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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A Guide to the Digital Advertising Industry That's Watching Your Every Click

A Guide to the Digital Advertising Industry That's Watching Your Every Click | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
An excerpt from a new book offers a tour of the companies that traffic in the data you generate each day on the Internet.

 

 

"The strategy uses new digital tracking tools like cookies and beacons as well as new organizations with names like BlueKai, Rapleaf, Invidi, and eXelate. These companies track people on websites and across websites in an effort to learn what they do, what they care about, and who their friends are."

 

___________________

This article fell into that darned gray area between what my intentions are for this Scoop.it topic and what is not really within that self-imposed corral.

 

It's well within my area of interest both personally and professionally, but at best it is a 3rd cousin to my primary areas of interest here.

 

The relationship has to do with the word "literacy." But, I've for the most part limited my focus to literacy as it focuses upon being able to read well in order to be able to access the rewards of being well-read.

 

"Financial literacy" articles and even "information literacy" articles, both of which are tremendously important, have been left to others to promote. 

 

But I really felt I had to break my own self-imposed rules when I came across this article.

 

But, I won't beat myself up for digressing a bit...

I'll use Holden Caulfield as my defense reminding myself how much I appreciated Holden's position when he said, "It's nice when somebody tells you about their uncle. Especially when they start out telling you about their father's farm and then all of a sudden get more interested in their uncle. I mean it's dirty to keep yelling "Digression!" at him when he's all nice and excited. I don't know. It's hard to explain."

 

Yes, sometimes it's just hard to explain. So here goes...

 

Sometimes we tend to fear that our students know more than we do when it comes to new technologies. Sometimes our students, believing that they know much more than we do about new technologies, fail to consider how much they don't know about those very technologies. This curious situation is a gold mine for profiteers whose concern for privacy issues are trumped by their concern for personal gain. 

 

Like the old "dangerous strangers" parents and teachers hoped to protect children from, today's marketers have recognized that much can be gained by emphasizing an offer of "free candy benefits such as friend birthday tracking and the ability to "focus our internet experiences upon what we are already interested in as an attractant covering far more questionable motives. 

 

There's a lot of sugar in being able to have internet resources keep track of my friends' birthdays, but who are the people behind these services? 

 

Well, I need not go on. Though many believe the story of The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing is an Aesop's Tale, it apparently was more likely sourced in The Bible. 

 

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Gospel of Matthew 7:15, King James Version). The sermon then suggests that their true nature will be revealed by their actions (by their fruits shall ye know them, verse 16)"

 

Many of today's youth, are actually quite ignorant about the contemporary "Wolves in Sheeps' Clothing aspect to their online activities. 

 

Perhaps this variation of the warning is more easily accessible as given in this abbreviated version.

 

"Follow the money."

 

  ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Speed dating goes literary

Speed dating goes literary | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Speed dating goes literary at the Vancouver library for Valentine’s day...

 

"Picture yourself in a basement room at the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library the night before (or after) Valentine’s Day, tables covered with tablecloths, soft rock playing in the background. You are carrying a book, one that says something about you. You’re going from table to table, looking for a literary connection or, in the best case scenario, a love match."

 

__________

 Wow! I'll just post this one for your consideration.

 

~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Remembering "Grandma Scout"

Remembering "Grandma Scout" | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

A recent post here about Mary Badham who played Scout in the To Kill A Mockingbird film and a more recent email from a Google Lit Trips fan hoping to find a Lit Trip for the book, led me back to this website project done by my class the last time I taught the book.

 

In revisiting this site, I was reminded of how proud I had been of my students who bought into the concept enthusiastically and darned near pushed me out of the way so they could build this fictional website sequel supposedly written by the 21st century "granddaughter of Scout."

 

To read any of the blog entries (which purport to be "found pages" from the journals kept by Scout, Dill, Jem and Atticus, click on the READ MORE button. Like all modern blogs, they appear in reverse chronological order so it is best to read from the oldest entry to the newest entry.

 

ALAS: The webhosting service where this site currently is hosted will be discontinued this coming summer. So this web address will only be live until June.

 

(Unfortunately since the book locations take place in a fictional location and the action really doesn't move around much, it hasn't been possible to create a Google Earth-based Lit Trip for the book.)

