Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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Ernest Hemingway Collection - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Ernest Hemingway Collection - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

For those of you who might be interested in Hemingway, the materials available here are pretty darned interesting. I was particularly interested in the Audiovisual Materials (see left column links) Five scrapbooks worth of images from Hemingway's early life and a fairly large sampling of photographs from his entire life are available.

 

I was in Junior High School i when Hemingway killed himself.  Hemingway's suicide only months after having lost my own "Papa" in a plane crash, rattled me. It wasn't the connection between the tragedies so much as it was the question of how someone whom I had known little more than that he was a famous writer, could decide to kill himself. 

 

Later on after I'd read A Farewell to Arms and had heard a few lectures about what a great writer he was because he wrote simple sentences or something like that. I found his machisimo-attitudes uninteresting. I never wanted to be him. I thought my niche (a word I wouldn't even learn until years later) in humor. I was a pretty funny guy and as unsophisicated as my sense of humor was, I got plenty of attention because of my daring silliness. And, that was "plenty good enough" for me.

 

And as the sixties came along, right about the time that I was beginning to suspect that there was more to growing up than than height and body hair, the social attention was turning towards questioning sexist attitudes, race-based jokes, and bravado-based egomania. Hemingway, the man "didn't seem to fit," in the version of the grown up man that I found pretty interesting.

 

But, in spite of it all, long before my realizations about what kind of man Hemingway was began to mix my feelings about Hemingway the author,I still remember the first time I saw the film "The Old Man and the Sea." Spencer Tracy was absolutely mesmerizing. Memories do fade, but it may have been connected to my having recently read Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki. 

 

I'd always liked reading. But, mostly it was for the "real reasons" non-bibliophiles like reading. I just liked stories. I'm sure that I had not yet developed even the slightest interest in literary analysis. I probably wasn't yet even aware of that arena of deeper appreciation for a well-told story. 

 

In Hemingway's case, it was the movie that drove me to the book. As it happened it was the reverse in the case of Heyerdahl's book. I wasn't sophisticated enough to be upset with any discrepancies there might have been between the paper and the film versions of the stories. That sort of concern came much later. In those early days, it was just the story; the plot, the action, the thrill "watching" those guys taking on the world successful or not. I wouldn't have had much to say about theme in an academic sort of way. Yet, I have no doubt that in retrospect, the man vs. nature element of each story and its metaphorical "truthes" had at some subconcious level been at the heart of my enjoyment of both stories. 

 

It was a time before concerns about gender expectations, gender stereotypes and sexism became of wide-spread interest, at least in the part of the world where my level of understanding of such things lived. I made little, if any distinction between the Old Man, Heyerdahl and James Bond. They were just stories about guys who "took on the challenges of being alive on a pretty grand scale.

 

I don't really know how much Hemingway is taught anymore. His personal life and the heavy lean on machisimo in his stories may have taken their toll on his reputation as a writer worthy of a place in the canon of "taught in school" literature. I don't really know.

 

But, I remember The Old Man and the Sea. And, I remember rooting for the guy who was destined to be defeated. And I remember the deep empathy and admiration I felt for the old guy who gave it a shot in a hard world and lost the battle.

 

And in retrospect, there is a sort of empathy and admiration for Hemingway himself as I contemplate the degree that The Old Man and the Sea, might be more autobiographical than I'd ever realized.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

"Google Lit Trips"  is the official business name for GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

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Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
An Educator's Reading List of Contemporary Literature, Literacy, and Reading Issues. Visit us at http://www.GoogleLitTrips.org
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'Sheeple' Has Been Added To The Dictionary

'Sheeple' Has Been Added To The Dictionary | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Is Merriam-Webster throwing shade at the current political climate
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
1 May 2017

In yesterday's scoop and in discovering a reference to Bill Deresiewicz's  book, "Excellent Sheep" it is ironic that I came across this article on May 1 about Merriam-Webster latest entry ...
__________
sheeple
"informal : 
 people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced : people likened to sheep"
__________
 
Why is it ironic that I discovered this article on May 1? It has nothing to do with the date. It has to do with my first reaction to the article.

"May Day! May Day!" (the universal distress call when ships or aircraft are going down)

Perhaps I'm over reacting. 

Was it over reacting to feel the distress when I came across this definition in the article from the Urban Dictionary? 

__________
"sheeple
...To accept the group mentality and opinion as fact without examination. Not only to be told what to do, but accepting the paradigm of thought as absolute thereby removing the weight of personal responsibility in the making of decisions..."
__________

This is not a contemporary definition. it was posted to the Urban Dictionary thirteen years ago!

"May Day! May Day!"

If "sheeple" had value then or has value now, the question is who is responsible  for what is happening today in times of "Alt-facts," accusations of "fake news," and misdirecting  "blame-gaming"? 

Who are the shepherds of the sheeple? Whether we place the responsibility on the media or the left or the right, or on congress, we are in effect excusing our "sheepleness" from accepting the responsibility for NOT being sheeple because it's THEM not US.

If so, how does this affect the responsibilities of educators?

btw... what literature has a place in combatting "sheepleness"?

Fahrenheit 451? Brave New World? Animal Farm? ___________? 


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


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Google Geo Teacher Institute Applications OPEN!

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
27 April 2017

The Google Geo Teacher Institute is always an incredible event. The GREAT news is that it is FREE. 

