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Issues of Interest

Be Vigilant

Just for Fun

The Alot is better than you...at everything!

How's your color acuity?  Take this test to find out!

Poetry as virus  -- welcome to the Xenotext!

Looking for books with LGBTQ characters?  You might start over at Melinda Lo's blog .

Now we know what DNA really looks like .

Have you read Neil Gaiman's CoralineHave it read to you by famous authors .

Eleven songs inspired by literature  (not including the recent Deadmau5 Bradbury-inspired "The Veldt").

Check out the LITERARY JUKEBOX for a daily quotation from literature, and a song to go with it!

Best fiction for Young Adults 2012 , according to the Young Adult Library Services Association.  Here's a Pinterest page  of the American Library Association's 2012 picks!

Rookie Magazine is a fresh alternative to typical magazine geared toward girls.  Check it out .

Lines from The Princess Bride that Double as Comments on Freshman Composition Papers .

If you like genres other than realistic fiction, you might check these books  out!  Are you a girl?  Are you a geek?  Check out the Top Ten Geek Girl websites!

The largest panoramic picture in the world.  If you want to go or have been to London, you should check it out!

The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick FormBeginning with the letters Aa- through En- inclusive ONLY.

How to make sure you are purchasing the freshest loaf of bread.

Writer's block?  Need an idea for a poem, play, short story, college essay?  Try this idea generator to shake the cobwebs loose!

Give To Get

If you are interested in donating books and DVDs to soldiers serving around the world, two charities that help you do it are Operation Paperback  and Books for Soldiers.

HOW WE LEARN

A voice from the test-prep industry talks about "playing the game" -- and how kids might be losing just by playing.

A fascinating take on procrastination , and how it might not too simple to just label it laziness.

The New york Times reminds us that reading fiction literally makes out brains light up .

Reading Shakespeare is also pretty dang good exercise for our brains, too.

Could social media be ruining our minds  without our even noticing?

Is everything we think we know about education just plain wrong?

Why do some people learn faster than others ?  This article has an idea. 

How to learn from your mistakes?  Make them.  The secret to success might be failure .  A serious look about how we learn, and how we become successful.

A study From The American Journal of Psychology finds that students study ineffectively on the computer.  Science Daily has the article .

From the Daily Mail online:  Using Facebook can lower students' grades by 20%.

Cheating is more about personality than academic struggle.  A new psychological study .

What's the point of reading so many books if I can't remember them?  You'd be surprised .

Stop studying and take a test!  Study shows that test taking helps to cement knowledge better than studying for hours.

Do your speech patterns reflect your capacity for abstract thought?  This article suggests that may be the case.

Quotes About Reading, Writing, Thinking, and Literature

"We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute -- the foundation of the human condition -- and should be better."

-Mario Vargas Llosa, address to the Swedish Academy, Dec. 7, 2010


“The lies in novels are not gratuitous — they fill in the insufficiencies of life. Thus, when life seems full and absolute, and men, out of an all-consuming faith, are resigned to their destinies, novels perform no service at all. Religious cultures produce poetry and theater, not novels. Fiction is an art of societies in which faith is undergoing some sort of crisis, in which it’s necessary to believe in something, in which the unitarian, trusting and absolute vision has been supplanted by a shattered one and an uncertainty about the world we inhabit and the afterworld.”                      – Mario Vargas Llosa


"Of all the inanimate objects, of all men's creations, books are the nearest to us for they contain our very thoughts, our ambitions, our indignations, our illusions, our fidelity to the truth, and our persistent leanings to error. But most of all they resemble us in their precious hold on life."             
 
— Joseph Conrad
 
 

Practical Matters

Difficulty reading so much screen text?  Try Beeline Reader, which uses color to help you read faster!

Need vocabulary training?  This site will quiz you on general words and academic vocabulary!

What is plagiarism?  Grammar Girl sets you straight.

Is it plagiarism?  This quiz will show what is and what isn't.

It won't replace the dictionary, but here's a basic thesaurus .

Still confusing their/they're/there?  Mixing up lay and lie?  Go here!

If you need help focusing, try these tips from The Monk Mind, a Zen habits blog.

Why you might not get that job .

The reuslts  of an NPR poll of the top 100 young adult books ever (so far).  See if your favorite is on it -- and get ideas for more good books!

Food For Thought

Is college worth it?

Increased parental support in college seems to lead to lower performance , not higher.

The man who writes student papers for a living tells you all about it .

Blogger Dancing Crocodile has some thought- and discussion-provoking opinions about the kind of future for which we are preparing our children

More news on the debate between nature and nurture:  our neighborhood might surprise you.

In 1933, renowned author F. Scott Fitzgerald ended a letter to his 11-year-old daughter, Scottie, with a list of things to worry about, not worry about, and simply think about.  It's worth a look.

Contrary to what some believe, neither I nor other teachers have it in for you.  This article explains it better  than I can, even though it's about economics instead of English.

A recent scientific study shows that your speech patterns (like, um, uh) can keep you from getting hired .

We're always looking for a way to raise successful children.  The NYT has some thoughts to share .

Contests and writing opportunities

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest  (for bad writing)!  The official deadline is April.

November is National Novel Writing month.  NaNoWriMo has a teen writer's site!