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People Hate Classic Books Through Hilarious Tweets at #worstbookever

People Hate Classic Books Through Hilarious Tweets at #worstbookever | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
By Gabe Habash for PWxyz At the hashtag #worstbookever, you’ll learn some things.

 

I've been a HuffPost fan for quite awhile, but I must say that this article pushes my tolerance for giving voice to those who posted the tweets referenced in this article. Like other anti-intellectual insults, giving attention to the ignorant does no favors to those hoping to promote elevated thinking skills.

 

Though, a challenge is also there, I suppose, to reconsider our success with our attempts to make great literature more relevant and engaging, both of which could be done with any of the bashed titles mentioned. 

My theory, if it's NOT the book then perhaps we should look to the students themselves, their parents, or maybe even to the effectiveness of our own methodologies. But, of course, that might be blasphemous to suggest. 

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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 ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

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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.


 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

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Text from Classic Books Recycled Into Charming Brooches

Text from Classic Books Recycled Into Charming Brooches | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Lovers of literature will enjoy these beautiful, handmade brooches created by London-based artist Sarah of House of Ismay. The decorative pins are constructed…
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 March 2014

Such a simple idea! Elegantly presented.

How cool would it be if these because a rage?

 

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brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

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10 Hilariously Wrong Student Test Answers (NEW BOOK)

10 Hilariously Wrong Student Test Answers (NEW BOOK) | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

19 MarchAh, Robinson Crusoe. What's not to love about Daniel Defoe's classic adventure novel, in which a dude named Robinson goes on a cruise? The only story to come close to achieving such a profound impact on the English literary canon has to be Robert Lou...

GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 March 2014

Hilariously Wrong while revealing a horrible truth.

enjoy ?

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
American students need to improve in math and science—but not because there's a surplus of jobs in those fields.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 March 2014

Get ready. Do we really want to hear what we really do not want to hear?

 

Why is it that articles like this one calling into serious question the attention being given to STEM education, are essentially "off the mainstream radar"? 

 

The article's premise? A quote..

 

(referring to the belief that the US has a serious shortage of properly STEM educated graduates)

__________

"Such claims are now well established as conventional wisdom. There is almost no debate in the mainstream. They echo from corporate CEO to corporate CEO, from lobbyist to lobbyist, from editorial writer to editorial writer. But what if what everyone knows is wrong? What if this conventional wisdom is just the same claims ricocheting in an echo chamber?

The truth is that there is little credible evidence of the claimed widespread shortages in the U.S. science and engineering workforce. How can the conventional wisdom be so different from the empirical evidence?"

__________

 

Not far into the article, this  "apple cart upsetting" information.

 

__________

A compelling body of research is now available, from many leading academic researchers and from respected research organizations such as theNational Bureau of Economic Research, the RAND Corporation, and the Urban Institute. No one has been able to find any evidence indicating current widespread labor market shortages or hiring difficulties in science and engineering occupations that require bachelors degrees or higher, although some are forecasting high growth in occupations that require post-high school training but not a bachelors degree.

__________


The article proves the importance of informational reading. while at the same time proving that informational reading is more than reading itself. It's a form of gaining information upon which very opinions are based, that requires a  skill set exceeding the information gathering skills of many of those who write informational materials. And if the information we read is "too thinly" gathered and read by massive audiences too thinly able to synthesize that information, then  maybe there really is "trouble in River City." 

 

So if our focus in designing a better education system is on preparing our students for college and career, and our unquestioned premise is that STEM education is the key, Then how do informational articles such as this one play into our calculations about how to slice up the educational budget pie?

 

The article does not discredit the importance of STEM Education. It's intent is to call into question the decisions being driven by a less than well-informed citizenry that does not question the depth and thoroughness of those who provide information to us. 

 

My personal take-away from this article might focus more upon one of the most important skills required for information literacy. And, that is, can we really be information literate if we do not know what the most well-informed people holding opposing views to our own have contributed to the public discourse? 

 

That is, do we or our students practice discerning the reliability of the information from both sides of issues of public concern? Or, do we believe thatcherry-picking evidence in support of what we want to believe or are being told to believe, while paying inadequate attention to the best thinking being done on the other side and the questionable thinking being done on "our side."

 

Yes! Insist upon defending Literary Reading where you may be among the minority of those with a budget vote. But, do not do so without also recognizing that informational reading is not the "bad guy" in curricular discourse; it is of critical importance and like literary reading, it probably deserves more attention than it is getting too. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

 

 

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Quality Over Quantity: The Case Against Essay Length Requirements

Quality Over Quantity: The Case Against Essay Length Requirements | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
By demanding a number of pages or words, the thinking goes, teachers force their students to move beyond superficial observations into deeper analysis. Unfortunately, I believe that length minimums do not achieve that goal. Quite the opposite, in fac...
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

15 March 2014

"How long does the essay need to be?"

