Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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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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The Great Pinkie

A mashup between The Great Gatsby and My Little Pony. In this mashup I've added a few references from the novel into the video, so if you read the book, be o...

 

 

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A few days ago I scooped the movie trailer for the new Leonardo DiCaprio version of The Great Gatsby. In that scoop I mentioned the controversy over film adaptations of great works of literature. I mentioned that I happened to like the radicalized version of DiCaprio's Romeo and Juliet, yet I had reservations about the TNT version of Animal Farm. In the first case, I found the quite unusual adaptation quite appealing, yet in the second, I was truly annoyed by the straying from the original.

 

So, when I stumbled across this re-visioning of The Great Gatsby, I must say I wasn't quite certain whether there was something quite appealing or something quite repulsive about it. And, perhaps the truth is that both appeal and repulsion can co-exist in these sort of situations.

 

I'd certainly show it to students if I were teaching Gatsby. In fact, at one surface level, I quite like the comparison of say, Daisy's "princess" lifestyle with the whole My Little Pony emphasis upon bling and prettiness and such.

 

But, though I am not attracted to Daisy's lifestyle, it's difficult not to have compassion for her when she reveals her awareness that she has chosen to live a fraudulent life believing, "The best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."

 

It's almost too sadly confessional. I don't recall a similar recognition by the princesses in My Little Pony stories. Though, I must admit that my familiarity with the academic analysis relating to the thematic content of My Little Pony is thin at best.

 

In any case, there is sufficient evidence in the media and elsewhere that there are forces still at play guiding little girls to aspire to being nothing more than "beautiful little fools."

 

And of course, it should be noted that there are also still forces at play guiding little boys to believe that they have a gender-based privilege that makes aspiring to become a Tom Buchanan appear to be a worthy ambition.

 

We still have much work to do, don't we?

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Literacy FAIL

Literacy FAIL | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Click for more epic fails, videos, and wins. (Share this post and make someone ROFL!

 

 

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Add this one to your Irony collection!

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Nose in a Book: “In the Library” by CB I Hate Perfume and “Paper Passion” by Geza Schoen

Nose in a Book: “In the Library” by CB I Hate Perfume and “Paper Passion” by Geza Schoen | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
My collecting habits are becoming a big problem.  Like most New Yorkers, I live in a tiny apartment.  I don’t have enough wall space to hang the art I have, bottles of perfume overflow from...

 

 

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Perfume that smells like old books!

Now that's romantic!

Seriously!

I'd really consider buying some.

 

And by the way, no matter what they told Kramer, I still think a perfume that smells like the beach would be great!

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Slide Show: Literary New Yorker Cartoons

Slide Show: Literary New Yorker Cartoons | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
For the first day of Page-Turner, our new books blog, we asked cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to make a selection of New Yorker cartoons about the literary life. Here are his picks....

 

 

 

 

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They say The New Yorker cartoons are an acquired taste. I agree in the sense that they are often quite subtle and often are funnier on second reading. 

 

But I suppose that can be said of all good writing.

 

Caught this article in passing and am passing it along here for TWO reasons. First, it features a few literature specific cartoons. And second because it marks the recent introduction of the new Page-Turner book blog from The New Yorker. I'm certain I'll be returning here often for inspiration.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

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PHOTOS: Poets Ranked By Beard Weight

PHOTOS: Poets Ranked By Beard Weight | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
The late 1800s marked the height (or length, as the case may be) of beards. Then, in the beginning of the 20th century, facial air fell out of favor, and for a long time it seemed like the collected wisdom of the great bearded age went with it.

 

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I'm just saying,...

Oh, I dunno what I'm just saying!

Except I grew my beard to honor Mr. Kay, and have worn it for 40 some years.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement

J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, delivers her Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.

 

 

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Every once in awhile, I come across an articulation of the value of great literature that makes my heart sing. Though I must confess that I never got past page 50 of the first Harry Potter story, I was always appreciative of the power that J.K. Rowling had for bringing reluctant and uninterested readers back to reading. 

 

In this Harvard commencement address, Rowling absolutely nails it! Speaking to a group of graduates, most of whom probably feared failure more than most, she proclaims the power of failure and imagination. She builds a case for empathy and doing something of greater value than merely heading off with a set of impressive credentials to make a lot of money, but rather heading off to make a difference.