The IMPORTANT news is that there is a limit on number of applications to be selected. SOOOO... 

If you can get yourself here and have a place to stay, everything else is FREE. Including Breakfast and Lunch! And, if you haven't been to the GOOGLEPLEX in Mountain View, California. Oh Wow. What an experience!

This year will be beyond special as Google has been hard at work bringing Google Earth and other mapping tools to new levels of exquisite!

And yes, it's true! Google Earth on Chromebooks!!!

And, of course, besides all kinds of Google Lit Trips news, we'll be sharing incredible ways to bring Geo education to all curricular areas; all grade levels, and all passionate educators.

brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips,  an educational nonprofit
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Lit Trips on Chromebooks with the New Google Earth

Lit Trips on Chromebooks with the New Google Earth | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
See how to run Google Lit Trips on Chromebooks with the new Google Earth and make stories come alive.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
19 April 2017

THIS IS BIG!!! We’re very excited about this new development. 

No sooner did Google add it’s new web-based version of Google Earth (https://earth.google.com/web/) to its mapping resources, than Eric Curts posted this article providing step-by-step directions for viewing Google Lit Trips on Chromebooks with the new Google Earth.  

For the curious and those with the pioneering spirit, Curts does point out  a few minor caveats at this early stage. 

• The new Google Earth Web currently only works when using Chrome browser on computers and Chromebooks. Plans are to expand access to other browser are in the works and should appear soon. 
• Importing KML and KMZ files is still considered “experimental.” 
• There are a few minor bumps that need to be worked out as the KML/KMZ import function is refined. Among those bumps are: 
   - custom place markers are not yet appearing popup windows sometimes don’t quite fit screen view 
   - occasional issues with embedded media 
These and other minor issues will be addressed in the coming weeks. 
 Take a look at the new Google Earth Web. (https://earth.google.com/web/). It’s gorgeous and brings incredible new resources to Google’s mapping suite.

brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit
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Sara Rosett's curator insight, April 20, 3:57 PM
This is great! I always love to see innovations that help the reader envision the story!
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Was the Book Better? I No Longer Care

In defense of enjoying stories however you end up enjoying them.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
7 April 2017
Oh my! Blasphemy? Or, thinking outside a rusty box?

It's a long held belief, with much solid supporting evidence, that the book is always better; that alternate media adaptations are always "less." I suppose that I generally fall in line with this line of thought. I even believe that the much beloved film version of To Kill A Mockingbird, as good as it is, falls far short of depth  and breadth to be found in the novel. 

I have cringeworthy recollections of standing in line at Blockbuster (remember them?) behind a group of AP English students giggling about how well they'd done on multiple tests without reading a word of the book thanks to Blockbuster. 

However, I also have recollections of multiple struggling readers who had the love of reading destroyed by being assigned books well beyond their reading skill sets. 

Yet, the author Emily Wenstrom offers an interesting take on the issue. 

Wenstrom does not actually argue that argue that the book is not better; though she does offer a few challenges to this belief. What she argues is that it is the story and that given "Thanks to disruptors like Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, television is in a new golden age." 

The truth? There is much absolutely exquisite story telling happening in video formats. Anyone reading this not yet found him or herself becoming a dedicated binge watcher of any on the high end series being provided by these and other media sources?

In my mind it's not a question of one OR the other. Nor is the question of paper-based books OR digital books. 

All this aside, I still do believe that LITERARY READING is incredibly important. But, we should be careful about the ironic outcome of an increasing number of students who get absolutely turned off to literary reading; many of whom actually do a significant amount of literary reading that falls outside of what is considered "worthwhile" in too many classrooms. Perhaps we ought to consider having two objectives for literary reading. The first being the objective of creating future English majors; the second for creating lifelong readers regardless of their future career choices.

Good storytelling in any format is good for everyone.

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


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There’s A Flipside To Every Story. This Tool Shows You How.

There’s A Flipside To Every Story. This Tool Shows You How. | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
This app collects the headlines from top news outlets from an array of political leanings.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
5 April 2017 
 
 Regardless of what we believe, can there be any doubt that we are living in times when developing deeper Informational reading skill sets is essential for our students as well as for ourselves? 

 For many years I had a banner above my black, then green, then white board with one of my favorite quotes from photographer Aaron Siskind. It said, "We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there." 

This incredible new resource is making a strong effort to assist us in refining our understanding of how to evaluate the actual truth or lack of truth as well as the degree of political bias in what it is that we have learned to believe is there. 

The vertical scale measure the degree of trustworthiness in various articles. The horizontal scale measures the political leaning of those articles. The chart is updated every two hours!

BASIC DIRECTIONS:
First select a topic from the list on the left. 

Double click anywhere on the chart to zoom in. Then  tapping a bubble for any publisher reveals relevant headlines on the right side of the screen.

Then tapping any of the revealed headlines take you directly to that article.

Thoughts on how I might integrate this tool...
• Have students determine the "sweet spot" on the chart for most reliable information.
• Have students pick any topic in the topic list and read complimentary articles from both the "liberal" and the "conservative" sides of the chart and identify the information that seems to be most informative in each. 
• Have students pick any topic in the topic list and read complimentary articles from both the "trustworthy" and the "untrustworthy" sides of the chart and identify reasons or tactics used that support the trustworthiness evaluation.
• Build a list of indicators of trustworthy information such as verifiable evidence, multiple reliable sources, etc.
• Build a list of indicators of untrustworthy information such as obfuscation, misdirection, vagueness, etc.
• Have students explore Snopes.com and the 2016 study of ideological rankings referenced in the Methodology area on the right.
• Have students consider the value of taking input from proponents of both sides of the issue.
• Have students brainstorm reasons why they should care about these issues, particularly those issues for which they do not have an interest.

