Internet Detritus #4

Thesis Statements? Makes for an interesting project for any kind of book and maybe an introduction to the concept of a theme/thesis statement. via It’s Okay to be Smart Staying Pure via Boing Boing I’ve posted on the Google Translation idea before but this video adds a decent introductory element (although I’m not sure kids today are familiar with the Fresh Prince). Can you create a sentence that isn’t corrupted by the Google Translation torture test? Who can create the longest sentence that remains pure? The most complex? When do things break down? Why? It might be fun to take the quotes of different authors and see what stays true and what ends up muddled. Then you breakdown why. Endless fun. Added to the Podcasts New to me, via Boing Boing Subscribe here (iTunes link). Words we ought to have in English 8. Tartle (Scots)The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember. via The Week and a number of other people. I’d like to see what words kids would come up with that we need. It’d be a fun way to discuss when we need one word vs many. I’m also betting they’d come up with needed words that already exist in English. Plant Cell Compare to […]


Virginia Uniform Performance Standards Breakdown

If that’s not a sexy title, I don’t know what is. If you aren’t a teacher in VA it’s likely you should stop reading now. Others may have done this already, but I decided to breakdown the new VA Teacher Standards because I’m helping to look at integrating our multiple rubrics into this framework and hopefully consolidating the various lenses through which we define good instruction. You can see my current work below. I wanted to clarify the statements and really see what they said. I think it led to some semi-interesting discoveries. Standardization 5 of the 7 standards are stated so that the action has a result. You perform action X to get result Y. Professional Knowledge used the phrase “by providing” instead of “to provide.” Additionally, Student Academic Progress uses “results in” in lieu of “to achieve” or something similar. I’m not sure if that matters. They could be restated in the breakdowns but, at least for now, I feel the need to stick as close to the original wording as possible. Only 1 standard appears to vary from the format where all of the initial statements match the end goal(s). Professionalism is the one that feels like it breaks the pattern. The action “maintains a commitment to professional ethics” doesn’t seem to match well with “to enhance […]

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Internet Detritus #3

This certainly won’t be a daily thing but I figured I’d keep rolling while I had some momentum. Scumbag Congress This was a meme created by one of Henrico County’s high school students for an English assignment with the ever awesome Mrs. Berry. Writing Prompts Also left behind were a bucket of live crabs, a pantomime horse, a winning EuroMillions ticket, a £50,000 Rolex watch, and a set of four Power Rangers costumes. A pilot’s training manual, a spare car wheel, the keys to a Bugatti, and a stamp album worth £250,000 were also uncovered, as were a Persian Chinchilla kitten, a food processor, a set of false teeth, a collection of 200 masks depicting the Queen, and a diamond encrusted iPhone. All were items left in UK hotel rooms. I’d challenge students with some of the odder selections and ask them to describe the character and write the scenario that led up to leaving that particular item behind. Various games could be played by limiting words, switching character descriptions between students prior to writing the scenario etc. Via The Telegraph by way of Neatorama Money Laundering It turned out the detergent wasn’t ­being used as an ingredient in some new recipe for getting high, but instead to buy drugs themselves. Tide bottles have become ad hoc street currency, with […]


Internet Detritus

Travel Time/Time Travel One of those essential things history students (and teachers) need to keep coming back to. – via Flowing Data (which is good) via MNN (which I don’t like) who supposedly got the information from the 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States which you can find here (although I haven’t found these maps yet). Hedges I never understood quite what was going on with hedges despite the fact that they’ve come up repeatedly in history courses and in literature. I just assumed they were dense rows of bushes. Now I know differently. Such a simple and effective way to build a fence. Din Minimum N0 = the critical number of guests above which each speaker will try overcome the background noise by raising his voice K = the average number of guests in each conversational group a = the average sound absorption coefficient of the room V = the room’s volume h = a properly weighted mean free path of a ray of sound d0 = the conventional minimum distance between speakers Sm = the minimum signal-to-noise ratio for the listeners This equation is supposed to determine “How many guests can attend a cocktail party before it becomes too noisy for conversation?” It would be fun to mess around with equation based answers to […]

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Internet Detritus

Techno Terror McSweeny’s is full of English goodness. “When A Stranger Emails” makes for a nice “ruin-the-story-with-technology” project. So many stories/movies/poems could be ruined by technology. For instance, take W.C. Williams’ This Is Just To Say – I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold Replace it with – Created with Words Matter – Calling All Chubbies There is plenty more proof that word choice matters over at Retronaut. Shorpy’s If you’re a history teacher, you probably want to check out the beautiful images from Here’s the larger original. It would actually make for a pretty good writing prompt as well. And even more randomly 7 people who hated Pride and Prejudice – help your students realize they aren’t alone. Analyze the critiques. Write your own. Write critiques of other books by other authors. Colder than absolute zero “Oddly, another way to look at these negative temperatures is to consider them hotter than infinity, researchers added.” – That’s pretty close to either Monty Python or poetry. And in an attempt to deal with my lack of patience I plan to either tattoo TTT on my arm or at least put up a poster. Since it’s a Scandanavian grook […]


Pop Culture Omnibus

Once again, I harvest the fruits of the Internet sea and bring them to you free of charge and without the need for a publishing house. Ominous Summaries I love this although I wonder how funny/interesting this would be at any sort of scale. Via Criggo by way of Neatorama (Criggo is added to the probationary RSS feed- quick read posts and some potential for English.) Clear Blood, Vanadium, & Good Eating P. chilensis has two siphons that connect the animal to the surrounding ocean through its tunicin – one for exhaling and one for inhaling. It eats by inhaling the water and filtering out the edible microalgae using a moving layer of mucus in its enlarged pharynx, or branchial sac, before exhaling the water back out the other siphon. The pharynx is connected to the animal’s digestive tract, which basically acts like a mouth. Their blood is clear and, strangely, can accumulte extremely high qualities of a mysterious and rare element called vanadium. The concentration of vanadium in the blood of P. chilensis and other tunicates can be up to 10 million times that of the surrounding seawater. Just why and how these creatures are able to accumulate vanadium in such huge quantities remains unknown. -Quote and photo from Scientific American I have no idea no idea what I’d […]