Yoga Poses for College Students

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by: Shannon Hames

I came across some of these “Yoga Poses for College Students” on the College Humor website.  They really made me laugh because of the way they are constructed.  Telling a joke can be funny.  Seeing a cartoon can be funny.  But when the funny part of something is the way that it is constructed and edited, that is what will appeal to the editor. 

In the case of this cartoon, the humor is revealed in how it looks like a how-to yoga sketch.  It depicts a student doing some type of stretch.  The viewer is drawn in thinking it may really be a special yoga pose for a college student.  However, when the reader starts to read the instructions, which are also written like a manual of how to do real yoga poses, the humor is inserted.  In this cartoon, the student is “meditating” by saying “Mmmmm” and nodding during a lecture.  The act of lifting his arm (raising his hand) and repeating what others have already said in his own words is funny because it makes the students laziness seem like an actual useful exercise.  The way that this was put together was clever, intelligent and very funny!

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A Well Put Together Article

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By: Shannon Hames

After 4 years as a student, I have done my share of research and reading.  I have read things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever.  I have also read things that I re-read because it was too deep for me to grasp.  I read things that were simplistic and profound and I have read things that were wrought with emotion and fear.  I have read opinions from people who could not justify their stance and I have read commentary that made me feel like I wasted a part of my life reading it.  I have developed an appreciation for a piece that combines solid thinking, writing and editing.  When I see it, it sings to me.  It is like a bright little spot in a pool of blackness.  When I find such a gem, I want to share it.

Last week, I began writing a paper for another class.  The paper will be on the issue of Marriage Equality and how it is presented in print media.  As I began researching how the issue is presented in print (and web), I read a lot of really horrific and ignorant things.  However, I stumbled across a really, really well thought out and beautifully edited article by Anson Kaye in US News & World Report.  It’s called “What Ben Carson Got All Wrong About Gay Marriage.” 

In addition to giving a wonderful introduction about why we need to examine the comments people make and their motives, Kaye also takes the time to give these comments thoughtful analysis and brings the reader to certain logical conclusions.  In addition to the well-presented arguments and defense of fallacies on the topic, the editors include links to related topics on the website.  These include interactive polls and other related articles.  The entire piece was a breath of fresh air.  In a world full of bad examples, it’s always nice to see the good ones.

Worksheet Review Time – Pull Up a Chair

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by: Shannon Hames

Back in the day when I homeschooled my kids, we lived on one income and resources were scarce.  I couldn’t afford those pricey curriculum plans and even if I could, my children had different learning styles.  I was adamant about not using a cookie-cutter approach to their education and let them do a lot of the leading about what they were interested in learning.  That’s how I discovered printable worksheets.  Today, I found a few places to go online that offer editing worksheets.  Let’s check ’em out!

1. Super Teacher Worksheets

This site has the cutest themed worksheets.  They are obviously for children but, DAMN, they are so adorable that I would be tempted to use them to introduce the topic of editors marks to college students.  They would lighten the mood and ease them into the concept of using certain marks to communicate changes that need to be made.  There area a variety of worksheets here to choose from and they can all be printed.

2. English for Everyone

English For Everyone has 15 beginning level worksheets, 15 intermediate level worksheets and 10 advanced level worksheets that are all for proofing paragraphs.  The one thing that I don’t love about these worksheets is that the problems are already identified by underlining.  The student doesn’t get to find the problems on their own.  Their job is to look at the identified problem and then go down to a multiple choice menu and choose what they think the correct format is.  It might be good to use it to get students to start recognizing what potential problems look like, but in the end, it might be better to follow up the advanced worksheets with new paragraphs that do not have the problems already identified.

3. Reed College

Yes, it’s time to move on to more advanced worksheets.  Reed College has a page for faculty but you can use it, too.  I love how they organize them into small segments.  This system allows you to either follow a pattern of learning or pick one area to focus on.  You can spend a lot of time at this site so be prepared to explore!

Teams and my Editing Nightmares

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by: Shannon Hames

My university, and perhaps higher education in America, is what I like to call “Team Crazy.”  I don’t know if we are so beholden to Asia now that we must try to model ourselves after their “team” models or if these “Everyone who participates gets a trophy!” people are the ones calling the shots now.  Either way, individual achievement is on the decline and everyone wants you to be on a team because two heads are better than one, ideas can be built upon and blah, blah, blah.

You can put me on a team but I refuse to drink the Collaboration Kool-Aid.

Why am I so grumpy, you ask?  I’ll tell you why.  I’m so tired of being assigned to teams where I have to work with students who just don’t give a damn.  If I’m lucky enough to get them to do their part and turn it in on time, I then have to go on a cleaning mission to edit the daylights out of it because nobody can seem to run a spell or grammar check on their written portion.

I had a team mate turn in what was supposed to be an “analysis” of the social media and website of a business that we had to observe and write an analysis of.  His portion was supposed to be 3-5 pages of social media/web presence breakdown.  This is a copy/paste of what he actually turned in to me except for the name of the business will now be known as “Nightclub”:

Nightclub has a website that is not really very good. It is cluttered and the links are in weird bplaces.  I thinki the things to do will be movieng more stuff around and make certain things bigger and the others ones smaller.  I think it was weird to have a commercial for a hotel on there, too.