 

   ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com  ~

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Vintage Pop Up Book Video Library | Children's Books | Books for Kids

Vintage Pop Up Book Video Library | Children's Books | Books for Kids | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

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How long have "new technologies" been disrupting contemporary concepts of what books are? I wonder if these vintage pop-up books were immediately accepted or whether they too had to weather the storm of skeptical traditionalists.

 

In any case, I sure remember the intense fascination I had when I first was introduced to the wonders of the po-up book! There wasn't a pop-up book that passed my way that I didn't have to immediately stop and explore. They still stop me in my tracks to this day.

 

Though these videos have a bit of a wait time while loading, I have to give credit to the childrensbookstore.com folks for coming up with this wonderful gift to children, parents, and educators around the world. And even more exciting, they have been generous enough to provide embed codes so that you can post any of the videos to your own website.

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to childrensbookstore.com!

 

~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

 

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Ostracism: Why It Produces Unique Voices That Can't Be Copied

Ostracism: Why It Produces Unique Voices That Can't Be Copied | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Great writers depict their unique quest for dignity with a freshness and accuracy that reverberates with their readers, especially those with similar experiences

 

 

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Quiz...

1. Find the quotes you leap to agree with.

2. Find the quotes you have reservations about.

 

Of many thought provoking quotes, here's one that set my paradigms ablaze.

 

"I once had lunch with a poetry teacher who warned her students not to submit another piece of poetry describing pretty flowers or gardens. The problem was that she was expecting depth from her students, many of whom had not really lived life; they had come from homes with maids and trust funds, and their families had never experienced hunger or stress over how the cable or electric bill was going to be paid. These kids' parents set societal norms. They didn't ever have to exert energy or planning to procure the basic necessities of life."

 

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Monty Python - Novel Writing

Thomas Hardy writes The Return Of the Native.

 

 

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Okay, it's Super Bowl time and important issues of the day are put on hold while anyone wishing to not look like a complete fool at the water cooler on Monday morning ramps up for the big game! 

But if you love both the thrills of athletic "spectatating" AND the thrills of literary adoration,  you can get the best of both in this classic Monty Python sketch where novel writing becomes an exciting spectator sport!

A true vicarious adrenalin rush! 

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The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World « Flavorwire

The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World « Flavorwire | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

I typically am a proponent of the idea that any media that is read is better than any media that is not read. Some like paper; some like digital. What works for some does not work for others and what works for other sometimes does not work for me. 

 

BUT  in the grand and, in my mind less interesting, discussion of whether paper or digital reading "is better," there is certainly one advantage where digital has yet to compete, though like tattoos, I don't think I'll ever be ready to commit to an irreversible opinion on the subject!

 

That  advantage? The impact that a cherished collection, proudly displayed of books creates an ambiance of which I can never get enough! 

 

These photographs of the 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World are just a sampling of the beauty of displayed literary love affairs.

 

I adore my iPad; but I also love my coffee table books, the look and feel of the wall to wall book shelves I designed and built and even crashed through the ceiling while attempting to brace from the attic above. (Well, I managed to catch myself with only one leg dangline through the ceiling while my wife and children took extensive mental photographs that have been shared enthusiastically over the years). 

 

Books are a visual treat; a reminder of the joys that a well-read life brings. Their visual existence alone warms the heart and welcomes the mind in ways that I will be long in abandoning even though I do most of my reading now on my iPad. 

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Arizona Ethnic Studies Ban: Books Allegedly Banned From High School Are Being Smuggled Back To Tucson, Arizona In March's Event, Librotraficante

Arizona Ethnic Studies Ban: Books Allegedly Banned From High School Are Being Smuggled Back To Tucson, Arizona In March's Event, Librotraficante | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
A caravan of cars, full of activists and writers will be heading soon from Houston, Texas, to Tucson, Arizona.

 

 

 

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I'm certain that there are two sides, usually many more than two, to every story. But there is a war going on that has reached the political world that will have consequences to those of us who teach literature.

 

Though by design, I hope to challenge those of every opinion who teach literature to revisit their opinions and paradigms, I try to remain as centrist as possible when I raise important questions regarding pedagogy related to literacy and literature. 

 

My question after reading this article is NOT which side of the question of Tucsan's bookbanning laws do you come down on, but rather, would you, could you or should you attempt to bring this question to your students?

 

If so, how would you design the conversation so that it actually caused contemplation rather than just another simplistic shouting match where the same old sound bites are hurled into a room full of open mouths and closed ears.

