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.

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Cow has landed."

The title of this post is a not so subtle nod to the anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, but is also serving to announce the distribution of our Fall Social Studies catalogs.

Teachers who purchase items from Teacher's Discovery with their home addresses will be receiving our comprehensive Social Studies catalog featuring the cow on the cover.

Everyone else will have a catalog waiting for them at school.

If you'd like a catalog before that, give us at call at 1-800-543-4180. Tell them the blog sent ya!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Even More Great English Class Posters! Shakespeare Quote Posters This Time!

We have a bumper crop of English posters this week.

Inspired by a Shakespeare class at Wayne State University, we created these seemingly simple posters that feature quotes from every single Shakespeare play we can find. That includes acknowledgment of the so-called "lost" plays.

The posters are split into Tragedies, Comedies, and Histories, using the Oxford arrangement.

Of course, all of the most-famous quotes are included, along with fun bits and baubles from well-known and unknown Shakespeare plays.

The titles of the plays are color-coded to the colors of the quotes, so your students will know where each quote can be found.

Of course, we have a little fun, too, so we invented three Shakespeare plays, and included fake quoted from them. See if you and your students can find them!

You can get the Tragedies poster, the Histories poster, the Comedies poster, or get all three Shakespeare Quotes posters as a complete set.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Foreign Language is Twittering!

We were a little harsh on the Twitter device recently, but to promote the Spanish/French/German folks of Teacher's Discovery, we'll kindly ignore it.

So here goes. . . .

Hey, everyone, from Teacher's Brunch HQ in sitting-in-sun-but-watching-storm-clouds Auburn Hills, MI.

Just a little note for Spanish, French, and German teachers.

Our brothers and sisters in the Teacher's Discovery Foreign Language division recently started posting to Twitter.

They promised us that if we help them get 100 followers, we'd all get cookies.

We love cookies.

So give them a look see, if you care to. They're working on some really great projects for FL teachers, from high tech downloadable and streaming stuff, to great good old-fashioned craft kits. They'll also be tweeting about new projects in the other divisions, too, so Science, Social Studies, and English teachers don't need to feel left out.

You can find their Twitter feed here.

Some New Literary Term Posters

We're pretty excited about a new batch of posters we're carrying. As you can see from the sample, they're really evocative and get attention when displayed on a wall.

You can order the poster in the sample here.

To find the rest of them, search our English site for the following SKUs: P1901E, P1902E, P1903E, P1904E, P1905E, or P1915E for a complete set with a nice bit of savings.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Who Listens To These Guys?

All of us here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in cool-for-the-season Auburn Hills, MI are getting ready to go to an art exposition this morning, so before we take off, we thought we'd just post a nice, innocent, political post.

Specifically, we were wondering if all the reels and reels of audio and video generated by the talking head culture of politics might have some value in the classroom.

We've highlighted Ed Shultz and Rush Limbaugh (appropriately on the left and right of our post-opening image, respectively), but there are loads of similar folks on the airwaves.

Thinking of their use in the classroom, it might be neat to compare coverage of a major political event--studying time given, or language used perhaps. Maybe an analysis of the types of callers who make it through would be an interesting way to look at this type of media. How about "Time Talking" compared to "Time Advertising?"

So we'll open up the comments if you'd like to describe how you already use the megaphoners out there in your classroom. Or maybe we're off base, and all that hot air just makes your school's air conditioning work too hard?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Listening is Writing and Writing is Listening

An essay in the June 2009 issue of College Composition and Communication caught our attention here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in always-jamming-to-music Auburn Hills, MI.

The piece, "Aurality and Multimodal Composing" by OSU (we won't hold that against her) distinguished professor Cynthia L. Selfe, discusses reading and writing vs. listening and speaking (or singing or music-making, etc.).

A lot of what we do tries to include textual elements alongside aural elements, so we thought followers of this blog might be interested in the essay, too.

There's a copy of the article here: linky link.

The really neat part of the link is the example essays she's posted. Give them a listen.

With the prevalence of inexpensive sound recording and editing gear out there now, maybe this is something that will become more and more common in the average middle and high school classroom.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Two New Posters for English Classrooms

Stephanie, who is getting married this weekend, managed to stop thinking about dress alterations, family-style dinners, and chair covers long enough to put the finishing touches on these two posters for English teachers.

Not only is it impressive that she kept her wits about her given the upcoming nuptials, these were her first poster projects, and they are awesome!

The piece above is our 100 Misspelled Words poster. Put this on the wall and your students will always get those tough-to-master words correct.

The second poster is for Commonly Misused Words. Is it correct to use affect, or effect? Are your students' allusions all too often illusions?

Place both of these posters on the wall at the beginning of the year, and let them serve as gentle reminders right through to standardized tests.

And a big Teacher's Brunch "congratulations" to Stephanie and her fiance, special education teacher Brandon.

[insert "pitter-patter of little feet" joke here]

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Dark and Stormy Blog Post

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

San Jose State University announced the winners of its annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

To the uninitiated out there, Bulwer-Lytton is a generally well-respected writer, but he also dropped the bombshell opening sentence posted above that Snoopy stole for years.

So, SJSU hosts a contest each year to match--nay, surpass!--Bulwer-Lytton in writing so much while saying so little.

While the winner is certainly worthy, we here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in firework-hungover Auburn Hills, MI, prefer the runner-up because, well, it has a monkey.

We also got to thinking what a fun activity this would be for creative writing classes, or any classes, really. The trick is to make it a "good, real" sentence, while still qualifying for the contest.

We also also got to thinking about the basics of the contest, exhorting overwrought, cliche-ridden writing by writers who don't know when to quit while