Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One Less Fish in the Sea

Please join the rest of us here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in Paczki-gorged Auburn Hills, MI in wishing Alicia congratulations for getting engaged over the weekend.

The groom-to-be popped the question on the occasion of the couple's one-year anniversary, then revealed a pre-arranged party featuring family and friends.

Alicia started at Teacher's Discovery doing some-such-thing with videos for the Tech Team (the details are now lost to the abyss of memory), and has since moved into the Merchandise Manager position for Social Science. She's also developed piles of products, and appears (she would say) way too often in our catalogs.

No date has been set quite yet as they work out the logistics for assembling the largest group of Italians put together since the call for extras went out during shooting for "The Godfather."

Congratulations, Alicia! He's a lucky guy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh, Canada!

We've got Canada on the brain lately here at Teacher's Brunch HQ in overcast Auburn Hills, MI.

Some of us absolutely love the Olympics, and wish we were in Vancouver. (As a side note, how's a chubby fellow supposed to try to earn a medal when even the curlers are in perfect shape? I mean, curlers? Why, on earth, would they need cardio? I guess my only shot at gold is archery, after all.)

We're also thinking Canada because Teacher's Discovery just launched Teacher's Discovery: Canada, featuring an entire line of classroom supplies for the Canadian teacher with a French class.

That means Canadian-English spellings, and a real push to make products that are Canadian, not just American stuff with a different dollar.

So, welcome to the family, Canada.

And sorry about women's moguls. There's always hockey! (Unless Sidney Crosby is too hurt, of course.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spanish Textbook Gets Rave Review!

Greetings from Teachers Brunch HQ in winter wonderland Auburn Hills, MI, site of today's first-ever (that we know of, anyway) Ketchup Festival. Later today, all of us will be trudging down to the Foreign Language building and partaking of a potluck featuring items made with or made for that most delightful of condiments, ketchup.

Before we party with the high fructose corn syrup and tomato paste, though, we want to offer big congratulations to Lauren in the Spanish Department. The book she edited, Capitan Espanol's Exploratory Spanish, just got a great review in Language Magazine.

The review mentions how the book "will definitely keep kids' attention beyond perfunctory glances" and how "once opened, (the books) are practically histerico."

There's plenty more good stuff in the review which appears in the February 2010 issue.

Now, where's the Canadian Ketchup Cake that Pat promised us?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Awesome Parody Video

Now, we don't want to give too many free props to the competition, but this video from Sooma Publishing is so good, so entertaining, so spot-on, we just have to share it.

So here it is:

Ben Franklin rules.

Remembering a Principal

This blog entry will be a bit different, because though the TB Blog voice is usually representative of the gestalt of Teacher's Discovery, this entry is decidedly personal.

Today the Teacher's Brunch blog pauses to thank Mr. Carkenord, long-time L'Anse Creuse Public Schools principal, who passed away this week after struggling with cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

My principal at Tenniswood Elementary School, Mr. Carkenord was maybe the friendliest guy on the planet, often not too much taller than the students he looked after. He was the kind of guy who remembered students' names long after the students moved on.

When I saw him at school events as I progressed through middle school, then high school, he always said hello, and remembered my younger sister's name, too.

He was invited to my high school graduation party, and when he appeared, I felt honored. I remember my parents calling him "Joe," and I said "That's not Joe. That's my principal."

Mr. Carkenord was at the beginning of a career in education that has led me from tutoring, to teaching, to creating tools and typing this blog for teachers across the world.

Two years ago, when my kids attended preschool at Joseph M. Carkenord Elementary School, I got to tell them about the kind, dedicated man whose name is on the side of the building, and he touched another generation of learners.

We should all be so lucky to leave such a legacy.

Thanks, Mr. Carkenord.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome New and Returning Readers

Hello from Teacher's Brunch HQ in no-snow-yet-but-it's-on-the-way Auburn Hills, MI.

We can see from our reports from Google Analytics that our little blog here is experiencing a spike in readership recently.

We'd like to welcome all new and returning readers, and invite everyone to leave a note, say hello, give some feedback, compliment, or complain.

As always, we welcome suggestions, and we thank you for letting us be part of you and your students' lives.

Now, where's those snow shovels?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Subjectivities and Popular Music

Somebody around here is doing coursework in the Composition and Rhetoric PhD program at Wayne State University, working towards a dissertation project focusing on how subjectivities and identities are formed through the act of writing in the classroom.

On his way to the gym, because getting PhD's involves way too much late night Taco Bell, the radio played two songs.

What two songs?

"Fifteen" by Grammy award-winning artist Taylor Swift, and "According To You" by Michael Jackson guitarist mono-named Orianthi.

What is interesting about these two songs, juxtaposed as they were, is how both of them consider the formation of identity of young women in the face of external pressures. Consider the following lyrics:

According to you
I'm boring
I'm moody
and you cant take me any place
According to you
I suck at telling jokes cause I always give it away
I'm the girl with the worst attention span
you're the boy who puts up with that

("According to You." performed by Orianthi. written by Steve Diamond and Andrew Frampton)

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
When you're fifteen and your first kiss
Makes your head spin 'round
But in your life you'll do things greater than
Dating the boy on the football team
But I didn't know it at fifteen

("Fifteen." written and performed by Taylor Swift)

We think it's interesting that two songs with such similar sensibilities are on the charts at the same time, popular enough to play back-to-back on a Top 40 radio station.

There might be an application for your classroom. How do other people influence who we are? Does popular culture contain enough messages of self-empowerment? Are there any other songs with similar messages?

In case you're unfamiliar with the songs, we've embedded them below.

Somebody around here has homework to do!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Day the Music Died

Today marks the anniversary of the plane crash that killed musicians Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, commemorated by Don McLean's song "American Pie."

The lyrics of "American Pie" are a great example of an elegy, a poetic form your students might connect with.

Of course, another great example of songs written for a dead celebrity is Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" (both versions).

More recently, P. Diddy sampled The Police for his tribute to Notorious B.I.G.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Curse you, Phil!

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, predicting six more weeks of winter.

Maybe we'd get better luck with Punxsutawney Bill?

Seems they have records of the groundhog's shadow-seeking. It might be an interesting research project to compare temperatures in the years where Phil sees his shadow to the years when he doesn't.

Maybe the groundhog is the Willard Scott of the animal kingdom? (Though, we suppose, Willard Scott is technically the Willard Scott of the animal kingdom . . . .)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Science Gone Horribly Wrong!

We can certainly understand how the cold and the snow make you think weird things, but even we have limits.

The man mentioned in this article, left unnamed for his own good, apparently has no such limits.

We'll give you a second to read it.

In no particular order are our favorite snippets from the article:

The victim "had a reputation of doing crazy things at parties."

The victim had "been drinking prior to the accident."

The victim is a "62-year-old township man."

So what have we learned?

Someone's grandpa has some mad crazy Chemistry skills and not a whole lot of common sense. Oh, and he has a friend willing to "light a wick."

Happy Black History Month