 

As I watched Rowling build her case, I couldn't help but think that if I were teaching high school seniors, AP or otherwise, I'd work into my lessons a collection of the most incredible commencement speeches I could find and have my students contemplate the advice given by those who articulate best the greatest definitions of success. 

 

And, I'd justify it on many fronts including the new requirement for reading more nonfiction and informational texts, enjoying the irony that in this nonfiction, there is a tremendous emphasis upon the greatest truths as they are expressed in the greatest fiction.

 

See: http://bit.ly/L3s5M0 for Google Search result for other "Great Commencement Speeches."

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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CultureLab: Does literature impact what scientists study?

CultureLab: Does literature impact what scientists study? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"How does art inspire science? It may seem a difficult question to answer with any empirical evidence, but in a new research project Scottish scientists aim to do just that.

Launched yesterday, What Scientists Read? will aim to find out what influence literature has on scientists and the decisions they make."

 

 

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Encouraged and eager to follow this study. Click the link to What Scientists Read?"(http://www.whatscientistsread.com/)

 

to explore an extensive website devoted to this study.

 

My guess is that there may be a significant gap between most people's immediate assumptions regarding this question and the reality.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Billy Collins - The Lanyard

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2008/04/07/A_Selection_of_Poems_by_Billy_Collins Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins reads his poem, "The Lanyard." ---...

 

 

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As Mothers Day is upon us, I thought I'd share one of my all time favorite tributes to moms. Billy Collins reads his poem, "The Lanyard."

 

Like all Billy Collins poetry, this one brings together both a bit of humor, nostalgia and a thought-provoking heartfelt sincerity that is easly accessible for most students young and old.

 

This video is an excerpt from the 30 minute video of his entire reading at the City Arts Lecture series in San Francisco. 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Inside a mathematical proof lies literature, says Stanford's Reviel Netz

Inside a mathematical proof lies literature, says Stanford's Reviel Netz | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Stanford scholar Reviel Netz discusses why some of the greatest mathematicians were also some of classical history's most poetic storytellers.

 

 

 

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Thank you Corrie Goldman!

 

Okay, so today's scoop.it for Reading About Reading is all about Math! This article took me on a bit of a wild string of contemplations...

 

I remember when I first heard the term "elegant proof" in a math class. I was a high school kid taking a required geometry class, and found myself actually intrigued, for the first time, by the notion that math proofs could be elegant, or that math could be interesting at all. Until then, it was too easy to simply dismiss math, particularly algebra as having no particular value in the real world other than as an annoying obstacle in the obstacle course of meeting graduation requirements.

 

In the arrogance of youth, as I watched math teacher after math teacher stumbling through feeble attempts to justify the value of abstract math, never even pausing to question whether I was actually the one who was not even making a feeble attempt to try to find a reason to care, it was just too easy to justify my desire to latch on to any and all rationalizations for not engaging my mind in the challenges of abstract thinking that math requires. 

 

But then there was Mr. Tinling who didn't teach geometry as obstacle course, but taught geometry as mysteries to be solved; by clever use of mathematical patterns and clues that could be detected and pieces together by a kid who was so intrigued by the "TRUTH" of math. And, it was so cool to discover that by just knowing a few basic theorems, a math detective could root out the pieces of a complex match challenge, mix theorems together and amaze oneself by a string of deductions and conclusion leading to a mystery-solved sort of intellectual satifaction.

 

Mr. Tinling, unlike too many teachers, taught math from his heart. He was funny. He cared about math of course, but his love of math was less apparent than his love of kids. He reveled in appreciating, encouraging, and complimenting every move in the "right direction" that we made in our developing understandings. He just loved seeing that flicker in our intellectual lightbulbs as they struggled to become solid beams of comprehension. And, he'd beam at our every move in the right direction whether we were "at grade level" or not. 

 

He knew the truth of the the phrase "They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care." 

 

He knew his subject; he remembered the frustration of learning difficult concepts, he knew the associated defense mechanisms for dealing with those frustrations, and he knew just what we needed to keep from giving up and believing that we "just weren't any good at math." 

 

In a way, he was selling confidence more than he was selling "test passing." And, we bought it... and we passed those tests. 

 

He was an "elegant proof" himself, that great teachers are artists, as are great poets.

