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"#Hashtag" with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake

Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake show you what a Twitter conversation sounds like in real life. Subscribe NOW to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

Via Teri Eves
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Rescooped by Nick Fung from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Federal Bureaucrats Declare 'Hunger Games' More Complex Than 'The Grapes of Wrath' - The New Republic

Federal Bureaucrats Declare 'Hunger Games' More Complex Than 'The Grapes of Wrath' - The New Republic | Language Journal |

To be fair, both the creators of the Common Core and MetaMetrix admit these standards can’t stand as the final measure of complexity.  

As the Common Core Standards Initiative officially puts it, “until widely available quantitative tools can better account for factors recognized as making such texts challenging, including multiple levels of meaning and mature themes, preference should likely be given to qualitative measures of text complexity when evaluating narrative fiction intended for students in grade 6 and above.” But even here, the final goal is a more complex algorithm; qualitative measurement fills in as a flawed stopgap. 

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 2, 2013 3:02 AM



I did not realize that both the developers of the Common Core AND the Lexile Reading measurement admit that the existing assessment structures upon which much of the Common Core Literary Reading assessment is based, DO NOT adequately account for factors recognized ss making such texts challenging and that QUALITATIVE rather than the the current sorely lacking QUANTITATIVE measures for students in grade 6 and above would be preferred, essentially admitting that the existing literary reading  measurement is a seriously flawed stopgap. 


I found it interesting that in the quote from the article above, the author in an "effort to be fair," gave credit to both the creators of the Common Core and to MetaMetrix (developers of the Lexile Measurement) for recognizing that the standards assessment for literary reading can"t stand as a final measure the student's ability to read literary complexity. 


What's that old saying? Garbage in Garbage out?


Yet, the official position taken in spite of this recognition is that the test does not do the job; that we don't have a test that does the job; so we pretty much have to use a flawed data collection method because collecting data with a significant margin of error until we can do until we figure out how to get good data, is somehow better than collecting  nothing and thereby avoid polluting the data with  misleading results 


I would suggest that attempting "to be fair" to those who created the flawed measure and to those who use the flawed data is certainly gracious. However, it ignores the extent to which using a flawed measure to collect flawed data in order to make important decisions about educational reform is BEYOND UNFAIR to parents, students, educators, and taxpayers who are being led to believe that the data collected has value and who will to a large extent, falsely believing they have informed themselves, will vote for or against reforms proposed by legislators who unintentionally or otherwise will misinform, perhaps even stooping to disinform, their constituency regarding their concerns for what must be done to build a better education system.


The Humanities are in many ways, not like the sciences and the maths and history or even grammar, vocabulary and text decoding, all of which rely heavily upon knowing facts and having skills. The Humanities focus upon much more difficult to determine progress in assimilating the wisdom of the age and learning the great questions ; the questions that do not have simple right or wrong answers. Why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? What are the motives that cause evil people to take advantage of the gullible, the less fortunate, those least able to protect themselves? What makessome  human beings do inhumane things and others seek to be humane beings?  Why did Atticus Finch not give up when he knew he would lose the case against the obviously innocent Tom Robinson? Why do we scapegoat rather than contemplate our own contribution to what we believe is not good or right?


It is not news to those who have reservations about the well-intended but still flaw-heavy Common Core State Standards assessment structures, that  in some areas the margin of error is not acceptable and yet it is being passed off as being "good enough." The comparison is not a new one when the author suggests that, "Lexile scoring is the intellectual equivalent of a thermometer: perfect for cooking turkeys, but not for encouraging moral growth"  which, of course, is the heart of why there is great value in seeking the wisdom for which literary reading is intended. 


And it is disengenuous to criticize those with concerns regarding the significant margin of error and subsequent misdirection of focus regarding the importance of literature as mere whining by teachers who don't want to be held accountable or teachers' unions who "are presumed to be the usual suspects for being the cause of the everything that is wrong with public education?"


Isn't it disengenuous to believe or pretend to believe that overly simplistic solutions can be passed off as potentially viable simple solutions?  


