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Books You Should Read:



Chapter 20: Dying Languages

Speaking, writing, and signing are the three ways in which a language lives and breathes. They are the three mediums through which a language is passed on from one generation to the next. If a language is a healthy language, this is happening all the time. Parents pass their language on to their children, who pass it on to their children … and the language lives on.

Languages like English, Spanish, and Chinese are healthy languages. They exist in spoken, written, and signed forms, and they’re used by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. But most of the 6,000 or so of the world’s languages aren’t in such a healthy state. They’re used by very few people. The children aren’t learning them from their parents. And as a result the languages are in real danger of dying out.

When does a language die?

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Rated Awesome: Mrs. Love’s List of Movies You Should See


I was trying to think of some catchy phrase, like “30 Before You’re 20” but I just couldn’t do it. But, per our conversation this morning, and other occasions when I’ve referenced some pop culture icon, and you all haven’t had a clue, I decided to throw together a quick list of movies that you should watch for a number of reasons. The only criteria was that the movies be PG-13 or less, and they have to entertain, inform, or persuade you one way or another — or just ease your heart for awhile. And it’s always fun to watch a Tom Cruise movie before he went crazy. And anything with John Cusak is a good time. There are a lot of great movies out there that are rated R, but they just can’t be listed here.

If you want to know more why I put these ones on here, or challenge my choices, by all means, post a comment, and we’ll discuss it!

This list is far from complete, but it’s a good start. I think you should develop a ‘visual and cultural vocabulary,’ and understanding the different genres of films without special effects, or the R rating may help you just focus on the story, the epic, or just have fun. Please note: the documentaries are not because I agree or disagree with the message. Documentaries are facts with bias. You do need to know what all the hullabaloo is about when it comes the current issues of the day.

I have put a * by the movies that are made for a rainy day and some popcorn.

  1. Princess Mononoke:
  2. Spirited Away:
  3. Wizard of Oz:
  4. *Lord of the Rings trilogy:
  5. *Harry Potter: (but read the books first!)
  6. *Star Wars – the first three
  7. *Raiders of the Lost Ark series – the first three, not the 2008 version:
  8. *One very old Disney movie: Snow White, Cinderella, Fantasia, Bambi:
  9. *Princess Bride:
  10. Say Anything:
  11. The Breakfast Club:
  12. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
  13. Based on great writers: Shakespeare: Ten Things I Hate About You:
  14. Based on great writers: Jane Austen: Clueless:
  15. 400 Blows (Les quatre cents coup) – or one “foreign art” film
  16. Napolean Dynamite:
  17. Who Killed the Electric Car?:
  18. An Inconvenient Truth:
  19. To Kill A Mockingbird:
  20. *Something, anything by Alfred Hitchcock: Psycho, North by Northwest, or Rear Window:
  21. Big 1960s Production Movies: Cleopatra/Ben-Hur/Spartacus/The Ten Commandments:
  22. Some Like It Hot:
  23. *One old-fashioned horror movie, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, the original Mummy, The Blob, etc.
  24. *The Fifth Element:
  25. *Far and Away:
  26. Forest Gump:
  27. Beetlejuice:
  28. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape:
  29. Edward Scissorhands:
  30. Nightmare Before Christmas:
  31. Addendum: A Christmas Story
  32. Akeelah and the Bee
  33. The original Grinch Who Stole Christmas
  34. A Charlie Brown Christmas
  35. The original Clash of the Titans
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Summer romance.

barbecueMy sister wrote that “summer” and “sun” have a fickle romance, and have recently broken up. If those two had a Facebook page, their statuses would be changed to “It’s complicated.”

I love her personified images of sun and summer; here in the Northwest, those two just can’t seem to get along. It’s almost the official start of summer, the summer solstice, (aka longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere) on June 21, but ol’ Mr. Downpour has washed a lot of this away.

Living in the Northwest has its drawbacks for some people. And on a gloomy, rainy day, right before summer break, I realize it’s difficult to get excited about summer plans. BUT…if you can talk your parent(s) into planning something fun, sometimes that scrubs the mold out, so to speak:

And, my all-time favorite:

And, remember all those ways to be more creative we talked about this year? How about starting your own composition book journal – make it a memoir of this summer between your 8th grade and 9th grade years. I guarantee you, when you read it in a few years, you will be astounded.

List 100 things you can do this summer. On the list, includes things that:

1. Are free

2. Don’t consume anything but air/water

3. Require a real conversation

4. Use technology that’s over 20 years old

5. Doesn’t kill a bug, tree, or cephalopod.

Now, Summer, Sun: kiss and make up!

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Teacherisms: On task.

bulldog treatSomething I said has struck me as, well, uncomfortable. Between John Spencer’s Ditch that Word and The Line, I’ve been thinking about teacherisms I dislike — phrases and words that teachers use all the time, but that students may not really understand. Or, if they hear them, feel a chill in the air every time  they’re uttered, and not know why they feel cold and scared.

The phrase “on task” is one of those. I was reading the last post I wrote, and noticed it.  It’s what’s called “jargon.” Jargon is special vocabulary or language that is used in specific areas. Others outside that specific area don’t necessarily understand what the words mean, or how to respond to them.

On-task means you are doing your work. It doesn’t mean you like or don’t like the work, it just means you’re activily doing SOMETHING in class that your instructor or teacher has asked you to do.

Now – here’s the issue. It’s my job to help you find why and how to do whatever it is. I have promised you, and I will continue to honor this: whatever we do is going to help you. I can’t guarantee you’ll get a job, or pay your taxes, or stay out of jail, or become president, win a beauty contest, or find true love. But I can promise you that whatever we’re doing is to help you become a better communicator, help you think, and see the world through a myriad of lenses. We have an unspoken contract: I need to be as much “on task” as you — I will write, read, model, show, discuss, question, answer, alongside you.

As this year winds down, many of you were suspended. Your infractions and choices built up like plaque* on teeth, and finally you were drilled out of here. I’m wondering what I’m going to do differently next year, and, quite frankly, how much is in my control. I don’t want you to be lock-step in a line, but I do want a classroom environment where all voices and questions are respected and valued. None of you are missing school because of a direct choice you made in my classroom, but I still feel like I failed you. They were all choices and actions that took place out of the confines of my classroom: did you listen to nothing we talked about? I feel a little defeated–one incident of students influencing other students to cause harm is breaking my heart. Really – you were all so agitated and irritable that you promoted harm to one another.

Did you hear nothing? The world is dangerous and destructive enough. I was trying to shield you, prepare you, provide you with mental resources so you could promote strength and honor. The grown-ups certainly are messing it up.

Once in awhile there was a spark. Once in awhile, a story was told. A poem was written. Or you made eye contact. And I know we’re human.

Editor’ note: I reviewed this post and noticed a misused word, “plague” instead of what I meant, “plaque.” Kind of an important difference, although I’m sure those suffering from the Black Death had plaque, too.