Friday, December 18, 2009

Science Division's Globe is World-Famous

Massive congratulations to our Science Division for landing on columnist Dave Barry's 2009 Holiday Gift Guide.

They also got featured in today's Detroit News. (Ahem, hello! Someone deserves a byline for that great photograph. It was difficult to get all of them to smile at the same time.)

Of course, the general demand for a Sperm Globe is fairly predicatable, so the influx of surprise orders caught with our pants down. Sadly, the globes are out of stock.

Without getting too detailed about the manufacturing process, we can say is that a new batch of globes will be ready to ship out in February.

Congrats to Nick, Gayann, and Sam--our Sceince Division. What will they think of next?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Name That Band Classroom Activity

With the snow beginning to fly, the complaints that the office is too cold, and the end of college semester papers due for some of us here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in frigid Auburn Hills, MI, we thought we'd offer up a fun yet slyly smart classroom activity.

The premise is simple. Your kids love music. Take advantage of that by inventing their very own musical act.

To do that, they must develop:

The band's name
The band's genre
The title of the album
Ten song titles that wouldn't bother Wal-Mart
The liner notes
The album art

On the surface, this sort of seems like a cutesy art project, but you can encourage consideration of the following:

How album art is a form of persuasion
Expectations associated with genre
Artistic freedom versus the chance for commercial success
The role of media in popular art

By way of some example, this link lists, according to the writers, the best band names out there. Some of them aren't exactly school-friendly, but you could leave them off.

One of our favorite bands around here (at least among the enlightened few) is the new musical collective Works Progress Administration.

In keeping with their name, their album art mimics WPA-era art. See for yourself:

If you run this activity, let us know how it goes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Our Blog

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Teacher's Brunch blog.

A year ago we started writing as a way of transitioning from having a website with a shopping cart to an entity more fully encompassed by our parent company, Teacher's Discovery.

Today, we are even more closely tied with TD, so much so that the Teacher's Brunch logo will be fading from new products. In effect, Teacher's Brunch was a petulant child gone away for college, only to discover that hometown life is where it's at.

As we've evolved, we moved from making only technology products to making anything--posters, books, odds and ends, and more technology products.

In the next year, we'll be debuting an expanded line of T.V. Game Show electronic games, online versions of classic texts, and [ + + redacted + + ]. So as you can imagine, we're pretty excited.

Our blog has developed into more than a product pimping extension of our catalog (though it still is that). We now see it as an outreach program. A way to try to stimulate discussion or debate, even if it's just in the minds of our readers. We hope you appreciate what we write.

Thanks for being with us. We hope you'll stay for another year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Buy an old typewriter for a big pile of money

Regular readers of our blog remember us mentioning Cormac McCarthy here (saw "The Road." Was underwhelmed, though it's a perfectly ok film.).

Well, we just saw, via one of our fave blogs Pop Candy, that the typewriter used to write the book is going on the auction block.

If you've got a cool fifteen or twenty grand laying about, you can own the typewriter McCarthy bought in a pawn shop.

Take a look here, and save your pennies up!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

But a kid is supposed to be a kid!

Everyone here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in still-mild! Auburn Hills, MI hopes you've recovered from gorging on turkey and stuffing. Christmas music is in the air (some radio stations started just after Halloween, but we refused to listen) and the tree is lit in the lunchroom.

To get you in the holiday spirit, we offer this link, , detailing an altercation at a local kid-centric pizzeria. Sometimes, you have to just shake your head.

It reminded someone around here of a past trip to a similar restaurant/arcade. A young male employee, about 6'1" and maybe 110 lbs, was making his way to the Sky Tubes with a wet dry vacuum. Seems one of the young patrons had, shall we say, lost his pizza. When asked how much he was getting paid to scale the Sky Tubes to suck up the offending puddle, the employee replied with defeat, "Minimum wage."

He was quickly reminded that's why he needs to study and get to college.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie Maniacs

We didn't go see the blockbuster, record-setting movie over the weekend because we prefer our vampires to be blood-thirsty monsters as opposed to emo-chic teenagers who can't quite open their eyes all the way.