_ _ _ _ _

 

Years later, I met a guy named Burt Dixon who taught math at a nearby high school. He reminded me a lot of Mr. Tinling, except that unlike Mr. Tinling who probably had at least a 30 year headstart on life over me, I probably had at least a 10 year headstart over Burt, at least in teaching. In conversation one day Burt told me that he started every school year by requiring his students to write an essay taking a position on whether or not bowlers were athletes. After jumping to one's default opinion on the matter, Burt would guide his class discussion to the point where it was pretty easy to see that a solid argument could be made for either side of the question. And, that became immediately intriguing to his students as he led his class to understand that it probably wasn't a "right/wrong" kind of question, but rather a challenge to collect evidence, to weigh and test the evidence, and to build a "proof" based upon reasoned analysis. Because the bowler athlete question unlike essentially all math questions, doesn't really have a "correct" answer, the kids found themselves more interested in the quality of their evidence and analysis as well as their realization of the importance of well reasoned counter evidence and arguments. 

 

Burt was an artist too. His students began the year learning that in some ways math was simple in the sense that some careful thinking and learning of a few basic "investigative tools" generally guaranteed that we could solve the mystery of math. 

 

Mr. Tinling and Burt sold confidence unlike another unamed math teacher who proudly started every semester by giving a math test on the first day designed specifically to have every single student fail. His reasoning? "That way they're convinced how much they need to learn this stuff!" 

 

That teacher was no artist. I actually think he meant well, but unlike a good math proof, he failed to test his own thesis to see if his thesis was supported by the evidence. It wasn't. Kids who had relied upon struggling and sooner or later giving up in defeat, simply gave up sooner rather than later. 

 

But, his counter "argument" was the old, "Kids these days (harumph!)..." 

_ _ _ _ _

 

Okay, another contemplation triggered by this article has to do with questionable modeling I've seen too often in Language Arts classes. One example that truly bothers me is the English teacher who tries to show compassion by sharing his or her feelings that they, too, "just aren't any good at math. "Stop it!" Just STOP IT!" Your comppasion is just reinforcing beliefs that it's okay to believe you can't that is too prevalent in young minds struggling with difficult challenges in life. 

 

It's crude, but I have a metaphor for well-intended but counter-productive comments like this by educators who should know better.

 

"Don't pee in the pool of other curricular areas."

 

_ _ _ _ _ 

 

So...whether we specialize in literature or math or science or whatever, we're in the business of helping kids to connect the dots of what it is to be a successful human being. Encourage, promote, let 'em know you care about THEIR SUCCESS in every curricular area whether or not they've met with success there or not. 

 

I always loved promoting all subject areas in my high school English classes. Here's a quick example from the The Grapes of Wrath Google Lit Trip...

 

Chapter 26: Grapes of Wrath math

 

You do the math.

 

Ma is able to purchase 2 pounds of hamburger, 1 loaf of bread, 5 pounds of potatoes, and (maybe) 1 pound of coffee for $1. Sounds cheap! But, remember, it took 7 people about 6 hours to earn that dollar.

 

Try this..

Brainstorm your best guess as to how muchthose items would cost today? Don't worry, your best guess is good enough.

 

If it took you and 6 friends 6 hours to earn that much, how much were each of you paid per hour that day?

 

Still sound cheap? 

_ _ _ _ _

 

Well, that was a long ride on a wild set of contemplations stimulated by this article. But, it's good to see that great math has much in common with great literature and that recognizing this, sort of supports the idea that it really is one world out there where "everything" is related in some way. And that when we begin to see the interrelatedness of all knowledge, it really does seems to make a lot more sense.

 

Of course, I'm not sure how to assess this, given tests that measure whether we know WHAT or HOW much more effectively than they measure whether we really know WHY (we should care).

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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A Look at the Titles in Famous Authors’ Libraries - Flavorwire

A Look at the Titles in Famous Authors’ Libraries - Flavorwire | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"Click through to see what books your favorite writers curled up with, in many cases offering an interesting view into their personal lives and mindset. Head to Legacy Libraries where you can create an account to see if your own library matches that of any famous faces."

 

 

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For all you English majors (and others actually)...

This article has extracted a collection of titles found in Famous Authors' Libraries.

