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Exhibit Compares Stephen Colbert And James Joyce

Exhibit Compares Stephen Colbert And James Joyce | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
The press department for the Rosenbach Museum refers to Stephen Colbert's book "I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)" as a "children's book," quotations included.

 

__________

Seems like it might be a day for slightly off the wall entries!

 

I've always liked Steven Colbert's intellect. He's obviously well-read and not at all reluctant to bring that intellect into his popular humor program.

 

This article discusses Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum exhibit comparing Colbert's literary prowess with that of James Joyce. Of course, it caught my eye having recently spent five days meandering around the literary scenes of Joyce and other Dublin writers.

 

If you haven't seen Colbert's Northwestern University commencement speech or his incredible interview with Maurice Sendak done just prior to Sendak's death, you might be in for a surprise. Both are linked to in this article.

 

 

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Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
An Educator's Reading List of Contemporary Literature, Literacy, and Reading Issues.
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If Anyone Has Ever Said Anything Cruel To You On The Internet, Then This One Is For You

A video every troll on the internet will want to watch, simply to see who can hate on it the best.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

16 September 2014

 

Not easy to watch. But, if bullying is to be addressed, perhaps every teacher ought to take 5 minutes to watch this video and ask themselves, "Just when do children begin to bully and victimize their classmates?"

 

What are their motives? Where did they first begin to accept the forces that lead to bullying?

 

And, my question is, "At what age would it be appropriate to have students watch this video?

 

And, if we truly believe that informational reading is important, and of course it is, would we consider this video followed by reading the  information behind the "more bullying facts you should learn"  link, and then the information about the   OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program >> link on that page?

I might even reverse that order, by having students read the two linked sources prior to watching this video.

 

And, I wouldn't try to lead the conversation. I'd have students read, then watch the video. And, then I'd say something to the effect of, "So, I don't know what you think about that experience, but I'd really like to know. So, I will be silent and listen for the next 15 minutes while you discuss the lesson."

 

My guess? Very awkward silence. And, within 4 minutes, someone would say something, that triggers a very deeply engaged and serious conversation.

 

The trick. If no one starts the conversation, the entire class would have nothing to do but marinate in awkward, no, make that introspective silence. 

 

It would be important that the teacher not speak, and not turn to paper correcting while waiting. 

 

Should by some miracle, the conversation not start. I would wait the entire 15 minutes and then say something like, "Perhaps none of us has the courage to speak first. So, this is what we'll do. Take out a piece of paper. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. Now jot down some notes on what you might have said had the discussion happened."

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

 

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This Video of One of the Coolest English Teachers Ever Will Make You Smile

This Video of One of the Coolest English Teachers Ever Will Make You Smile | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Greek epics have never been so relatable.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

7 September 2014

 

I like this video! Period.

 

However, in the comments, one person suggested that the teacher is engaged as the "sage on the stage" but questions whether or not the students are actually engaged themselves. 

 

This is an important concern. However, I think there is plenty of evidence that Mr. Schmo is a master salesman and he's selling relevance to a class that is enthusiastically seeing, discovering and then buying the relevance; and thereby becoming intellectually engaged at deep levels. My guess is that those very kids are probably given opportunities to engage and demonstrate that engagement by discovering for themselves that Mr. Schmo is a mentor well-worth listening to. Otherwise, why would so many students leave enthusiastic to pick up the love of reading and in many cases to pick up the torch of promoting a love for literature?

 

"Setting the stage" for student engagement to happen is more than the science of teaching. It is the art of teaching. Mr. Schmo is firing up his students in ways too many with technical skills alone do not accomplish. 

 

Yes, there are many accused of being "sages on the stages" who do all the thinking for their students while not selling any engagement other than being engaged in trying to guess what will be on "the test." That is the lowest level teaching from the front of the room. It is not the" be all' and "end all" of being a sage on the stage.

 

I am NOT building a case for one side of the "sage on the stage" conversation or the other. If anything, I'm suggesting that there is an upside to both sides of the question and therefore abandoning one side in favor of the other is simplistic and without both, much is lost.

 

So, here's one for your irony collection...

"Sage on the Stage" has always bothered me in terms of teaching literature. Why do I love Shakespeare? Because he was a sage that brought centuries of audiences to levels of receptivity to wisdom on the STAGE! 

 

Engagement with all great literature is essentially the act of being receptive to sage wisdom. All great literature is staged. 

 

A couple of quotes of note...

_____

"Good digressions are an example of bright minds making connections."

_____

 

Yes, Holden you were on to something that your digression-hating teacher was missing. What bridge was the student building when he or she "drifted" into the digression? What Vygotskian Zone of Proximal Development was he or she, delicately constructing? Perhaps taking this approach, a great teacher could artfully guide students to discovering important connections or perhaps refining important and as yet unfocused-connections.

 

I might also digress for a moment to suggest that a parallel opportunity exists when students use clichés when exploring a budding interest in poetry or creative writing. Clichés aren't evil; they're just not fresh. Young writers are fragile and frequently "out there on the edge of their comfort zones."

