Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Should We Make Next?

Regards and salutations from Final Four-obsessed Auburn Hills, MI, just a jaunt down the highway from Detroit, home of men's college basketball's championship this weekend.

We had a product development meeting today--one of the many steps of the process that eventually results in the creation of great stuff we hope helps you in the classroom.

After the meeting, we were sitting in the TB HQ office thinking about some of the ideas that were floated around, and we thought it might be great to turn the process over to you, dear readers.

So. What can we make for you, English teacher? Science teacher? Social Studies teacher? Spanish teacher? French teacher? German teacher?

What do you need? How can we help?

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

Keep doing all the wonderful things you're doing!

Periodic Table of Inventors

In this post I write about our then-new Periodic Table of Scientists.

Now we have the Periodic Table of Inventors.

It's every bit as fun and informative as its sister chart.

We also have a special two-fer set. You can buy both charts at once and save money!

As always, we welcome your suggestions and success stories.

We think these charts are perfect for research paper brainstorming, class projects, "Scientist (or Inventor) of the Day" activities, or discussion starters.

Plus, they look great.

How will you use yours?

Monday, March 30, 2009

French Cultural Trivia Games--Two Varieties to Satisfy Any Appetite!

Hello, French Teachers!

Complimenting our two varieties of games to help you teach vocabulary, we've just released two games to help you teach French culture.

The first game, French Cultural Trivia: Easy, covers the basics of life in France, along with some French history, geography, and basic French questions. We think it's perfect for a first- or second-year class.

If you're interested, you can download a PC users version using this link: here.

Teachers using Macs can download the sample French Cultural Trivia: Easy game here.

If you'd like to buy it, the French Cultural Trivia Game: Easy can be ordered from our parent site here.

Of course, we wouldn't want to stop with Easy, so we made a more challenging version of it, too.

French Cultural Trivia: Difficult
uses the same format as the easy version, so it's a great continuation for more advanced, returning students.

It includes different questions about France and its people, food, geography, and life.

A PC trial for the difficult version is here.

Mac-ers amongst us will find a sample here.

As with all of our Teacher's Brunch games, you'll find these really shine in classrooms with interactive whiteboards. Students can get out of their seats and race to "buzz-in" before the other team, then consult with their own team to make sure their choice from the four options is correct.

No interactive whiteboard? Try it with just a projector. Or, use the games in computer lab work.

However you use them, they're fun and informative. A great way to spend some of that technology stimulus money, made and developed completely in the U.S.A.!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring is the Season for Class Songs!

Graduation is fast approaching, and with it, so, too, comes the annual selection of Senior Class songs.

We here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in nostalgia-enamored Auburn Hills, MI would love to hear about which songs your students select this year. So drop us a line at teachersbrunch at teachersdiscovery dot com (gotta spell it out to thwart those spammers!) and we'll try to make a blog post highlighting student musical tastes across the country.

A very informal poll around here revealed some interesting selections.

Tom, who graduated from a Grand Rapids high school in 1969, didn't have a class song--or even a prom!--because of racial tension and the fear that something would go horribly wrong. Twenty years later, though, instead of a reunion, they finally had their prom.

Class of 2000 graduate Stephanie was forced to dance to this "classic:"

The best part of that song is how the lyrics lament getting older, and ponder how much everyone will have changed by the time they hit the ripe old age of 25.

Resident youngster Alicia, a member of the class of 2002, jammed out to "Another Perfect Day" by the band American Hi-Fi:

We kinda dig how the video maker has labeled the guitar solo, in case you didn't realize it was a guitar. Or a solo.

Jason is from the Class of 1993, and they bucked trends. After three straight years of Boyz II Men songs, somehow, the decidedly un-metal seniors picked this song, "Nothing Else Matters," by Metallica:

Gets kinda hard to dance to at the end.

Speaking of Boyz II Men, Nina (Class of '92) got to say goodbye with "Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday" by the afore-mentioned Boyz:

Our Tech-Support fellow, and Class of 1989 grad, Mike was a frosh when "The Breakfast Club" hit the silver screen. Appropriately, then, his class picked the song that's most associated with that movie, "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds.