But a few of us around Teacher's Brunch HQ in foggy-morning Auburn Hills, MI are pretty geeked for this coming weekend's opening of "The Road."

Any other literature-based films we should keep an eye out for?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Words!

The New Oxford Dictionary has announced its Word of the Year, hot on the heels of our post from yesterday.

Their Word is "unfriend."

An article about it can be found here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nominate a Word of the Year

The American Dialect Society is accepting nominations for the 2009 Word of the Year, and the 2000-2009 Word of the Decade.

As the site says:

The best "word of the year" candidates will be:

—new or newly popular in 2009
—widely or prominently used in 2009
—indicative or reflective of the popular discourse

Last year's Word of the Year was "bailout." The 2007 Word was "subprime."

In keeping with the economic theme, and since the website says phrases are allowed, we vote for "Jobless Recovery." We like how it's both hopeful, and dreadfully pessimistic. When you read it you can feel good, but not accuse politicians of sugar-coating the truth. It's a win-win!

If you'd like to have your students enter their choices, you can send an email from their website here.

Feel free to post your choices in the comments section. We'd love to hear what your kids think should win.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you, veterans

On behalf of the entire Teacher's Discovery family, happy Veteran's Day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Teacher's Discovery is highlighting our Mark Twain items this month in honor of his birthday.

Who doesn't love Mark Twain? Really.

Click the image above to check them out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A ghoulishly good time

One of the many perks to working around here (along with the fun of making great classroom tools) is the annual Halloween party. Last year, members of the Teacher's Brunch staff actually did all the planning. They were happy this year to let Lauren and Katie from the Foreign Language building throw the shindig, and this year's party planners did a fabulously awesome job.

Among the festivities were a pumpkin carving contest and a costume contest. As you might expect, we have some immensely creative and talented people around here.

See for yourself:

Caryn in FL made this wonderful piece. We're not exactly sure how many pumpkins are in this thing.

Get the joke?

Ginger in Foreign Language made her pumpkin look like one of our popular bobble head turtles.

Dave from Exploration Company made this pumpkin he called "Shish Ka Boo."

And here's the winning pumpkin, from Katie. That's real meat, people.

Karen came dressed to impress deep-fried fanatics everywhere.

Barb's wacky buffet retained the food fancy.

When he's not fixing web and computer problems, Vadim fights crime as one of the X-Men.

Devilish designer Michelle helps Nick search for coins and turtles to stomp.

And finally. here's the Tech Team decked out as the Channel 4 six o'clock news team from "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy." We won first place, which, since there were five of us, means we each get four bucks to spend at our local Target.

We didn't do it for the money. We did it for the glory.

Here's hoping your students aren't too wired on jujubees and goobers. And is it just me, or are Bit o' Honeys way too little honey and way too much bit?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from your friends at Teacher's Brunch, Teacher's Discovery, the Exploration Company, and that Italian food warehouse next door.

Check back Monday for pictures of the festivities, including the Tech Team's first place rendition of a certain television anchorman and news crew.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thanks for the laughs, Soupy

While it's true that Teacher's Discovery is a national (even international) company, regular readers of our blog know that we are proud of our Michigan and Metro-Detroit roots.

So those of us here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in cold and rainy Auburn Hills, MI join with everyone in mourning the passing of a TV icon we in Detroit like to consider one of our own, Soupy Sales.

No, Soupy didn't start in Detroit, and he wasn't even from Detroit, but he was here as he approached the cusp of his success. He always maintained a generous attachment to our fair state, and the people of Michigan reciprocated.

Maybe today in his honor, instead of eating a pie, we should all throw one. That would be good for the waistline, and the funny bone.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to Ryan

Today, we at Teacher's Brunch HQ in warm but soggy Auburn Hills, MI will raise a slice of pizza and celebrate Ryan's birthday.

Ryan is now head wholesale honcho, but in his time as a Project Manager he got his name on loads of products, including the best-selling teacher favorite Literary Terms and Devices Challenge game.