"How far does a rabbit run?" I'd respond?

"Huh?"

Well, a rabbit gets out of his hole and runs until he gets where he's going.? That how long your essay should be, and not one word longer."

 

The emphasis is upon the quality of the paper not the length. And, leading students to misperceive the intent of establishing a minimum length for their essays is the primary criteria upon which their writing is to be assessed is length is fraught with serious misdirection leading to missing the point of the point of learning to be articulate and succinct in expressing one's thoughts in words.

 

In fact, if we are to limit our perspective of what makes for an excellent education being limited to what will best prepare students for college and career, at least on the career front, being articulate and succinct are among the most valuable skills we can encourage. That is, unless "Bulls**tting and bluffing" are in fact valuable skills in college and career.

 

Although I have paid much attention to my very mixed feelings about how the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, specifically in the area of literary reading, among the attributes of the Common Core efforts that I admire very much is the attempt to keep the focus of assessment upon the actual skills at the heart of each element of the curricular areas elements. And, when the subject is Informational Reading and Writing, I'm quite supportive because the margin of error for the skills in those areas is less than the existing margin of error for current literary reading assessments. That being said, keeping the focus of "grading" upon the appropriate skills is critical and I do believe at the heart of the best of what the Common Core brings to public education.

 

An arbitrary requirement for the number of pages in an essay is a false focus. It is essentially equivalent to the impact on a student grade of extra-credit when used as behavior management. It pollutes the data and therefore pollutes the "data-driven" conclusions that are drawn.

 

Even very common practice of failing students for turning work in late pollutes the data if one is interested in measuring the curricular skill achievement. There is some justification for some penalizing for late work. But, losing 100% of the possible points for a late essay skews the overall measure of whether or not the student can actually write an articulate and succinct essay  attending to mechanics, usage, grammar, and organization.

 

What we do in the area of managing student learning AND behavior affects our students' perception of what is valued in essay writing or literary reading. And, we ought to wonder about every parameter we put around student performance and whether it is enhancing their focus and our ability to assess their performance.

 

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Roving Literary Death Match Aims To Breathe Life Into Literature

Roving Literary Death Match Aims To Breathe Life Into Literature | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Transcript ARUN RATH, HOST: It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. Picture this, a group of writers - quiet, bookish, solitary
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

7 March 2014

 

What a great, out of the box way to promote literary reading!

Listen to the audio / Read the Transcript. Marinate in the possibilities.

 

And, of course this particular scoop provides an opportunity to revisit other attempts to inspire the masses about the "absolute coolness" of literary reading!

 

For example,...Check out

http://themoth.org

http://storycorps.org 

and of course the tongue in cheek Novel Writing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogPZ5CY9KoM 

 

 

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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!

 

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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 ~

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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 ~

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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.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com  ~

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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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Home

Home | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

20 March 2014

 

There is so much happening behind the scenes at Google Lit Trips that we can't wait to be able to let you in on it all.

 

But, we can share this exciting news...

We are now encouraging educators and students to explore Tour Builder (https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com), Google’s new mapping tool specifically designed for place-based storytelling. 

 

It’s still in BETA. However, if you’ve got  just a little pioneering spirit and even a small bit of that “want to be on the cutting edge passion,” Tour Builder is incredibly easy to use. 

 

We  invite you to explore the following pioneering efforts already underway. Links are on the www.GoogleLitTrips.com home page.

 

Tour Builder Lit Trips

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

 

Tour Builder Personal Stories

West Coast Adventure (Student Created)

 

Stay tuned. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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My Advice Is to Ignore My Advice

My Advice Is to Ignore My Advice | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
If you're struggling, it isn't because you're doing this wrong, because there isn't a wrong way to do it. If you're struggling, it might be because writing a novel is difficult....
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 March 2014

 

Ahhh! How refreshing!  

 

In how many areas in the curriculum should the words "the rules" be replaced with the words "possible considerations."

 

Just asking...

 

And, of course, the counter-question..

 

In how many areas of the curriculum should the rules be the absolute last word on the subject. (Think chemistry class for example)

 

Wondering if it should be a "rule" or a "possible consideration" to keep in mind that rules both restrict our behaviors and protect our freedoms. And, that is the source of a very important and eternal tug-of-war in human history.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Turns out most engaged library users are also biggest tech users | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour | PBS

Turns out most engaged library users are also biggest tech users | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour | PBS | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
A new study from the Pew Research Center found that more than two-thirds of Americans are actively engaged with public libraries. The report examines the relationship Americans have with their libraries and technology. Dusty, worn books versus sleek new computers, tablets or smartphones may seem like unlikely companions, but it’s really all about information. Continue reading →
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

19 March 2014

Here we go again! A theme is rising to the top as I explore articles for this blog this morning.

