beginning– i HIGHLY recommend reading it.  It is absolutely useful and where I got several of my methods from.

1. choosing a topic. — This is probably the worst feeling in the world.  When you get the syllabus at the beginning of the class and you see “research paper” on topic of your choosing. People generally freak out.  And (Surprise!) I don’t like this part either.  WAY TOO VAGUE in my mind.  However, here’s how I approach.  First, read over the syllabus VERY carefully.  Check for any guidelines or instructions.  Currently one of my professors handed out with the syllabus a guideline for both critical reviews & the final research paper along with an well written paper.  Utilize anything like this to your advantage because it will help with your grade.  Second–choose something you like.  Something that keeps your interest.  Because if you do not like “the history of the fly” and you choose this topic, you may be stuck with it.  I learned this the hard way in biology class in high school. 2 term papers. First term I chose the black panther. I learned very quickly that there were problems with the term & I didn’t get a good grade.  However, second term when I chose to study & write about my mom’s stem cell translate, because the topic personally interested me, I got a far better grade.  And in high is not the only time this has happened to me.  Third, TALK to your professor.  It does not help to sit in silence wondering what you could or would do.  Your prof will be the one grading & red marking, so its best to make sure he/she is on page with you.  And many times, the good profs will give you direction on where to go with your topic.  Remember, usually when you’re choosing a topic or just presenting the initial findings, you do not need to have a thesis statement or something already planned out. It’s the point of research.

2. Finding material— this is probably my favorite part of research papers. Finding all the information.  In today’s age, you can look for all kinds of things–from eBooks, articles online (especially in a university database) and even blogs & discussions about the topic if you’re doing something contemporary.  And don’t just take everything at first site.  Keep track of what you look at, take some notes if you need.  Get creative of topics to look under.  If you’re doing a research on someone’s viewpoint on a topic, consider learning about the person as well.  The history of someone can definitely help you write better about their topic.

3. Some other helpful points:  WRITE AN OUTLINE.  Trust me. I don’t care how silly it sounds.  But when you have writer’s block the entire week before the paper is due, an outline can truly save you.  And it helps you stay focused.  Also, I would write a thesis first then the outline.  Again helps with structure & focus.  I know from my perspective, its much easier to judge how much I need to write with an outline instead of keeping it inside my head.  Most of my grad professors have a word minimum–so it doesn’t matter what margins or font I use–so an outline helps extremely with judging word length.

4. Make some drafts.  and then some more…and then more.  🙂

I hope this helps someone. I know if I had known about writing research papers in this extensive amount of detail and emphasis early on I think I would have learned to write better papers.


Book of Exodus

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Another one of my favorite books of the old testament is exodus.  Not only do you get the story of Israel’s prototype prophet Moses, but you also hear the stories of Israel roaming in the desert.  Also included are the 10 commandments, stories about spirits and snakes and the children of Israel just NOT getting it.  Similar to how the disciples acted around Jesus.. 🙂

For books I would want to use a scholarly commentary and then 2 otber books presenting perspectives, one from Christian and one from  Jewish/rabbinical text.  It would give students a  broader perspective on such a action packed book.

A breakdown of the class would mostly consistence of running through the chapters in sections, similar to the Isaiah class i posted about earlier. I agree with my professor Dr. Tremper Longman in spending some time on covenant and its meaning in the Hebrew context because that is the WHOLE point sometimes in the story.

Book of Isaiah Class

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I absolutely love the book of Isaiah. Not only does it have some of the most fun theological language, but also connects the Hebrew Scriptures to the New Testament.  It is quoted the most by the New Testament writers and is one of the longest books in the Bible (longest is Jeremiah, another prophet similar to Isaiah.)

A lesson plan for the book would also be very easy to incorporate into an 8 week or 10 week course, as the book is naturally divided by academic and literary scholars alike into three sections.  One or two weeks review of historical/literary settings and you’re set 🙂 I’m going to stick with a 10 week since our seminary does 10 week classes.


Unity of Isaiah Commentary

Assignments: each section will have a pseudo-midterm.  Will include historical information with First Isaiah.  Final paper on a verse or group presentation on a verse.