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

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The Met Makes Its Public-Domain Artworks Images Freely Available

The Met Makes Its Public-Domain Artworks Images Freely Available | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
7 February 2017

"As of today, all images of public-domain works in The Met collection are available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). So whether you're an artist or a designer, an educator or a student, a professional or a hobbyist, you now have more than 375,000 images of artworks from our collection to use, share, and remix—without restriction. This policy change to Open Access is an exciting milestone in The Met's digital evolution, and a strong statement about increasing access to the collection and how to best fulfill the Museum's mission in a digital age."

Brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips
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Teaching In The Post-Truth Era

Teaching In The Post-Truth Era | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Defending truth — and teaching students to seek it — will not be easy, but it’s a worthy fight.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
28 December 2016

An absolutely MUST READ RESEARCH BASED article for any educator tasked with teaching Informational Reading.

Just a few tantalizing quotes to get you interested...


_______________
Oxford (Dictionary) describes post-truth as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

_______________
"One concern is that the process of acquiring knowledge has become faster, more superficial and more social. Indeed, an increasing percentage of Americans get their news through social media. Middle and high school students, so-called digital natives, are even more likely to consume media and integrate new information they find on social media."

_______________
"Although they arenʼt naïve enough to believe that if itʼs online, it must be true, they most certainly believe that if itʼs true, it must be online, and itʼs probably been liked by lots of their friends already. Knowledge has become populist."

_______________
"A second concern is supported by two new unsurprising but arresting studies, one from Sam Wineburg at Stanford and another from Joseph Kahne of UC Riverside and Benjamin Bowyer of Santa Clara University. Wineburgʼs research shows that todayʼs students are dismayingly unskilled at detecting bias, identifying fake news, and evaluating truth claims."

_______________
"...Kahne and Bowyer show that high school students are especially susceptible to “directional motivated reasoning,” which means they prefer “to seek out evidence that aligns with their preexisting views, to work to dismiss or find counter-arguments for perspectives that contradict their beliefs, and to evaluate arguments that align with their views as stronger and more accurate than opposing arguments.”

_______________
"Millennials are coming of age in a time of deepening polarization, poisonous rhetoric, and increasing partisan rigidity. Democratic norms are being degraded before our eyes and bigotry has gone mainstream. "


_______________
"A renewed focus on media literacy is essential to addressing post-truth ennui."

_______________
"Indeed, in the concern about downloading as knowledge acquisition, itʼs not hard to hear an echoing of widespread concerns about Americansʼ ripeness for authoritarian propaganda. Our students are learning to know in an environment that privileges superficial, easy explanations, rapid-fire opinion formation, and confirmation bias-driven groupthink. "

_______________
"Carol Dweckʼs “growth mindset” concept has been the subject of a wealth of education writing. She suggests that students need to be taught in such a way that they can embrace a vision of themselves as works in progress. In Kahne and Bowyerʼs research on the prevalence of motivated reasoning, they identified studentsʼ deeply held assumptions about the world as an obstacle to expanding their thinking and developing better opinions."

_______________
"Iʼd add that studentsʼ concepts of knowledge can operate as a similar impediment. The view that knowledge acquisition should be fast, that it should fit into an already existing worldview, and that all sources are helplessly biased serves as a major obstacle to developing mature critical thinking skills. Teachers need to operate with a theory of knowledge that is open-ended, embraces complexity, and accelerates the developmental progress of their students."


~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~ Brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit

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13 Cognitive Biases That Really Screw Things Up For You | The Huffington Post

13 Cognitive Biases That Really Screw Things Up For You | The Huffington Post | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
11 December 2016

How does one teach informational reading in times when the soon to be most powerful person in the world is waging a full-scale war on trust in information?

Regardless of our personal beliefs, when contemplating the quality of our current public discourse, it is clear that too much of what is believed is not to be believed. 

 Again, refining our informational reading skills in times when mistrust in information itself is alarmingly rampant is more important than ever, while simultaneously also being perceived as being irrelevant by even those who might be expected to be models of respect for rational thinking.

That aside, I found this list of easy to understand explanations for identifying thinking patterns that may be based upon unrecognized and unquestioned default baseline biases fascinating. 

 I am reminded of the quote on the banner above my black, then green, then white board for nearly 30 years.
 __________ 
 "We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there." ~Aaron Siskind
 __________

 I think Siskind was accurate whether or not "what we have learned to believe is there" is well founded or not.  

I remember being taught a basic list of logical fallacies. (A downloadable poster can be found at: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

Ad hominem? tu quoque?  anecdotal? begging the question? false cause? 

(Wow! seen any of these recently?) 

 Yet, at the time, like many "late bloomers," I was a bit of a know it all. Well, to be more accurate I was convinced that I knew enough about things that I had already determined to be important and had already mastered the art of ignorantly giving no credence to what I eventually came to appreciate was much more important than being a class clown or learning all I could about girls from James Bond. 

 Studying that list written in its scholarly academic language was more boring than engaging. 