He also likes motorcycles. And he's getting old.

So we offer this image, combining both themes, as a Teacher's Brunch blog birthday card:

New "Shakespeare at the Movies" Poster

The Bard returns to your classroom walls in this Teacher's Discovery exclusive poster, "Shakespeare at the Movies."

You'll see that the poster features a lot of well-known Shakespearean adaptations, along with some films with surprising bard roots.

We're particularly pleased that the poster gives props to "Forbidden Planet." Your kids will love it, too!

(Blogger's note: the last image isn't on the poster, but it made you smile.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pathos, Ethos, Logos (and Robots)

Someone last night was standing in front of a group of college writing students, delivering the finer points of appeals to reasoning, when it dawned on him that one of the funniest bits ever done by the good folks at "Saturday Night Live" has all three--pathos, ethos, and logos.

In abundance.

So here it is, nice and easy, for writing teachers assigning argument essays across the globe. (Sorry for the lead-in advertisement, though.)

A great example of persuasive argumentation. (And just look at the Old Glory logo!)

Plus, it has robots. And there's something about the "Certainly I'm too old" lady that makes us want to pinch her jowls.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RSS Feed

We're trying a new techy thing on our blog.

We think we hooked up an RSS feed, to let folks stay on top of all the latest and greatest updates from Teacher's Brunch HQ in winter-already? Auburn Hills, MI.

Feedback is appreciated as always.

Our students and "dirty books"

While a lot of the blogging and posting at Entertainment Weekly's website focuses on the latest exploits of John and Kate or summarizing the goings-on in Melrose 90210, sometimes it does stumble on something worthwhile.

Tina Jordan's post, you can find it here, discusses teenagers and pre-teenagers reading books that may approach or even throw themselves over the comfort line, as far as some adults might see it.

Where do you stand on that? Another one of EW's obsessions, the Twilight books, seems to fit in the discussion, too. But so do loads of other books that have fallen into the canon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another great response for Electronic Poetry Starter

We got another really great review for our Electronic Poetry Starter.

We have four electronic starters in all, and you can find them here.

They're so cool, and your students will enjoy using them to write so much, you might even forget heart-breaking baseball playoff losses.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Still . . .

Well, our Tigers just lost.

We're still glad we're from where we're from.

Congrats, Twins.

Fall is for football!

U.S. History teachers, your students are thinking football right now, anyway.

Play into their interests, and make use of that technology you got this year (or whenever!), with one of our U.S. History football games.

With eight topics to choose from, they make a great review any time!

Check out what we've got here!

Author Series PowerPoint Presentations

Right about this time in your school year, you're probably trying to keep students' minds on your lessons instead of Homecoming, having happily fallen into the daily grind of school and wondering if a rookie pitcher can help avoid the worst baseball team implosion ever. (Well, maybe not that last part.)

Allow us to make your job a little easier, Mr. or Ms. Literature Teacher.

The presentations we made for some of the most-read authors are ready-to-go out of the box and show students that writers are people, too--sometimes tragically flawed, sometimes surprising normal.

Each disk includes two reproducible activities, so you'll know your students know what's what in the world of letters.

Have a look here for an easy way to troll through the presentations available, and to download some samples.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You wish you were from Michigan

Followers of this blog remember this post we made a while back.

We just wanted to let you know that our Tigers are cautiously optimistic, our Red Wings are so awesome they've gone international, and there are football teams with worse records than our Lions.

It's also Michigan/Michigan State week, though nobody here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in ready-for-some-pumpkins Auburn Hills, MI attended either school. (Central/Western weekend IS a big deal in our office, though, and we hear Oakland University has read the rules to football.)

All this excitement, plus a crisp Autumn breeze and the promise of warm apple cider sipped to the earthy fragrance of burning leaves.

You wish you were from Michigan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In the throes of Banned Books Week

We thought we'd remind everyone about the ALA's Banned Books Week (going on now at a library near you) by directing you to three articles we found thought-provoking.

From the left: here

From the right: right

And as close to the middle as we could find: centrist!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Take a hike!