Week 1:  Intro/Historical setting

Introduction to the Book of Isaiah. Mild discussions of authorship, publication and historical setting of the Book. Also describe how interpretation works, maybe review different types of exegetical method (text/course/etc.)

Week 2: First Isaiah 1-35

Week 3: First Isaiah: 36-39 (historical chapters)

Week 4: Second Isaiah 40-55–discussions of Servant song

Week 5: Second Isaiah 40-55, part 2

Week 6: Second Isaiah 40-55, part 3

Week 7: Third Isaiah 56-66

Week 8: Third Isaiah 56-66, part 2

Week 9: Discussion of quoted NT Isaiah and Messianic verses

Week 10: Modern discussions of Isaiah//Final presentations


This of course is still a working draft of what would need to be included.  This class would take a lot of planning, research and study. 

Biblical Speech Class

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This class would be centered around understanding specific words in the Bible that may lose meaning or specific interpretations when translated to English.  It is meant to give more insight to the Biblical text itself to the average reader.

Books: Complete Bible, no preference in translation.  Handouts would be made available for the original language pieces to see context.
More Light on the Path: Daily Scripture Readings in Hebrew & Greek, by Baker, Heath and Baker.  (see here)
(i have not read, but fits what i want to do) How Biblical Languages Work, by Silzer & Finley (amazon)
Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus by Arin Spangler (God and Jesus)  These are good praying books… I have prayed through Names of God book and absolutely loved it and it helps give a new perspective on meaning.

Incorporated into class:

  Journal to react to daily readings book. (would only require

  Paper on one uniquely biblical word.

Only a few vocabulary  word quizzes

Week 1) Biblical languages as a whole– This would include a basic review of the alphabet for each language (yes, in one week since we’re ONLY looking at the alphabet and its helpful for people to be able to recognize what a “alpha” is.)  as well as a review of the languages used in the Bible (i.e. Hebrew based on 3-character roots & Greek based on conjugation and declination of nouns and verbs.)

Week 2) Start bi-weekly quizzes, this week on alphabets.  Start looking at Genesis 1 & 2.  Two words to study–“to create” and ”  in the beginning.”  Also include a view of the Hebrew word “ruach” or “breathe” and its significance in Genesis.  Readings would include 1st weeks daily scriptures.

Week 3) John 1 “Logos” review and “tabernacled” in Greek.  Review of the importance of these words theologically.

Week 4) Israel’s Language–review of specific words (no more than 8-10) that are part of the journey from Eden through the Exodus until the entrance into the promise land.  Words such as “manna” and “b’rit” (covenant) and others.  

Week 5) Words of the Gospels—reviewing Greek words that play out in the significance of the Gospel writers.

Week 6) “The Word of the Lord”–prophets and their words.  Review of the major Israelite prophets, starting with Moses through Malachi.

Week 7) Paul’s Written Speech–Review of Paul’s use of greek words that play a significant part in his theology.  Certain words such as sarx in Greek and others.

Week 8) Apocalyptic Review–review of terms such as “Son of Man” in Hebrew in Daniel/Ezra and review of Revelation.

Week 9) Foreign Language Fun–This would just be a review of people in the class and their understanding of ANY foreign language translation of the Bible.  Possibly would consider a presentation where student reviews a specific words in a specific language, its interpretation from the original language (Greek/Hebrew) or reviews a specific translation’s version other than their native tongue (probably no English.)

Week 10) Review of everything & Final paper or exam.  Mostly like exam, multiple choice (25), short essay (5-10) and one “long” essay (major response like a discussion on Logos in John or the “Son of Man” term…something that was discussed in major details.

Understanding Religion 101

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This page is going to be reserved for my make-shift  lesson plans if I were to teach a specific topic.  They will include a name of the class, a schedule (either 8, 10 or 12 or full school year week plan since I want college or private school and these are the typical schedules.) All you “teachers” out there are welcome to provide input, suggestions, ideas and who knows…maybe one day i’ll actually get to teach these things. 