 Yet, in reading this scooped article on cognitive biases, written in real world English and in a fashion that is easily personalized rather than easily dismissed, I could not help but wonder if it might be a much more engaging way to invite students to give some serious thought to the impact of their own un recognized personal biases. 

 In class I would have students read this article once as individuals with instructions to see if they could cite examples in the real world where they've seen any examples of each identified  type of the bias. 

Then I'd have them share their examples in small groups for a few minutes minutes discuss for example these examples from the article...  

  __________ 
"5. Confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that supports our pre-existing beliefs. In other words, we form an opinion first and then seek out evidence to back it up, rather than basing our opinions on facts." __________ 

Whether we  are, for example, either conservative or progressive in our political leanings, isn't it true that we are sometimes or generally or most often immediately more receptive to information or news that falls in line with our own pre-existing beliefs and less receptive even immediately skeptical of information or  news that challenges our own pre-existing beliefs? 

How much openness did our recent public discourse appeal to pre-existing biases and how much openness did that public discourse encourage an honest consideration of the importance of reconsideration of our own pre-existing points of view? 

Ever give students an essay assignment that was supposed to encourage them to research the pros and cons of a particular opinion only to have them begin with a pre-existing opinion and then merely spend the rest of their effort cherry picking arguments that supported that opinion? 

Do we emphasize enough the importance of what amounts to a requirement to include a concession paragraph where, students are forced to concede that there actually are opinions that are both contrary to their own yet worth considering nevertheless? 

 A related bias gets a bit close to home for some educators. I recently had the "opportunity" to witness an example of this one...
__________  
9. The halo effect. The halo effect occurs when someone creates a strong first impression and that impression sticks. This is extremely noticeable in grading. For example, often teachers grade a student’s first paper, and if it’s good, are prone to continue giving them high marks on future papers even if their performance doesn’t warrant it. The same thing happens at work and in personal relationships."
__________

There are 13 Cognitive Biases in this article. Each provides simple examples that can be bridges to anyone's personal experiences. 

Dunno, might just stick more easily than trying to figure out if I might be guilty of "tu quoque" thinking. And, for the record, if you happened to pay any attention to our recent political campaign, You probably saw, whether you fell for it or not, hundreds of examples of "tu quoque" thinking.

If only I could believe that it wasn't intentional. 

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



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The joy of lexicography

The joy of lexicography | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today's print dictionary is poised for transformation.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
27 November 2016

Need some smiles? Lots of laughs here.

Need some brain jogging? Be prepared to have yours jogged.

Who'da thunk a dictionary-centric talk would provide such an intellectually energizing and enjoyable contemplation-reorientation?

Ok. I thought the paper dictionary was already dead. Darned near didn't bother going past the first minute or so. That is, until the speaker Erin McKean began building a case for comparing paper dictionaries with online dictionaries. 

In McKean's words,..

" They {computers] don't change the end result. Because what a dictionary is, is it's Victorian design merged with a little bit of modern propulsion. It's steampunk. What we have is an electric velocipede. You know, we have Victorian design with an engine on it. That's all! The design has not changed."

AH! Her intent is not so much to make an argument regarding the difference between paper and digitized dictionaries as it is to reframe the argument as being about the long established Victorian design of dictionaries, off or online, that perpetuates  worn-out idea, that needs some very serious revisioning. 

Before, insisting that accelerating access speed  to definitions gives online dictionaries the trump card that ought to be enough to smuggly declare them victorious, we ought to consider McKean's thoughtful provocation...

"And in fact, online dictionaries replicate almost all the problems of print, except for searchability. And when you improve searchability, you actually take away the one advantage of print, which is serendipity. Serendipity is when you find things you weren't looking for, because finding what you are looking for is so damned difficult."

Though compelling to an intriguing degree, I"m not entirely certain that hyperlinks aren't a fairly solid counterargument. Anyone who has found him or herself exploring a trail of hyperlinked cookie crumbs knows that it's easy to get lost in the multi-layered digressions of hyperlinks' curiously fascinating side trips. Though I must admit that although I have discovered significant treasures serendipitously, at the same time, I've often meandered so far away and for so long from my original intentions that those intentions often have fallen out of my memory by the time I snap out of the cornucopic trance I've spent an indeterminate amount of time exploring. 

Nevertheless, all this is to say, that the humor and the intellectual kick in the side of the head provided by this talk provided serendipitous treasures well worth consideration and the time it took me away from cleaning the garage, which as is often the case, always something I can do tomorrow.

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


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Post-Election College Paper Grading Rubric

Post-Election College Paper Grading Rubric | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Dear Students,
Because I can no longer claim with any credibility that reading, writing, and critical thinking are essential skills fo
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
20 November 2016

Saw this site flash by in SNL last night. If you teach critical thinking, persuasive essay writing, irony or sarcasm, you may not think this is funny.

But then again...



 ~ www. GoogleLitTrips.org ~
brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit
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A Field Guide To Identifying A White Nationalist

A Field Guide To Identifying A White Nationalist | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
“It becomes one of those ‘if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck’ kind of things."
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
18 November 2016

A bit concerned about posting this article as I do not want to be mistaken as promoting any political view; not only because I do not believe that it would be appropriate, but also because this is considered definitely inappropriate for nonprofits.

