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
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It’s Finally Time To Stop Correcting People’s Grammar, Linguist Says

It’s Finally Time To Stop Correcting People’s Grammar, Linguist Says | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading |
"Language -- which all human societies have in immense grammatical complexity -- is far more interesting than pedantry."
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
2 July 2016

Wondering to what extent this article will be applauded or roundly abhorred by the professional ELA community. 

Try this quote from the article  while wearing a blood pressure cuff...

(referring to author Oliver Kamm) 

"A recovering pedant himself, he now speaks for the boldest form of descriptivism, arguing that if humans use a word outside of its traditional meaning, the new, creative use is now valid, simply by virtue of having been used at all. So, “literally” can mean “figuratively,” and “irregardless” can mean “regardless.” Adverbs — probably the mostly hotly debated part of speech — are welcome in Kamm’s world, as are split infinitives and sentences that start with “and.”

Is your reaction to the previous quote influenced at all by this quote, also from author Oliver Kamm...

"... I think language tuition is better focused on the need to express yourself to the right audience. Linguists refer to “register” — the different styles and ranges of formality we adopt for particular audiences. That’s not all there is to effective writing and speaking but it’s not stressed enough in usage guides."

The essential understanding that one's audience ought to strongly influence the level of the "properness" of one's speech and writing does seem to be fading at a disturbing rate.

Yet, simultaneously, for example, the demonization of the term "political correctness;" too often code for old fashioned sexism, racism, xenophobia, and so many other forms of adamant ignorance all too common even at  the highest levels of public discourse has become seriously worrisome.

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Episode 45: Talking With Jerome Burg

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

12 August 2014


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


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


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


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


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WHOA: This Is What Life Hacks Looked Like 100 Years Ago

WHOA: This Is What Life Hacks Looked Like 100 Years Ago | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading |
You know... everyone thinks the thought of a life hack is just some new thing created by folks on the internet. But as this Reddit post is showing, people have been thinking of clever ways to create easy solutions for over a hundred years.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:

Well, who would have thought ....




Let's talk about Informational reading...


I found this article pretty interresting. I'd use it in class.


With the exception of the very clear labeling indicating that these quite clever and great examples of what might have been at the time fanscinatinging clever examples of out of the box thinking, I couldn't help but wonder about the corporate decision to sell cigarettes without any mention of why someone would want to buy cigarettes, why this particular brand of cigarettes might in some way be considered a better tasting or more convenient or even healthier alternative choice than another brand of cigarettes. (Note that the article includes examples from competing cigarette companies)


The deceptive art of misdirection in advertising  is nothing new. 

We live in times when cherry-picking evidence to support our opinions and what passes for debate is too often a matter of who can most "successfully" pull the wool over the eyes of  the inattentive by side-stepping  the obligation of considering the validity of rational counter-arguments. Through deliberate refusal to veer from pre-established talking points.crafted by wordsmiths, handlers, "interested" financial benefactors, (perhaps with the help of an English major or two) to deflect legitimate challenging questions and to transform through repetition exceptions to the rule into what appear to be examples of the rule.


Why misdirect in advertising? It works and most importantly consumers don't even know they've been had. 


Ask a class of high school students whether or not they are tricked into buying "stuff" by commercials because they happen to be funny, or sexy or bordering or crude, or as in the case of the cigarette ads in this scooped article, actually interesting and useful but at the same time completely and intentionally free of useful information about the product. 


Will you be surprised at how many of your students will make some claim to the effect that there may be stupid people enough to be fooled, but they're too smart to fall for it, who at the very same moment are wearing logo-branded clothing turning themselves into walking advertisements?


And then ask them if they're even aware of the extent of the extent to which the practice of stealth advertising has permeated their world, particularly the parts of their world that they spend hours a day paying attention to not even realizing they're being sold.. 


Some interesting efforts to misdirect perception of the unwitting::


Stealth Ads: They're Effective — And Priced To Move

Be sure to watch the Jumping in Jeans video. It's just too cool to wonder whether this was bought and paid for by Levi's!

