Archive for Best of Lists

Week in Review: “Best of” Lists

           Friday Dialogue from                

                                      Your Two Favorite Educators 

As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to discuss the best and worst of everything.  Where else can you get this kind of insight?  

1.  What would you qualify as the most important “Best of” moment culturally or politically for 2011?

Emily: I think the legalization of gay marriage is probably the most profound culturally and politically.  Racial segregation and discrimination seem so foreign now, but the discrimination against homosexuals is fairly parallel.  So I would say gay marriage…and Will and Kate’s wedding.  She brought the fascinator back in style and she needs to be commended for that.

Aubrey: I was thinking along the same lines.  The end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was an enormous step for how we handle equality in our country.

2.  What is the value in having students examine lists about 2011?  Are lists of superlatives something that students can appreciate and examine with the big picture in mind?

Emily: I like the idea of students interpreting what lists reveal about the consumer or our country as a whole.  I think the superlatives are so accessible for students that they don’t always recognize they are learning, which is always a plus!

Aubrey: I like that you don’t have to “muscle” them into working with the lists.  They are interested from the moment you start handing them out.  I like too that these lists allow students to see their role in culture.  It’s interesting to see them recognize how they help to set the trends.

3.  What would you identify as your “best of” moment for 2011.  Please answer with out making an allusion to Arby’s or a sports figure.

Emily:  Too bad.  I wasn’t even thinking Arby’s until you put that in my head. I’ve had quite a few “best of” moments in 2011…it was much better than 2010. However, I’d say my best is probably moving into my current apartment. Everything seemed to align once I moved.  That and getting to spend roughly 2 hours a week with you, Aubrey.  Worst moment:  Jim Tressel’s firing.  I’m still upset about that and refuse to throw away my sweater vest.

Aubrey: Reading a book a week (sometimes more) this past summer.  It reminded me of my childhood goal: to read every book in Royal Oak, Michigan library.  A goal that was only intensified by the Pizza Hut Book It Program.  It also kept me sane as I started contemplated starting this very “lucrative” business with you, Emily. Read more

“Best of” Lists: TED Talks 2011

Yes, we know.  We posted about TED Talks before.   And yet, there’s no end to how many posts we could dedicate to their classroom usefulness.  From December 8th TED and The Huffington Post counted down the most important 18 TED Talks of 2011. It’s an interesting end of year “calendar” of sorts.  Its purpose: to create a “year-end journey of ideas” in order to better “shape the world in 2012.

If you had all the time in the world you could have students watch all 18 videos and talk about trends during 2011.  Instead, choose.  Below we’ve chosen our favorites and included some areas of focus for classroom examination.

Kathryn Schulz: On Regret

How many texts do we teach that deal with the idea of regret?  Let me name a few: The Scarlet Letter, All the King’s Men, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; those are just the novels I’ve taught so far this year.  Schulz’s speech is good because it is applicable to any text we teach that deals in regret, which is to say it is a supplement for anything we teach.  Think Shakespeare here or The Things They Carried.

Read more

“Best of” Lists: Photos

It’s no secret how much we love using images to teach students about arguments.  Over the last several months we posted about image analysis, advertisements, and our favorite image resources from the National Archives and Library of Congress. While images can’t replace text, they can engage even the most reluctant students.

We would be remiss in our discussion of annual Best of 2011 lists if we didn’t show you some of the best images of the past year.   Today’s resources will give you a starting point as you look towards implementing image resources in your class

The Big Picture

As a basic classroom resource for teaching students how to annotate images, this photo blog is invaluable.  However, as 2011 comes to a close, they have assembled three different image collections all under the title The Year in Pictures.  You will have to sift through the images in each collection to find useful resources but the time you invest is well worth it.

“Best of” Lists: Toys & Buzzwords

It seems like everywhere you turn during the month of December there is another list of superlatives.  Viral videos, political gaffes, worst tweets.  We live in a culture that sums up its annual experience in lists of fives and tens. Even AARP made its own end of year top ten lists: Albums for Grownups and Movies for Grownups.

Yesterday we tried to bait you by mentioning Time Magazine’s Top 10 Everything 2011.  If you haven’t seen it in all its glory take, a moment and peruse.  You’ll find 54 lists in total ranging from Albums to Animal Stories to Sports Moments.

It would be simply impossible to use all the lists because of content and time. The goal today is to offer up two complete lists that are appropriate for use within the English classroom. Read more

Annual “Best of” Lists: Overview

In my experience, no matter how long winter break, the month of January is difficult.  The first day back is crowd control and everything afterwards is silent teenage resignation.  And it’s not just them.  January is just a “taste” of the most difficult months that are yet to come.  It can be tough for anyone, teacher or student, to be enthused.

In order to beat the winter blahs, January blues, and lack of snow days, the posts this week will offer quick “mini” lessons to ring in 2012.  How?  By examining the “best” of 2011. What consumed us?  Who were we nationally and internationally?  What did we say, eat, tweet, produce, read, watch, experience and foul up?

Annual best of lists teach us more than what was hip (or not).  They are cultural snapshots, time capsules.  This week we give you our picks with the hopes that some of these lists will offer good classroom discussions and student based writing about those big picture arguments.  Trust me, you won’t have to do all the talking.

Need a bit of extra enticing?  Checkout Time Magazine’s Top 10 Everything 2011 in advance of tomorrow’s post.  There are 54 lists total.  Fair word of warning: you will lose track of time.