Monday, December 19, 2016

Gustave Dore

Paul Gustave Dore was an artist that grabs the attention of students when they see his work.  What really blows their minds is when they understand how he creates his art.  At first glance, you would think that he works in pencils.  Look below at this image from Don Quixote:

If you are as old as I am, you may have remembered him fighting the windmill with a huge toothbrush from some Saturday morning commercial

However, he was too hard core for that.  He made his art as prints.  Which means that he took a block of wood and carved out everything that is white.  Then he would dip the block in ink and press it onto the paper.  On top of all that, he never had any formal training.  He is completely self taught.  That might be one reason that the art critics of his day did not like him.

He did illustrations for many books, some you may teach, like...

Paradise Lost

Take that, Satan!

The Inferno

The students always points out that he doesn't have three faces, but it is still a cool image.  If you look closely enough, you can see him chewing on Judas.

The Bible

Idylls of the King

Rime of the Ancient Mariner

This is only a sample.  If you teach old stuff (which you probably do), there is a possibility that he did a plate for it.  You can see more of his work here:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Up on the House Top Sleipnir Hooves...

This post was originally posted in 2008 on a mythology blog I used to run called Bubo's Blog.  I felt it was time to show it again.  

Other titles for this blog could have been "Here Comes Odin Right Down Odin Lane!"

That's right.  It is that time of year again and time to get ready for Odin coming and giving presents and such.  Yes, I have probably lost it long ago, but no I'm not like Linus believing in the Great Pumpkin (well, maybe a little).  No, I'm referring to Odin's big Yule hunting party.

During Yule, Odin leads a large hunting party through the sky on his great eight-legged horse Sleipnir (a great story about Sleipnir's birth involves Loki, a randy horse, and the rest can wait for another time).  

Now Sleipnir can't fly (silly - only reindeer), but he can leap great distances (like the Hulk).  Children 

would leave their boots near the chimney.  They filled it with carrots, straw, and sugar so that Sleipnir would be able to eat.  Odin, touched by the children's kindness, would fill up the children's boots with sweets and gifts.

Happy Yule!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

English Teacher Holidays

Today is Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day!  I know all you Whovians out there are saying, "Who needs to pretend?"  In honor of this holiday, I present you with this six word novel by Alan Moore:

Machine.  Unexpectedly, I'd invented a time

Now, if you are interested in holidays that English teachers may enjoy (such as John Milton's birthday AND the Green Arrow's birthday - both tomorrow or Emily Dickenson's Birthday on Saturday (maybe celebrate with some of her famous gingerbread), then you may be interested in the calendar to the bottom right of this screen.  If you have a Google calendar, just hit the + sign and have it added to yours.  Each day I put the holiday of the day on the board.  Sometimes I even do something with it like read a poem on a poet's birthday.  Sometimes it gives students a laugh or they share something meaningful to them about it.  Of course, sometimes it goes unnoticed (we are talking about teenagers, after all).

There is always a reason to celebrate!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Feedback, Corrections, and a Question

Two years ago, I was working on a statewide project called the Governor's Teacher Network.  The idea is that we are picked because we have shown to be great teachers (they picked me anyway, so their methods must be a bit flawed) and they wanted these great teachers to create plans that could be put into a database for other teachers to pull from.

What would be the first thing you would do if you assembled teachers known for creating great lesson plans in order to create more lesson plans to be included on a state-wide database?

If you answered, "Let the teachers create plans for the database," you would be wrong.  The first thing you do is teach these teachers what they should be doing.  I sat through several workshops and webinars on how to be an effective teacher and some of the information is good, some of the information is common sense, and some is just educational jargon.  With that in mind, I want to point out the following quote which was thrown out a lot in our initial training:

Intensive correction, where the teacher marks every error in every paper a student writes, is completely useless. Marking all errors is no more advantageous in terms of student growth than marking none of them.

-Hillocks, 1986

Now, I just have a hard time believing that marks on a student paper is completely useless.  Personally, I remember marks that were put on my paper way back in my high school days.  Could it be that not making any marks is just as helpful as taking the time to show students what they did wrong?  Is the real statement more about making too many marks?  That's not how it was being taught in the webinar.  Surely more marks are still better than no marks.  Right?  How else is a student to grow if not being shown where they went wrong?

However, I am not so narrow minded as to not at least consider that I could be wrong.  I did date that girl in college that was really a poor decision on my part, so I could be wrong again.  I decided to find the source Hillocks, 1986.  It was a fruitless search.  There was no works cited page and when I searched for it on the Internet, I found several references to this same quote with the same APA citation, but no link to the original article.  I began to wonder if the article actually exists.

So, what do you think?  Take this poll:

Leave a comment if you have some elaboration upon it, agree with me, or know where the quote came from.