 

And if not, would you feel as though an important battle was being fought and you chose to look the other way? 

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What we learned from 5 million books

What we learned from 5 million books | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Have you played with Google Labs' Ngram Viewer? It's an addicting tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of 5 million books from across centuries.

 

 

 

 

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Whoa! Ain't it great when the paths science and literature cross??

These guys are quite informative and manage to be so interesting and entertaining at the same time.

 

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Happy Fred Korematsu Day! (in California)

Happy Fred Korematsu Day! (in California) | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Happy (First) Fred Korematsu Day in California! After the infamous Executive Order 9066 — the order which essentially cleared the way to put Japanese Americans into internment camps during World ...

 

 

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Among the many books being taught in schools about the Japanese Relocation Camps during World War II are Farewell to Manzanare and Under the Blood Red Sun.

 

If I were teaching either of these or any of the others about this subject, I would certainly include a shout out to Fred Korematsu! Imagine that it has taken 70 years to get around to honoring Fred Korematsu's courageous stand!

 

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Table of years in literature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Table of years in literature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

Wikipedia has taken its hits in academia, but many of the opinions still held are obsolete. Wikipedia has and continues to take an aggressive and proactive position on addressing early concerns about its reliability. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia)

 

For those teaching literature, click on any of these dates for information about literature in that year. 

 

If you haven't taken a look at Wikipedia lately, you may be amazed at its evolution.

 

And if by chance you do find shortcomings or inaccuracies, turn lemons into lemonade! Have your students correct the information! They'll learn about research, literature, accuracy, and be contributors to a worthwhile project bringing literary information to the world. What more authentic audience can there be?

 

 

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From Mark Twain to Ray Bradbury, Iconic Writers on Truth vs. Fiction

From Mark Twain to Ray Bradbury, Iconic Writers on Truth vs. Fiction | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
What a the literary greats can teach us about the fine points of make-believe...

 

 

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Please excuz ne typoes! Im trying to tipe while jumping up and down and giving this rtical a standing ovation!!!

 

Don't like to pick favorites, BUT gotta love this one by guess who....

 

""You should never read just for 'enjoyment.' Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends' insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick 'hard books.' Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god's sake, don't let me ever hear you say, 'I can't read fiction. I only have time for the truth.' Fiction is the truth, fool!"

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The 10 Most Iconic Accessories of Famous Authors - Flavorwire

The 10 Most Iconic Accessories of Famous Authors - Flavorwire | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Flavorwire: Cultural news and critique from Flavorpill...

 

 

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The Road Not Taken was one of the earliest experiences I had (while actually paying attention) with literature that began the process of setting me free from always choosing the default value set without question.

 

There of course was a gray phase to my transition. During the late 60s when I let my hair grow beyond the "norm" (and it actually still was willing to grow!) I wore ratty t-shirts, torn jeans, tie-dye, and all those things that every hippie-ish "radical" wore because we wanted to "be different." That's why we all dressed the same don't you see? To be different!

 

Though my own desire to find a different road wasn't all that well thought out at the time, it was a transitional phase more than an ingnorant hypocrisy. 

 

The transitions from "anti-establishment" to Dylan's challenging of the status quo even among popular musicians led in short order to the discovery that Voltaire and Swift and Twain and e.e.cummings and pretty much all great writers (to my surprise) were all in the business of encouraging their readers to reconsider, to revisit, to be open to non-standard paradigms.

 

These examples of "weird habits" of famous authors are fascinating. I am reminded of how intriguing I found JD Salinger's and Harper Lee's self-imposed separation from the public eye. My first thoughts were something like, "What's wrong with these people?! They could be rich and famous and could buy anything they wanted and they choose to intentionally avoid all that???? THEY must be CRAZY!!"

 

We might be well advised to remember that our students wearing their baggy pants or excessive make-up may be in transition towards valuing thinking for themselves, not necessarily proving their shallowness. Perhaps we should encourage those who are no longer in their catapiller stange but not yet in their butterfly phase either to keep searching for who they are and who they may wish to become. Maybe we should not be so hard on those in their transitionary cocoons. What they are while in their cocoons is not what they are on their way to becoming.

 

Are these authors really weird? or are they simply "the different drummers" we might want to tune into when we find ourselves making decisions as to which drummers we will march to? 

 

 

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A letter to Charles Dickens on his 200th birthday

A letter to Charles Dickens on his 200th birthday | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Claire Tomalin, who wrote a biography of the novelist, wonders what he would make of the 21st century...

