Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I might have mentioned before that I've started listening to podcasts pretty regularly.  So much so that I'm listening to them  more now than I am my audiobooks.  Surprising, I know.

One of the podcasts I've picked up is Freakanomics; yes, it is from the authors of the book (books?) of the same name.  It's kind of fun and interesting.  One discussion point they've covered is education.  I'm catching up on the backlog, so the most recent one I listened to was from October 2010 with a discussion of Race to the Top.  Yes, including interviews and soundbites from our own dear Arne Duncan.  That one was hard to get through.  I think I strained my eyeball-rolling-muscles.  There was another, however, that discussed an interesting experimental reform program currently being tested in NY.  I plan to talk about these further, at some point, I've just been a little too preoccupied lately to sit down, re-listen, and string together some coherent responses.  In good time.

The more I listen, though, the more I want to try and use podcasts in my class.  Freakanomics could offer some interestingly weekly discussion/writing prompts, GrammarGirl some quick Grammar FAQ coverage...or have students make their own podcasts.  Is this so 2007, though?  How behind the times AM I?

Or do I really want to know?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

English Major Geek-Out

Many years ago, someone gifted me with a CD titled English Majors, which is a collection of skits/songs/stories to tickle the fancy of the literate heart.

I put it in once, wasn't quite in the mood, and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since.  On a whim, I put it in today and discovered a true gem: a track titled "Red Rose Rose."  But it is not merely a recitation of Burns' delightful verses, it is actually a mash-up of (parts of)Song of Solomon; My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose (Burns); Daffodils (Herrick); The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (Marlowe); A Drinking Song (Yeats); Time (Herrick); and (I think) Ode (Wordsworth)

It's beautifully performed by Keillor and Guy's All Star Shoe Band (are they part of the Prairie Home Companion?  I don't know) to a traditional Danish tune (no, really, it's beautiful.  Think not of clogs).  I loved hearing these pieces fold into each other so sweetly and thoughtfully.  Keillor isn't a great vocalist, but the sweet instrumentation and melody make up for it.  It's quite lovely.  And what potential for conversation about the universality of themes and motifs!

One point we discussed in my Comp class last semester was about getting readers to think of writers in conversation with one another.  I think this could be a fun (and unusual) example of just that!  Though poets may not be in actual conversation with one another like writers of scientific discourse might be, poets write to have conversation with humanity.  There's bound to be similarities in ideas, be they physical, mental, or spiritual.  Couldn't this be a fun project?  Students could do something similar to Keillor's "Red, Red Rose" and "mash-up" poems they've studied (oh, maybe bring in some Glee mash-ups!) which they think have similar themes or ideology.  They could put it to music or not, but definitely get them to talk about what their mash-up says or if the blending of poems & verses might bring new meaning to the texts.... the more I think about this, the more I love it!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Are you on LinkedIn?  Do you think it's necessary for teachers?

My husband reports that potential employers actually do look at LinkedIn profiles, which is why he keeps his updated and at 100% completion.  He doesn't use it for much else.  I'm beginning to wonder if it's a profile I need, too.

My common sense (and past experiences) tell me that so many schools & districts use their own online programs, so what's the point of this additional network?  I think I registered as a member of about 4 different online job database resources when I was on the hunt.  And that's just for one area.  Additionally...I'm a teacher.  A public servant.  How much use is it really going to be for me, networking in this venue?

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm lazy

Have you heard of Tumblebooks?  Somehow I've stumbled across this name in a couple places, but I don't know exactly what it is, how it works, or if it makes pizzas.  I'm pretty sure not the latter, but hey, a girl can hope.

Since it's summer and I'm on semi-vacation, I'm too lazy to investigate it thoroughly.  So I turn to you.  Do you know what this resource is or how one would use it in a classroom?