Benjamin Ajak and Judy Bernstein

I just attended an inspiring talk by Benjamin Ajak (one of the Sudanese “Lost Boys”) and Judy Bernstein, who collaborated with Alephonsion Deng and Benson Deng to write They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, which was SHU’s summer reading book.   “Education is the power of the world.” “When I tell my story, I wash my heart.” In response to a student who asked him what aspects of…

Online Writing and Culture

What my students and I are talking about in Writing for the Internet often intersects with current events and ongoing issues. Here are a few such issues and reflections. Palin’s Private E-Mail HackedBloggers have alleged that David Kernell, 20, is the one who has claimed responsibility for breaking into the Alaska governor’s e-mail account. (Background and snarking via- Metafilter) Zounds! New “Dit-Dah” Lingo of Telegraph Operators Threatens Standard English! ;-)I…


A former student sent me a link to a Republican spoof of FaceBook, BarackBook. It’s an interesting piece of new media campaigning, where the RNC has created an entire Facebook parody displaying the social network of Barack’s friends. I know you go to great lengths to remain unbiased in the classroom (which is awesome!) but I thought you would enjoy looking at this from a social networking standpoint. It’s really…

Test Links

My son created a game in Scratch, “Hector’s Catch and Avoid.” Here’s a short video showing what Scratch looks like from the inside: Hector.swf My Son the Science Teacher

Sparking the texts instead of reading them

A student in my “History and Future of the Book” class today referred to how some students in a different class got caught “sparking the texts instead of reading them.”  I knew she was referring to Spark Notes, but I’d never heard the name being used as a verb before.

''You Can Always Look It Up''… or Can You?

E.D. Hirsch (2000) The progressive theory that students should gain knowledge through a limited number of projects instead of by taking courses in separate subjects is based on the following reasoning. If you learn a bunch of facts in separate, academic courses you will passively acquire a lot of inert, fragmented knowledge. You will be the victim of something called “rote learning. “But if you engage in integrated, hands-on projects…

St. Valentine's Day Gifts

From the University of Toronto’s Representative Poetry Online: “Poems to be memorized and spoken to your sweetheart.” They came to tell your faults to me, They named them over one by one; I laughed aloud when they were done, I knew them all so well before, — Oh, they were blind, too blind to see Your faults had made me love you more.— Sarah Teasdale, “Faults“