Tag Archive for Monkey See

Blogs as Text: Sports & Pop Culture

iStockphoto.com

As a continuation of yesterday’s post, today we’ll focus on using pop culture, sports and current events blogs in the classroom.  It’s easy for me to sell any teacher on the idea of implementing blog reading that delves into current events; students need to be global citizens.  But pop culture and sports blogs can tricky.  Students need to gain more than the latest gossip and team scores.

While TMZ and Perez Hilton have their place, the blogs I’ve chosen to highlight today cover all of the same issues but with the type of style and “smarts” that makes them attractive to classroom teachers and still engaging to students.  As with anything you aren’t simply looking to entertain your students.  While offering these blogs can be part of a reading “choice” program, expectations should still remain high in terms of the social, political and cultural commentary students construct in response.

Ultimately, all of these blogs offer up “news” in varied formats but more important, they provide commentary.  Often the arguments they formulate are both relevant and engaging.  It is this type of writing that enriches student reading and knowledge.  The fact that it’s a blog simply makes it a tech forward and readily accessible choice.  Don’t forget to see our lessons for writing and annotation extensions.  They are ready to implement along with any blog driven reading assignments.  And remember, all of these are simply suggestions and starting points.  Always check The New York Times blogs for more choices.

The blogs overviewed are the best choice for offering content and commentary.  Also included but not overviewed are blogs that provide substantive information on the areas of focus and less commentary.

Current Events

Analysis & Opinion-Reuters

Anything dealing with current events demands that students read and choose based on their interests.  Reuters’ blog about current topics spans the globe and offers lenses through which to interpret the news they provide.   While posts can be challenging, they will engage students in online opinion pieces that debate global politics and the role of the U.S.

Don’t forget to examine The New York Times Room for Debate site.  While not a blog it is still an incredible useful supplement for students.

Information driven blogs include: The Two-Way, The Lede, Global Spin

 

Sports

Sporting Scene-The New Yorker

I can’t think of a better scenario.  The New Yorker, with all its style and grace, creates a sports blog.  Every post is so well crafted you will think you stumbled upon a non-fiction treasure and your students will never stop thanking you when you tell them that they can supplement their reading with a sport blog.

Information driven blogs include: The Early Lead, ESPN Sports Blogs

 

Pop Culture

Monkey See-NPR

This is by far, one of the best pop culture blogs to use with students.  Post include thoughtful commentary on TV, film, literature, and everything else popular culture.  These blog posts don’t just identify current trending topics.  Instead, they evaluate the usefulness of these trends.  Nothing is better for teaching students argument evaluation and the larger implications of pop culture.

 

Information driven blogs include: Celebritology 2.0, Media DecoderThe TV Column

Weekend Tech: Steve Jobs

Everybody was talking about it and by everybody I mean all of my students.  I expect them to discuss reality television, the NBA lockout, even homecoming requests on Facebook.   But I don’t expect detailed conversations about Steve Jobs.  Not from high schoolers. And certainly not in a meaningful way.  But the way they talked about Jobs got me thinking.  They were right.  The reaction in the last several days has been remarkable.

Teaching is about opportunity presenting itself and this a chance to for meaningful discussion, writing, analysis, anotation. Having students study/discuss these online “memorials” teaches a variety of skills: media literacy, memorializing in modern culture, the impact of social media, our “relationship” to public figures, the importance of technology, technology innovation and so on.   All of it’s critical thinking.  Who are we as a society in relationship to this loss?  This weekend I’ll post some of the best “remembrances” for classroom use.

Pitch Me Another: Apple’s Ads
The New Yorker’s Back Issues blog put together a retrospective of Apple advertising spanning the last several decades. It’s great especially the advertisement from 1984.  An easy way to do evaluate advertising, assess a change over time in audience expectations, even print advertising’s use of word choice.

Twitter’s Top Trending Topics: #iSad and #thankyousteve

The the word choice in the hashtags alone is meaningful.  iSad sounds so much like loneliness.  Like loss.  Like grief.  Even I can barely stand it and thankyousteve sounds almost like the closing of a letter or email or text.  Now perhaps I’ve been manipulated by all the media coverage too but it is fascinating.  The language is meaningful and economical.  Consider class discussion, writing prompt, or big picture analysis.

Here are some useful tweets:

David Pell 

Mark Zuckerberg

Joeykirk

NPR’s Monkey See