 

Some sage and encouraging support regarding the use of clichés rather than a condemnation for having used them helps build comfort with exploring the edges of one's comfort zone rather than increasing the discomfort associated with such admirable risk-taking by slamming the effort because they have a budding, but new interest in metaphors as a creative means of capturing one's thoughts via  the use imaginative imagery.

 

 

Here's another quote from Mr. Schmo that I really liked...

 

_____

"We don't study it (literature) because it's old. We study it because these stories are about you."

_____

 

Mr. Schmo is selling PERSONAL VALUE. He wasn't trying to create more English majors. Yet ironically or inevitably, because he was selling VALUE, he managed to also have created so much student engagement that he also motivated an incredible number of students to actually go on to become English majors and even published writers.

 

Who are the sages in your life? Who had a way of intriguing you into being receptive to ideas and challenges to your existing beliefs and values, that was nearly magical? 

 

In my case the sages who made a difference were a few incredibly talented teachers. Mr. Tinling in Geometry. Mr. Kay in English, Ansel Adams in photography, Writers like Howard Zinn, Musicians like Bob Dylan. Their talent was not in telling me what I should think and know, but in enticing me into to wondering about what I think and what I care about.

 

I'm all for preferring to be a "guide on the side." However, the typical classroom has four sides and each provides opportunities to fire up student engagement when creatively employed.

 

Sometimes it's good to listen to the sage wisdom of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. To consider the Oracle at Delphi, to 

 ~ www.GoogelLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

 

 

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6 Reasons Why Print Books Will Always Be Better

6 Reasons Why Print Books Will Always Be Better | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Surprise, surprise. Literary writers prefer print....
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

23 August 2014

 

One simple question. Would you consider using this article in class as an excellent example of "Informational Reading"?

 

I might, but not for the reasons you might expect.

 

__________

A PREFACE:  A clarification. It is not my intent to counter the pro-print and anti-E-book positions taken in this article. My intent is to call into question the tact taken by the article's writer (henceforth referencing the writer of the article in order to distinguish the article's author from the book authors referenced in the article).Had the author used the same tact, with the exception of presenting only evidence gleaned from pro-eBook writers, I would certainly have had as much to be concerned about  regarding its lack of balance.

__________

 

I might use this article as an exercise in determining when "informational reading represents an example of a writer being informed, misinformed, disinformed, or ill-informed.

 

My intent was to reference the writer of the article, however I suppose that it might also reference the authors who are the subject of the article as well.

 

My concerns...

 • The article's title is misleading. I had hoped that the writer might be writing an article representing a cross-section of authors who have preferences for reading traditional print or E-Books. 

 

__________

AN INTERESTING SIDEBAR: The previous comment refers to the title on the article as it was published on The Huffington Post (Click to the article above to see for yourself). When "scooped" for this blog, the title mysteriously changed to "6 Reasons why Print Books Will Always be Better." Having done my fair share of print production, I know that headlines are generally not the work of an article's author, but rather the product of the page layout person. The headline as published on The Huffington Post is misleading; the headline that appears at the top of this blog is at least more honest in that it does not hide the writer's bias.

__________

 

I've long had concerns about teachers who express to their students a preference (or skeptical opinion) of either format. Well intended as it may be, it is a personal opinion being passed off as an informed opinion. And, we live in a world where many, if not most, students from every ability level are still too often focused upon reflecting what they believe to be what the teacher wants them to believe, whether they do or not, is going to be on the test (or appreciated by the person who will eventually be handing out grades). Those who prefer "the other" media for their reading may well come to one of two conclusions; either perceiving themselves as in a minority of those "less respected" by the teacher or, in a class with a clueless teacher. This is disturbing in light of our goal of encouraging all students to value the wisdom articulated in great works of literature.

 

 • The writer then begins by clarifying the fact that the authors of whom she writes all share a particular grudge against Amazon, the major distributor of digital text. Their grudge, which may well be justified, is primarily based upon Amazon's policy of not making available books written by authors whose works are also sold by Amazon's primary competitor, Hachette. I suppose this is a reasonable concern since the  Amazon policy does punish the authors by reducing the distribution of their work. The authors become the rope being dragged through the mud in the tug-o-war between two corporations. So, unfair as it appears to be, the question is can authors be unbiased when asked about their preferences for reading media? I don't know. 

 

 • In spite of the headline's appearance of an implied promise to be fair and balanced, the writer clarifies in bold, but buried, text that her article will only represent authors who favor traditional print over digital media. 

 

Those authors articulate the traditional arguments in favor of traditional print, many of which are reasons that my own reading habits sometimes includes traditional print. I do love the ambiance that the wall of books in my den brings to the room. I do appreciate the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of an old book as I read an old classic. I like the "lendability" of printed books, (though I suppose that isn't a preference for many authors who would rather every reader by his or her own copy).

 

 • Another concern is that there is a common "jump to the conclusion" that authors have some special expertise on the subject. 

 

They may have some degree of expertise on quality of an author's writing. Though examples of famous author's distaste for other famous authors abound. (see: The 30 Harshest author on author insults in History: http://flavorwire.com/188138/the-30-harshest-author-on-author-insults-in-history)

 

It's pretty clear to anyone who happens to prefer E-Book reading that some of these authors are in fact ill -informed or inadequately experienced about reading E-Books. 

