Our New Fish: fish 2.0 (Beta)

My classroom is home to a aquarium made from a converted monitor. After several months of fish-lessness, we finally received a new pet fish.

His (her?) name is fish 2.0 and is (of course!) a beta fish. You can’t see him (her?) in the tank, probably because he’s been swimming around trying to get to the non-existent coral pictured at the back of the tank.

fish 2.0 (Beta) #2

fish 2.0 earned his name for several reasons. First off, he’s the second fish I’ve given a home to in this aquarium. Before he moved in, we had a few $0.29 Wal-Mart fish of unknown variety living there. They died last spring after 2 years of aquarium happiness.

Second off, fish 2.0 is a beta fish. ‘Nuff said.

Photo: Our New Fish: fish 2.0 (Beta), Originally uploaded by mgolding

Why, You Can’t Live Without Apostrophes

My favorite grammar writer, Lynne Truss (of Eats, Shoots and Leaves fame) has written two children’s books. The Girl’s Like Spaghetti and Eats, Shoots and Leaves (the latter is a kids’ version). I had the chance to flip through them and was really impressed.

From the Amazon.com book description:

Just as the use of commas was hilariously demystified in Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!, now Lynne Truss and Bonnie Timmons put their talents together to do the same for apostrophes. Everyone needs to know where to put an apostrophe to make a word plural or possessive (Are those sticky things your brother’s or your brothers?) and leaving one out of a contraction can give someone the completely wrong impression (Were here to help you).

Full of silly scenes that show how apostrophes make a difference, too, this is another picture book that will elicit bales of laughter and better punctuation from all who read it.

The books appear at first glance to be aimed at early readers because of the picture book format. But the grammar examples are the type you’d learn in later elementary school. But then again, given the grammar I correct at school, I think even my high school kids would get something out of Spaghetti and Eats.

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6 Reasons Google Apps Rock at School

In Livin’ la Vida Google: A Month-Long Dive Into Web-based Apps, Wired news editor Michael Calore describes his experiment to ditch desktop programs in favor of Google’s offerings.

I think there’s a huge application for students and teachers with online word processors (and so do many other educators). Here are my top reasons:

  1. Google Docs & Spreadsheets are my answer to “I left the file on my home computer” excuses.
  2. Students can easily work on a paper at school and at home without getting into email or USB drives to move stuff around. Students could even get at their paper while doing research at the library.
  3. Collaborative (but still private) work! Teachers could review drafts online or students could write a paper together.
  4. There’s a PDF output option.
  5. Version tracking. Google allows you to open prior versions of docs — handy when revising frequently and you zealously chop a necessary paragraph or two.
  6. It’s free.