Even More Literary Ten Bests

the ten bellsCan you name ten memorable vegetables from the literature you’ve read? How about ten pieces of literature that include a shipwreck or perhaps a volcano? You’ll find lists for these and much more below.

When I went searching for the literary lists of “Ten Best” from the UK newspaper The Guardian, I somehow missed dozens of interesting collections. These links will take you to ten of the best:

Always be sure to check for newest additions to the list on the Guardian site. You may find a new list that’s perfect for the texts you’ve been reading in class

Obviously there are more lists there than you’ll need for any one class, and some of the lists may be inappropriate for your students. There’s enough range though that you’re bound to find something useful whether you want to model a year-end activity with the literary lists of ten or try something else.


[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by Ewan-M]

@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-06-03

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Fun and Painless Summer Learning

Giraffe Photo by Jon OvingtonUnsure how to help families sneak in summer learning without the kids staging a revolt? Encourage families to tie educational projects to the things they’re already doing and the events they’re already talking about. Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, the pool, or the museum, there are resources out there that families can use to connect family activities to summer learning.

I explain how to make summer learning fun and painless in this week’s NCTE Inbox Blog.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by Jon Ovington]

@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-06-01

  • British Student Is Fined Over Controversial Dating Web Site – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/b3TRI1 #
  • Psyched about Sync: Free Audiobooks! | YALSA » http://bit.ly/bnrEiY #
  • Beyond Blowing Up Enemies: The Future of Games for Learning | Edutopia http://bit.ly/cI6Rlv #
  • Teaching with Google Wave – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/bxCzQH #
  • Writer’s Boot Camp: Set Yourself Up to Start Successfully – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/crigEo #
  • Would You Hire Your Own Kids? 7 Skills Schools Should Be Teaching Them – THE DAILY RIFF – http://bit.ly/aUBS9x #
  • Create Your Syllabus With a Spreadsheet & a Calendar App – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/cc0pT5 #
  • Teachers Nationwide Study Writing this Summer – National Writing Project http://bit.ly/cBdYbW #
  • What your email address says about your computer skills – The Oatmeal http://bit.ly/9EZ0T0 #
  • Ten of the best riots in literature | The Guardian http://bit.ly/cutjzB #
  • Letters Of War From Student Soldiers : NPR http://n.pr/9d2cV7 #
  • Wikipedia – Explained By Common Craft – Common Craft – http://bit.ly/aIBegc #
  • Using Twitter to deliver a collaborative keynote | Jane's Pick of the Day: http://bit.ly/9KYPtb #
  • The Anarchist Movement – Topics in Chronicling America (Newspaper & Current Periodical, Library of Congress) http://bit.ly/9VuoBQ #
  • If You Tweet It, They Will Come | YALSA » http://bit.ly/9Rmqb0 #
  • Encouraging Students' Digital Problem-Solving Skills – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/9lckVq #
  • Purdue Professor Embeds Hyperlinks in Printed Books – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/crJgKa #
  • Most Students Prefer Print Textbooks to Digital Versions, Survey Finds – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/bdZnKe #
  • “I’m a Writer”: Essays on the Writing Marathon and Why We Write – National Writing Project http://bit.ly/9ZUhwm #
  • Professor Sheridan Blau Answers Six Questions on Teaching English – National Writing Project http://bit.ly/anwZzM #
  • How Do You Organize and Annotate PDFs? (Reader Response Roundup) – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/bndp0q #
  • STEMtube: An Online Warehouse for Student Projects | Edutopia http://bit.ly/aOkb8m #
  • A Social Networking Space for Teachers of English Language Learners – National Writing Project http://bit.ly/d6Yg23 #
  • U. of Michigan Professor Designs Software for Student Engagement – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/b0w20D #
  • Why Use an HTML Editor? – ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education http://bit.ly/a4vKcK #

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-05-31

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@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-05-21

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Research in Composition: 9 More Must-See Summer Texts

writing at a computerYou know how you feel when you turn something in just by the deadline, and then a few hours later find something else you wish you could have included? That’s how I feel this week.