 

For example, like Lev Grossman, I too want to leave my kids a roomful of books, but reducing the act of reading E-books to "a chunk of plastic that they (the kids) have to guess the password to" would not pass muster in my class for representing an argument objectively. 

And, I don't even get the intent of his quoting Maurice Sendak's suggestion that there is a parallel between reading books and sex having only one kind PERIOD. Absurd. One of the most exciting trends in creating reading materials is the exploration being done by authors of many new concepts in packaging books.

 

Emma Straub, begins with her confession that she's never read an e-book. Well, I'd rather hear the opinions of authors who have invested time in learning a bit about the subject they have taken a very strong opinion about. I do agree with her that I don't find reading on my phone to be a preferable mode of reading. But, to suggest that reading on a phone is a counter argument of much value, in spite of the distinct differences between reading e-books on a phone and reading e-books on other devices. 

 

Anthony Doerr. If you feel that way, fine. Sometimes I have similar, but less intense preferences. However, having also spent a lot of time on my iPad I've come to understand that e-book modes of letting me know where I am in the book are pretty easy to get used to and have some distinct advantages. I would not have an opposing view if he'd indicated that he has issues with the difficulty of referencing pagination since unlike print books, pagination varies in e-books dependent upon font size options they have which brings both the consistent pagination problems but also the benefit of being able to adjust visual comfort. And, if his reference to making "scribbles of my passage" refers to the delightful activity of highlighting text and creating marginalia, Well, e-books beat the pants off of printed books, ah, IN MY OPINION.

 

And, his concern about the irritation he feels when getting "alerts blooming across the page announcing that it's your turn in Words With Friends," as clever as it seems at first indicates that he must not have phones that ring or an awareness of the preferences for controlling alerts  on digital devices. 

 

I must say that I was much less concerned about the comments of the last three authors included in this article.

Sue Monk Kidd presents her pro-print opinions without having to counterbalance them with questionably ill-informed opinions about e-book reading.

 

Elizabeth McCracken also restricts her comments to very specific reasons why she prefers print over e-Books in that dropping a paper book while reading in the bathtub is much less of a problem than dropping one's iPad while bathing. And, coffee spills and small children? Yes, these are arguments that with the exception of simply being careful, are understandable concerns.

 

Karen Russell prefers print over e-Books but makes the most sensible statement when she recognizes that "But writing an e-book has been an exciting experiment; it's the way so many people read now. [Print versus e-books] is sort of a funny rivalry."


The problem she mentions about feeling like a dinosaur for her preference is intriguing. I would hope that one's reading preferences would NOT make one feel like an outcast. Though, those of us with some concern about sustainability issues relating to the consumption of paper might feel a bit more concerned about the matter. 

 

But, with that exception, what is the advantage in a classroom of a teacher expressing his or her preference as though students with the "other preference" are outcasts and in an indefensible position?

 

Reading preferences are not like elections where one side wins if it can demonstrate a majority approval. The real "winners" are those who prefer reading regardless of preference for means of access.

 

 Our personal preferences in reading format are personal.

 

On the other hand, our professional preferences in reading format ought to be in promoting whatever means of accessing the great stories that each of our students find most engaging. This might simply be a recognition that individualizing our lesson design should consider THEIR reading access preferences not ours.

 

And, by the way, check out the graphic used to illustrate the article. A chalk board????? 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

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Sarah McElrath's curator insight, September 9, 4:22 PM

Interesting points by Google-lit-trips.

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WATCH: A Beautiful Robin Williams Tribute, In Williams' Own Voice

WATCH: A Beautiful Robin Williams Tribute, In Williams' Own Voice | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
This poem honoring the late Robin Williams is beautifully touching on its own. In the hands of Jim Meskimen, the author of the poem and a talented voice actor, it's a masterpiece.

"I've been thinking about Robin Williams all week long, and .....
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

16 August 2014

 

It may not be what you might expect. But the headline is perfectly accurate. And any literary loving teacher of poetry really ought to consider sharing this ASAP. A lesson in poetry's deep power to reach both the mind and heart.

 

Your students are ready for this.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

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Google Lit Trips: Back to School Fundraiser

Google Lit Trips: Back to School Fundraiser | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

11 August 2014

Two great ways to support the Google Lit Trips project.

1. Make a tax-deductible donation in any amount.

2. Use the Amazon Link on our home page to do your back to school shopping. 

 

It's that easy. 

 

And, thanks for what you do to support reading education around the globe!

 

Jerome Burg

founder & president

Google Lit Trips the flagship project of GLT Global ED a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLTGlobalED a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit

 

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6 virtual field trips to give lesson plans a boost

6 virtual field trips to give lesson plans a boost | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Don't have the budget to travel the world? That doesn't mean students have to miss out! 
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

28 July 2014

Always nice to get a shout out for Google Lit Trips in people's blogs!

 

What can I say when Google Lit Trips is suggested as a highly recommended site for "virtual field trips"?

 

Al I can say is I'm truly honored. Thanks to the good people at D Education DIVE

 

This one is particularly glowing in that it begins...