Rather, I've decided that it might be an article of interest to those tasked with teaching informational reading skills. The article focuses upon what might be compared to "rebranding" efforts made to counter negative impressions triggered by previous branding practices. For example, today's extremists are more likely to present themselves as "normies." wearing suits than wearing sheets, or obvious tattoos that carry negative reactions. 

There is a recognition that reducing or pre-empting  the instant negative reactions and repackaging themselves as appearing more towards the look of the mainstream is more effective than the previous branding that hoped to be effective via fear and intimidation.

It is my hope that many charged with raising awareness while reading for information include the term "cherry picking" as an important and intentional side-stepping tactic used to mislead.

Another distinction that I hope is made in every informational reading curriculum is the difference between being  "well-informed" and being "ill-informed,"  "misinformed," or "disinformed."

The article uses the term "obfuscate" which ought to be part of every thinking person's critical thinking detection skill set.

The article suggests that the intentional rebranding of what are considered radical and negative ideologies "...becomes one of those 'if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck' kind of things.'" 

I might begin a lesson on this intentional misdirection common in public discourse, commercial promotion, and much social interaction with the reading of Aesop's "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing." 

The wolves learned early on that  hunting sheep while looking like wolves was less effective than pretending to look like sheep..

(A shout out to the truth to be found in LITERARY READING!)

I might end the lesson by having students search for the pattern in their email spam folders.

One of my favorite sayings is, "Don't believe everything you think."

brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit
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Rap Theatre for Lit Lovers! | Filmed live at the Public Theater, NY

Filmed LIVE at the PUBLIC THEATER, NY on September 5th, 2016 BARS Created by Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs MEDLEY Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrad
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
15 November 2016

Wow! Wow! Wow!!!

I remember the buzz when Baz Luhrmann's 1996 radical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio rocked English department meetings like a Tsunami. Blasphemy or Genius? My department nearly came to blows. 

Okay, I made that part up. But there were those who were aghast and those who were ecstatic.

Let's start here. Have you "Gone Ga Ga" over Hamilton?

Do you by chance teach any of the title listed below? If so you might want to take a look at this video.


__________
BIG TIP FOR WATCHING if you're not particularly receptive to rap. Below the video and below the photograph of Rafael Casal, click the "•••More" link then the transcript link. Don't click the CC (closed caption) link. Rap is apparently way to fast for the Closed Caption to work. 

My preference is to watch the video and occasionally scroll down the the transcript. This is not just a rap album; it's an incredible theatre experience.
__________

The House on Mango Street
 • 1984
 • Pride and Prejudice
• Things Fall Apart
• Frankenstein
• Death of a Salesman
• Beloved
• Lord of the Flies
• Native Son
• The Catcher in the Rye
• Autobiography of Malcolm X
• The Alchemist 
• The Great Gatsby

Like rap or not. or like me, I don't really have an opinion about rap because getting up to speed on rap as good or bad as it might be, just hasn't (or should I say "hadn't") risen high enough on my bucket list yet to form a thoughtful opinion..

But, this video, has certainly sent rap racing towards the upper levels of my bucket list. This video is beyond remarkable. The first thoughts I had were a recollection of my core vision when teaching literature. I wanted my students to think about how I felt the first time Shakespeare was "taught at me."

That thought, "What's this old story got to do with anything I care about?" Though now embarrassed to confess it. This wasn't an expression of curiosity. In this late bloomer's pre-bloomer days, it was more of a rational for not caring; for dismissing any further interest in finding out if it actually might have something to do with anything I cared about. 

Whether you become aghast or ecstatic, what if it reaches right to the center of what your students, or some of your students, care much about? Wouldn't that be cool?

 ~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~
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Take A Look At The Most Epic Map Blunders Throughout The Ages

Take A Look At The Most Epic Map Blunders Throughout The Ages | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"An atlas of the world not as it ever existed, but as it was thought to be."

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
11 November 2016

I love having very mixed feelings about an article I anticipate either liking or disliking. I anticipated liking this article and found much to like. However, I also found myself wondering whether there was a negative bias that bumped against my own biases leaning in different directions.

The author leans towards an understandable assumption that inaccuracy is proof of blunder or lying or mythology as a sort of triumvirate of foolish or vicious falsehood.

In an ironic twist I am attracted to the video's conclusion that, "There's always more to the story."

I probably read that conclusion quite differently from the author's intention. I believe that at the Venn crossover of fact and fiction that fiction often adds an element of a greater Truth than fact alone. Not believing so would leave me thinking that his logic would dismiss the value of not only mythology, but all fiction because by definition fiction is not true.

When the author says, “Maps have an unquestionable authority, ... We’ve always thought of them as infallible, and so it’s startling and intriguing to see how wrongly they’ve sometimes shown the world to be.”

I can not read this without hearing a contemporary self-righteous condemnation of how incredibly foolish people USED TO BE when they believed "wrongly" what they were inaccurately "shown the world to be." 

Perhaps my own bias is affected by this week's headlines where there is quite disturbing evidence regarding the extent to which people today STILL  "believe wrongly" what they have been inaccurately "shown the world to be."


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Science in service to the public good

Science in service to the public good | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
if you look closely, our education system today is focused more on creating what ex-Yale professor Bill Deresiewicz calls "excellent sheep" — young people who are smart and ambitious, and yet somehow risk-averse, timid, directionless and, sometimes, full of themselves.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
30 April 2017

I had an opportunity to speak with a young middle school English Language Arts/Core teacher the other day. I was quite shocked to hear that she has parents of high achieving students who have told her that her class is not important. Their perception being that math and science has value; her class did not. 