 

"Novels and letters give us a panoramic view of 19th-century England. But what would you make of the 21st century, the world of 2012?"

 

 

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Yes, birthday appreciations to Charles Dickens.

Huzzah!

 

An interesting "letter to Charles Dickens" that asks the question I always thought was at the core of successful literature teaching...

"But, why is this old book relevant today?"

 

The least effective answer is, "Because Charles Dickens was considered one of the greatest writers of all times!"

(Yawn)

 

or...

"Through Dickens we get an incredible understanding of life in 19th century London."

(Yawn)

 

"Because this is a British Literature course and Dickens was an important British author."

(or it's undisguised translation... "Because he will be on the course final.")

(Oh YAWN!!!)

 

These common responses do little to engage any interest in Dickens. 

 

I am a fan of Dickens, but not because he was to be on the test. In fact, if truth be told, when I was young enough to have to worry about whether Dickens would be on the test, he was at the top of my personal list of most boring writers in the world. It wasn't until good ol' Mr Kay my senior English teacher "turned us on to Bob Dylan, connected Bob Dylan to Woodie Guthrie, and then Woodie Guthrie to John Steinbeck that Ibegan to revisit my loud but shallow opinions about Charles Dickens and had what is currently called an "Ah Ha!" moment, though at the time I referred to it as a "Holy-crap!-This-is-exactly-what's happening-today!" moment. 

 

As the author of this article rephrases the question I asked above, "Novels and letters give us a panoramic view of 19th-century England. But what would you make of the 21st century, the world of 2012?"

 

And his answer goes to the heart of much of what still challenges humanity...

 

"...But you would see the same gulf between the rich, at ease enjoying their money and power, and the poor, relying on out-of-date food thrown out by supermarkets and food parcels from charities, and fearing for their jobs. And since you were obsessively interested in prisons all your life, you might be daunted by the huge increase in our prisons and number of prisoners.

A glance at the newspapers would tell you that your crooked financier, Mr Merdle, has many successors, and that Lord Decimus Tite Barnacle and his Etonian friends and relations are still running things."

 

Given today's world economic crisis and speculation regarding the impact of the enormous discrepancy between the 1% and the 99%, perhaps now is, more than ever, a good time to celebrate Dickens' contribution by rereading him through the lenses of 21st century realities.

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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Think Again: When Books Disappear

Think Again: When Books Disappear | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it

Here's an idea that had not previously crossed my mind regarding the issues of the demise of the brick and mortar book stores.

 

In the proverbial nutshell...

(from the article)

 

"Like everything else, the demise of the bookstore is hardly monocausal, and certainly among the myriad reasons, ...(is this) rarely discussed notion: the concomitant death spiral of the newspaper. The papers that remain alive have done so at the expense of virtually every “nonessential” aspect of newsgathering and dissemination, and apparently first on everybody’s list was book coverage."

 

And even more disturbing, the author goes on to point out that such attention to books has shifted (and been short shrifted in doing so) to the blogosphere where short is expected; depth and breadth not so much. And, that has a significant danger with potential to limit the informed nature of important social discourse. 

 

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First a disclaimer...

This article takes a clearly left-leaning approach to its subject matter. And because we live in times when the words "left" and "conservative" have become almost Pavlovian triggers too frequently immediately shut down people's receptivity in favor of negative "involuntary reflex actions," I was reluctant to include this article in my scoop.it collection.

 

But, if one accepts the idea that whether one agrees with the examples or not, there may still be some quite thought-provoking concept worthy of serious consideration. I finally concluded that some of the base concepts were well worth consideration by all those left, right, or center who love reading and have accepted the responsibility for perpetuating the importance of reading for current and future generations.

 

The basic issue of how reading informs our discourse is of value to responsibile educators.

 

~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

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A Filmed Review Of The Best Digital Literature Apps

Lisa Gee speaks to the experts about the best literature apps and e-reader experiences. A short film featuring the expert recommendations of digital literatu...

 

 

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An interesting review of several "new-form" books. If you haven't seen what's happening in digital book publishing, this very short video gives several glimpses into the possibilities that digital literature forms provide. 

 

As the concept evolves, I'm certain that digital literature is going to provide a significantly increased challenge to paper-based publishers in ways that will some day have me sitting under a tree extolling the wonderful virtues and recollections of reading books when the only way you could get them was on paper to my grandchildren, while we are reading our latest "book" on his digital device. 