_____

"Definitely one of the most creative of the virtual field trips, Google Lit Trips allows users to track the fictional journeys of beloved literary characters..."

_____

by the way...

Google Lit Trips fans should be on the alert tons of news about to burst.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit aka Google Lit Trips

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Big Anthony: His Story

Big Anthony: His Story | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

8 May 2014

 

Announcing the publication of a Tour Builder version of the recently updated original Google Lit Trip for Big Anthony: His Story by Tomie DePaola.

 

Pleased to have had the chance to meet and speak with author Tomie DePaola on his recent book tour stop at our local independent bookstore. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

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Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

8 May 2014

 

The Google Lit Trips project is proud to  announce the publication of a Google Tour Builder version of  the Lit Trip for Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

 

We have also refreshed the original Google Earth version of The Diary of a Young Girl Lit Trip as well.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

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General Mills Reverses Controversial Policy

General Mills Reverses Controversial Policy | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
General Mills has reversed a new policy that sparked outrage among consumers.

General Mills last week revealed a new rule that prevented people from joining class action lawsuits if they "joined [its] online communities." Such actions m...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

21 April 2014

 

It was less than one hour ago that I scooped and article about General Motors' questionable "small print" might make a wonderfully engaging exercise in Informational Reading.

 

And now, optimism springs eternal. General Mills did not get away with it! Public outrage at General Mills' audacious assumption of "just how gullible their market is" back fires. Lless than a week later, the good guys win and General Mills, though still clinging to its proclaimed justification,

 

Informational Reading Skills take the day.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

Brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit.

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On The Timelessness Of 'The Grapes Of Wrath'

On The Timelessness Of 'The Grapes Of Wrath' | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
The following is an excerpt from On Reading The Grapes of Wrath [Penguin Books, $14.00] by Susan Shillinglaw.

Deliberate reading is as cleansing as deliberate movement. To enter a yoga studio is to cross a boundary into a place of serenity. To op...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

16 April 2014

 

My first thought in reading the title of this article was "What happens when we don't have time to read the timeless in times when time is money?"

 

We certainly do live in fast times don't we? But, are we making a terrible mistake by assuming that "faster is better"? Are we sacrificing an element of a TRULY great education if we assume that the only criteria for such an education are college and career readiness? Though I do not criticize the true value of college and career readiness, if we simplistically allow those criteria to dominate curricular planning and if we allow, oh, I dunno, say literary reading to be demoted as either being too impossible to measure beyond the elements of advanced literacy and vocabulary skills then what happens to a deep focus upon the timelessness of literary wisdom?

 

AND BEFORE you jump on me for suggesting that literary reading has been demoted, let me  say that I do understand that a close reading of the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts implies that literary reading has NOT  been demoted since the expectations are to be spread across the curriculum. This clarification  suggests that the amount of literary reading in English Literature classes will essentially be unchanged given the amount of informational reading expected in non ELA courses. I know that. But, I also know that de facto forces place incredible pressure on course syllabi to focus on the "power standards;" those standards most tested and those having the greatest impact upon a school's overall scores.

 

So, timeless articulations of wisdom, those that take time, that could be "better spent" on score boosting "learning" experiences, will inevitably get the squeeze. My guess is long reads and slow reads  may  give way to shorter and faster reads in order to get as many literary titles into play as possible. 

 

This article, one of many dozens of articles I've read on Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH, stands among the most interesting in it's focus upon the need to slow down in order to  truly connect and develop an appreciation for the circumstances the Joads and so in which so many others find themselves.

 

Susan Shillinglaw builds an exquisite case for the inner chapters with particular emphasis upon the inner chapter about the slow yet determined turtle caught up in a fast world of Lincoln Zephyrs flying by completely oblivious to the turtle's situation. Of course it's a metaphor for the "forces of progress" whizzing by the displaced victims of progress. Empathy and compassion for the downtrodden? No time to care about that. 

 

Faster does not make for better reading. Nor does it always make for better living. 

 

So, you're probably an English teacher. You probably get my point and will enjoy Shillinglaw's  appreciation for THE GRAPES OF WRATH. But, I've saved something for last that might be a great lesson for your "irony" collection.

 

Have you seen those commercials for AT&T promoting "faster is better?"

 

I'd only seen one, but in hoping to find a link to the commercial, I was surprised to discover one I hadn't seen before.  It's the one about turtles!

 

Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHMH-R6g4vs 

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com  ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit promoting the wisdom of reading great literature

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A Life Changing Trip by Hannah Ryder

A Life Changing Trip by Hannah Ryder | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, April 9, 12:57 PM

9 April 2014

 

If you like Google Lit Trips, you just might love GLT Personal Journeys!

 

Hannah Ryder shares her story of a life changing journey she made to Washington D.C. as one of her state's two chosen representatives to the 2009 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children's Congress.

 

 

_______________

Google Lit Trips is now encouraging students to tell their own significant Personal Journey Stories. If you would like to have them considered for publication on the Google Lit Trips website (www.GoogleLitTrips.com) contact us at:


BoardofDirectors@GLTGlobalED.org for more information.

