Investigating Text with Writers


radical eyes for equity

In a previous post, I stressed the importance of listening to published and successful writers to guide the formal teaching of reading (texts) and writing.

While Neil Gaiman, for example, provides English teachers a wealth of writing about books, bookstores, libraries, and writing, many writers talk and write about their lives as readers and writers, and as English teachers, we should be seeking to build a toolbox of writers on texts and writing for our classrooms and students.

Poet Matt Olzman offers such an opportunity.

In an interview, Olzman discusses aspects of his writer’s life of a poet that speak to key aspects of formal writing instruction. Inviting students to compare what Olzman explains to their own undertanding of key concepts about text and writing helps avoid overly simplistic and school-only versions of reading and writing.

On daily writing, inspiration, the writing process, and revision:

It’s very rarely…

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The Supreme Court’s McDonnell Opinion: A Post-Mortem


GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog

I’m a bit late to the party, but I thought I should perhaps say something about last month’s unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision to vacate the conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, on the grounds that the trial judge had not properly instructed the jury on the meaning and scope of the term “official act” in the relevant anti-bribery statutes. (As readers of this blog are likely aware, I thought that McDonnell’s conviction ought to be affirmed. This is not the first time the U.S. Supreme Court’s views differ from my own, nor will it be the last.) There has already been a spate of helpful commentary on the decision—including a succinct summary of the opinion’s likely impact from the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, and an insightful commentary from Daniel Richman and Jennifer Rodgers on the NYU Compliance & Enforcement Blog (a new blog…

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Plagiarism and the political speech


Media Nation

I am not making any excuses for Melania Trump, and yes, I’m sure she was lying when she said she wrote her speech pretty much by herself.

But let me reflect briefly on what an odd construct a political speech really is. You hire a speechwriter and read his or her words. If you’re a neophyte, like Trump, you probably just read what’s put in front of you. And if your speechwriter plagiarized, you’re a plagiarist. But if your speechwriter didn’t plagiarize, you’re not a plagiarist, even though you are passing off his words as your own—the very definition of plagiarism.

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Start up: ransomware evaluated, Brexit and the death penalty, True Tone iPhones?, Swatch swoons, and more


The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say


Maybe our future wars will be about fooling these things. Photo by wim hoppenbrouwers on Flickr.

A selection of 12 links for you. So there. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Why these online criminals actually care about your convenience • F-Secure

“Melissa”:

»Crypto-ransomware criminals’ business model is, of course, encrypting your files and then making you pay to have them decrypted so you can access them again. To help victims understand what has happened and then navigate the unfamliar process of paying in Bitcoin, some families offer a “customer journey” that could rival that of a legitimate small business. Websites that support several languages. Helpful FAQs. Convenient customer support forms so the victim can ask questions. And responsive customer service agents that quickly get back with replies.

We think this is a pretty interesting paradox. Criminal nastiness, but on the other hand willingness to help “for your…

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Choice and Walling Off Poverty


radical eyes for equity

School choice has remained a compelling part of education reform discourse and policy into the twenty-first century—but not simply among conservative politicians and stakeholders.

For example, despite growing evidence that charter schools are essentially no better or worse than traditional public schools, political and public support for charter schools remains robust primarily because they are touted as parental choice.

And especially in the good ol’ U.S. of A., what could be wrong with all parents having the same choices that wealthy parents have?

Except, that bromide is compelling only within the context of idealizing choice—ignoring that parents make all sorts of horrible choices daily, negatively impacting their children, ignoring that parents tend to choose schools for socio-political reasons that have little to do with academic quality, and thus, that choice isn’t a positive market force for education reform but for one of the greatest ills to ever impact society…

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Song of Solomon 5


Arlin Sorensen's Thoughts on Scripture

Song of Solomon 5 has the beloved knocking at the door to gain entry into the place his maiden is.  It is late and he wakens her.  “My beloved is knocking. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.”  He asks her to open the door as he finds himself locked out.  He uses several phrases to describe her:

  • my sister
  • My love
  • My dove
  • My perfect one

He turns up the charm as he goes through the list.  ‘Sister’ is a word used in that day to describe a bride and reflected the permanence of the relationship as once a sister, always a sister.  So it really is a marital reference here, talking abou their longevity and future as a couple.  Calling her ‘my…

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ARM: the weightless corporation that outweighs Intel


The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say

The news that Japan’s Softbank is spending £24bn to buy ARM – the UK company which designs (but does not actually make) the chips that power pretty much every smartphone and tablet in existence, plus almost every internet-of-things product in existence – has got people very confused.

The price is a 41% premium over its closing price on Friday – though the share price leapt on the news by 45%, creating a puzzle for those who hold the shares. A few points first:

• it isn’t specifically caused by the fall of the pound after the Brexit referendum. True, Softbank is buying in yen, and that has appreciated against the pound – from about 160 yen/pound just ahead of the referendum to 140 yen/pound on the day of the bid. That’s a 15% change, so Softbank got some benefit on the side. Possibly the market thinks it could…

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Readers, Writers, Teachers, and Students: “the pointlessness of so much of it”


radical eyes for equity

I wonder who I would have been, without those shelves, without those people and those places, without books.

I would have been lonely, I think, and empty, needing something for which I did not have words.

“Four Bookshops,” The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction, Neil Gaiman

After 18 years as a public high school English teacher and then 14 years and counting as a university professor (many years of which teaching first-year writing along with teacher education), I was sitting a couple weeks ago in our second workshop designed to help university professors teach writing, and I had an epiphany about teaching writing that I believe has helped me understand better why the teaching of writing remains so contentious.

Both the formal teaching of reading and writing—notably at the secondary and undergraduate levels—is conducted by one of two essential groundings: teaching literacy as a reader and/or writer…

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