What are your kids picking? What's the new "classic?"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More on the Plath Legacy

We posted about the death of Sylvia Plath's son the other day. Plath's work still resonates with lovers of poetry today, especially in today's teen-angst-driven school houses.

This article
further explores our continued interest in Plath and Plath's work.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Digital Games for French, Spanish, and German Class

We've developed two lines of electronic games to help you reinforce basic vocabulary in French, German, and Spanish classes.

Our Concentration games have students pick from two sets of cards, looking to match the image on one to the word on the other. A voice reads the word every time a word card is flipped.

One neat feature of the Concentration games is the Whole Class report feature. When you play a Whole Class game, you can post your score to the Teacher's Brunch Online Scoreboard. See how you stack up to other schools across the country!

The Flashcard Challenge games review a lot of the same vocabulary in a completely different format.

Some more screen shots can be found here.

And here.

Cycle of Tragedy Continues--Sylvia Plath's Son Takes His Own Life

This story gives much food for thought about he nature of artists and people who love them.

It raises the question: How much a writer's biography do you feed to students before teaching a writer's work?

Here's another piece about the family.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Teacher's Discovery Interactive Catalog Going to Librarians and Media Specialists

Our sister division, Teacher's Discovery Interactive, is sending a catalog to secondary schools' Media Center Specialists and Librarians.

If that's you, be on the lookout. If you'd like one, drop a line to 1-877-TECH-311.

In the catalog, you'll find a lot of what we mention here, along with other, tech-based teaching aides.

It's called the 2009 Digital Education Yearbook, and we're sure you'll find it a useful resource for hardware and software that your whole school can use.

Neil Gaiman on Stephen Colbert

Newberry Award-winner Neil Gaiman visited "The Colbert Report," and the interview is fun and insightful.

Gaiman first made his name in comic books, especially the fantasy series "Sandman." An issue of that series, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," (based, of course, on the Shakespeare play) is to date the only comic book to win a World Fantasy Award.

Below is the interview. A couple of four-letter words are bleeped out, so beware.

They also name-drop Art Spiegelman, writer/artist of "Maus," a book that often makes its way into schools.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pi Day!

Pi Day Countdown

Mmmmm, pie.

Wait, what? Pi?

Oh, that's cool, too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Illustrated Bard

Did they find the only portrait of William Shakespeare made in his lifetime?


Barbie Turns 50!

We here at teacher's Brunch HQ in water-logged Auburn Hills, MI are taking a moment to say "Happy Birthday" to Barbie.

In the last 50 years, Barbie has been a significant part of girls' lives, for better, and for worse.

An interesting project might be looking into Barbie's history, and seeing how she's changed in the last 50 years. Or maybe students could look into the positive and negative social effects she's had.

Of course, you could do that with any toy. . . .

Monday, March 9, 2009

Literature Mini-Posters

We're really proud of these!

With the help of our friends in the Teacher's Discovery-English Division, we found this great artist to make a series of 8 mini-posters. Each poster is filled to the brim with surprising facts about famous--and not so famous--authors, and the images to go along with those facts are just awesome.

We mention Poe, Twain, Salinger, Alcott, Dickinson, King, Whitman, Morrison, Plath, Hemingway. . .the list goes on forever!

People around here have called the pictures "old style," "modern," "cutting edge," "retro," and "wow." We didn't know "wow" was an adjective, but we think it means the pictures look pretty good.

We hope you'll agree!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Dr. Seuss!

This site
features a great retrospective of Dr. Seuss' work during World War II.

It's interesting to see the style we usually equate with characters like the Cat in the Hat being used in a different context.

This is not our first posting about political cartoons, so obviously we think they're cool, and valuable in the classroom.

The depictions of the Japanese, in particular, are more than a little off-putting today. Maybe that's something you and your students could consider.

How does war influence our perceptions of the enemy? How will today's enemy be depicted tomorrow?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

We in frigid Auburn Hills, MI wish Dr. Seuss happy birthday today!

Not too long ago, we made a Dr. Seuss poster as part of our series of author movie posters.

Studying the "biggies" of literature is all well and good, but we like to remember our love for reading started with a cat and a hat.