If we are to be fair to all those who want true educational reform, we should certainly be very concerned about the quality of our teachers' efforts and of our students' learning. However, I would suggest for what it's worth, that it be made clear that although some elements of the well-intended efforts of the Common Core State Standards are well-within an acceptable margin of error, at the same time, we ought to be more honest about the serious shortcomings of the existing assessment structures and make it equally clear that some elements have much to address before we can profess that what we truly want to measure is being measured well enough to rely "too heavily" upon. 


I am not proposing like many that we "simply"abandon the Common Core Standards and their intentions. That is not a simple solution. It is a simplistic solution. But, I might suggest that we take a cue from our data-obsessed record keeping friends in professional baseball who argue that some recorded performance outcomes ought to include a few asterisks to clearly note the questionable status that may have skewed the reliability of those performance outcomes. Remember Barry Bonds and the rest of the steroid-using athletes who set records that replaced records of predecessors who thought obeying the rules was a baseline for qualifying for being record holders? 


This is not to compare cheating to flawed data collection. However, what might be the extended impact of a student who does either exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly on a test that was exceptionally flawed to begin with? Will the false appearance that he or she is or is not ready for college and career cause some who are ready to not be accepted to their college of choice while others who only appear to be ready receive the precious acceptance letters? 


Do we really believe we can afford the potential public backlash if, by using flawed measures that produce flawed data that leads to flawed reform that does NOT lead to the desired educational results (again!) and millions of mispent tax dollars? It's a matter of earning the public trust. And we've all seen the results of losing the public trust haven't we?


 ~ ~

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



Rescooped by Nick Fung from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Honey, I Killed the Kids' Love of Reading

Honey, I Killed the Kids' Love of Reading | Language Journal |
Not that into reading? Keep trying! Stop labeling our kids, and instead start figuring out what they love, what interests them... and make reading the vehicle to learn more about it.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 17, 2013 3:26 PM

I've often railed against the idea that complex problems have simple solutions, finding most often that supporters of any "supposedly simple solutions" are generally ill-informed and simplistic, focusing on such a narrow segment of the problem that they fail to consider the ramifications of their narrow focus upon the entirety of the problem. 


However, this article offers some fairly simple, yet remarkably reliable advise regarding well-intended actions that quite often have counter-intended outcomes.


Among the points made in the article, I particularly appreciated the idea of getting rid of labels when they refer to areas of learning that are perceived to be strengths in comparison to areas of learning that are perceived to be weaknesses. How early do children begin to accept the idea that they might not be particularly good (or interested) in reading? And what are the seeds of this perception? Sometimes, often I would suggest, the seeds are sown when children's early interests in one area generate positive encouragement and their lesser interest in orther areas  becomes a nervous concern in parents who worry that child "A" is not as good as child "B" in the later area but has strengths elsewhere. This concept of specialized strengths in one area having anything to do with perceived weaknesses in other areas is a false assumption. But, in voicing the belief whether it is an attempt to make the child feel okay about not being good in "reading" because she is good in math sets up a false understanding of the child that is accepted by the child as being true and okay. Or, it sets up a sort of parental sense that what the child needs is to be force-fed reading like castor oil of olden times was believed to be a panacea of sorts in spite of its repulsive gag-causing taste.


Force-feeding reading, particularly in areas of little to no pre-existing interest may well speed up the process of developing a resentment or resistance to reading.


So, the trick is how does one encourage the deveopment of a latent potential for the non-reader to embrace reading?


Engage them early is certainly the most effective preventative for a negative trajectory in the area of  reading. Lots of reading to and with children is pretty well time-tested. Reading aloud engages the eyes and the ears and the imagination in much the same way that watching movies does. It's a multi-sensory experience that is generally enjoyed frequently PRIOR to the development of the desire to be able to read for oneself. It is the enjoyment and engagement that provides the motivation to develop a readiness for the process of learning to decode text. 


It is the pre-established engagement, interest, enjoyment, and/or perception of personal value and relevance that provides the impetus for taking the next step in literacy skill development and later for taking the next step in literary reading appreciation.