Those parents, along with some of their children's teachers, as well as many of their children's teachers' teachers are cogs in the machinery Siddhartha Roy alludes to when he quotes ex-Yale professor Bill Deresiewicz referencing his book, "Excellent Sheep." Roy encapsulates this situation by suggesting that "excellent sheep" are 
__________
"...-young people who are smart and ambitious, and yet somehow risk-averse, timid, directionless and sometimes full of themselves" (9:43 in transcript)
__________


Perhaps that is overstating the situation. However, who among us has not seen a top level student or two (or more) who demonstrate at least a couple of these traits?

At the 10:29 mark. Roy goes right at the reason the liberal arts are critical...
__________
"Now, kids ... you know, we fell in love with science when we were kids, and yet we somehow spend most of our time during high school and college just jumping through hoops and doing things so that we can polish our résumé instead of sitting down and reflecting on what we want to do and who we want to be. And so, the markers of empathy in our college graduates have been dropping dramatically in the past two decades, while those of narcissism are on the rise."

There is also a growing culture of disengagement between engineering students and the public. We are trained to build bridges and solve complex problems but not how to think or live or be a citizen of this world."
__________

I will leave it to you to watch the video. It ends with particularly interesting conclusion, given that the TED talk is dated November of 2016.


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Librarians School Ivanka Trump After Tone-Deaf Tweet

Librarians School Ivanka Trump After Tone-Deaf Tweet | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
She clearly misread the situation.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
20 April 2017

When people say what they think we want to hear and do what we don't want them to do? What do we teach our students?

We're talking libraries as a priority for a civil, thoughtful and informed society. Ivanka's supportive words clash harshly with the actions of the administration and president to which she is a primary advisor.

Is she being devious or oblivious?

Empty nice words during National Library Week are particularly meaningless while support for Libraries is being drastically slashed.

What's that old saying? "Put your money where your mouth is."

Please.

 ~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~
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Sneak Peak at Announcement for the 2017 Google Geo Teachers California Institute

Sneak Peak at Announcement for the  2017 Google Geo Teachers California Institute | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
12 April 2017

The Google Lit Trips project is looking forward to participating in the 2017 Google Geo Teachers California Institute. 

Google Geo Teacher Institutes are workshops focused on introducing Google Earth, Street View, other Google Geo Tools, and their use in the classroom. CAGTI 2017 is a FREE, two-day event open to any educators of any level. 

The 2017 Google Geo Teachers California Institute will be held at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, July 17–19th. This year Day 3 will be an optional "Hangout at Google" collaboration and workday. 

Applications open soon! Keep your eye on the 2017 Geo Teachers Institute website (https://sites.google.com/view/cagti2017/home) for application dates and other news as it develops. 

It's Free but seats are very limited, so stay tuned and get your applications in quickly once the application process is opened.



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Pen and Ink, March 19

Pen and Ink, March 19 | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
5 April 2017

Sometimes fiction reveals important truths. 
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One Judge’s Order For Hate Crime Committers: Read More Books

One Judge’s Order For Hate Crime Committers: Read More Books | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
A judge's "unusual sentence" included assigning books like “The Handmaid’s Tale."
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
8 February 2017

And not just these books. From the article...

They will also have to do a research paper on swastikas and attend a Holocaust Museum with their parents. 

The assigned films include “Twelve Years a Slave” and “Lincoln”; the books include The Handmaid’s Tale, The Bluest Eye, To Kill a Mockingbird and Native Son. 

Newer classics including Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, the latter of which won last year’s National Book Award, were featured on the list, too."

We all hope that that classics reach them. But, I'm happy to hear that visiting a Holocaust museum, watching relatively contemporary films and modern novels were included.

We must make every effort to battle the virus of "alternative fact."

Ironically FICTION may be a weapon in that battle.

What's the difference?
Alternative facts aren't facts
Fiction amplifies truth.

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Transcript: President Obama on What Books Mean to Him

Transcript: President Obama on What Books Mean to Him | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Michiko Kakutani, our chief book critic, met with Mr. Obama to discuss the books and writers that have influenced his life and presidency.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
16 January 2017

For many years the Google Lit Trips project has used the tagline, "BECAUSE LITERARY READING BRINGS WISDOM TO THE INFORMATION AGE."

In this scooped article President Obama, shares his appreciation for what Literary Reading has meant to him. It is thoughtful, contemplative, and displays the depth of wisdom to which he has been indebted throughout his life. And a depth of thoughtfulness contemplation, and wisdom that may be becoming dangerously absent as President Obama transitions the power of the presidency to his successor.

We are now entering what has been labeled the Post Truth Era. One need not look far to find the "liberties" that are being taken with too many, even at the highest levels, are disregarding the value of truth. 

In recent years, literary reading has had to constantly defend its value in too many curricula. Now, we find ourselves in times where Informational Reading has edged into an area where truth and information may be becoming irrelevant in the minds of far too many adults. 

Many of us who have cherished information and wisdom are wondering what we can do given the apparent pending trajectories at the highest levels of government. 

One thing we can do, and must do is ratchet up our efforts to bring facts, information and wisdom back into the prominence they deserve. 

It's time we Double Down.