 

I can see the look of wonder on his little face, smiling up at Pop-Pop telling another one of his old-time stories, with the same baffled expression that I had had on my face when my dad reminisced about the wonders of doing math on a slide rule. 

 

But then again, there is that haunting scene from the original Rollerball movie where everything had been digitized and an unfortunate technical glitch caused the loss of everything from the 14th century. 

 

I for one, love paper and digital. So I'll be enjoying the glorious wall-to-wall view of books collected over more than half a century, reminiscing about the difference so many of them made in my life's journey.

 

~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

 

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Jim Meskimen's 'Shakespeare In Celebrity Voices Part 2: Marc Antony's Speech': Impressions Of Clooney, Williams, And Walken (VIDEO)

Jim Meskimen's 'Shakespeare In Celebrity Voices Part 2: Marc Antony's Speech': Impressions Of Clooney, Williams, And Walken (VIDEO) | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Shakespeare and celebrity impressions: who doesn't love both? Impressions are sort of the puns of stand-up comedy, unsexy but always fun!

 

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I saw this headline and was immediately intrigued by the possibility of finding a wonderful bridge activity between the 21st century world and "developing" understandings of our students and the exquisite articulations of universal human themes so eloquently articulated, but seemingly obtuse and distant, to our students.

 

The Shakespeare is peerless. The impressions are excellent, but by the time I finished watching the video, I was torn by this question...

 

I know that literature teachers, at least those with a sense of humor, will love this. I'm not so sure that it will strike their students, in the "AP to F" range as all that funny or all that interesting, at least as a bridge activity.

 

When I think about bridge activities that connect the concepts presented from "other times and places" to the Vygotskian zone of proximal development of today's 21st century learner, I keep in mind that my ZPD it weighted heavily by the second half of the 20th century, both its popular and intellectual facets, and though I'm proud to be on several technological cutting edges, in truth, I'm not quite so up to speed on 21st century writers and I'm particularly not up to speed on 21st century pop culture. What "bridges" for me fantastically, is not necessarily a fantastic bridge for my students. It's an easy truth to overlook.

 

I'm not suggesting that today's youth are incapable of crossing bridges bridging a longer gap than their own immediate "geo-social-media space." I'm merely suggesting that what Dylan did for my burgeoning awareness can not be expected to have the same impact for today's youth, even those who have come to admire Dylan, as he had for me. Nor, I suppose, can I quite appreciate the impact that Lady Gaga's or Taylor Swift's music has for today's youth in spite of the fact that I do find their lyrics to be rather poetic and thought provoking. 

 

So.. of course there are students who get "Westside Story" but, really,  how many students look at that movie and see "silly." Gangs wearing neckties? Oh yeah, I can relate to that!

 

So sure, our students may know some of the "contemporary" impressions in this video, but really, how many of these impressions will successfully create that magical bridge between the contemporary and the contemplations of the great Shakespeare, a guy who knew the power of mashing together intellectual thought and populism. That guy knew how to build a bridge!

 

I'd actually consider using clips from this video, but I'd wonder about whether I'd bother to hope that most students, even if they know of these people, would consider a bridge from John Malkovich, Robert Siegal, Ian McKellen, George C Scott, Al Gore, or Chico Marx to Shakespeare to be an actual "light turning on" experience.

 

 

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Monty Python Philosophy Football

Germany vs. Greece, a shorter and funnier edit of the skit.

 

 

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Did you know that "football" and "satire" are darned near synonyms? REALLY! Did you know this about the etymology of the word "sarcasm"?

 

"ORIGIN of SARCASM...

French or Late Latin; French sarcasme, from Late Latin sarcasmos, from Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer, from sark-, sarx flesh; probably akin to Avestan thwarəs- to cut"

(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sarcasm)

 

Well, in our rising Super Bowl Frenzy, there is that "other" football." You know, the one where using one's feet to move the ball is the primary action? Soccer.

Yes, unlike American style football, where action involving a foot and a ball is rare and never includes more than a couple of the dozens of players on the field nor consumes more than a few moments of the total play time, soccer fans can sometimes show American football fans a thing or two about spectator frenzy.

 

However, if like many you are one of those who consider soccer's back and forth sans much in the way of scoring to be exciting, wait until you see how exciting the game is when played by philosophers!