 

Though I've always been one to believe that great literature is great literature regardless of the personal lives of the authors who wrote the stories, getting a sneak peak behind the scenes in the lives of our favorite authors has always been fascinating to me. 

 

It's intriguing to see what the great authors read. This sampling comes from Legacy Libraries (http://www.librarything.com/legacylibraries) an incredible database of information about the libraries of many famous people. 

 

Be careful though, there's something terribly addicting about exploring the libraries of people we've known about only through their famous work.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

 

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Awesome Viral Poster About Kids Who Read

Awesome Viral Poster About Kids Who Read | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Bloggers and Pinterest users are going crazy over this poster, created by artist Mike Andereck for the volunteer-driven Colorado organization Burning Through Pages.

 

 

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Just plain cool. Sell the love of reading. Sometimes I think it's almost just that simple. It's not of course, but selling the love is an under-rated strategy in addressing issues of literacy and the actual value of reading.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Humanitarian Author

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Humanitarian Author | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
HELENA, Mont. — A federal judge on Monday dismissed a civil lawsuit against author Greg Mortenson, calling claims "flimsy and speculative" that the humanitarian and his publisher lied in his best-selling "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into...

 

 

 

 

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It's not the bigger case that brought Greg Mortenson to the scandal pages which in my understanding was more about bookkeeping issues than about any malicious intent on the part of Mortenson.

 

This seems to be about Mortenson's successfully surviving a nefarious scheme to take advantage of Mortenson's vulnerability resulting from the bigger case.

 

Perhaps I'm biased in Mortenson's behalf. I've seen him speak multiple times and his message is more than admirable. He is inspiring. His message is a noble call to care about others.

 

He has brought a story to life that attracts readers of all ages to read, to care, and to act on their caring through the Pennies for Peace Project.

 

He has made right the issues associated with the older story of faulty bookkeeping. And he does not deserve the malicious attacks by the opportunists in this case. 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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'Chicken Soup For The Soul' Editor-In-Chief On The Value Of Storytelling

'Chicken Soup For The Soul' Editor-In-Chief On The Value Of Storytelling | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
I have read tens of thousands of heartfelt, inspiring, personal stories from people all over the world.

 

 

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Just a quick scoop...

 

It is imperative that we keep a love of literature alive. Another articulation of what we may be abandoning if literature is not appreciated for what it does for humanity better than any nonfiction or technical writing.

 

As educators, our job should be to help our students know AND to care.  

 

If we don't sell the value of great literature, who will?

 

And if we don't market the value of great literature, who will we blame if it falls out of curricular favor?

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Poems for Memorial Day

Poems for Memorial Day | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
In honor of Memorial Day, I've collected a few examples of poets struggling to come to terms with the grief and loss caused by war.

 

 

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I take Memorial Day very personally. Fifty-one years ago my life took a quite unexpected turn when the plane my father and nine other Naval airmen were on went missing for 10 days.

 

It was a non-combat crash. The men were returning from a naval training in Seattle. I was 12, my little brother was 7, my mother was 32. 

 

Ten days is a long time to hold out hope. When "the call" finally came. It fell to my uncle to tell me the news that I already knew.

 

It was fairly late in the evening and my uncle, a career Air Force man, had been told that a visit would be made the next day to officially inform the family of the tragedy. I didn't know what to expect, but I remember the doorbell ring. My uncle opened the door and there on our porch stood three men in full dress uniform. It was then that it hit me the hardest I think. Even harder than the phone call the evening before in some ways.

 

I think it was the solemnity of their demeanor that broke my emotional block.

 

Today, so many decades later, and for the last ten years, as I watch the PBS News Hour's final moments when they list the names of those killed in recent action in Afghanistan and Iraq, I sit in silence; looking at the faces of each of the fallen. I read each name. I read the names of the cities, and towns each came from, and toughest of all, I read each of their ages. Many, younger than my own children. Many only older by months than the thousands of high school students I saw graduate and, I think of their families and the official notification each of them had recently experienced. I think of the children, and spouses, of the communities within which they had lived. 

 

I find myself remembering that moment on that porch so many years ago, where that official delegation, in full dress uniforms, stood tall knowing the duty they were about to complete.

 

It's not about my feelings about whether current or any wars are or are not just. It's not about which political party supports and which party does not support those wars. It's not about patriotism.