First up!??? — Coming soon 🙂

For a long time I have wanted to teach a class on “basic” religion.  I feel disappointed that the first interaction kids have with religion is typically in college and by then they have already begun to form their opinions without even attempting to under what religion is, how it works in society (both anthropologically, sociologically and personally.) A part of me wants to think that with an understanding knowledge of religions and how they operate, it may be possible to teach people to respect and interact with different religions even if they are different from their own.  [hint hint, he’s my objective]  Of course this class would probably never make it to the public sector (i will keep fantasizing)… but I can see it being a part of a private curriculum or part of a home-school program.  I want to emphasis some else up front : This class would NOT be an understanding of a particular faith.  It would incorporate religious material only if was important for understanding the canonicity or basic structure of the faith.  It would NOT, i repeat NOT be a direct means of missionary work or evangelism.

So, here is goes:

Week 1: Introduction to religion
   What is religion? What is its place in society? Discuss religions of people in class, what they know about other religions.  Review what religions will be discussed in class.
  Read introduction to at least 2 different texts (one on an anthropological/sociological level and another on a “world religions” textbook type level.)

Week 2: Pre-History Religion
  review of early civilization religions, such as mesopatamia, africa, egypt, dip into greek & roman (trying to stay chronological but its hard when its easier to relate religions than go in order of appearance.) DEFINITELY read Gilgamesh, the Creation Story from Mesopatamia, an African and Egyptian story.  Possible book review on a Greek/Roman god (there are thousands of these to choose from.)

Week 3: Major world religions-week1
Looking at basic beliefs, difference within the faith (orthodox, conservation, reformed & messianic)
Discussion groups or group presentations on one of these groups.
Readings–biblical readings discussing the nature of the nation of Israel, possible rabbinical readings

Week 4: major world religions- week 2
all “major world religions” will have a similar set up. Looking at basic beliefs, divisions within the faith,  locale of the religion and have discussion groups or presentations on subjects discussed.  Right now off the top of my head I admittedly do not know much about this group but I know where to find my resources if I had to teach.
readings: (dang it cannot remember names) but the major readings used in everyday prayer time.  Also, individual project is to locate a modern book review of a Hindui believer (there is some of this in Eat, Pray, Love but I would be looking for something more directly related to religious academia.

Week 5: major world religions – week 3
  Christianity–similar set up as previous.  readings may include biblical but most likely early christian writers such as the Nicene Creed, Tertullian, early church fathers.  Also, possibly a modern reader.  no project for this depending on the studen population because if taught in America, many people already have exposure to this religion.  However, would be willing to change if, per se, I was teaching in a setting where children were more exposed to Jewish teachings, then I would remove the project there.

Week 6: major world religions-week 4
review of beliefs, locale & history & sects.  Readings include parts of Quran & any other “belief” documentation as well as a modern writer discussing Isalmic beliefs.

Week 7: major world religions – week 5
Buddhism and other Asian religions
  review of belief, locale, history & sects. Readings include Tao de Ching, a basic history of the Budha & some sort of arts project mostly because this religion can have multiple interpretations artistically speaking.

Week 8: Religion in modern times
  review of modern religions such as Mormonism, Scientology, “New Age.” Review of similarities, discussion of what constitutes a religious structure.  Readings: Book of Mormon, Scientology belief book.

Week 9: Religion in Society
  Discussion of what religion looks like in society, discussion about how wars are started over beliefs, look at the middle east conflict, the asian conflict.  Read such things as “weathered by miracles” or review people like Ghandi.  Possible room for biography, 1-2 pages on figure that has made an impact but has religious ties (possible Mitt Romney, Ghandi, Mother Teresa and even Bin Laden as all religious impact is not positive.)

Week 10: Group Presentations:
  I honestly think there should be some way to incorporate what was discussed & have groups put together some review of religion.  Or look at a unique religion that no one in the group practices & present it to the class.  Or maybe even create a religion, based on the definition discussed on the first week of class (spaghetti monster-type reference here appropriate) and have them present it to the class.

Any final? the final project would be to take the created religion and discuss it intellectually.  Possibly write a paper on the religion with the group presentation as a supplement.  Or have the last week be review & discussion so that a final can incorporate multiple choice, short answer and essay questions
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Geez… i would want to take this class but that’s a lot of work.  I guess it always is better to have all your ideas together in one basket so you can pick the best ones for the time.  And variety for a class I think is important because it helps reduce cheating as well as promote curiosity.  Just sayin’