Monthly Archives: June 2010

Picture 6

“Small People” Limited Time Offer

As an English or foreign language teacher I’d be all over the “small people” quote by BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg. It’s not going to be useful much longer so act now.

Questions:

  • Should this comment make people mad?
  • What did he mean?
  • What should he have said?

It’s a beautiful entry to arguing about word choice, synonyms and nuance. In this case, one word really mattered quite a bit.

It might be fun things like have students reword famous quotes/sayings using synonyms to make them offensive or otherwise rob them of power.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
becomes
“A chopped up house, will fall down.”

Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 lakes”
becomes
“Our state has a lot of standing water”

After you get them written, you could have them post them in some way and students could try to figure out what the original quote was.

Another bonus was I found that I could search MSNBC video by certain keywords- in this case, small people. It highlights those words in a transcript and shows the points in the time line where the words occur with colored dots for the video. A really nice way to quickly get where you want.

Picture 3

Survival Guides

Survival guides have some interesting potential for a variety of historical and literary analysis needs. This idea was jump started by the Brighid Survival Manual which was found via Super Punch.

Here’s a quick example for the Witch in The Wizard of Oz.

I’ll see if time allows me to make one for a Jamestown colonist. The problem is that these take a good bit of time and effort if they’re going to be good. That’s great in a project but it does make it harder on me.

Anyway, lots of English and history applications. It’d be fun to write survival guides for self-destructive historical or literary figures- maybe Edgar Allen Poe or Custard.