Tag Archive for The Onion

Tiny Texts: Overview

Books Don’t Take You Anywhere” is one my favorite articles from The Onion for classroom use.  Under 400 words, it is tiny in comparison to the heft of All

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the King’s Men or The Grapes of Wrath.  It can be used to teach satire, SOAPSTone, and argument.  I also use it as a warm-up before using the AP Language and Composition’s 2005 rhetorical analysis taken from The Onion and have students use it to construct AP argument and rhetorical analysis prompts.

What isn’t there to love about a text that argues our reading never physically transports us to “evil witches, messianic lions or closet portals to other universes”?  Hah.  Even fifteen years later it holds up.  This is not the moment where I make the argument that this is a more important text or where I suggest that students will actually laugh out loud while reading it.  But it is where I argue that small texts are important classroom supplements.

As we enter mid January 2012, it seems appropriate that we deal with a series of small and unusual “texts” that make arguments about… well, texts.  Why?  Text, in all of its various forms, drives us to teach.  Sometimes, too, it’s nice to be reminded in the “bleak mid-winter” that small texts can be just as powerful and meaningful.  This week we will help remind you of just that with lessons highlighting Tiny Stories, book artists and phantoms, and Google Doodles.  Our hope is that somewhere during these “darker” days you finding something meaningful in something small.

Weekend Tech: Tweets are #funny

Twitter is funny.  Actually, The Onion’s tweets are funny.  And idislikestephen, and monkeysee, and David Pell, and…you get the point.  I troll Twitter looking for my humorous “tweet” fix on a semi-regular basis.  I’m not sure it’s as bad as my coffee problem, but it’s a habit.

The New York Times ran a story this past Sunday entitled Writer’s New Form: Tweet-Up Comedy.  It’s a great read about how writers for late night talk shows use Twitter as their testing ground for zingers.  It is entirely possible, after reading it, that I spent several hours on Twitter scouring these types of tweets while snorting in an incredibly unattractive way. Read more

Weekend Tech: Occupy Wall Street

Yesterday we offered Transcendentalism and image analysis in conjunction with with the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  Today we examine All the King’s Men and satire.  See our ideas below!

Teaching All the King’s Men & Huey Long with Occupy Wall Street

Willie Stark makes multiple speeches throughout All the King’s Men, but most of them deal with being a regular, small town, average joe.  Examining Huey Long, Willie Stark’s flesh and blood counterpart, is where Occupy Wall Street comparisons become more direct.

These two clips have shades of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  Both suggest a certain level of dissatisfaction with current government.  It would be easy to use Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog Primer about Occupy Wall Street, as well as his Q & A witth anthropologist David Graeber from 10/3/11, to give students a basis for linking Huey Long to today.  Even just using the Q&A on its own is a great way to incorporate media literacy into the classroom. See our other post on the NBA lockout and Q&As.

 

Teaching Satire with Occupy Wall Street

As I said on Saturday, The Onion has been on fire this week with humorous tweets about Occupy Wall Street.  All of them can easily be used to discuss satire, voice, diction, syntax and argument.  We like tweets and using them in the classroom as “hooks” or quick diction/syntax analysis.  See our post about tweets remembering Steve Jobs from several weeks ago.

 

The cover of The New Yorker is also a great resource for both teaching satire and image analysis.  See their recent cover on the “occupation.”

And while it isn’t satire, I would be remiss not to mention this list from what else but The New Yorker.  John Cassidy hosts the blog Rational Irrationality and his list of “Top-Ten Unlikely Occupy Wall Street Supporters” links to great arguments from big names about the movements.  It’s useful once again for point of view, voice and argument analysis.

If all of this isn’t enough for you, checkout The New York Times Learning Network’s extensive Occupy Wall Street post with classroom resources.  You can’t go wrong!

Weekend Tech: Occupy Wall Street

While I considered using Weekend Tech to discuss Zanesville, Ohio and exotic animals, I decided against it.  It was too bizarre, and even though I laughed when NPR used “Pumped Up Kicks” as background music to discuss this story, I knew it was because I’m a bad person.  The Occupy Wall Street movement seemed like a more versatile idea, especially since The Onion had some incredibly humorous tweets this week.  Everything from infographics, to image analysis, The Onion to literature tie-ins is in store this weekend.  What more could you want? Aside from some appropriate background music of course.

Occupy Wall Street Infographic

Last year The Learning Network at The New York Times created a “starter” kit for using infographics in the classroom.  It’s a valuable resource if you’re not familiar with infographics or how to implement them.  What do I like about infographics?  Well they are everywhere.  Newspapers, magazines, even The Onion creates infographics in jest for public consumption.

The website Visual.ly is a vast resource for infographics.  The infographic titled, “The State of American Discontent” is a perfect supplement when discussing this movement.  It fills the role of media literacy and still teaches argument, purpose, tone, etc.  Amending the SOAPSTone format slightly here is useful because the same categories still apply.  Use it even as an argument analysis. Analysis could include: types of data presented, organization of the information, even images used to convey the data.

Occupy Wall Street to teach Image Analysis and Transcendentalism

I’ve posted before that The New Yorker has fantastic blog resources.  What caught my eye this week was the blog Photobooth.  The series of images taken of protesters at Zucotti Park is remarkable. What makes the “slideshow” thought provoking is that each protestor in the series is photographed alone.  Their cardboard signs are the central focus of each shot.  Representing a range of ages and occupations it’s a great way to practice some of the image analysis techniques we’ve previously posted about.  It’s also a great physical representation of Transcendenalist ideals, especially Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.