 ~ GoogleLitTrips.org ~
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8 Offbeat Literary Genres to Get Lost In by Dictionary.com

8 Offbeat Literary Genres to Get Lost In by Dictionary.com | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Empty description
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
19 December 2016 
Serendipity. While working on a Google Lit Trip for Gogol's short story "The Nose" I wanted to create a link to a definition for the word "thither." While looking for a link on dictionary.com I wandered around and discovered that scrolling down past all of the information relating to the word "thither" under a heading called "Discover our greatest slideshows" there were several links to other interesting content.

 "8 Offbeat Literary Genres to Get..." caught my eye and like I frequently do, I went on a serendipity digression. And,I'll be darned. Having majored in English, earned a teaching credential in teaching English and taught high school English for nearly four decades I discovered that I had never heard of three of these offbeat literary genres, and not given a second thought about another 2-3 of them beyond the last test on naming genres that I probably had to pass 40 or more years ago. When was the last time you had a chance to drop "Bildungsroman" into a conversation? or "Wuxia," or "Penny Dreadful"? 

Though not a sterling student, I might well have found these words interesting, if not useful for anything other than as content matter for my bent sense of curiosity. For some reason, I was early on attracted to cool words whether they appeared to be useful or not. I remember learning the word "omphaloskeptic." Don't know it? Don't look it up before looking at the photo of a statue in the Louvre of four ompaloskeptics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphaloskepsis#/media/File:Satyres_en_Atlante_Rome_Louvre_2.jpg What a cool word! 

Yeah, but how much time should we spend upon elements of language arts that 95% of our students and English majors, and even English teachers never really find a use for? Yet contrary to what one might expect, my answer is NOT none. None is fine I suppose. But, building bridges between language arts and curiosity or just plain fun can play a part in building an attentive interest in the importance of language arts and learning just for the serendipitous heck of it. 

I used to spend 10 minutes a week on Fridays playing word games via slide presentations. The already motivated students enjoyed the competition and the learning and the less engaged enjoyed the novelty of language and poetry, and writing. It was just a passing subversive encouragement by not letting it become boring or something to worry about being on the test but still "something new." 

One of my greatest early sources was The Play of Words: Fun & Games for Language Lovers Paperback – September 1, 1991 by Richard Lederer

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Classic Books Yanked From Virginia County Schools After Parent Complaint

Classic Books Yanked From Virginia County Schools After Parent Complaint | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
In a divided time, can we afford to read books like "Huck Finn" -- or can we afford not to?
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
2 December 2018

Yes, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird  are among the most banned books in schools and have been for decades. 

Well, here's an A+ book report any student capable of critical thinking could write about each of these stories.

"BLACK LIVES MATTER TOO!!!"

Both authors bravely confronted and attempted to expose the facts that LIKE IN OUR OWN TIMES, Blacks have suffered too much sh-- , racism, and inequality from too many in the dominant culture. 

Both authors created stories that put the sins of racism front and center and truthfully in our faces. And, each chose children as the witnesses and recorders of those horrific sins. 

Some somehow believe that our children should hate the book when the point of each story is to expose hatred.

Both Huck Finn and Scout Finch and all of our children must sooner, rather than later, come to understand the harsh realities of racism's indefensible victimization of innocents. 

Both books are generally taught in high school. By that age, aren't students old enough to begin learning such lessons? If not, when will they be?

If we believe that high school students are not old enough to begin facing the harsh reality of life and believe banning these books somehow protects them from facing those harsh realities of racism, when will they be ready to accept their adult responsibility of  confronting our unfinished business of pursuing Liberty and Justice FOR ALL?

Each novel has only one primary black character; Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird are victims and powerless to do anything about their victimization because they lived in times when there was still work to be done to ensure that all citizens have the right to expect life, liberty, and JUSTICE FOR ALL.

Final Exam Question:
After reading The Adventures in Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird, explain your level of empathy for Jim, Huck, and how that empathy might be expressed best given today's news.

 ~ www,GoogleLitTrips.org ~
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Is “Screen Time” Dangerous for Children?

Is “Screen Time” Dangerous for Children? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
A child psychologist—and grandmother—says such fears are overblown.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
25 November 2016

Am I the only Literary Reading educator who has become a cheerleader for the importance of Informational Reading? Of course not. For this reason I found this article fascinating on multiple fronts. 

I remember one of the best lessons I learned about effective interviewing questions while teaching journalism.. "Avoid phrasing questions that can be answers "Yes" or "No." Instead, attempt to phrase questions that require an informed explanation. The same general rule also applies to the kinds of questions we ask when attempting to stimulate a contemplative, higher level class discussion. 

The phrasing of the headline for this article, which by the way, may not have been written by the article's author, runs the danger of reducing contemplation to a simplistic "either / or" in spite of the quite apparent complexity of the issue in question. "Yes" or "No" is a conclusion to be drawn ONLY after "Pros" or "Cons" have been considered. 

Okay. I know. There are forms of debate that begin with a statement to which debating teams take either an affirmative or or negative position and then argue their respective points of view. This is not unlike the Thesis Statement first then defense via Topic Sentences supported by evidence structure commonly taught in high school. It works when actual consideration of the pros and cons have been given due diligence. But, we all know the extent to which existing personal opinion can, and often does, short-circuit the due diligence ending up with attempts that choose a thesis prior to the due diligence and then defending the thesis via cherry picking supporting evidence and avoiding opposing evidence more than building an informed thesis after completing a balanced consideration.