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit 

Teresa Pombo's curator insight, April 9, 1:11 PM

Um exemplo em Português em http://goo.gl/J1wCdz

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13 Poetry Collections For People Who Think They Don't Like Poetry

13 Poetry Collections For People Who Think They Don't Like Poetry | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
When I was first asked to make a list of poetry collections for people who think they don't like poetry, my first thought was, "Well, isn't that just about everyone?" Not quite--I do have nearly 2,000 friends on Facebook, of whom the majori...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

2 April 2014

It's no secret that poetry's audience is,... well,...you know, um, let's just say small. There were few teachers in my own education who managed to crack my own resistant wall to poetry; at least the poetry that they felt had to be read in the obstacle course of crossing the diploma line.

 

I'm not saying that I welcomed the opportunity to become enlightened by the, whatever it was that poetry brought to one's quality of life. Truthfully, my personal appraisal of poetry as a way to expend one's remaining minutes of existence wasn't worth listening to.

 

But immaturity and adamant ignorance, high volume buffoonery absolute confidence that popularity gained via a sort of daring, yet charming class clownishness are real variables affecting one's young judgment in many cases.

 

Poetry may have been ready for me to wake up. But, I just wasn't ready to wake up for poetry.

 

That is until  in the meanderings of my day to day obliviousness I was found myself occasionally  in the right place at the right time with a good reason to let my guard down. 

 

Do I regret my Metrophobic resistance? I don't know. There are so many roads taken and not taken; perhaps as many missed opportunities as those that were serendipitous.

 

__________

OKAY, my relationship with poetry aside, I must admit that I'm a big fan of digression ala Holden Caufield chapter 24. While writing that last paragraph, the original phrasing in the first sentence was "Do I regret my poetry-phobic resistance?" And, then I thought, "Geez, probably most people reading this are English teachers, maybe I shouldn't embarrass myself anymore than I do anyway and check to see if there actually is a fear of poetry phobia." So, off on a serendipitous digression I went. Not only is there a word, "metro phobia," but the first website I went to (http://phobias.about.com/od/phobiaslist/a/metrophobia.htm) had this to say about it in it's opening paragraph.

 

"Metrophobia, or the fear of poetry, is surprisingly common. Many people first develop this phobia in school, when overzealous teachers encourage them to rank poems according to artificial scales, break them down and search for esoteric meanings. Others simply feel that poetry is somehow “beyond” them, belonging only to the realm of the pretentious and highly educated."

 

Something to think about as we do our best to promote  Poetry month.

__________

 

And with that digression the intended trajectory of these comments shifted....

 

What if I revisited my own perceptions of my early lack of interest in poetry based upon that first paragraph about Metrophobia quoted above.Maybe, I had actually liked poetry given my fairly early enjoyment of Dr. Seuss (except for the inevitable scary pages). Maybe I found those early and risqué encounters with limericks quite interesting. Maybe it was that Pelican poem my father taught me....You know the one that goes...

 

A wonderful bird is the pelican,

His bill will hold more than his belican

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week

But I'm damned if I see how the helican!

 

Oh it was my dad telling me a funny poem that actually used references to the words "damn" and "hell." And, it was so clever in rhyming "pelican" with "belly can" and "hell it can." 

 

Long before the phrase even existed, this brand of "out of the box thinking" captivated my imagination.

 

And maybe it was the assumption of accepted practice in teaching literary analysis, like frog dissection, was the obvious way to get kids to appreciate poetry rather than one very effective way to take the inherent wonderfulness out of poetry and kill it as dead as that frog we were dissecting in biology class.

 

But, as I look back on my own oscillating interest in poetry, there are recollections (some perhaps embarrassing others not) of key experiences that brought me out of the fog where instant rejection reigned supreme. And, the list made it very clear to me that everyone's journey to literary appreciation varies. What "did it" for me was a unique experience. The specific literary pieces that worked for me worked because of a complex interaction between the works themselves, the readiness I  had for being receptive, the influences of my own personal experiences' and perceptions of those experiences on my zone of proximal development and the artistry of those educators, friends, and real or imagined girl friends.

 

For what it's worth... among the most paradigm-altering experiences with poetry in my own journey were the following:

The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby

John Denver

Bob Dylan

Woody Guthrie

e.e.cummings

Shel Silverstein

Dr. Seuss

Joe Cocker's You are so Beautiful

"Stories and Prose Poems" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Langston Hughes' "Harlem" (A Dream Deferred)

LeRoi Jones (I don't even remember the specific poem, but I do remember that it slammed up against the wall and made me think about things)

Gordon Parks

Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken

and even Rod McKuen

 

And, now, curiously, I find myself remembering more and more as I look for a spot to stop adding to the list. But, you can probably see what I'm seeing.

 

It was the 60's  And, I'm convinced that it was because the bridge between where I was and the poetry I"m remembering was a short bridge. I found that bridge "crossable." And, I found that in crossing that bridge, that nearby slightly longer bridges were more interesting than I'd previously thought they might be. 

 

e.e. cummings, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, limericks, and that Pelican poem my dad used to ask me if I'd ever heard every time we saw a pelican and I asked my own children every time we saw a pelican.all intrigued me in their "at the edge" of word play and out of the box thinking.

