Some Fortunate Discoveries And A Sad Realization

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Mar
  • 05
  • 2006

Unfortunately, I watched a bit of the Oscars tonight. Girlfriend, Oscars night, rabbit ears tuning in NBC a little too well, you do the math. Anyhow, I did happen to catch a commercial from MasterCard and there’s a way to use it in the classroom. I also flipped through this week’s Parade magazine, again due to the girlfriend, and found something cool there for school, too. So that makes two finds that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise and it’s all thanks to my girlfriend. So, thanks, girlfriend.

Writing A Killer Blog Entry: Priceless

MasterCard is running a contest to fill in the blanks of two commercial templates they’ve filmed. You know their ads; just imagine one without the noun phrases filled in, but the dollar amounts already there. I saw “Typewriter” tonight and, at first flash, I don’t know what would go into those blanks, but it should make for a cool writing prompt.

One Click Could Be Worth $100

Parade magazine apparently has a column called “Snapshot,” dedicated to publishing outstanding reader-submitted photographs. They also have an online version of the column on their Web site. Paper publication earns you $100 and online publication earns you $25. I tore out the page in the magazine and will give it to the photo teacher on Monday.

All On My Own

So those other two finds were caused by my girlfriend’s involvement in my day, but this one I found all on my own. Actually, it came to me from Bud who got it from Nancy and I found it while catching up on a few blogs this morning. A list of the 100 best opening sentences from novels, this relates directly to making interesting writing, a topic we’re attempting to cover in class right now. This puts all of these great and classic and well-known sentences in one convenient spot. And the print view, certainly plain and colorless, makes it really easy to scroll through them all without distractions.

A few years ago, I started to keep track of some cool opening lines from books. While I haven’t added to it in about a year or two, I pulled the old list off my wall just last week and read a few to my classes. The winners were from Requiem For A Dream (“Harry locked his mother in the closet”) and Possessing The Secret Of Joy (“I did not know for a long time that I was dead”). They both caught each class’s interest because they were unusual and students wanted to see more explanation, how that sentence was possible or why it happened. I plan to bring the site with the 100 best opening lines up on my computers on Monday for discussion.

MySpace Is Interesting? What About Loss Of Freedom?

In relation to yesterday’s post, I found an article about MySpace that might catch some student interest. I’ve got it to four pages in a Word document and was set to print it, until I remembered that I have 14 computers in the classroom and a account for such a thing. And the print view seems perfect for reading an article like that in class. It even comes complete with the ability to easily set the font size. Those Wired folks sure are thoughtful.

“Are They Taking Away Our Freedoms?” asks a question that needs an answer. I’m not sure if students will dig this, but it’s the type of reading I’d certainly like my seniors to undertake more often. I don’t like that it’s one sided and I’d like to have an accompanying piece that suggests a more conservative bias before putting it out there for students to read. Not as good a print view as the Wired article, Parade still does well to get rid of much of the advertisements, making it a bit easier to concentrate.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good day, full of discovery. Here’s one more discovery: it’s Sunday night, the weekend is over, and I haven’t graded a single paper. Monday and Tuesday are the last two days to grade three sets of essays, or about 80 papers. I stay at work late because I do not work when I’m home. So I’ll be at work late these next two days. Wish me luck.

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