Just after I published this week’s Inbox blog on
10 Things You’ll Want To Read This Summer, Risa Gorelick-Ollom announced that the Research Network Forum (RNF) eLectures from CCCC 2010 are online. Once you click the eLectures link, scroll down toward the end of the page for access to all of these great audio texts:

  • “Research in Composition is practical…” by Beth Hewett
  • “Research in Composition is collaborative…” by Frank P. Gaughan
  • “Research in Composition is plastic, moveable, and fluid…” by Ethna D. Lay
  • “Research in Composition…and the larger universe of research.” by Norbert Elliott
  • “Research in Composition pushes the envelope…” by Risa Gorelick and Lisa DeTora
  • “Connecting Composition Research to Community Politics….and still getting tenure.” by Stephen J. Parks
  • “Research in Composition…and Writing Centers.” by Michael A. Pemberton
  • “Research in Composition is rigorous and rhetorical…” by Rebecca J. Rickly
  • “Research in Composition…and computers.” by Janice Walker

Why do you have to scroll down to get to these important recordings? The page Gorelick-Ollom shared is more than just the RNF eLectures. In fact, there are currently 34 eLectures, beginning with Lester Faigley on “Rethinking Writing” from 2007. You’ll find recordings on inquiry, ePortfolios, assessment, service learning, revision, webzines, pop culture, and much more.

If you have some spare time this summer, you definitely want to spend part of it with the RNF eLectures and these other resources presented courtesy of Pearson Composition Professional Development. Oh, and if that’s not incentive enough, Gorelick-Ollom promises us that that the plenary videos from RNF 2010 will be online later next month.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by dbdbrobot]

@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-05-20

  • CollabTech 2010: Keynote: Social Media, Participative Pedagogy, & Digital Literacies by Howard Rheingold http://bit.ly/aXo7mU via @ncarbone #
  • Designing an Image to Represent a Character | Tengrrl.com » http://bit.ly/9JJyzo (spinoffs on Seale's literary tattoo assignment) #

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Designing an Image to Represent a Character

Ten Street SignTara Seale posted details on a fun visual rhetoric and writing activity she recently used with students on the NCTE Secondary Section Blog. The activity, inspired by a similar task described by Shelbie Witte, asks students to design and explain a tattoo for a character from Romeo and Juliet. The blog entry includes links to the assignment sheet, the rubric, a sample essay, and a number of sample tattoo designs.

Connecting to Other Literary Tattoos

The assignment can be easily linked to one of the Literary Lists of “Ten Best” from the UK newspaper The Guardian, which I wrote about earlier this month.

Share Ten of the best tattoos in literature with students, or a few of the items listed in The Guardian article with students to get them warmed up. They may know of other literary tattoos to add to the list. This evening, I happened to remember Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo. Surely that’s a worthy patch of ink to add.

Other Assignment Possibilities

Naturally, the assignment could be completed for any work of literature. No reason you have to stick to Romeo and Juliet. Nor do you have to stick with characters from a work of literature. What about tattoos for some of the authors you’ve read in class?

If tattoo design isn’t appropriate for the students you teach, just modify the activity. Witte‘s original activity described the tattoos as a mind of modern family crest. Just have students design crests if tattoos would cause uncomfortable conversations with family or administrators.

If you still want the modern-day edge to the activity, have students design a personal logo or icon for a character. Ask students to think of the kind of image someone might post in place of a photo on a Facebook profile or a similar website.

In terms of publication, you can follow Seale‘s technique and have students submit images and an essay, but if you have the resources available, you can try a more technological bent:

  • Students might create Powerpoint presentations that layer the different portions of the image together and include text or audio explanations of the items. For instance, for the image in the photo above, the presentation might start with the basic outline of the heart, then shade red, add the flame, and finally add the dagger—each on a separate slide.
  • Using basic mouseover Javascript and pop-ups, students might make a webpage which features the image and explains the reason behind different aspects of the design when the viewer drags the mouse over them.
  • Use an image maps with alt text, but the length of students’ explanations would be quite limited. Javascript pop-ups would give them more room.
  • Publish the designs on Flickr and have students use the “Add Note” feature to identify specific portions of the image and then include related explanations.

No matter what option you choose, the assignment pairs visual aspects with critical thinking and communication. It’s a fun activity that can be used with students from kindergarten to college. Just adjust the requirements to fit students’ abilities and the pedagogical goals of the class.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by Mykl Roventine]

@newsfromtengrrl for 2010-05-19

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