_________ has several examples of its ability to place ads sereptiously in front of unquestioning eyes. Besides the Jump into your Jeans campaign there are several more examples of their "fine work" here.:



And you have to give credit. They're perfectly willing to reveal some of the elements employed to deceive and thereby influence viewers eager to be entertained by their clients (un)commercials.


IF I WERE DESIGNING AN INFORMATIONAL READING learning experience, I might begin by pre-selecting a few of the videos featured  in this website to casually share in class without revealing the reason why I'd decided to share them with the class.. Though I think it would be important to find the best ones on their original YouTube sites to show them as they were meant to be seen. As well as to let them see how popular they have been.


After sharing five or six or so, I'd let the class discuss which were the coolest videos. And, I might after enough time to let the conversation gain momentum, casually ease in questions like, "What kind of people would do such things?" (as though I were enjoying the opportunity to feel superior to the people in the video) Or "Are these people cool? or idiots? or crazy? or, try this, "Are they YOLO"?  (Just in case  this term hasn't crossed your trajectory, it stands for "You Only Live Once:," which has become a mantra in defense of doing just about anything from climbing Mt. Everest to getting totally out of control at a party.)


I'd let the conversation roll for awhile leaving enough time to say something like, "Hey, you guys want to see something really cool about these videos? And I'd flip back to the pages on the site where they can see "WHO" these people really are. They're all actors being paid by various big companies to make their products attractive without letting you even know what they're up to. 


And, I'd leave just enough time at the end of the class period to ask the question, "So how much of this class period was I doing stealth teaching?" and "Did it work?"


What might be of interest in a flipped classroom sort of way would be to go through this warm up experience and then send kids home with the assignment to Google "stealth advertising" and to find three articles that are primarily text that are  published on "reliable" websites. They should collect the URLs for the articles they chose to be ready to discuss in class the next day along with a list of the four or five talking points they wanted to remember about the article for class discussion the next day.


When I googled "Stealth Advertising" Google provided as usual links to similar searches at the bottom of the first page of results including such related ideas as:

 • fcc targeting stealth advertising
• stealth advertising definition
• stealth advertising examples
• product placement
• stealth ads
• undercover marketing techniques


I don't know about this, but I'd guess that even though the assignment specifically limits them to finding articles that are primarily text, I'd bet money that engagement levels might well have them choosing to take some side trips into the area of checking out some of the Images for Stealth Advertising links that they will also see on the first page of results. And, if they happen to mention any of the images they saw while looking at image results or began talking about product placement they had seen ...


Well, then I'd take that as a fairly positive assessment indicator of how well I had done in engaging students in some quite important informational reading.


p.s. If you want to get crazy about it, either show or suggest that interested students check out the Morgan Spurlock film, "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."


It's a movie about making a movie about product placement that is completely funded by product placement.


Here's a link to the trailerl


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Google Lit Trips is the legal fictitious business name of GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit






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The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker's Comma Queen

The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker's Comma Queen | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading |
"Copy editing for The New Yorker is like playing shortstop for a Major League Baseball team -- every little movement gets picked over by the critics," says Mary Norris, who has played the position for more than thirty years. In that time, she's gotten a reputation for sternness and for being a "comma maniac," but this is unfounded, she says. Above all, her work is aimed at one thing: making authors look good. Explore The New Yorker's distinctive style with the person who knows it best in this charming talk.
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's insight:
16 April 2016

I found this Ted Talk by a copy editor for the New Yorker fascinating on a number of accounts. 

1. She does not take herself too seriously (whew!)
2. She takes her job incredibly seriously (love that too!)
3. She makes it clear that even the best writers may not be experts at grammar and/or usage.
4. There is room for differences of opinions regarding best grammar and/or usage

And, all of this from a copy editor for the New Yorker; certainly a publication with impressive "creds!"

brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit
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6 virtual field trips to give lesson plans a boost

6 virtual field trips to give lesson plans a boost | Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading |
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.


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

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