 

Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie led me to Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax, and T.S.Eliot. Mark Twain's War Prayer.

 

But, the question is, "Is my particular journey from poetry-resistant to poetry-interest a prescription as in here-are-the-poems-that-got-me-so-they're-the-poems-I-should-teach?"

 

Of course not. But, they do suggest that for many, the journey to appreciation for the unappreciative might have some remarkable similarities to my journey if we find a way to begin with lyrics, and poetry, and word play, and childhood memories and experiences to which they already have a welcoming receptiveness.

 

And, what I can say is that although I am not a believer in the infallibility of data-driven decision making, I can't help but suggest that IF POETRY is worth teaching, then the data seems to be indicating that we are having a disturbingly low success rate for our efforts in promoting poetry as a welcome addition to our students' life-long reading practice.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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In Search of Beowulf

In Search of Beowulf | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

21 March 2014

 

Though true that Beowulf is undoubtedly not a true story, there is reason to believe that elements of the story are based upon historical places and events common to the legends of many of our oldest stories.

This Google Lit Trip is based upon the archeological work of Tom Christensen published under the title “Lejere: Beyond the Legend- the archeaological evidence.” Christensen’s work led to what may have been the model for the descriptions of The Long Hall” in Beowulf.

As you explore this Lit Trip, you can virtually travel to the archaeological site, view the locations mentioned, and read about the evidence upon which Christensen builds a rather convincing case.


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There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours? |

There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours? | | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Many of us have surnames passed down to us from ancestors in England. Last names weren’t widely used until after the Norman conquest in 1066, but as the country’s population grew, people found it necessary to be more specific when they were talking about somebody else. Thus arose descriptions like Thomas the Baker, Norman son… Read more
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

9 September 2015

 

Though essentially a promotion for ancestry.com, this article on the origins of the 7 types of English surnames provides an interesting (as in engaging) look into the etymology of last names. 

 

Why is it more interesting to students than traditional attempts to make etymology interesting? My guess is that it's because every student has a last name. And, every student has friends; all of whom have last names. 

 

The bottom line? They have a reason to care.

 

Might even be an interesting "into" activity for working with word roots.

 

The next step might be to extend the engagement into Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development, but exploring the same concept across cultures. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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27 Signs It's DEFINITELY Time To Go Back To School

27 Signs It's DEFINITELY Time To Go Back To School | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
If you come across any of these while dropping your kids off at school, just keep driving.

In addition to some hilariously questionable phrasing, these signs indicate that it's time for some serious spelling and grammar lessons -- not to mention a...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

5 September 2014

 

Ah! Nothing like promoting high standards!

 

At least they did not profess to be "COMMITED to RAZING the standards."

 

Yes there are several more cringe-worthy examples.

 

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The danger of silence

The danger of silence | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
"We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don't," says slam poet and teacher Clint Smith. A short, powerful piece from the heart, about finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

15 August 2014

 

Wow! A must watch. A must share. A must become.

 

~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

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Episode 45: Talking With Jerome Burg

Episode 45: Talking With Jerome Burg | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
In this episode: Mike talks with Jerome Burg about Google Lit Trips and more...  
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

12 August 2014

 

I was honored to have been interviewed by Mike Vollmert for his and Andrew Schwab's great "The reboot ED Podcast."  

 

Here it is in its "unedited as it happened" wholeness. We galloped through a wide range of Google Lit Trips topics. I was very happy to have had a chance to touch many of my favorite bases including a bit of a discussion about the underlying pedagogy upon which Google Lit Trips are based, cross-curricular and cross-cultural goals, even CCSS ELA issues, and a few of the new directions coming down the line for the project.

 

If you happen to have not visited The reboot ED Podcast before, take a look. Mike and Andrew have interviewed some big voices in the ED Tech world.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit 

 

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INCIDENTAL COMICS: Conflict in Literature

INCIDENTAL COMICS: Conflict in Literature | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

10 August 2014

 

And there you have it. Great Literature  has always been Virtual Reality at its best. And, the best Fiction has always reflected humanity's deepest Truths. 

 

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Evaluating Weird Al’s Rules of Usage in His New “Word Crimes” Video

Evaluating Weird Al’s Rules of Usage in His New “Word Crimes” Video | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
“Weird Al” Yankovic is back with a vengeance this week, releasing a new video every day to celebrate the release of his new (and possibly last) album, Mandatory Fun. Yesterday he debuted the Jack Black- and Kristen Schaal-featuring video for “Happy” parody “Tacky,” and this afternoon he unveiled the video...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

17 July 2014

Yeah! Where have I been? Planning several new and exciting twists and turns for the Google Lit Trips project.

 

But, when I came across this, though the TO DO List is long, I couldn't help but want to share it with my Language Arts Lovin' friends out there.

 

__________

 

A WARNING: MOST LANGUAGE ARTS EDUCATORS WILL FIND BIG AL YANKOVIC'S "WORD CRIMES" VIDEO TO BE PRETTY AMUSING. 