 

It's more than that. It's about humanity and whether or not there is hope for the survival of all that is good about being human beings.

 

This taste of poetry interests me particularly because each poem in its eloquence takes us beyond the surface of our thoughts and opinions. Each reaches for "something beyond" the usual platitudes.

 

For many years, I taught a satire course. For most of those years, the last book in the semester was Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle.

 

In that book, there is a Memorial Day-like celebration held in the fictional Republic of San Lorenzo where they pay tribute to their national heroes the Hundred Martyrs to Democracy.

 

In Chapter 114 "When I felt the Bullet enter my Heart." the American ambassador to San Lorenzo gives a speech. For nearly 40 years, everytime I got to this part of the book, I found myself challenged to get through the part of the speech where Ambassador Minton says, "And I propose to you that if we are to pay our sincere respects to the hundred lost children of San Lorenzo, that we might best spend the day despising what killed them: which is to say, the stupidity and viciousness of all mankind.."

 

He goes on to say, "But if today is really in honor of a hundred children murdered in war, is today a day for a thrilling show?"

 

"The answer is yes, on one conditions: that we, the celebrants, are working consciously and tirelessly to reduce the stupidity and viciousness of ourselves and of all mankind."

 

Let us pause and consider what each of us can do to show that depth of respect. It goes beyond a 24-hour moment of solemnity. It requires us to check our own contributions, and actions, throughout our lives to determine what we can do to deserve the sacrifices made in our behalf by those who put themselves in harm's way because they cared.

 

   ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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WATCH: First Trailer For 'The Great Gatsby'

WATCH: First Trailer For 'The Great Gatsby' | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
"The Great Gatsby" trailer has arrived with the familiar and era-appropriate tones of the Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration, "No Church in the Wild." You crazy for this one, Baz Luhrmann!

 

 

 

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Sure to rekindle the flames of pedantry and pedagogy alike. Film adaptations of great literature have always sparked controversy in English department meetings. 

 

So did you watch the trailer? Would you consider seeing the film? Showing it to students?

 

I've found myself on both sides of the discussion regarding film adaptations. I loved DiCaprio's Romeo and Juliet. Other English teaching colleagues for whom I have great respect did not.

 

I liked the film adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird, as most English teachers do. But, I missed the dimensions abandoned by the exclusion of the powerful roles played by Aunt Alexandra, Miss Maudie and the extreme reduction in the roles of Dill Harris, Calpurnia, and even Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose.

 

When I taught Animal Farm in a satire course, one of my favorite learning experiences was that at the end of the unit I'd show the Ted Turner TNT adaptation. As an intentional spoiler, if you haven't seen it, TNT put a happy ending on the story based upon a simplistic assumption that the pigs were commpletely at fault, the other animals were completely without fault, and that if the good wait (and suffer) long enough, the bad will self-destruct. What I liked was the outrage my students felt at the insult to Orwell's intention. They knew the text! They recognized the insult. It was joyous to see their analytical critique of the film's many and serious shortcomings.

 

But, there is more to the book vs. film adaptation than the simplistic "purist" vs. "interpretative license" debate. 

 

Expecting film adaptations to "be" visual mirrors of text is unrealistic. 

 

So, after the kids thoroughly thrashed the TNT adaptation, I'd ask this question. "So, I'm kind of wondering if there were scenes in this version of the story that were not in the original text yet Orwell might have liked anyway in the way they expressed his intentions?"

 

The stunned pause was wonderful? "Wait a minute? Didn't we just prove this was an awful adaptation? And, now you want us to think that Orwell might have appreciated parts of the movie's inaccuracies?" 

 

"Yes."

 

"But..."

 

When the shock wore off, they'd eventually discover several scenes that, though not in the text, did reflect themes important to Orwell.

 

And have you considered that it is the text version of any Shakespeare play that is the "adaptation"? The stage version is the original.

 

Whether I wind up liking it or not, I'm looking forward to seeing this adaptation. 

 

In any case, we would be well-adviced to use a bit of caution in expressing our strong opinions about film adaptations one way or another in front of our students who might just find that adaptations not in alignment with our personal opinions, to be exactly the bridge they needed to developing an interest in exploring the original text.