We are enjoying a wonderful day here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in sun-splashed Auburn Hills, MI. The new volleyball net is on the grass, the hamburgers were fresh off the grill (Thanks, Nina!), and the Bee Gees are falsetto-ing their way through "Night Fever" on the boom box resting on the window ledge.

We found this post within the blogs of Edutopia that might inspire you to take advantage of whatever nice weather you might have left before the pumpkins are on the stoop. (Thanks for the link, Nancy!)

A great literature connection might be the wonderful Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

People who LOVE literature

While trolling the depths of the interwebs for something of interest, we found this site, dedicated to literary tattoos, that might appeal to all you Bohemian teachers out there.

This one was a favorite, because that Atticus Finch knew what was what.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Be Dangerous: Read a book for Banned Books Week

Just a reminder, intrepid readers, from your always-happy-to-stir-things-up friends at Teacher's Brunch HQ in rainy days Auburn Hills, MI: September 26 - October 3 marks the American Library Association's annual observance of Banned Books Week.

Feel free to post your thoughts on BBW--how you celebrate, if you celebrate, and what you think we can do to highlight those great literary works that appear on the fringes. Maybe you have a banned book horror story you'd like to share, so we can commiserate.

Teacher's Discovery, in addition to selling a lot of the books that pop up on these banned lists from time to time, has a few banned book-specific items you might find helpful as you fight the good fight.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pitch the Rock! Rocks and Minerals Baseball Takes the Field

Hello, everyone, from Teacher's Brunch HQ in suddenly-summer Auburn Hills, MI. We've all got sports fever around here now that our Teacher's Discovery Fantasy Football league is up and running (thanks, Adrian Peterson), and our hometown Detroit Tigers are in the pennant race.

Coincidentally, we've just released Rocks and Minerals Baseball, the latest installment in our series of games made for interactive whiteboards. Science teachers across the country will find the game in the catalog they should be receiving within the next day or two.

Give the game a try-out.

You can download a sample here for PC users, and Justin Long-ophiles can get their Mac fix here.

And to put you in the mood to root for your team. . . .

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

Today we pause to remember the men and women eight years ago who--faced with fire, smoke, and broken glass--helped strangers in darkened corridors go down the stairs, so they themselves could go up.

We also pause to remember the men and women eight years ago on a plane in Pennsylvania airspace who made the decision to not allow themselves to be used as a weapon, and those in the wreckage of the Pentagon completing a myriad of duties until hate fell from the sky.

And we salute the teachers who eight years ago struggled to explain to their students the images of falling towers and pierced buildings, and the teachers who today work to ensure our students are never faced by similar images again.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blood, Sweat, and Tears! Our new forensics game is sure to be a hit

Gribbly bits of bone and blood are sure to please budding forensic scientists in your class.

Students answer questions covering biology, evidence gathering, psychology, and physics as they make their way around the crime scene.

Not for the faint of heart, but perfectly fine for high school students who are ready to learn about the practical, real-world applications of science.

Find out more about it here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

"I Can Be Anything": "Reading Rainbow" calls it quits

Venerable children's show "Reading Rainbow" has ceased production after 26 years, making it the third-longest running children's show in PBS history.

Below is the "RR"'s iconic theme song.

Sing along.

You know you can.

You know you want to.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Math is hard, but not this hard!

Thought we'd throw in a little levity today because the weather report for Auburn Hills, MI--home of Teacher's Brunch HQ--is reading 69 degrees with rain. Sometimes, you have to laugh or you'll cry.

So, good luck to all the teachers (and especially the professors at Ohio State, who apparently have deeper struggles than we ever imagined).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reaching Into the Old Mail Bag

Yesterday we received the following email from English teacher Ben Smith regarding one of our most popular posters:

Hi there --

I recently ordered and received a poster featuring World Literature authors in a periodic table design.

I was very taken aback to find that of all the authors you could have included on this design, you chose to include Adolf Hitler among them.

