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From More Intelligent Life: A Typographic Illustration Mapping Out American Writers

by | Posted December 20th, 2012

Recently, Intelligent Life magazine published a typographic map of the United States created from “more than 200 novelists, poets and cartoonists” and their hometown state. The map was created by British bookseller “with a sideline in cartography,” Geoff Sawers. Many famous, well-known Americans made the map, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Schultz, and Maya Angelou. Some authors, Sawers explained in an interview in Intelligent Life, didn’t make it on the map.

“Sawer’s literary map is part of a vibrant artistic genre,” the article states, and with the ability nowadays to create any kind of digital mash up through any technological medium, there is something every book lover can appreciate from this visually appealing cartographic map. Sawers, a native of Great Britain, also created a typographic author map of The United Kingdom. Both these maps can be purchased in print through The Literary Gift Company.

From Smithsonian Magazine: A Letter Written to Winston Churchill Unveils the First Usage of ‘OMG’

by | Posted December 19th, 2012

Smithsonian Mag recently unveiled a letter (first published by Anorak, a UK news blog), written to Winston Churchill in 1917 from Lord Fischer, an admiral and naval innovator from WWI, using the “now-ubiquitous OMG!”

The line from the letter states, “I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis –O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) –Shower it on the Admiralty!!” We can only imagine what Lord Churchill would think of how we communicate with each other now…LOL.

Still Rocking at 40: Schoolhouse Rock through the Years

by | Posted December 19th, 2012

When I say the word “conjunction,” what do you think of? Do you think of a cartoon of a train worker walking along on top of boxcars with the words, “and,” “nor,” “but,” “for” written on them? Do you perhaps start humming a familiar tune with the lyrics, “Conjuction, junction, what’s your function?” Even forty years later, the songs of Schoolhouse Rock remain ingrained in adult and young adults’ minds.

Created by an executive after his son was struggling to memorize his multiplication tables, Schoolhouse Rock began only as an advertising venture on ABC. Soon, though, “it grew into the most popular interstitial programming (short vignettes shown between TV segments) in modern television.”

With short, three-minute animations (animated by Looney Tunes animator Chuck Jones) Schoolhouse Rock ranged in subjects from how the American Government works (“I’m Just a Bill”), to grammar lessons, (“Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here”), to mathematics and multiplication tables (“Three is a Magic Number”). Whatever the song, the tunes resonated in the minds of children and educators, lingering in our hearts even forty years later.

Source: Open Culture

From Buzz Feed: “Witty Pieces of Art Made Out of Self-Help Books”

by | Posted December 18th, 2012

Photographer Kent Rogowski recently created a series of art pieces from self-help books. As part of his series “Everything I Wish I Could Be,” the pieces range from books creating a multi-directional rainbow to showcasing the events from “From Birth to Death” to “One Day,” all created from titles, chapter titles, and pages from self-help books. Check out all the photos on Buzz Feed as well as more of Rogowski’s work on his homepage.

What is Remedial Writing?

by | Posted December 17th, 2012

“Remediation is not new, and unless we have an unprecedented transformation of our social order and educational institutions, it will be with us for some time to come. As long as we continue to hold onto the ideal of educational opportunity, we will need remediation to help correct an imperfect educational system” (Mike Rose Back to School 96).

What are we talking about when we say remedial writing classes? The writing programs, students, and content of these classes are the subject of much debate and good, thoughtful work.

You can trace a history of remediation from the words used to describe it over the last few decades: bonehead English, basic writing, preparatory writing, and writing intensive. You can see the types of learning and assumptions about students’ abilities that are implied in each of these names. Bonehead English brings to mind skills and drills, worksheets, grammar and red ink. Basic writing conjures correct simple sentences, moving on to the well-formed paragraph, perhaps advancing as far as the five-paragraph essay for entrance exams. Preparatory writing classes suggest that students are being prepared to write longer essays, perhaps through an emphasis on the writing process. In these classes, genres like the personal narrative open a sequence of assignments that perhaps moves students into defining, serializing, comparing, and, finally, analyzing—all as a practice run for the college writing class. And writing intensive classes? Think preparatory writing and add to it more contact hours and longer page-length requirements. (more…)

From MindShift: “How Teachers Make Cell Phones Work in the Classroom”

by | Posted December 13th, 2012

Gone are the days of teachers yelling at students to put their cell phones away, or threatening to confiscate them. Instead, many teachers are resorting to using cell phones to help aid learning in their classroom. Mind/Shift  brings us an article displaying ways that cell phones can work in the classroom. Whether it be through cell phones, iPads, or other modern technology, Ramsey Mussallam, the teacher showcased in this article, finds a way to use the technology in every aspect of his classroom. Students today are already glued to every piece of technology they have, so why not use it to help them learn? Put away your threats, teachers. Embracing the modern advances will help your students and you!

Where do you come up with your best ideas?

by | Posted December 12th, 2012

Ask 100 people where they do their best thinking, and you’ll receive as many answers. When we ask friends this question, sometimes we hear “the shower, the ride home, during yoga.” It’s true that routine and repeated acts, no matter where they happen, can be great for thinking. But, if most of us want to invent really great ideas, we don’t just shower more — we read and write more. And that means we seek out settings where we can focus attention and access important resources at the same time.

Panoramic shot of Bessey 317

This combination of focus and access might be what makes the Bessey 317 classroom on Michigan State’s campus so special. Though Stacey has been away from Michigan State for a while, she remembers Bessey 317 as a playroom full of things that support experimenting and seeing things differently: bright colors, plush toys, objects to touch, bend and stack. Those things live alongside more traditional composing technologies: crayons, a scanner and printer, and of course, computers. (more…)

From Neatorama: “Potential Employer Critiques Applicants Cover Letter”

by | Posted December 12th, 2012

We have all been there; the high pressured moment of writing a cover letter for that job you’re dying to have. Could you be making fatal mistakes in your cover letters? Neatorama brings us a wonderful example of these mistakes, when a potential employer critiques an applicant’s cover letter. While some of the remarks may be a little snarky and harsh, everybody that will ever have to write a cover letter (that means you!) should take a look at this article. Prevent yourself from making these same mistakes and missing out on that awesome job opportunity.