Blue Serials (2/21/16)

What's The Point Of It All?

Pinocchio This weekly wrap-up, I mean - the 'Blue Serials' compilations appearing here most weekends?

That's a fair question. I don't always know until I've been doing something for awhile.

Mostly this is a 'Best Of' for the prior week in edu-bloggery. From time to time, however, I simply can't resist highlighting other sporadic marvels of the wonder-webs. My love for YOU, esteemed #11FF, is such that I'm willing to bend both title and format in order to enrich your online edu-experience. 

You're so welcome. 

So while this is a crazy wild week in state edu-slation, let's set that aside for a few glorious moments and bask in a few things you simply SHOULD NOT MISS from the past week.

The Significance of a Diamond-Studded Bicycle, c1890 - Isabella Bradford of Two Nerdy History Girls analyzes a brooch. (Yes, the kind a lady would pin on her lapel.) You know I already have a thing for chicks on two wheels; add some primary source analysis (yes, a brooch is a primary source) and I'm in edu-blog heaven. Go read this - it's short and sexy and you'll feel smarter for having done so.

While you're there, check out this post on the first guy to suggest that germs - tiny things we can't see - were the underlying cause of diseases, and the mockery and backlash which followed. Yes, it's almost science, but the MARVELOUS use of LANGUAGE in the primary sources (textual this time) nearly gave me a special moment.

When you've recovered, be sure to follow @2nerdyhistgirls on the Twitters and enjoy the shenanigans. They are a trip and a half, I assure you. 

Benjamin Franklin's Madness-Inducing Machine - Ben Miller, on Out of This Century, introduces us to one of Franklin's lesser-known inventions - 'the glass harmonica' - and it's ability to DESTROY YOUR BRAIN! For those of us who grew up listening to warnings about backward masking in rock'n'roll, and the dangers of syncopated percussion on our inner workings, this is particularly amusing.

If you don't cotton much to that psycho-musical mumbo jumbo, you might wish to begin with this post instead about self-defense for Victorian gentlemen in the unfortunate event they find themselves "assaulted by ruffians!" Either way, you simply MUST follow @oothiscentury on the Twitters and either destroy your brain or defend your honor. Heck, maybe you can do both. 

The Strange Company Newspaper Clipping of the Day (February 17th, 2016) - The pseudonymous Undine, purveyor of Strange Company, has a fetish for odd or inexplicable stories sticking inconveniently through the veneer of history. I particularly enjoyed this one, about an ossified man turned to marble by efforts to cremate his body - or so the story goes. I can't help but think there's an unintended metaphor here as well, for those of you deep-thinky enough to denude such things. Your daily online journey will be richer and weirder if you follow @HorribleSanity on the Twitters. 

But Blue - Isn't This An "Education" Blog?

Yes, of course - the most educationalistic, in fact! 

Applying Essential Questions in Workshop by Cyndi Faircloth - from Three Teachers Talk - Don't be put off by the uber-serious title of this guest post by Faircloth; this is golden teacher talk. While the specifics are about literature and 'workshop model' instruction, this is first and foremost PLC-style sharing. 

"After almost twenty years of teaching, I’m starting to think I might be getting the hang of it. I’ve used essential questions over the past few years, but they weren’t producing the deep discussion and analysis that I’d hoped for..." So she tried this and then this other thing but then WHOAH the learning descended and there was much rejoicing.

I find this mindset towards collaboration SO much more engaging than the usual buy-my-book approach ("WHY ARE YOU DOING THINGS THE OLD STUPID WAY WHEN I HAVE ANECDOTES ABOUT HOW GREAT I AM?!" - available now wherever insecure educators gather!) This post makes me excited even about the stuff I'm trying that's NOT working, and where it COULD go.

And as long as we're on the site...

Choice Doesn't Necessarily Mean Personal Connection: A Reflection for a Do-Over - Amy Rasmussen, Three Teachers Talk - "So all afternoon and into the evening I’ve thought about thinking. I’ve thought about my students’ thinking. And I’ve determined the problem: Many of my students are not doing it."

Oh my glowing baby-in-a-manger. Can you be in love with two posts at once? (Did you just hear the pop song parodies sliding into readers' minds all over the blogosphere?)

Every educator - especially ELA folks, but really everyone - should totally marry this blog. Subscribe, of course, and follow THE THREE on the Twitters - @amyrass, @litreader, and @jackiecatcher. You can thank me after you change the world even gooder as a result.

When #OklaEd Blogger Anthony Purcell issued his 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Challenge a few weeks ago, I'm not sure he anticipated the response. I certainly didn't, but I loved the idea, so I compiled those of which I was aware two weeks ago right here on the weekend update. But good ones just kept coming in, so I kept adding them to the list. I'm pretty sure I've missed several along the way - please let me know if so! In the meantime...

Challenge Answered... - In this post on One Good ThingLisa Witcher tackles the #12345 Challenge and both reminds me how fortunate I am to know her and makes me wish I'd been half so poignant in my own response. Oh well, we can't all be that good. Follow @MzWitch11 on the Twitters yourself - but be careful, she's way insightful and it's hard to get away with much around her. #OklaEd 

Five - This response by Rebecka Peterson of EPSILON-DELTA is one of my favorites - especially in regards to #4. Peterson is one of those teachers that makes me love the entire profession, despite knowing in my mind that few are of quite her caliber. But some are - and the possibilities that creates... well, heck - maybe we can change the world, kinda? Follow @RebeckaMozdeh on the Twitters, and ask her about her new little person.  #OklaEd 

Alright, my children - Illegitimi Non Carborundum!

We'll be back to #OklaEd and #OKElections16 inanity and periodic glimmers of forward momentum soon, darlings. You've got this. You may not feel like it every day, but you've GOT THIS.  


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