Their Facebook page was unrellevant to a lot of the events that they’ve been having all along.  But whats so weird about it is that they have over 1200 “likes” and thats alot more than most others clubes.  Especially since theyre page has only been up for about a couple of months. I don’t think they have a Twitter account or a Instagram account or I could be wrong. The owner of Nightclub isn’t srue about that since he sometimes lets his employees do things like social media and promotiong the nightclub.  All-in-all, I can’t say for certain that their social media isnt helpling but it looks tragically ugly and I think the whole thing needs to be scrapped and redone by someoine who isn’t working for the club but who is actually a professional person who does social media ad web design.

Oh. My. Gosh.  Can you say “Editing Nightmare?”  Not only do I have to clean this up, but the “analysis” is missing.  When I checked their Facebook page to see exactly what “a couple of months” was, it was 38 months.  Yes, the Facebook page was started 38 months ago.

Where does an editor go from this point?  It is truly a nightmare.

Engrish

Today’s post is NOT politically correct but it IS funny.  Wikipedia defines Engrish as a “slang term for the misuse of the English language by native speakers of some East Asian languages. The term itself relates to Japanese speakers’ tendency to inadvertently substitute the English phonemes “R” and “L” for one another, because the Japanese language has one alveolar consonant in place for both.”  Below are some examples of some Engrish signs:

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As cute as these signs are, they also highlight the differences in our cultures and give us insight in their attempts to communicate with us.  We can imagine how their sentence structures are different from ours and how they try to adapt to our customs.  Spending time looking at examples of Engrish can not only be a fun experience, but it can also provide us with a look into these nuances that we might not otherwise see.

Speaker Failure

When we think about editing, we think about making certain that we communicate the right things in the best way that they will be received.  We don’t want poor grammar, punctuation or spelling to cause people to have a poor image of who we are or what our abilities are like.  When we put pen to paper, we are opening ourselves up for scrutiny.  The upside: we can edit things.  We can proof them, change them and refine them.  We can wait to release something until we think it is perfect.

Speaking is different.

When you are going to open your mouth up and let the words roll off the tongue, you have no opportunity to edit, change, correct or even to hide your lack of preparedness.  People will not only evaluate your grammar and sentence structure, they will also judge you on how you look, sound, stand and gesture.  They will judge your content, the organization of your thoughts and whether you say “Ummm” to much. 

In the video below, a young woman had an opportunity to address the leaders of her city council to share ideas and offer suggestions.  Instead, she wasted her time, their time and she looked like she had never received an education of any sort.  It would have been better for her to stay home and watch television than to come to this meeting and open her mouth. 

Phonics vs. Whole Language Learning

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by: Shannon Hames

I homeschooled my children who both taught themselves to read at age 4 so I have no hand-on experience with phonics versus whole language learning.  However, I did gain a step-daughter when I remarried and when I began to help her with her homework (at age 8), I realized that she was a whole language learner.  She wrote the words exactly how they sounded and rarely spelled the words correctly.  It was frustrating because she grew used to writing the words how they sounded and it was hard to correct her and get her to spell the word correctly.  When I started at SPSU, I noticed that other students (in college!) were also doing the whole language bad misspells and it caused me a lot of concern.  After all, all things being equal, who is going to want to hire someone who writes like an imbecile?

Today, I read an article about the debate between whole language and phonics and the (unknown) author came up with some interesting points.  First, he describes whole language:

The Whole Language system teaches children to guess at words by looking at the pictures on the page, to memorize a few dozen frequently used words (called site words), to skip over words they don’t know, to substitute words that seem to fit, and to predict the words they think will come next. Many schools give high marks and happy report cards to children who are good at guessing and memorizing words, so parents don’t realize that their children are being taught to guess instead of to read. Self-esteem is a higher priority than literacy. Whole Language fans think that children can learn to read as easily as they learn to speak and that kids will learn to read through exposure to reading without the need for much instruction. One of the supposed benefits of Whole Language instruction is the chance it gives students to write “extended text.” Translated, this means kids don’t have to worry about spelling and grammar. Youngsters are allowed to use “invented spelling” if they can’t spell a word. Their “creativity” will not be marked wrong.

Can you see where we are both going with this?  And I am a parent who HATES the idea of giving a trophy for participation. The author continues by talking about why this type of learning is not working:

The failure of Whole Language is beginning to surface due to results of studies being released. The “evidence,” according to Patrick Groff, professor of education emeritus at San Diego State University, is purely anecdotal. ‘When you equate two classes as much as you can and run them through for a year, the classes taught in a direct and systematic way will beat the whole language class every time,’ Groff said. ‘It is little wonder they don’t want to look at the evidence.’

A two-year study of first and second-graders in California’s Inglewood Unified School District compared phonics to whole language instruction. By the end of the second grade, phonics students scored more than a year above grade level in word recognition, passage recognition and vocabulary. In the ability to sound out and pronounce new words, these students scored almost four years above grade level.”

The entire article can be read by clicking HERE.