Use Children’s Picture Books

Yes, Mike Mulligan dabs. We discovered this fact during our unit on the Industrial Revolution.  Half of the students were given Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House while the other half read her Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  Each was asked to tell us if Burton thought industrialization and development were a good thing or a bad... Continue Reading →

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222. The Magic of Technology: Aneta Brodski

Several years ago, I stumbled upon a YouTube thread where a deaf woman in her twenties was signing/discussing.... I don't know.  I don't sign.  There were no subtitles.  Whatever she was passionately putting out into the world was not for me. It was a bit of a revelation, because I think of everything being for... Continue Reading →

220. Good Bones: Maggie Smith

What makes something go viral? It's a good question to ask your students.  If you ask them about "Literature with a capital 'L'" they won't know what you're talking about.  Classics?  Old books?  Books librarians shove in your hand, that have gold seals on them and are not good but good for you?  Personally, I... Continue Reading →

219. Beam 10: Ronald Johnson

Is it cheating to steal part of a post from another teacher and just stick it into my post? The Poetry Foundation published a piece by Eric Selinger titled "Ten Poems I like to Teach".  Some of the poems are familiar, and others are not.  At the very least, it provoked a lively comments section.... Continue Reading →

Stop Using “Poet Voice”: Rich Smith

If you are into students reading poetry out loud (and you should be), take a moment to read this CityArts article "Stop Using 'Poet Voice'" by Rich Smith. On a similar vein of speaking poems, my wife thinks that Garrison Keillor ruins poems daily with his readings on his Writer's Almanac podcast.  It's a great source... Continue Reading →

217. A Word on Statistics: Wislawa Szyborska

I love data more than I do poetry. When I read poetry, I find it intellectually rigorous. I like to do analysis. Or break it down and see how it works. The idea of meter and rhyme and how it comes together--supports the underlying theme--is fascinating. Writing poetry is hard. Poets are builders. Elegant builders.... Continue Reading →

216. Briggsflatts: Basil Bunting

Why, no, that is not a made up name. Remember Dire Straits?  "Walk of Life"?  "Money for Nothing"?  Great band with a lot more going on than those two hits (but they are great songs).  Mark Knopfler, the founder and guitarist of the band, knew Basil Bunting.  The not-yet-frontman was working in a newspaper while... Continue Reading →

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