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Okay, just kidding. I'll be breaking every last remnat of New Year's dietary resolutions too this coming Sunday, cheering madly for one of the two teams, neither of which is the San Francisco 49ers whom I actually cared about this year.

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Taylor Swift Donates 14,000 Books to Nashville Public Library

Taylor Swift Donates 14,000 Books to Nashville Public Library | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Almost as mind-boggling as Taylor Swift's annual income is the amount she generously gives away to a number of charities each year.

 

 

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Okay, I'll admit it, I like Taylor Swift! I know, I'm too old, my taste for country music never got too far past Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. But, when she burst on the scene I have to admit, I really was intrigued by the lyrics of her big hit, "You Belong with Me." I liked that she wears glasses in the video and writes of deeper feelings that are thoughtful, thought provoking, and positive.

 

But, no apologies are in order when she takes her celebrity status as one that comes with an indebetedness to her fans. This article is pretty darned inspiring because she's giving back in many ways that stir the hearts of caring educator's.

 

Her support of the Nashville Public Library, her work with UNICEF,  her raising more than $750,000 for tornado victims, and $150,000 for for an Alabama school district and then donated 6,000 books to tthe Reading, PA Public Library. 

 

Whether you like her music or not, she speaks to today's youth positively, thoughtfully, engagingly, and chooses, whether it is a persona or not, to be a positive role model for her fans. And, to discover that she chooses to direct her philanthropic efforts towards books, libraries, schools, and youth seals the deal for me.  I'm a fan!

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'To Kill A Mockingbird' 50th Anniversary: Mary Badham On Being Scout, Gregory Peck And Losing The Academy Award

'To Kill A Mockingbird' 50th Anniversary: Mary Badham On Being Scout, Gregory Peck And Losing The Academy Award | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Fifty years ago, 10-year-old Mary Badham tried out for a role in a little movie filming near her hometown of Birmingham, Ala.: "To Kill a Mockingbird." The beloved adaptation of Harper Lee's seminal novel earned Badham an Oscar nomination, making...

 

 

 

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Tidbits about this much beloved movie adaptation of an even better book always seem to touch a tender spot in the hearts of "bibliophilic literature teachers."

 

It's fascinating watching the reaction of students when it can be pointed out that that "old book they're reading" is still "in the news" and still considered worthy of public discussion and interest.

 

<no, this is actually not a non-sequiter>

 

One of my favorite tools in my teaching toolkit toward the end of my career was a less well-known Google tool called "Google Alerts"  http://www.google.com/alerts 

 

It allows one to create an automated search for anything "new" on the internet that fits the users' search terms. And, then instead of re-searching whenever I want to get caught up on a subject, Google Alert simply emails me an alert whenever Google's search engines discover a new posting related to my search criteria. It's quite convenient.

 

Some of my alerts are on constant duty; "Google Lit Trips" "On being well-read" "literature and literacy issues in education" are topics I'm always interested in.

 

But, a light went off a few years ago, one of those "DUH! Why didn't I think of that earlier" kinds of lights. 

I was about a week away from starting a unit on To Kill A Mockingbird. I'd recently been giving much thought to my appreciation of Vygotsky's "Zone of Proximal Development." And, suddenly I put two obvious ideas together. How can I bring To Kill A Mockingbird closer to my students' zone? How could I stimulate students to find a relevance in "that old story about the depression and southern racism and, (unfortunately too true about too many adolescent boys even in the 21st century) a story told by a girl." So I set up a Google alert for "To Kill A Mockingbird." I was passively trolling just to see if something came up.

To my surprise there was almost a daily alert;Sometimes several a day! A leaked story about the mysterious author Harper Lee who almost vanished after the publication of the book, though she peaks her head out every once in a while, a local theatre company production announcement and wonderful graphics of their production posters, another story about it still being one of the most banned books taught, an article about the passing of one of the film's actors and the impact that role had on his or her life, a law textbook  about Atticus as a model worth studying for young lawyers (http://www.amazon.com/Law-Lit-Atticus-Practice-Collection/dp/1595581944), the release of a song called "Sneaking up on Boo Radley" by Bruce Hornsby (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjHmWxzjtA4&amp;nbsp;lyrics here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/sneaking-up-on-boo-radley-lyrics-bruce-hornsby.html) or a song by Tom Flannery called "I wanted to name my son Atticus Finch," (http://www.songaweek.com/lyrics.asp?Title=Atticus+Finch)&amp;nbsp;or an article about a new music group named Atticus (http://www.amazon.com/Atticus-Dragging-Lake-Various-Artists/dp/B000066AKB) that uses a dead mockingbird as its band logo...

