Television…There are a large number of popular shows that arrive in the top ten each week. You can look up the ratings on the Internet or local paper and see that CSI, Two Girls, Two Guys, Vampire Diaries, Elementary, Scandal, Castle, and The Mentalist are leaders in their time slots. I like discovering little enjoyable shows that, hopefully, I can encourage everyone to see/enjoy. At the same time, maybe, I have helped create a larger audience for my favorites. Sure! Like little Tom’s WordPress site can make a difference in a nation of television watchers. As my students remind me, it could happen.
Hart of Dixie (CW) is one of those shows that deserve a larger audience. It is on Tuesday at eight. A young girl, Zoe Hart, goes from her medical studies in the big city to inherit the medical practice of her dad, who has passed away. Her father was a small town doctor who she did not know existed. Do I need to say culture shock?!! Bluebell, Alabama, if you exist, I am not making fun of you. We have a Bluebell, PA just outside of Philadelphia. Hart of Dixie has has kissing, ‘keep watching’ humor, and a cast of zany interlinking characters. In addition to the character interplay, every week Bluebell seems to have some type of crazy festival that brings the worst and best out in everybody. You can see the whole season one on your cable service provider or you can catch representative shows on the IMDb or on the CW Internet network. These sites won’t give you a progression of what is happening with each character’s story, though. It should be easy to catch up to the present year.
Movies… Everyone has been asking about my background for my movie suggestions. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York where movies were used as babysitting. My mother walked me to the movies every Saturday, while picking up friends along the way. The movies started at 12 o’clock. She then returned at 5 o’clock to pick us up and walk everyone home. In that movie watching time frame, you saw two full-length children’s movies, cartoons, and all kinds of serials that left you hanging and encouraged you to come back the next week to see their continuation. Sorry $12 a show moviegoers. All this only cost $.25. My graduate classes in downtown Philly start at 4:30. I get into town early to catch a movie. By doing this, I beat the rush hour traffic and get to see all types of classic and present day features. I go to movies to like them. I try to find something in every movie that is likable. I don’t go to the movies to be a critic. There are many movie critics in Philadelphia and nationwide, who I read. When these critics don’t like a movie, I know I’m going to love it. My tastes are quite different from theirs. There are, however, three things that will ruin the movie for me. They are slow-motion, flashbacks, and the characters talking to the audience, unless it’s Ferris Bueller. I just don’t see those techniques driving the movie or enhancing the enjoyment of movie watching. Sometimes flashbacks take you back and forth so many times, you don’t even know where you are in the movie.
Today’s movie commentary…See Emma Stone in Easy A with Stanley Tucci, Thomas Hayden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, and Lisa Kudrow. Emma Stone is a high school student that can’t help getting in the way of school happenings, both students and faculty. It is on your free Movie channels and regular channels, too. You can catch Emma Stone now in the new movie Gangster Squad. She is kissing Ryan Gosling a number of times. Please remember there’s a lot of blood and shooting in Gangster Squad. I think you’ll enjoy seeing her changeover from young high school girl to young Movie Star.
Internet…Please discover The Literacy Center (www.literacycenter.net). It is an audio site that presents basic concepts in reading, telling time, numbers, and word development. The concepts are presented in four languages. Three, four, and five year olds can use the site as a basic skills site. Upper graders can use it for its beginning speech help in French, German, and Spanish. The squares above each activity are five or more activities with the same concept. The same type of audio concepts are presented on the Starfall (www.starfall.com) site. Starfall introduces letter recognition activities to poetry works to multi-level stories for grades K-5. Everything is read to the site user. Just click on the page’s speaker.
Adage…Be one with nature and the Dallas Cowboys.
I hope my Philadelphia friends don’t see this one.
Games…Every day in the classroom, I integrate games with reading, writing, literature, problem solving, and critical thinking. Some of the games are designed for single play, others are designed to play with a partner. Then, of course, there are other games where half of the class plays against the other half of the class. At home, I only play two games. The first game is Word Tetris and it is played on my computer. The second game is Words With Friends played on my iPhone and iPad. Most computer users grew up with Tetris, the original version. The original version involves rotating falling shapes and placing them flat in a straight line.
Word Tetris lets you play/take falling letters and move them left or right to form vertical and horizontal words at the bottom of the screen. It is almost like placing letter dominoes on top of each other. When a word is formed the dominoes disappear and your word is recorded into a word bank. The bigger the word you create, the greater the point total. The challenge is to keep your wall small by continually making words. The letters not used for words keep piling up filling the screen until a play is impossible. To complicate play, after every ten words the letter fall with increased speed. This can really drive you crazy as you try to form new words. Words with Friends is a variation of Scrabble. You can play against people all over the world. You create a word using your tiles and that is followed by your partner’s play. There is no time limit. You don’t have to be on line at the same time as your partner. You can come back and play at any time. The game feature I, also, like is that there is a text message bar in the right hand upper corner of each game. You can leave messages and have discussions with anyone your are opposing. It is enjoyable and rewarding to meet new friends in Canada, Alaska, California, and Florida. These friends will let you know what weather is on the way or how their local sport team is progressing. You can play both versions for free, but ads pop up on the screen after every move. This doesn’t bother you because there is a quick click off button. The bottom allows you to immediately continue with the game. You can play with a number of people at the same time. Invite some of your friends and family to join up at the same time. It will really be an enjoyable experience, especially with family members who are a distance away.