As children begin their formal educations they very quickly perceive their "place" in comparison to other children's "place" in the constant measure of established skill levels and progress achievement in reading (and, of course in other areas including math and art). And, as the challenges grow, they often begin to accept their place as fixed. Sometimes this fixer perception is enhanced by the fact that their skills levels are often on display to their friends and classmates. Whether formalized or de facto, grouping is a public display of one's "shortcomings" that is often perceived as humiliating rather than recognized as an attempt to provide individualized attention. 


Be a fly on the wall in a high school classroom where a Shakespeare play is introduced by a well-intended teacher who assigns roles to be read aloud believing that student engagement via participatory reading aloud is engaging for better readers and "good practice" for the less skilled readers. It can be agonizing for the less confident readers as they display their difficulties in decoding publicly as they stumble through sounding out unfamiliar vocabulary and unfamilar sentence structures. And, cold reading aloud even by the best readers is often dreadful as they are challenged to find the sense of complex sentence structures while reading them aloud for the first time.


I happened to have been a pretty good reader very early on. My family had a subscription to National Geographic. My dad subscribed to Popular Mechanics and my mom subscribed to Sunset Magazine and with the exception of Mad Magazine, they let me subscribe to one comic book of my own choice. Fortunately, my best buddy's parents were okay with his subscription to Mad Magazine so I was able to discover the wonders of humor on the edge while having been motivated by Mad Magazine's reputation among adults as being inappropriate reading.


I read what I had to read voraciously, sometimes sereptiously as was the case when I "borrowed" a copy of Mad Magazine, And almost always I read what I read over and over. 


(I recognize that I am about to drift into a contemplative digression. But, I'll take the Holden Caulfield defense of digression: Chapter 24 if you're interested)


Yet, when called upon to read aloud in class, in spite of my very good decoding skills, my entire attention was devoted to delivering a perfect reading to impress my teachers. I was frequently patted on the head for my reading abilities. Ironically, I'd always perform well in spite of the fact that between showing off my decoding skills and caring deeply about my public performance in front of my classmates, I almost never had sufficient attention left to also attend deeply to the content of what I was reading aloud. At home I was generally reading privately and my attention was always on what I was reading. At school when reading publicly my attention was consumed by how well I was decoding.


I found myself sitting in a different seat however when it came to grammar skills. I do not know the source of my failure to become engaged in learning grammar. My parents spoke well enough. I spoke well enough. I didn't use "ain't" by default. Though there was something cool about using it intentionally on the playground. 


But, I'll be darned if I ever found a reason to care about dangling participles, gerunds, and conjunctive adverbs. And, sentence diagramming? Well, I just thought, falsely I realize, that there couldn't possibly be any reason why I should care about turning sentences into goofball "whatever" those things were that we were expected to turn sentences into.


So, in the case of the expected public displays of our ability to diagram sentences, my attentiveness while dreading the possibility of getting called on was not on improving my skills by learning from those whose public performances were excellent, but rather upon nothing outside of the anxiety I was feeling about the fact that sooner or later I knew I would be called upon to demonstrate my shortcomings publicly. Of course, I should have taken that anxiety as a motivation for paying more attention. But, I didn't.  I became obsessed with trying to figure out the pattern that the teacher might use to determine who would be called upon next. Having a last name that started with a "B" I frequently found myself sitting somewhere in the first row (as in column, not as in spreadsheets). Frequently that meant I would be called upon maybe fourth. Three students would go public before me, while I marinated in the knowledge that my public performance was definitely going to happen. All consuming dread and fear of failure dominated my entire attentiveness.


That must be somehow parallel to the feelings of my classmates whose decoding skills were such that they dreaded the fact that they knew that sooner or later they would be called upon to perform publicly.


Logically, students should recognize their skill shortcomings and address them logically. But, in reality, even as adults, fear and anxiety and dread can easily dominate our ability to apply a "Spock-like logic" to our abilities to counter intense fears, anxieties, and dreads.


And then we begin to counter-compensate with illogical reasoning. "I'm just not good at _________." 

"I hate __________."