 

It was amazing how much current material can be found about uncurrent topics!

 

And, I learned that rather than simply store these cool resources for use every year, I'd probably be better off doing a new search every year so that what I was able to share was guaranteed to be CURRENT. Last year's news is old news and as it fades into the old file (as I believe movies like West Side Story have done ...at least in the eyes of students who have yet to appreciate the value of vintage connections) it no longer has the Vygotskyian proximity that made it a great bridge when it was a contemporary link to Romeo and Juliet.

 

So I frequently use Google Alerts specifically to find actual contemporary (within a month or two at most was my rule) bridges to the literature we were going to explore for awhile.

 

Again, I'm not proposing that this is better than any other strategies that engage kids IF THEY ARE WORKING FOR YOUR KIDS, but what the heck, it may be an additional tool in your  professional toolbox for making literature relevant for the student to whom other "tried and trues" haven't reached.

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Writing Tips by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman & George Orwell

Writing Tips by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman & George Orwell | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Here's one way to become a better writer. Listen to the advice of writers who earn their daily bread with their pens.

 

 

 

 

_________

Really?

 

Can even the most creative actually codify elements of creativity?

 

From my point of view as a veteran teacher, I can see much of value "between the lines" of these bits of writing advise. But, I worry about their value to the literal minded, standardized test-centric students who might take the advise too literally.

 

What happens when kids, raised on the belief that doing well on standardized tests is what being a good student is all about, believe that good writers "never use a verb other than 'said' to carry dialogue" not because often simple is better than excess but only BECAUSE it will be on the test or because a teacher has threatened to lower a grade?

 

Will those kids gain from literature if they're literary appreciation skills are shackled by advise for which they completely missed the point? Or will they, like good puppies fetch the stick in exchange for the treat, never quite wondering what the value of  chasing sticks might be?

 

A challenge...

Which of these rules WOULD you share with your students? Which would you not share?

 

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Brain Scans Can Spot Early Signs Of Dyslexia, Study Shows

Brain Scans Can Spot Early Signs Of Dyslexia, Study Shows | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
* Findings may lead to earlier diagnosis * Bigger studies needed By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Instead of waiting for a child to experience reading delays, scientists now say they can...

 

 

 

__________

Let us hope...

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Book Chargers cleverly hide your iPhone dock in a vintage hardcover book

Book Chargers cleverly hide your iPhone dock in a vintage hardcover book | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Read 'Book Chargers cleverly hide your iPhone dock in a vintage hardcover book' on Digital Trends. If you're not one for the shine and gloss of typical...

 

 

__________

This article is featuring a line of products (see link in article).

 

When I looked at the referenced product page, I couldn't help but think that anyone could do this with a little bit of thought!

 

Wouldn't this be a great decor item in a kid's room?A parent /child project could create a tactile experience that provides an engaging tactile and visual engagement with books with the added bonus of connecting paper-based books and digital books in a positive way.

 

I've got just the place in the family room where a stack of books will certainly add a lot more character(s) to the room than the dangling charger wires currently there!

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Walter Dean Myers: National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Talks to The Root

Walter Dean Myers: National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Talks to The Root | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading | Scoop.it
Walter Dean Myers says that equality of opportunity is meaningless if black kids aren't literate.

 

 

__________

Walter Dean Myers, the national ambassador for young people's literature, discusses why he believes, "To do well in life, you have to read well," and "Reading is not optional."

 

 

 

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Marty Stuart - My Mississippi - Mississippi Authors

Marty Stuart tells the story of literary giants from the great state of Mississippi. Learn about the many famous authors who have called Mississippi home.

 

 

________

I thought I'd share this video as an example of a Google Lit Trips concept I'm working on. Can you imagine students from all over the globe creating short projects like this one about their own local literary giants and then posting those videos on Google Earth with placemarks representing the locations where those authors were born or worked?

 

What a "live literary map" that would be. And what a way for students to find themselves literarlly and virtually, among giants in their own "zone of proximal development."

 

And imagine what kinds of virtual touring your students could lead as well as explore if students all over the globe were doing the same?

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