 

  ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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How to Sharpen Pencils

How to Sharpen Pencils | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Discover the artisanal craft of pencil sharpening with the man known as "the number one #2 pencil sharpener."...

 

 

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Would you pay $15 for an artisanal pencil shapening? That's right. David Rees has found a niche where I would guess the competition is slim.

 

Would you recognize the distinctive qualities of a expertly sharpened pencil? I'd love to buy a classroom set of those super cheap single-blade, single-hole, plastic pencil sharpeners that sell for about $.40 and pass out these detailed instructions on how to get a perfectly sharpened pencil. 

 

What an experience for "paying attention to detail." What an opportunity to include "informational text" reading into the curriculum! What an opportunity to let students come up with their own extremely detailed example of process writing.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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PHOTOS: 9 Things You Didn't Know About Charles Dickens And 'Oliver Twist'

PHOTOS: 9 Things You Didn't Know About Charles Dickens And 'Oliver Twist' | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
London, October, 2010. Local people trying to save an old building from demolition called upon me to help. I'm a historian, and years ago I'd written about a Victorian doctor who'd worked there.

 

 

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How perfect this one is for a Google Lit Trips guy like me! This summer, I'll be speaking about Google Lit Trips at the Geo Teachers Institute in London on June 20th and 21st. I must make time for a run over to see these remarkable locations.

 

btw... It will be a great 10 days this summer.

 

On June 18th I'll be speaking at Bournemouth University in Bournemouth. (see http://symposium.bujournalism.info/) 

 

And, on June 13 and 14, I'll be speaking at the Google Geo Teachers Institute in Dublin.

 

Can't wait!

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Scholastic Summer Challenge | Reading program keeping kids reading all summer long | Scholastic.com

Scholastic Summer Challenge | Reading program keeping kids reading all summer long | Scholastic.com | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Kids around the world log reading minutes in an effort to set a new world record for summer reading and be featured in the Scholastic Book of World Records...

 

 

 

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Sending kids off to summer "away from school"? Wny not encourage them to participate in this summer challenge from Scholastic? Let your kids know. Let their parents know.

 

An interesting idea for socializing summer reading.

Kids log their summer reading and win rewards while sharing the enthusiasm for recreational reading with others.

 

 

 

  ~http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

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Extremely Silly Photos of Extremely Serious Writers « Flavorwire

Extremely Silly Photos of Extremely Serious Writers « Flavorwire | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

"Every writer, no matter how serious, needs to let off a little steam now and then. Those oh-so-important mental health days might be filled with hobbies (from baking to beekeeping) or drinking (every writer’s default hobby), or just plain goofing around with friends. Luckily for us, some of these author’s kookiest, most candid moments have been captured on film, so we can all feel a little closer to our favorite literary heroes."

 

 

 

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Just a silly and somewhat amusing collection of authors captured in odd moments. Most bring a smile to one's face. One makes the collection of questionable appropriateness for children. Though the same has been said for that particular author's writing.

 

 

  ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Report: Arts Education Leads to Higher Test Scores

Report: Arts Education Leads to Higher Test Scores | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
New Jersey Arts Education Census Project surveys nearly all schools to compare arts education offerings.

 

 

 

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So why do so many people actually believe it is a good idea to that cutting everything not directly connected to raising scores? 

 

I'd like to see a study that questions whether the intense focus on raising scores, particularly in reading, actually raises an interest in reading or actually lessens that interest.

 

What's that old saying? Penny wise and pound foolish?

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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When literacy meets literature, the classroom wins

When literacy meets literature, the classroom wins | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
In the last post we discussed the different images and words that the terms Literacy and Literature conjured up for you. The findings so far are very interesting indeed…and THANKS so much for...

 

 

 

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Went kind of nutso on the previous scoop.it commentary.  But don't worry there won't be a test on it. 

 

Then I came across this article that offers an interesting take on the distinctions between  literacy and literature education. 

 

As I work on the Google Lit Trips project, I often find myself contemplating the Venn diagram that shows  both areas of common and uncommon attention within the reading foci of literacy and literature. 

 

They are both important, but they are definitely distinct. The author of this article builds a case for a "downside" to trying to blend both literacy and literature education in a single environment. 

 

I'm not sure I agree entirely with some of her conclusions. However, she does end her comments with a truly thought provoking and pedagogically challenging conclusion...