"People who like _________ are (dorks, nerds, momma's boys, _______s, etc.)

"Who wants to be friends with________, all my friends hate _______ too?"


Or, we begin to develop other skills such as...

Sitting in the back of the room hoping to be less noticable or avoiding eye contact,  or pretending to be looking for a pen in our backpacks, when the teacher is scanning for the next student to call on.


The "smarter" of us learn quickly to adopt a pose that signals that we care about what we don't care about rather than misbehave and expose the level of our lack of caring about what we are supposed to care about.. 


So where in the article did I find the hook that eventually lead to this digression?


It was the third point. Follow Their Interests. If they don't care, what do they care about. Then bait the trap by allowing them to read about something they already have a vested interest in. And, give them something to read on that interest that gives them  experiences of reading "more about it" positioning reading as a perceived way to learn more than they do about something they care about. 


This is not to say that we should drop required reading in favor of self-selected reading. But we should know what sort of existing bridges there are or can be built from their existing interests to the required readings. And, we should allow for as much opportunity for choice as we can whenever we can in the area of what students get credit for reading.


Okay, you can read the article and take from it what you will. For me, the simple take home is it makes sense to build upon what they are interested in. Reading, particularly literary reading, should be enjoyed and/or engaging. It is the action, the humor, the tension, the need to keep reading to see whether or not the good will triumph, or the next page will provide more funny stuff, or whether the story is just plain captivating for whatever reasons we become captivated in stories, And, if it is, or if we can sell that "captivation" then we can exploit that engagement as a gateway to raising the higher level themes or perhaps delving into the deeper level themes that were behind the decision to include the stories we assign in our classrooms in the first place..



  ~ ~

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






Monique Reyna's curator insight, December 12, 2013 1:38 AM

As parents we want to get our children to read, but often forget how easy it is to discourage them. This gives you 5 great tips to get your child excited to read. 

Rescooped by Nick Fung from Oscar's Language Journal!

33 Of The Most Hilariously Terrible First Sentences In Literature History

33 Of The Most Hilariously Terrible First Sentences In Literature History | Language Journal |
"Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories."

Via Teri Eves, Oscar Ma
Teri Eves's curator insight, October 8, 2013 6:37 AM

Please, please do not complete any of your written tasks like this!

Simran Makhija's curator insight, November 18, 2013 2:14 AM

Learning outcome 3: Language is shaped by culture and context

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English Literature students in lurch - Deccan Chronicle

English Literature students in lurch - Deccan Chronicle | Language Journal |
English Literature students in lurch Deccan Chronicle The undergraduate students claimed that their applications to take part in the B.Ed courses counselling in the Tamil Nadu Teachers University had been rejected as their course certification read...
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Rescooped by Nick Fung from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

5 Teaching Strategies To Keep Students From Turning Off Their Brains

5 Teaching Strategies To Keep Students From Turning Off Their Brains | Language Journal |
5 Teaching Strategies To Keep Students From Turning Off Their Brains

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, October 19, 2013 5:42 PM



It is important to remember that excellent teaching is both a science AND art. Though this list almost appears to be either a simple list of the obvious or a list of opinions that are not universally agreed upon, it points to the value of remembering the art of "getting it done EFFECTIVELY."


If we can admit that the current mode of outcome-based assessment assumes that the Science-side of teaching is at the center of data-driven decision making, we can see the benefits of attempting to use precision analysis techniques to inform our practice. 


The question I'd still pose is that as the data-collection's margin of error is reduced and the analysis techniques become increasingly precise, what questions and responses are in order as a response to the less desired outcome results we use to inform our practice?


Do we redouble our "teach to the test" strategies? More review? More of what wasn't working for those students whose data-sets were disappointing? Or might we benefit from questioning the effectiveness of "the way we taught" the material? 


Unlike the production line in manufacturing where the quality outcome of the paint job on a new car, for example, is a result of controlling the variables associated with getting the paint job outcome to be excellent and that those variables are precisely consistent as the unpainted cars travel through the process of becoming paint jobs, we can not sufficiently control the infinite variables in the educational production line and thereby ensure that a single data-driven learning experience that works for many will work for all.  


