In-class essays (Blue Books) are a normal part of academic life. Academic life, of course, is not normal. But it does present a socially acceptable way to focus on personal skills. Properly pursued, the whole process aims to bring about change we associate with learning. As one of many academic avenues, In-Class Essays offer a way to approach yourself, to confront what you know and how well you communicate your thoughts and beliefs. What is sometimes most scary is that we don't like what we find. What we want for ourselves and what we have are different. Learning focuses on this difference, and Exams provide a practical and periodic way to organize what you have learned and what is missing. It is designed to challenge. If you've taken an In-Class exam in the past, you have a fair idea how difficult it is to write persuasive prose under pressure. Time will fly. You will not be able to write as much as you know. If you have not taken a Blue Book Exam before, pay attention to what follows. Be clear: In-Class Essays ask that you present your understanding and interpretations of course material in lucid, persuasive prose. The 'Blue Book Challenge' is not designed for fun. But the process can be gratifying. Dr. Robert Hatch
" We take Blue Book Exams, Gentlemen." The pause was as pregnant as the now large-with-child Beyonce, from my thirty six times three sections of Theology 3. This 5.4 score of young Catholic manhood, commanding desks ill-fitted to the New Millennium mesomorphs stuffed to rib cages by the particle board desk tops, responded with " Coach, what're Blue Books? They anything like Blue Ba. . ?"
No, not exactly.
Theology, or religion classes in Catholic secondary education tend to be either a grade point booster, or, at the very worst, fifty daily minutes of Mime Clown Jesus and androgynous Godhead exercises in Unitarian principles for unhappy spinsters and life-long victims.
Somewhere in between these extremes lies the Goldem Mean - rigor without condescending intimidation.
" Coach, you're high! We take True/False and Multiple Guess tests."
With my avuncular grin that teases raccoons out of my 19th Ward trash containers I replied, " We don't work that street no more. "
Gobsmacked young-uns, " What's that mean?"
" You employed the first person plural in the false assumption that WE means something. We -in the accusative =is taking only essay exams in Theology 3. "
"What's that mean?"
" Put it this way, 'Chicks who really count, dig only guys who take out and dominate Blue Book Exams!' That's the word on the street, from the time Plato tossed away the stylus and tablets, Lads. Essay exams are the only true test of what a man - a fuul-grown, Hoochie-Coochie Mayne - really knows," I answered to the best of my wont.
That was three weeks ago. In that time, I taught a Unit on Poverty for the Social Justice Classes, Second Semester of Theology 3. This Unit looked at poverty, " the experience of living without the basic needs for existence, necessary for a full and dignified life." Having taken the teachings of Rerum Novarum by Pope XIII as the advent of Catholic Social Justice, we looked at poverty at the financial, intellectual, emotional and spiritual life of persons marginalized and trapped in the seemingly endless cycle of poverty, through a study of Robert Thompson, one of two Liverpool ten year olds who murdered toddler James Bulger in 1993.
We applied Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to this study and contrasted Thompson to Manchester slum dweller Anthony Burgess who became the 21st Century's most prolific novelist and composer.
I presented the gents four thought problems early this week for yesterday's Blue Book Exam.
By the way - each examinee was required to purchase a Blue Book booklet @ $.50 per. and bring along a blue or black ink pen. Needless, to say, these are adolescent males and increased volume, salty sobriquets and excruciating repetitions of command by this examinant improved the odds for success.
Today, I am up to my fleshy jowls in Blue Books this post First Friday weekend in February and I must say that I am singularly delighted by the waves of smart, exact and carefully crafted sententiae offered by my heroes.
The grades are very high and, with very few exceptions, worthy of public display.
This was their first Big Boy Blue Book exam and they passed with flying colors. There is red ink all over the pages of each Blue Book, to be sure but it is Mission Accomplished!
Students will rise the challenge, when challenged. Today one of our Regional Crusader wrestlers will stand in 1st Place, but also sport a 95% on his Blue Book Exam.
" Coach, I smoked this test!"
" That was not a test Young Will! That was a Blue Book Exam. You got your big boy pants on, Son!"
Ah, I do love teaching, so
"To cut the matter short, Ratcliffe, you have been a most notorious thief," Sorry, I was thinking about Heart of Midlothian. Lord, but I doooo drift some.