Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bad Feminist: Essays

Bad Feminist: EssaysBad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I quickly devoured Bad Feminist. Even though Roxanne Gay cites some academic heavyweights, the text is utterly readable. These essays are more personal and political than theoretical, and my favourite topics include:

• the question of privilege
• race
• gender: featuring Judith Butler & Helene Cixous
• humour
• pop culture: Loved her essay about the Hunger Games, “What We Hunger For”
• fairy tales
• misogyny –topics as diverse as Junot Diaz’s “This is How You Lose Her” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”

The book won me over at the beginning. When talking about advising and helping students, Gay reports that the students would “generally say, ‘Don’t tell anyone I came to see you.’ It wasn’t that they were embarrassed to get help, most of the time. They were embarrassed to be seen putting effort into their education, to be seen caring” (9-10). A couple of years ago, we had a documentary filmed at our school called, Colour Me.  It was about race and education. The students reported that doing well in school wasn’t considered the “black” thing to do. Wow. Together with Roxanne Gay’s observations, I am stunned.

Sometimes I was bothered about the "shape" of the essays. In some cases, I anticipated that I was being led somewhere and found myself left hanging at the end of the text. Maybe a re-read is necessary.

Some mature content and language.

View all my reviews

Video credit:
Barsoum, Sherien. "Colour Me Documentary Film Official Trailer."YouTube. YouTube, 13 May 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZzesdSPdeI>.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Why We Still Teach Language

"In the previous, exclusively oral culture, language controlled people and their behaviour; with writing, the reverse became true. Societies that could read and write achieved a degree of control over language that allowed them to gain a new kind of mastery over their destinies" (De Kerckhove, 194).

Quote from:
De Kerckhove, Derrick, The Skin of Culture: Investigating the New Electronic Reality. Toronto: 
     Somerville House Publishing, 1995. Print.

Image posted on Facebook by @asobec, July 5, 2014.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Your Teacher Loves Wikipedia, Part 2 - Creating an eBook

Earlier I had written a post called, "Your Teacher Loves Wikipedia" to highlight how Wikipedia is a great place to start (but not finish) your research.

Today I found this fantastic guide on how to create an eBook from Wikipedia articles. By using visuals, this guide demonstrates step-by-step how to generate an eBook. Students can gather, discuss and analyze the information they find on Wikipedia. EBook creation is a form of content curation. In this case, it is limited because students would be only using one source. But this compilation would form the exploratory step of their research. Also, if teachers need their classes to do some background reading on a topic, they can use this tool to gather factual material for their students.

I'd love to collaborate with other educators to think about how to leverage Wikipedia in student research. We should discuss with students what a wiki is, its benefits and its pitfalls. We need to recognize that Wikipedia is a valid starting point in research, a way of developing critical thinking skills and a launchpad for further inquiry.

Image credit:
Mikeedesign. Wikipedia - T-shirt. 2008. Photograph. Flickr. 29 Apr. 2008. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeeperez/2453225588/in/photostream/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeeperez/2453225588/sizes/o/in/photostream/.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Close Reading in the Digital Age

Is close reading becoming a lost art?

I hope not, but I find that our digital tools are often a distraction and used more for entertainment than illumination. Next week at my school the distraction is being taken away from us--at least temporarily. Our computer network will be shut down for a week for an OS upgrade. There's no better time to reacquaint ourselves with the important skill of close reading. Of course, we won't give up our digital tools once the upgrade is complete. Below are some suggestions on how to use technology to enhance reading.

A Beautiful Classroom Poster on Close Reading provides teachers with a free, downloadable poster suggesting ways to help students become better close readers:

Actually Achieving Close Reading with Digital Tools shows ways to leverage screen capture and annotation tools to assist with close reading.

10 Strategies to Reach the 21st Century Reader examines how media design influences the modern reader. Skip to the end of the article to see how using media can enhance reading skills.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Bike New Orleans

Who dat?

New Orleans: Between the Lines

Concierge: "You do not go into these neighbourhoods."
Reading material in cab

High school notice

Poster on the side of the Faerie Playhouse


New Orleans: Cause and Effect?

After our first dinner in New Orleans, our waiter asked: "Would you like your drink in a to-go cup?" 

Bourbon Street the night before the Sugar Bowl
Poster at Arrivals
You decide