 

BUT IT WOULD BE UNWISE TO ASSUME THAT IT IS APPROPRIATE TO SHARE WITH YOUR STUDENTS WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE CLEVER BUT EDGY ADVISE YANKOVIC  PROVIDES BEGINNING AT THE 2:19 MARK.

__________

 

I've never been more than sort of amused by Big Al Yankovic's parody songs. Some struck me as silly; others as well, sort of amusing.

But, I couldn't help but watch his brand new video entitled "Word Crimes." I have to admit, it's pretty interesting.

 

When searching for it, I came across this article that includes the video, but also does an interesting review of Yankovic's own grammar expertise.

 

And I must admit that I was guilty of assuming that someone had decided to play grammar cop and spend his or her words ridiculing the crimes being indicted in the song. 

 

I've always wondered exactly what the joy is for educators who for reasons I never understood, feel that the best way to help kids who struggle with grammar or who haven't yet discovered a real reason to care about grammar rules, is to elevate their noses, whip out their red pens and rubricate all over the kid's effort.

 

WHAT? "Rubricate" a verb?

 

Note this quote from English Ecclesiatical History, "...for he burneth them, he hangeth them, he drowneth them, imprisioneth and famisheth them, and so maketh truer martyrs of Christ, than any other of his new shrined saints whom he has so dignified in his calendar; for the one he doth rubricate only with his red letters, the other doth he rubricate with their own blood."

 

The word's origins are in a reference to "Christ's" spilled blood; originally referencing a sacredness to biblical text using red letters. 

 

So, "rubricating with blood" somehow eventually became marking up a kid's essay by spilling red ink all over it.

 

But I digress. I've long wondered whether excessive rubrication, blood red or other hued, is the most effective way of encouraging students to care about learning what we understand to be important communication skills. 

 

Not that mechanics, usage, and grammar (MUG) are not important. They most certainly are. That's why publishers hire editors.

 

The question is NOT whether mechanics, usage, and grammar are important. The question is what are the most successful practices for encouraging kids to care about their communication skills?

 

Ironically, we all know that it is not easy to engage kids in caring about mechanics, usage and grammar; at least not without the carrot (or is it a whip?) of THE TEST. 

 

I'm just wondering if Big Al Yankovic's alternative attempt at attempting to blend a bit of clever entertainment might be worth considering. 

 

Now, I've gotta  get back to those exciting new twists and turns for Google Lit Trips!

 

www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit aka Google Lit Trips.

 

 

 

 

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The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, May 8, 4:52 PM

8 May 2014

 

Happy to announce The Slave Dancer v4 Google Lit Trips update!

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

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Harper Lee agrees to ebook version of To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee agrees to ebook version of To Kill a Mockingbird | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Author announces on her 88th birthday that novel will be released as ebook and downloadable audiobook on 8 July
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

28 April 2014

 

With thanks to Rebecca Fortelka, one of my all time favorite former students, here's great news for fans of To Kill a Mockingbird.

 

At 88, Harper Lee is going digital; as have "digital holdouts from JK Rowling to Ray Bradbury changing their minds over the past few years..."

 

Can you read the writing on the tablet? 

 

I've long advocated for the preferred medium of accessing great literature should be determined by the reader. 

 

Let's hear it for one of the greats making it possible for the reader to access her beautiful masterpiece in their preferred medium!

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

 

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Is That Cheerio’s Coupon Worth Your Legal Rights?

Is That Cheerio’s Coupon Worth Your Legal Rights? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

2General Mills comes under fire after making changes to its legal terms that say consumers that download online coupons or participate in forums on the web are agreeing to settle disputes in arbitration, taking class action suits off the table.

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

21 April 2014

 

Here's a bit of informational reading that I'd bet would be incredibly interesting to many students. Kids are "LIKE" crazy as they engage in social media. Most have no idea whatsoever, what they're revealing about themselves; at least in they eyes of those who are harvesting every bit of information they can collect about people who use social media.

 

This article goes into legal sacrifices we may be making.

 

Though my antennae start twitching when I see that the source for this article is FOX, it does offer an intriguing look at the reasoning behind General Mills' reasoning for including language about one's waiving legal rights by using coupons, entering contests, or even simply "Liking" a company on its websites.

 

 

While this TED Talk gives a secret look behind the scenes of how those who do harvest their every activity can determine much, MUCH more than one might ever anticipate.

 

https://www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_golbeck_the_curly_fry_conundrum_why_social_media_likes_say_more_than_you_might_think

 

My guess is most kids would not want to believe the downside of some of their favorite online activities. This would create an interesting engagement that could easily be built into a motivating bridge to "discovering" that they may not be as informed as one needs to be in the 21st century.

 

While at the same time, they just might quickly discover themselves discussing the shocking truth that the wisdom of great literature raises these sorts of questions and warning signs at nearly every turn.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Worst Wheel Of Fortune Fail Ever

Worst Wheel Of Fortune Fail Ever | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Talk about bad luck.

On "Wheel of Fortune" last week, Indiana University honors student Julian Batts had three chances to solve puzzles -- including one in which every single letter had been turned and all he had to do was correctly rea...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

14 April 2014

 

Just one $1 million reason to read literature!

 

This is a classic fail well worth sharing with your students!