I mean, that was a shocking discovery. I'm trying to imagine the conversation that could have led to his inclusion -- "sure, he was a genocidal maniac responsible for the murder of thousands, but he did write Mein Kampf..."

It's offensive not only on a human level, but even if there were an objective way to look at it, how could Hitler's body of written work merit this?

I've already decided how I'm dealing with it -- perhaps making it a teachable moment. I'm going to cut that square out, put a small reflective surface or mirror behind it, and tell them that that's a space where they can imagine themselves joining the rest of the world's authors.

It's not possible to preview every detail of the poster on your online site, but even still, I assumed I was safe from Hitler.

Is Ted Kaczynski on your poster of famous mathematicians?

This was our reply:

Of course, there is no way I can argue with you about Hitler's madness. Words can't fully explain his actions and the destruction he caused. He actually appears on another poster of ours, the Periodic Table of Dictators, Despots, and the Despised. I think you'll agree that he certainly belongs there.

Hilter's inclusion on our literature poster was not without deep discussion around here. It is true that he only wrote one piece of any real note. We decided early on in our creation of these types of posters that "one trick ponies" could be included. Otherwise, we'd lose worthy authors like Harper Lee and others whose body of work is limited.

We also decided to expand our thinking of "literature." That's why we include musicians and other writers whose work may not be considered "literary," but remains noteworthy (Stan Lee, a personal hero of mine, appears on our American prose poster, for example).

We accepted in listing authors that we'd include some whose work is banned/disapproved/ill-considered by a potential host of people. J.K. Rowling, who appears on the World Lit poster, has had her work removed from school libraries, and Oscar Wilde also appears on that poster, just to name two.

None of that explanation diminishes Hitler's atrocities, obviously, but that was part of the point of his inclusion. If the over-arching message of our posters is about the far-reaching power of the written word, unfortunately, if we are being academically honest with ourselves and our students, we felt that must also include acknowledgment of the potential for words to be used for pure, unspeakable evil.

I am sorry that his appearance disappointed you, but I assure you that his inclusion was not arbitrary, or merely for shock value. Thanks for being a customer of ours. I hope you'll remain a customer of ours.

That provoked the following reply:

Thanks for your quick response. As a seller of educational materials, I am certain that your decisions regarding content come from careful conversations with a number of people.
It's precisely this fact, however, that concerns me.

As a songwriter, I was first interested in the poster because of its inclusion of writers like Leonard Cohen and Elvis Costello. Like you, I appreciate this expanded idea of literature.
But with this expanded definition and a vast library of literary forms and authors to choose from, it is even more perplexing to me to include Adolf Hitler.

Perhaps you would consider me a bit too sensitive, but I bristle a bit at the comparison of Hitler as a "one trick pony" like a Harper Lee or "ill-considered" like a J.K. Rowling.

I'm not above appreciating the juxtaposition of two unlikely personalities. I think there could be great hilarity in a one act play with Oscar Wilde and Adolf Hitler.

And I suppose, there is some relief in knowing that Hitler is sandwiched between Joseph Hayford and Ahmad Kasravi on your poster. Still, I would argue that despite your assertion about your intentions not be shocking or arbitrary, Hitler and his funny mustache come off as both. (It might be an easy fix to switch it to Charlie Chaplin; he was a better writer anyway.)

I'm academically honest enough to realize that words have the potential to be used equally for good and evil, even the same words--take the Bible, for instance--but if the goal was to provide a wide ranging scope of world literature--for its potential for good and evil and in between, Hitler's inclusion is a bit of an outlier here and as a result, in my opinion, calls attention to itself in a...weird way--for lack of a better word.

Certainly Mao Tse Tung, who is probably responsible for the death of millions as well, was more of a poet and philosopher than Hitler ever was.

In any case, thanks for your response. Like I wrote before, this will become a teachable moment however it plays out.

And our reply to the reply. . . :

Your points are well-taken. In particular, I take some satisfaction over the inclusion of Leonard Cohen into the conversation because a) he has recently become a favorite of mine (I have no real excuse for having discovered him so late) and b) Hitler would really, really hate being on the same poster with Cohen. That makes me smile.