 

That theme is, simply put...

 

The common narrative in public discourse is more often than we'd like to believe, inaccurate or misleading or embarrassingly accepted with no more sense of serious contemplation than we ridicule lemmings for not having..

 

OUCH! That was a bitter pill to swallow.

 

Why do so many of us involve ourselves in the heated debate regarding paper-based reading vs. digital reading?

 

Some prefer paper; some prefer digital. And, according to this PEW Research, many prefer information in whatever form it is available.

 

My concern is that if we assume that our preferences represent the best choice for our students, too many of whom simply have no preference for reading at all, then which ever medium provides the possibility for bridging our students' reluctance for reading is the best one to promote as we encourage them to care about reading as a valuable life-long practice. And, for our enthusiastic readers? Just get out of their way when it comes to what medium serves their curiosity. Just focus upon encouraging and extending their curiosity. Perhaps that is our more important responsibility.

 

 

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Study: Reading Literary Fiction Can Make You Less Racist

Study: Reading Literary Fiction Can Make You Less Racist | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
New research finds a compelling narrative can help us sidestep stereotypes.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

16 March 2014

 

An intriguing article about a study that "...suggests there’s something about well-written, sensitive fiction that draws us in and lets us identify with the characters—even if they’re from a foreign culture. This, in turn, short-circuits our tendency to stereotype."


The essence of the study revolves around the  variable controls in two recent studies summarized as follows:

 

__________

"Johnson and his colleagues describe two experiments that incorporated a 3,000-word extract from Shaila Abdullah’s 2009 novel Saffron Dreams. It revolves around “an educated and strong-willed Muslim woman, Arissa, who is assaulted in a New York City subway station,” the researchers write. The excerpt features “significant inner monologue that accentuates the protagonist’s strength of character while providing exposure to Muslim culture.”


Participants in the first experiment (68 Americans recruited online) read either the aforementioned excerpt, or a 500-word synopsis of the same scene. In the synopsis, “the descriptive language, monologue, and dialogue were removed to reduce the narrative quality,” 

__________


What is it about the removal or inclusion of descriptive language, monologue and dialogue that explains the difference between what readers absorb and contemplate and thereby "take-away" from a reading experience? 


It is implied, or at least I inferred, that there might be a tendency while reading literature to read with both our minds and our hearts, that is with our capabilities for logic and for empathy, causing what I have often referred to as the "3-Dimensionalization" of reading.


Fiction gently, but insistently, forces us to determine which characters we care about and what causes us to care or not care about them. It's a constant engagement with point and counter-point behaviors expressed by pro- and antagonist behaviors. We begin to  see examples of behaviors that exemplify a "character's Character" through his or her expressions of values, motives, and choices made when confronted by challenges to those values, motives, and choices made. And, we see them as expressed through the values, motives, an choices made by the peripheral characters all of whom bring additional dimensions to the reader's perceptions of the various plot intrigues that readers know is a fictional representation of the "truths" of human behaviors mirrored by those characters.

 

In fiction we become omnipotent yet caring spectators privy to more than just our own sense of right and wrong and levels of caring, but to multiple characters' senses of right and wrong and levels of caring. And in doing so, if the story is written well enough to maintain our engaged suspension of disbelief, we are constantly seeing our own values in light of the great and complex diversity of human behaviors that are driven by an equally great and complex diversity of forces driving not just our own but "all human value-driven behaviors."

 

It is the best of literature that is so engaging that it actually engages us in a sort of willing receptiveness to revisiting our own existing values, motives, and behaviors.And, in doing so, we become potentially more willing to adjust our receptiveness to the differences between ourselves and others.

 

Our attention then turns more towards whether or not we can appreciate  and consider adopting or rejecting the adoption of those differences once we have opened our receptiveness to revisiting the depth of our understanding of those who we had previously not given sufficient open-minded attention. We open ourselves to the vast gray areas distinguishing individuals within any group from the simplistic assumptions that come from the shallowness of black and white group defines the -driven behaviors.

 

We become open to the possibilities that human behaviors and values are better "judged" at the individual rather than group level and that it is that it is too simplistic to assume the individual's allegiance or patriotism, or alignment with large groups beliefs and values will drive that individual's behaviors in exactly the same direction as every other member of that group. Though peer pressure to not break ranks can be intense, we can come to appreciate that the individual is more than the group and group alignments are not the entirety of the individual. We con come to understand that there are those in the "other groups" with whom we have more in common than the differences defining the parameters of our group alignment.

