Tuesday, April 29, 2008

mental_floss: 10 Questions from an 1895 eighth-grade final exam

mental_floss has posted questions from an 1895 eighth-grade final. I wonder how many of our current students would be able to correctly answer these?
Orthography (Time, one hour)
9. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication.

Only three of those words make sense to me...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mental_floss: Punctuation Quiz

ALA Store: READ posters

The American Library Association has celebrity READ posters for sale. Even better: they feature a diverse range of actors, musicians, and athletes. I plan on getting a few when I move into my new classroom next year.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Science News: Music Has Its Own Geometry

From Science News: three music professors have come up with a way to categorize and analyze music from a mathematical point of view.
Writing in the April 18 issue of Science, the trio has outlined a method called "geometrical music theory" that translates the language of musical theory into that of contemporary geometry. They take sequences of notes, like chords, rhythms and scales, and categorize them so they can be grouped into "families." They have found a way to assign mathematical structure to these families, so they can then be represented by points in complex geometrical spaces, much the way "x" and "y" coordinates, in the simpler system of high school algebra, correspond to points on a two-dimensional plane.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

News: Newborn Planet is Youngest Ever Found

National Geographic News has an interesting article about a newly formed planet:
The embryonic planet may only be a few hundred years old, providing a unique look at how planets are made, according to a team of astronomers led by Jane Greaves of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
"We were amazed when we found it," Greaves said, noting that the next youngest confirmed planet is ten million years old.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


3trillion.org allows users to go on a $3 trillion shopping spree. Although it could be viewed as liberal propaganda, students might have a better understanding of the cost of the war after playing on the site.

Mental_floss: 14 Sentences about 14 Shakespeare Comedies

14 Sentences about 14 Shakespeare Comedies features shortened summaries of Shakespeare's comedies, along with a few of the phrases he coined.
The Winter’s Tale – Set it Bohemia, this play features a character named Hermione (see also, Harry Potter), the oracle of Delphi, a magical resurrection, and Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Boing Boing: Dyslexia in alphabetical languages "evaporates" when learning Chinese for some people

via Boing Boing:
People suffering from dyslexia may find that their problems evaporate when they learn a new language, especially one that works with symbols very different from their native one. A study released yesterday reveals that brain abnormalities in English-speakers with dyslexia are quite different from those in people who speak Chinese. So it's very possible that a person who is dyslexic in Chinese wouldn't be in English, and vice versa.

Not necessarily education-related, but interesting nonetheless.

Monday, April 7, 2008

NotCot: Stefanie Posavec "On the Map"

NotCot has a post up about Stefanie Posavec, an artist who created maps representing patterns in literary works for a gallery exhibit entitled "On the Map."
The pieces featured in On the Map focused on Kerouac’s On the Road. The maps visually represent the rhythm and structure of Kerouac’s literary space, creating works that are not only gorgeous from the point of view of graphic design, but also exhibit scientific rigor and precision in their formulation: meticulous scouring the surface of the text, highlighting and noting sentence length, prosody and themes, Posavec’s approach to the text is not unlike that of a surveyor. And similarly, the act is near reverential in its approach and the results are stunning graphical displays of the nature of the subject. The literary organism, rhythm textures and sentence drawings are truly gorgeous pieces.

There are high-res pictures after the article. They're really impressive!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Poetry Archive: Historic Recordings

The Poetry Archive has a collection of historic poetry recordings, including Robert Browning, Roald Dahl, and others.

Thanks to Dana for the link!

PBS: Jazz

PBS has a website dedicated to JAZZ - the music and the Ken Burns film.
Welcome! The resources offered here are designed to help you use the PBS JAZZ video series and companion Web site in music, social studies, math, and language arts classes. JAZZ may be taped off-air and used for up to a year following broadcast, or you may choose to purchase it through Shop PBS for Teachers. The lesson plans may also be adapted for use as stand-alone resources.

Includes lesson ideas and related links.

Thanks to Dana for the link!

ARTSEDGE: Drop Me Off in Harlem

ARTSEDGE (a division of The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) has a website dedicated to the Harlem Renaissance.
Discover the themes and works that emerged when creative and intellectual voices intersected during the Harlem Renaissance.

Includes an interactive map of Harlem, biographies of prominent figures of the movement, themes and variations, and classroom connections.

Thanks to Dana for the link!

Website: Shakespearean Tragedy Lecture notes

This site has a great lesson on Shakespearean tragedy, including the tragic hero and the tragic pattern within the plays. A great resource for studying Shakespeare and drama in general.

Thanks to Dana for the link!

National Geographic: Salem Witch Hysteria

National Geographic has an interactive Salem witch trial. Excellent for studying (obviously) the Salem witch trials, McCarthyism, The Crucible, etc.

Thanks to Dana for the link!