Hitler is a difficult figure for us at TD because we're always struggling to present the "complete" Hitler. If we avoid some aspects of his biography--for example his writing, his failed artistic endeavors--we risk not giving students a complete picture of an important historical figure. However, if we go too far to "humanize" him, we risk trivializing or trying to blandly explain away a monster. It's a line we try to walk, to obviously varying levels of success.

With your permission, I would like to excerpt some of our email conversation into a blog post. We get a hundred or so visitors a day, though very little interaction, and I am hoping it might spark some debate.

Or blog is here: , and as fate would have it, I recently wrote about the latest Quentin Tarantino film.

I appreciate your passion, even if we are on opposite sides of this argument. Your students must really benefit from the energy you put into your teaching.

And one final response before we put it here in all its bloggy goodness:

That would be okay -- I'd appreciate knowing how/what you are excerpting/editing before it's reprinted. (I'd be happier if you just posted our correspondence as it was -- to avoid being misrepresented.)

Not that you would do that intentionally, of course. But I try to pick my words carefully --

I don't think you need to struggle with Hitler any more than you would struggle with Leonard Cohen. There is no worry of not presenting the "complete" Hitler --
There are few men from the 20th century as well documented as Hitler. There was a good article in Slate earlier this year about folks' curious obsession with his sex life and his one testicle. I believe there is a disturbing romanticizing of his life. He's either demon monster or failed artist--lot of armchair psychologist stuff.

Personally, I'm tired of it. If history teachers want to duke it out, go for it. But, I see no compelling reason for his infiltration into literature.

We thought we'd open up the floor to everyone.

Both sides have a pretty strong argument, though obviously we're a little biased.

What is certain, however, is that there are some lucky students out there who have a passionate, informed, creative (a reflective piece in the cut-out box is a splendid idea) literature teacher.

Feel free to comment in the comments section, or drop a line to teachersbrunch at teachersdiscovery dot com.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh, No! We got our U.S. History products all wrong!

Well, not exactly.

Some of us from Teacher's Brunch HQ in Rainy-and-60-degrees-all-weekend Auburn Hills, MI saw the latest Quentin Tarantino film, "Inglorious Bastereds," over the weekend.

While professional movie critics have largely been split about the film's success or failure, we amateur film critics thought the movie was pretty good.

In particular, the performance from Christoph Waltz as suave, smart Standartenf├╝hrer Hans Landa was impressive, and he rightly won an award at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Though the film is decidedly not safe for school, we wondered at the time how many U.S. History students are going to see the film and write essays about the war's end that are just plain WAY wrong.

We also thought to another recent WWII film, "Valkyrie." That movie probably is OK for most high school classrooms, conforms to reality more than a bit more closely, and is available here.

Tom Cruise is even not too crazy in it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Young Adult Book Cover Activity

Hello to everyone from Teacher's Brunch HQ in We're-Going-Back-To-School-Too Auburn Hills, MI. (of the four people in our immediate office, three of us hit the college books again in a couple of weeks and the other just finished a fitness trainer certificate program.)

We found this great blog post about creating your own fake YA book cover taking advantage of some of the cliches of the genre.

Essentially, you use a random name generator to create your Author persona, a random word generator to create your title, and Flicker to find an image that you crop (badly, if you stick to the cliches).

In addition to a great use of technology, we think this activity could be extended in the classroom to have students write a 250-word synopsis of their "books."

A nice way to highlight what students did NOT read over the summer, but might have!

Our book cover is below.

It's the heart-warming story of a father coming to terms with his newborn son's birth defect, as well as his own feelings of abandonment from a childhood spent without his own long-haul trucker father.

A best-seller, for sure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Some fava beans and a nice chianti

With all of the conversation about the proposed health care bills, we here at Teacher's Brunch, HQ in still-freaked-out-by-swine-flu Auburn Hills, MI thought it might be beneficial to remember one of the very earliest social program suggestions, "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathon Swift.

Here is the full text.

Swift makes some valid points, though we worry that playgrounds might be mistaken for farmer's markets.