 

Fiction can engage us in considering the myriad shades of gray in human behavior; behaviors that like it or not, are the sum total of our individual perceptions of what we believe to to be reasonable and our inevitable imperfection in balancing our selfish and selfless values-driven behaviors.

 

In spite of my moderate positions regarding portions of the Common Core Standards.for English Language Arts, I am a very strong proponent of the importance of both the skills associated with Informational reading and the benefits of engaged literary reading.

 

It IS important, no it is ESSENTIAL to appreciate the value of informational literacy. The entire human community can no longer run the risk of the anti-factual. Nor can we afford the damage caused by the well-intended but ill-informed; or the disinterested. or the superficially interested.

 

But spreadsheets and fact sheets alone can not tell the whole story. 

And, storytelling can not include all the facts. Each "adds" what the other can not do alone to one's "more complete" understanding of the human condition. 

 

Let's not allow the one to "trump" the other in importance. Facts without the synthesis of how the facts play out in the real world are as potentially dangerous as they are potentially beneficial.  Storytelling's strength is the ability to engage readers in an "entertaining" involvement in caring about how those facts play out in the real world. 

 

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15 Great Douglas Adams Quotes

15 Great Douglas Adams Quotes | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
The late, great Douglas Adams would have been 62 today - not that we need an excuse to remind ourselves of his wit and wisdom.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

15 March 2014

 

I don't recall which author it was, but I remember one of the very earliest disappointments I had in relationship to existing assessment structures for Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts came as a result of reading a sample question based upon an example of literary reading that was not literary reading at all. It was a excerpt from a piece of writing that was a moderately eloquent biography of a literary author.

 

"Reading biographies, even moderately eloquent biographies, is informational reading isn't it?" I wondered; annoyed at the pretense that existing capabilities of assessing literary reading is even doable within an acceptable margin of error. Aggravated that informational reading was being passed off as literary reading and that the best the developers of assessment tools could do is a masked attempt to measure advanced literacy skills. 

 

Though I actually am a proponent of assessment as a means of holding students AND educators accountable, I can't help but find what I have seen specifically in regards to literary reading, to be efforts standing upon wobbly legs at best. I still wonder if the well-intended efforts to assess literary reading by assessing literacy skills rather than measuring the value-gain that literary appreciation can bring to one's life, most of which is probably much more significant in the narrower realm beyond college and career preparation, (as though authors actually write to those pragmatic goals) are responsible for unintended damage to literature as a palatable and inviting source of developing wisdom.

 

When I came across this article it reminded me that I used to raise conversations in my classes about the Venn diagram resulting from two words; "Facts" and "Truth." 

 

Somewhere along the line, I came to realize that when I was teaching essay writing (sometimes referred to as "Robot Writing" by college professors who often cringe at the Five-Paragraph Essay) that Facts are the trump card because Facts assure Truth. Yet, when teaching literature Truth trumps Facts. Think Grapes of Wrath for example. Think Candide for example. Think A Modest Proposal for example. Think Death of a Salesman for example.

 

It is the very "FACT" that "FICTION" isn't true that makes "FICTION a palatable mode of increasing reader receptiveness to the TRUTHS that FICTION brings "between its lines" to contemplative readers. And, I would be so presumptuous as to suggest that this is a "FACT."

 

So, when I came across this article, though I've only read a couple of Douglas Adams' books, that my crazy mind thought that it might prove quite a valuable learning experience in, not literary reading but informational reading.

 

What might happen is students were asked to read the preface and 15 featured quotes from Adams' work as an exercise in Informational reading?

 

After all, if biographies can be considered Literary Reading, why can't fiction be considered Informational Reading? 

 

My thought is this. What if students were asked to read the 15 quotes in pairs or groups of no more than three and asked to discuss whether the quotes were "Facts" or "Truths"?

 

What do you think? A few examples with which one might practice...

 

_____

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

 

(Any similarity to concerns about margin of error in existing literary reading assessment practice is purely unintentional)

 

_____

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

 

(Reminds me of the counter-argument to the reason for studying history, "The only lesson we learn from history is that we don't learn from history." And, anyone who has studied history knows that the failure to have learned from history is a fairly common theme)

 

_____

"A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.'"

 

There are others, some more easily dismissed as just not being true primarily because the truth being exposed is not 100% true 100% of the time. And, yet most can not be dismissed as Not True (double negative intended) because they are true to such a degree that they represent very true realities of significant and truly negative impact in the real world.

 

Once the small groups had come to some judgement about the factuality or truth of each statement, I might even extend the exercise to require the groups to attempt to articulate a considered concession to those who would have judged the quotes with the opposing conclusion.

 

And, perhaps I might even take the conversation to a consideration of when it might be extremely important to premise decisions upon fact and when it might be extremely important to premise decisions upon truth. 

 

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