 

"…that whatever texts are brought into the classroom (whether they count as literature or not – a discussion for another day by the way), are reduced to classroom texts. The stories, the poems, the novels, the plays, the music, the nursery rhymes, become vehicles for an educational agenda which goes something like this…

 

a story becomes a reading comprehension

 

writing becomes a spelling test

 

a rhyme or poem becomes a phonics exercise

 

a play becomes an argument-based essay

and so on…

 

I think we need new spaces in education that allow for students to engage with texts of one form or another whether stories, poems, music, art, mathematics and so on that don’t end up reducing their true value and transformative potential. What do you think?"

 

I really have to think about this. The literacy skills certainly are important and do require an evolving skill set for understanding increasingly complex reading. Yet, at the same time, there seems to be a quite obvious concern that trying to do both, particularly when current assessment structures are more concerned with literacy-side evaluation that literature-side value, that we might, in our good intentions, inadvertently "end up reducing their (literature's) true value and transformative potential."

 

It is a delicate balance for sure.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com

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BOOK PEOPLE UNITE

BOOK PEOPLE UNITE | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
We've brought together some of our most beloved literary characters to make this film and help get books into the hands of kids who need them the most.

 

 

 

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It's all about children's books... 

What a very cool video featuring characters from several popular children's books. Can you name all of the characters and books referenced in this video?

 

After viewing the video, explore the website. These folks are doing great work!

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Location-Based Storytelling Symposium, June 18th

Location-Based Storytelling Symposium, June 18th | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
European Narratology Network (ENN) Location-Based Storytelling 18 June 2012 In Association with the Narrative Research Group (NRG) and Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP), Bournemouth Media School Venue: The...

 

 

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Just had to scoop this one! Why? Because I'll be speaking at this symposium at Bournemouth University in Bournemouth, Great Britain.

 

Also, by the way, I'll be at the Google Headquarters in Dublin, Ireland the week before and in the Google Headquarters in London two days later speaking at the Geo-Teachers Institutes in both cities.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Would You Read A Novel Authored By The Internet?

Would You Read A Novel Authored By The Internet? | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Crowdsourcing a novel is nothing new. Plenty of people submit ideas to Kickstarter and Indiegogo to come up with the funds to make a work happen for micro-famous authors.

 

 

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An intriguing invitation to participate in a crowdsourced writing experience. Your kids could join, or even better perhaps create a public blog space where they can be the sole editors, while the public is invited to visit and read the story as it develops.

 

By making the class members the only participants with editing privileges, student accountability is assessible. By making the space open to the public an authentic audience student engagement and sense of responsibility to audience is enhanced.

 

If possible, a mediated comment permission from the public would allow authentic feedback while also allowing an ability to filter out immature and/or inappropriate comments.

 

 

 ~http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Google Earth Alphabet - Kuwait

The alphabet from Kuwait's landscape using Google Earth [ full size image here: http://goo.gl/cCsbc ]. I first started this 3.5 years ago, reached about half the letters and kinda gave-up / slept on it.

 

 

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For early literacy enthusiasts! Teaching the alphabet in the REAL WORLD. What a wonderfully engaging approach to the most essential building block of literacy.

 

This video uses Kuwait's landscape as captured on Google Earth to create a wonderfully pleasant high altitude cruise around the country "seeing" the alphabet in buildings and landforms. Just charming!

 

I've always found "ABC Books" fascinating as I stumble across new (to me) and creative ways of presenting basic alphabet recognition to children. 

 

On a slightly related note...

I remember stumbling across "Uncle Shelby's ABZs" by Shel Silverstein. Silverstein known for both his wonderful children's books and his edgy Playboy cartoons, brought those two worlds together in "Uncle Shelby's ABZs"

 

Not for young children by any means, but not at all pornographic. Just funny in a satirical sort of way. I used to share it with my high school creative writing classes as an example of finding a creative approach to storytelling by finding an example of escaping "the box" we all profess is where the great thinking happens.

 

This video is another fine example of that kind of thinking, but it is beautifully done, shows a bit of geography, and even a bit global awareness of a part of the world that we all would be better off knowing more about. And, it's perfectly appropriate for even the littlest letter learners.

 

Here's another variation done entirely in The Netherlands: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasdebruin/3831046964/in/set-72157622073049692/

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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