We've recognized for years that there are some obvious areas where the variables can be disaggregated. Special needs students, ESL students, rich and poor students, culturally diverse students, male and female students,  students of any of these "disaggreated" groups whose parents have very different expectations and methods of dealing with their children who meet or fail to meet those expectations And, yet in a sense these are rather crude determinations that we all recognize as being inadequate and therefore unreliably precise.  


The truth is that the variables in every single student are too many to identify much less to control. And many, if not most of those unidentified variables are not collected in our current data-collection structures. This is not to say that our current data-collection structures are in such a static state that their existing levels of reliability are worthless. They are in truth more and more valuable as they evolve. What is perhaps also worthy of contemplation is the existing levels of reliability in the design of our learning experiences particularly if we've been recycling favorite lessons that we've relied upon without revisiting the possibility that those lesson designs have passed their peak given new understandings of effective teaching and learning. 


So where does the art come in?  As we all refine our understanding of the science-side of teaching and learning, we must then revisit the creative ways that we respond to the increasingly precise data we collect. Do old responses serve the new results?


This article's short list response to how to engage previously unengaged students ends with an exquisitely science-based video that gives many creative examples of effective changes we might all consider in revisiting what might be obsoleting practice. And, it is the creative revisions that we might bring to our practice that make the difference between our solidifying our current levels of success with those students whose "invisible" variables are a large part of the reasons why their current performance rates have much room for improvement and our effectively broadening the effectiveness of acheivement among our students.


 ~ ~

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



Rescooped by Nick Fung from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading!

Tour Builder - Put your story on the map.

Tour Builder - Put your story on the map. | Language Journal |
Tell your stories with photos, videos and rich text on Google Earth.

Via GoogleLitTrips Reading List
GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 15, 2013 8:21 PM

What a great week I've had at the Geo for Good Summit at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. Hanging out with people using Google Geo Tools in their incredible work with nonprofits. 


I've had incredible conversations with people doing fantastic work for Jane Goodall, the Anne Frank Museum, the Galapagos Islands, and several doing fabulous work with First Nation and Indigenous Peoples around the world among others. And, taking in a ton of information directly from Googlers who work on the development teams for all of the various Google resources with particular attention to some of their many new resources in the area of mapping technologies.



As an educator, I was particularly excited by Tour Builder, a resource that literally went live the day before the summit began on Tuesday of this week.


I had several opportunities to engage in conversation with Sean Askay one of the two engineers behind this absolutely incredible new digital storytelling resources.


It would be well worth the few minutes it would take take to explore the example tours already on the site. I'm convinced that there's not a grade level or content area where this tool would not be an engaging way for students to "show what they know" about any curricular area where place plays a role directly or indirectly. Stories about locations were events took place as well as stories where place can be used to exemplify such things as demonstrating how to calculate the area of a space such as the Pentagon or the various geometric shapes on a school's outdoor basketball courts.


It's incredibly easy to create beautiful online stories. I'm convinced that even very young students can learn to create great stories to share with the world in minutes. 


I'm especially excited about the possibility of having students create their own place-based autobiographical incident stories and being able to promote those stories on the Google Lit Trips site.  


I'm hoping to find a group of educator volunteers to explore the possibilities of integrating this very cool tool with their students with the possibility of having their stories featured on the Google Lit Trips site.


If you might be interest, touch base with me at: 



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



Rescooped by Nick Fung from Language Journal!

Hong Kong's English language skills branded 'pathetic' as Chinese has 'negative influence'

Hong Kong's English language skills branded 'pathetic' as Chinese has 'negative influence' | Language Journal |
The English-language skills of Hong Kong's adult population have slumped to the level of South Korea, Indonesia and Japan, according to new rankings of 60 countries and territories....

Via Jane Wright
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28 August 2013: Oxford Dictionaries Online quarterly update: new words added to today | OxfordWords blog

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Unfathomable street signs in Hong Kong

Unfathomable street signs in Hong Kong | Language Journal |
The real stories behind those street signs that make us do a double take
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