The last two days I've been way more physically active than usually on much less sleep than usual, and today, it's hitting me pretty hard. I wanted to get at least a little work done--and I wanted to get at least a little work done on the less-fun parts of the project in particular. I've spent about two hours on the socio-historical context--and I'm afraid that's all I have in me for today.
The main realization of the day (other than the fact that I need a little recovery time) is that I have to be on guard against my "information junkie" tendencies. This is a problem in my assignment sheets, too: I tend to want to give my students every little teeny bit of information--and it doesn't work. All I'm doing is taking their attention down a whole bunch of little rabbit trails in the underbrush, and they lose the main idea. My mind works that way: I can wander off the path repeatedly and for extended periods of time and always find the path again. But it doesn't work in a learning situation. (Or, perhaps I should say, a teaching situation.) I need to make sure the main path is clear; the students who are ready can find their own little rabbit trails.
So in the socio-historical context, I think I can use a much broader brush. All the students really need is an overall sense of the general shape of things, not all the fine details. That should make the work easier for me--and in some ways it does--but it's a little like figuring out reading assignments for a semester: my problem is always figuring out what to leave out, as I always have more possible material than students can possibly handle. That's the problem I'm running into with this socio-historical thing: the problem isn't deciding what to include; it's deciding what not to include.
Right now, however, I can't decide much of anything, so I need to put the whole thing down until my body has had a chance to recharge (brain doesn't function well if body isn't functioning well: our brains are part of our bodies, doncha know). So, tomorrow. I hope.