Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just playing

I've heard a lot about Wordle lately... and I do think it is beautiful... and I do think that people could do a lot of analysis about writing with it. It makes for possibly interesting discussions about theme and many other things... before even reading the text.

So I did a wordle from Barack's speech in Berlin. Here it is:

It's easy and fun to make... I'm betting it has a ton of implications and possibilities in the English classroom... thinking it might be fun here and there in the German classroom... perhaps when they are reading articles in the upper levels... do one of these first to find which words they should be sure that they know and understand in order to really "get the gist" of the article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Political culture 101

Barack Obama was recently in Berlin, and many Germans are still reeling from the experience. Whether or not I think his stop as a rock star (instead of a politician) was necessary (or even a good campaign tactic) is not the point of this post...


I read this article reflecting on Obama's speech, and was surprised at how much I learned about German political culture... some of the nuances that one just kind of "gets", but doesn't really think about.,1518,568876,00.html

Is there a better/worse political culture in this scenario? Who knows.

What is clear, however, is what they said that, even for America, Obama is pretty much one-of-a-kind politician.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This flattening world...

A Must Read (listen)!

Thomas L. Friedman is offering his fantastic book, The World is Flat, for free download as a promotion for his new book, Hot, Flat and Crowded.

I've read the former... hope to read the latter.

If you've not read at least part of "Flat", take the opportunity now to at least download it so that, someday, you will listen!

Get it here!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Barack in Berlin!

The democratic presidential candidate at a place we were just over a month ago... the Siegessaeule (Victory column) in Berlin!

The Germans are crazy about Barack, experiencing full-on Obamamania.... and they showed up in full force to prove that point. There were over 200,000 people there to support him... and the speech was also shown live on German television. Over 75% of Germans would vote for Obama if they had the chance. McCain has won only 11-13% of their hearts and minds.

What do we think, a real love or just a strong pendulum swing away from Bush?

It's alive!!

Well, I'm pretty sure that it's because of my over-achieving bestest friend, but my brain has begun thinking school (in a pretty low-key mode) WAY earlier than normal. (My norm to "get into gear" is August 1st.)

So she started me with Jott, and then I clicked around and found smilebox, which seems to have some super home applications at this point... and might be very useful for elementary school teachers who send home a weekly update with photos and such. I'm sure I could find a putzy use for it in my classroom... but I'm sure it would be something that would fall by the wayside as things get busy.

So that's as low-key as it has gotten so far... I don't want to push it. The school year is long enough as it is. So, until then...