Friday, August 7, 2009

R.I.P., John Hughes

Word is out that director, screenwriter, and Michigan-native John Hughes passed away yesterday while on a visit to New York City.

For many teachers, we imagine his films helped to define and shape their own school experiences. Certainly, many of his films touched those of us here at Teacher's Brunch HQ.

Who didn't want to be Ferris Bueller? Smart, popular, nice, with devoted friends and family and a pretty-fancy-for-its-time computer? Ferris was an Id tempered with boyish innocence and good humor, bucking the system without breaking the system. You might not trust him with your car, but you would trust him with your life.

As kids we rooted for him. As teachers we admonish him, while silently rooting for him.

In a world full of regrets, Ferris said "The question isn't 'what are we going to do,' the question is 'what aren't we going to do?'"

A rather nice legacy to leave behind.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You Got Jokes?

Ryan found this site that should brighten your day:

With football season approaching, we thought this one is a particularly good one:

A football coach was asked his secret of evaluating raw recruits. "Well," he said, "I take 'em out in the woods and make 'em run. The ones that go around the trees, I make into running backs. The ones that run into the trees, I turn into linemen."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Play Ball! Two New Science Games

These two new gems just arrived to spice up Science classrooms everywhere.

The first baseball game covers micro-organisms and bacteria. Sure, it's a gribbly topic, but that's what makes it all the more fun!

Tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms, floods, earthquakes, tsunami, and a host of other insurance adjuster nightmares take center stage in our second new game, Natural Disasters Baseball.

Of course, both of these games are perfect for your new interactive whiteboard, but they work great on a regular wall, or a computer lab.

Let us know what you think of them by emailing us at teachersbrunch at teachersdiscovery dot com.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Your Friends at Teacher's Brunch--On the Cutting Edge of Educational Theory

In this month's issue of the English Journal, you'll find a piece called "Turn It On and Turn It Up: Incorporating Music Videos in the ELA Classroom" by Luke Rodesiler.

It's a fine article, one we here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in apparently prescient Auburn Hills, MI firmly endorse.

We endorse it so much, we even went back in time to create a blog post about the exact same thing. You'll find it here.

(We tried to post some of the videos Rodesiler mentions, but the videos are technologically blocked. They are, however, pretty widely available for viewing in your classroom.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another New Poster: Periodic Table of Loved and Admired

Our Periodic Table of Loved and Admired is the perfect to companion to our Teacher-Favorite Periodic Table of Dictators, Despots, and the Despised.

We hear pretty often from teachers who use our periodic tables to inspire discussion and writing assignments.

This new one will definitely be a nice addition to the line.

We bundled the two posters in a sort of "Best and Worst" packaged deal, that English teachers can find here, and social studies teachers can find here.

Take a look and let us know how you use them in your classroom.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

R.I.P. Les Lye

Those of us from a certain generation here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in soggy Auburn Hills, MI are mourning the passing of a defining actor from our youth (if we had cable tv, of course).

We might not have known his name, but Les Lye, who passed away Tuesday, portrayed nearly every adult male on the Nickelodeon sketch show "You Can't Do That On Television."

At its best, "YCDTOTV" was about a lot of different teenage anxieties--divorce, dating pressures, drug use, and school issues. Les Lye, in his role as the everyday antagonist against the teenage heroes, represented bosses, teachers, parents, and just about every other authority figure you might imagine.

As kids growing up watching Lye's work, we imagined going up against him, and that vented our youthful frustration we experienced in real life.

Something about Lye's characters, though, always made us feel safe in an odd way. Like as bad as our parents were that day, or our teachers, or our bosses, they were NEVER as bad as the guys on "YCDTOTV." And Lye infused each character he played with a back story that we didn't really understand at the time, but appreciate as we look back. Without getting too arty about a show that included loads of flatulence jokes and green slime, Lye exuded pathos.

That said, Lye's characters were just good fun (when we were kids). So, a nod of the cap to him and his work. Let's hope he doesn't have to eat at Barth's in the sky.