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Why Writers Are The Heroes Of Our Time

Why Writers Are The Heroes Of Our Time | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
That is my perfect definition of a writer; someone who dedicates his or her life to searching for the meaning of that life and the lives of others through the marvelous and mysterious gift of storytelling....
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
3 April 2014 I've written in the past about my concern regarding a fairly recent practice of authors publishing articles that ride the gray line between sharing insights about literature and self-serving promotions of their latest book.

References to an article's author's own published works, if mentioned at all, used to be mentioned in a very brief italicized about the author bio at the end of the article.

HOWEVER, I also must admit that this particular article, in spite of its embedded self-promotion, hits a home run or two and maybe a few two and three-baggers. 
Gotta love ...
"The reason being, a storyteller is the keeper of the flame of a culture, the moral compass for a community, the one who sacrifices their own safety in anonymity by putting themselves out there.

Perhaps not a home run but maybe a solid double or triple...
"Writers are born and spend their formative years learning the craft with an apprenticeship at the canvas of experience. Science is all about trial and error and never examines what things mean where writers do the opposite - they strive to answer that question by telling the story of a character."

Again, not a home run perhaps, but maybe a solid double or triple...
"In the end, yes, we do know some statesmen, scientist and money makers of the past but when you really dig deep in the annals of human existence, it's the poets who we know. The writers who told us about the people they were and who their people were. We read them to know about ourselves. That is why they are as relevant as if they wrote today."

__________
I must admit, however, that I still have a serious discomfort in the shift from "afterword" to "embedded self-promotion."  It is similar to the serious discomfort I've felt since the news media transitioned from making a clear distinction between what is to be perceived as news and what is to be understood to be editorial opinion.

btw... I might well decide to share this article with students as an example of the kind of informational reading worth examining in terms of practicing the skills associated with informational literacy.

Just one example. Vetere attempts to distinguish the power of literature with the shortcomings of smartphones. Is that a fair comparison?

I don't really think so. And, more so, the comparison relies upon the reader not having ";close reading"; skills.

My reasoning? The value of reading literature depends upon the literature selected to be read. Yes. the best writers reach for the truths Vetere suggests merit them the title of hero. But, as there are the greats in literary history, there are also the "pretty goods," the "okays," the "shameless panderers," the "dubious," and those who reach for the lowest levels of endeavors in pursuit of low-hanging profitability 

While at the same time, our smart phones are capable of bringing us the same very wide spectrum of possibilities.

To cherry-pick the most admirable levels of benefits of literature while cherry-picking only the features of smartphones that do not address the kinds of benefits that literature is capable of bringing is a false comparison.

And the ability to recognize false comparisons whether we are accessing what is put forward in commercials, political debates, five-paragraph essays or any means by which opinion and fact are mashed together is a skill more critical than ever in the current era of talking points and choreographed "staying on "OUR" message" regardless of attempt to challenge that message with significant and valid counter arguments.

 

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The 9 Most Mischievous Literary Pranksters, Ranked

The 9 Most Mischievous Literary Pranksters, Ranked | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

atesIf you're looking for April Fools' inspiration, the Internet is a treasure trove of ideas, with digital pranksters constantly one-upping each other to win viral fame....

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

1 April 2014

I've not found  April Fools Day "pranks" funny for some time now. And, in spite of my "terribly sophisticated sense of humor" (?), I find them particularly unfunny when perpetrated by adults.

 

Some of my most shameful memories resulted from either "perpetrating or playing along without objection to" pranks (regardless of the date), that had only one goal and that was to get laughs by embarrassing someone publicly.

 

There is a gray line between "Ah c'mon! Can't you take a joke?" and cruelty.

 

I'd be interested in the reaction to the the literary pranksters mentioned in this scooped article.I'd suggest that you pay particular attention to the "hilarity" ratings. 

 

Can you get through all 9 examples without wondering when pranks cross the line into disgusting?

 

I suppose after 30+ years teaching a very popular Satire class, I can't deny that I find the foolish to be the source of significant chagrin; not only in the extent of harm they bring to the human condition (think blonde, gay, Polish, racist  etc. "jokes" and serious behaviors). But they also attract all the snake oil sales persons, scam artists, the "legitimate thieves" on Wall Street, main street, and their illegitimate counterparts in back alleys, in Government, and businesses who know where the easy pickings are and have no qualms about exploiting those who are either misinformed, ill-informed, disinformed or just plain fools.

 

No. I did not say that everyone on Wall Street, Main Street, in back alleys, government or business are evil.  I only suggested that those who would serve themselves by crossing lines of ethics and decency can be found everywhere. And, that they are too often smart enough to know who the easiest to exploit are.

 

_______________

 

Some quotes from other authors on the subject.

They'd be funny if they weren't so tragically true.

 

 

According to Mark Twain...

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

 

According to Ambrose Bierce...

"April fool, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly."

 

According to Douglas Adams...

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."

 

According to Charles Lamb...

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever. 

 

According to an Irish Proverb...

Don't give cherries to pigs or advice to fools.

According to a Spanish Proverb...

It is better to weep with wise men than to laugh with fools.  

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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