The headline aside, this article nailed some of the best arguments to consider rather than merely turning up the volume on existing inadequately considered canned cherry picking and avoidance of sufficient depth of consideration of all the evidence.

Just a few of my favorite lines...

"My own childhood was dominated by a powerful device that used an optical interface to transport the user to an alternate reality. I spent most of my waking hours in its grip, oblivious of the world around me. The device was, of course, the book."

I love the intentional misdirection. From the beginning of the quote until the kicker last sentence, I was thinking TV.  I smiled at having been caught off guard. Happy to see the article turning in favor of books over screens. This is true even though personally, I lean toward book text viewed on a screen for the most part. 

Yeah accurate representations of books in any delivery system are fine with me. And, I believe literary books are a direct route to the wisdom of the ages that seem to get short-circuited in the simplistic tug-of-war between Literary Reading and Informational Reading.

And then the author threw me another curve ball, speaking the author's affection for books...

"As far as I can tell, this early immersion didn’t hamper my development, but it did leave me with some illusions—my idea of romantic love surely came from novels."

Ooh. ouch! 

So, where's she going with this? Is she really trashing books so that she can declare screen time the victor? 

Consider this quote from the article...

"The American Academy of Pediatrics used to recommend strict restrictions on screen exposure. Last year, the organization examined the relevant science more thoroughly, and, as a result, changed its recommendations."

Actually a quite clever set for killing the question favor of real question...

"The new guidelines emphasize that what matters is content and context, what children watch and with whom. Each child, after all, will have some hundred thousand hours of conscious experience before turning sixteen. Those hours can be like the marvellous ones that Augie and I spent together bee-watching [videos], or they can be violent or mindless—and that’s true whether those hours are occupied by apps or TV or books or just by talk."

Hoping to tease readers into reading the actual article, I'm choosing to purposely not address the author's last two paragraphs. I'll just say that the conclusion tosses the simplistic "Yes" or "No" in favor of the much more important consideration of "premature speculation."

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A River Of 10,000 Books Flood The Streets Of Toronto

A River Of 10,000 Books Flood The Streets Of Toronto | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Literature Vs Traffic is an ongoing project by Luzinterruptus, an anonymous group that carries out urban interventions in public spaces. For their latest
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
19 November 2016

Could not help but think that in times when optimism is facing a "Tsunamic" challenge, that remembering that there are good people dedicating some part of their lives to believing in the power of doing good.

I am imagining a portion of a class period beginning something like this...

TEACHER: I'd like each of you to read this article. When you finish, just relax quietly for a few moments until the rest of the class has had time to finish.

When everyone is finished there will be a quiz. But, I don't want you to stress so I'll tell you the quiz question before you begin reading. Don't worry, I won't collect the quiz because their won't be any quiz to collect.

So here it is...
KNOWING YOURSELF BETTER THAN ANYONE, Being honest with yourself how would you answer this question??

If this was going to happen in our community, truthfully I would probably:
A. Help make it happen
B. Probably wouldn't help, but I'd go see it and probably look for some books to take.
C. Do nothing other than criticize it as being __________ .
D. Not even become aware that it had been planned or even happened.
E. ______________

Just wondering. 

You'd never know the results because the "rules" are that you promised the students not to collect the results.

And, here's a quiz for you.

KNOWING YOURSELF BETTER THAN ANYONE, Being honest with yourself how would you answer this question??

If I really decided to try this experiment, truthfully my guess would be that the results would probably look something like this ________________ .

The big challenge...
Really. Don't check their answers and don't check your answers. Just let yourself wonder about the unknown results for as short or as long a time as you do.

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25 More Outstanding Podcasts for Readers

25 More Outstanding Podcasts for Readers | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Last year I highlighted 25 of the best podcasts for readers. Here are 25 more outstanding podcasts for book lovers!
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
17 November 2016

This is a followup article to the first 25 Outstanding Podcasts for Readers that can be found here: https://bookriot.com/2015/11/25/25-outstanding-podcasts-readers/


Try this...

Have Tinitus? Listen to a literary podcast as you go to sleep.

Too many commercials on your morning drive to school? Listen to a literary podcast and arrive at school smiling.

Build listening to literary podcasts into your students' options as individuals or small group activity. There are so many similar podcasts promoting a love of literature that students can personalize their listening AND get credit for it.

Several focus upon author interviews. Why not have students do Author Reports consisting of reporting on the experience of choosing an author focused podcast and then having read a story of their own choice by that author.


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Finland Will Become the First Country in the World to Get Rid of All School Subjects

Finland Will Become the First Country in the World to Get Rid of All School Subjects | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
This is a real revolution in education.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
11 November 2016

And then I came across this hopeful article about the news of one of the world's most respected educational systems taking real action towards changing education so that it much more clearly reflects the way the world really is.

The headline is a bit misleading. According to the article "This system will be introduced for senior students, beginning at the age of 16." 

The concept of cross-curricular education is not new. It has been at the core of much of the 21st century educational reform movement; at least the brand of 21st century educational reform that I've put at the center of the Google Lit Trips vision. 

Global Awareness, cross-curricular, and multi-cultural studies share a common connecting vision especially when actually connected.  We are better able to see that disaggregated separate "curricular puzzle pieces" are better understood when the way they are in the real world actually inseparably interconnected provides us a means of more clearly seeing the big picture. 

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