Monday, April 28, 2008

Do We Really Need This Direction?

I found several things in my children's bathroom for this week's show and tell. First, I found a box for 3 ounce Dixie cups with the helpful direction "LIFT HERE" on top of the box. Once you open the box, there is another direction "TO CLOSE INSERT TAB HERE." Not really all that necessary. The directions are also in two other languages.

I found two other items:

- A bottle of Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath with the direction "SQUEEZE BUBBLE BATH INTO STREAM OF WATER AS TUB FILLS"

- A Bubblicious Savage Sour Apple Lip Balm with the direction "APPLY SMOOTHLY AND EVENLY ON LIPS"

Monday, April 21, 2008

The End of The Far Side

I chose the 2002 The Far Side Last Impressions calendar as my Show and Tell item for a product with a story to tell. I miss the humor of Gary Larson. I purchased The Far Side calendars for over 10 years. I would often hold off on reading the daily pages until I had a stack and then I would read them all at once. Some were hysterical, some not, and some just bizarre.

The story is in the form of a letter from Gary Larson to his fans at the end of The Far Side calendar series. The first paragraph reads:

To whom it may concern:

Someone once said you should always leave a party ten minutes early. Of course, that leaves you with the predicament of no matter when you leave, it's ten minutes too late. Before long, you're sucked into a black hole that makes you want to just stay home and feed chicken giblets to the piranha. (Or is that just me?) Well, what I'm trying to say here, in my usual confusing manner, is that it's time for me to take my calendar and go home....

The Story of Tazo Tea

My cupboard was bare...literally. None of the packages in my pantry had a story to tell. All packages are major, well-known brands. There is no need to sell these products. Just place on shelf and customers will pick up.

I did find a box of Tazo tea manufactured by Starbucks. The text reads as follows:

At various times throughout history, Tazo has surfaced among the more advanced cultures of the day as a calming and centering influence. While teaologists will diasgree about how Tazo came into being, recent research has provided evidence that the famous Ming Dynasty vases were originally created to store Tazo.

A side panel goes on to say:

TAZO ZEN is made with full-flavored, pan-fired Chinese green tea. Long known for its legendary properties, this aromatic tea is combined with lemon verbena leaves from Eastern Europe, lemon-grass from Guatemala, spearmint leaves from Oregon and a hint of sweet lemon essence. That, and a few mumbled chants from a certified tea shaman.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 1

I have revised Project 4, Phase 4--Classification. I am posting it in 4 different posts. I made significant changes from Phase 3. I think most work. What do you think?

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 2

Here is Page 2 of Project 4, Phase 4.

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 3

Here is Page 3 of Project 4, Phase 4.

A Second Pair of Eyes Page 4

Here is Page 4 of Project 4, Phase 4.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pat the Bunny

In class on Saturday I was unable to remember the author of Pat the Bunny. I hate not being able to remember things like that. This is especially embarrassing as we have 3 copies of this book, which I have read hundreds of times to my children. It is also funny because when I read to my children I always start by reading the title, the author, the illustrator, and the publisher...I am a book geek.

Dorothy Kunhardt's daughter, Edith Kunhardt Davis, wrote two followup books Pat the Puppy and Pat the Cat. Pat the Bunny is the type of book I buy as a baby present/baby shower gift. I think every new parents needs a copy. Children love these books as the books include scratch and sniff, velcro, fabric, mirrors, etc. Each of my children loved these books to death...and I mean that literally as the books fell apart through much use and reading.

I Could Do This Job

I found a news story on a guy called "The Road Scholar" who is traveling around the U.S. correcting signs--street signs, road signs, store signs, any signs --for typos. When he sees a sign with a misspelled word he will politely ask the store owner if he can correct the sign. He carries whiteout, markers, and paint.
I cannot count the number of times that I have seen a sign with a typo and desperately wanted to correct it. My recent typo sighting: "Mink's Sports Tanvern."

Here is the link:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Play as Narrative

I discovered a copy of Pygmalion by G.B. Shaw on my bookshelf. I have not looked at it in quite some time. My Fair Lady (both the movie and the Broadway and West End musical) was based on this play. As I was reading the play, the introductory notes to each act caught my attention. These introductory notes set the stage (no pun intended) for each act. Shaw describes in great detail the appearance of Henry Higgins' elocution room from the color of the room to the instruments on his desk. These introductory notes are not spoken by the actors, but they are used by the director and the set director to construct a stage set that conveys what the play is about. The intro notes tell the story of the play by giving details of each of the character's personalities. Before we read an act of the play, we have a specific idea of what will happen when the characters start talking to each other.

The above excerpt is from:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Project 3, Phase 4--Any and All Comments Welcome!

So, here is Project 3, Phase 4--the poster. I liked this photo as I thought it conveyed the relationship of bone marrow donor and donee. However, the resolution of the photo is not good enough and the headline is centered. There is too much text. So, I revised it...

Here's my revision of Project 3, Phase 4--the poster. The text needs to be darkened, but I like the overall look, color scheme, and photo placement:

Any comments are welcome! Does it convery the message that donating bone marrow not only saves lives, but allows people to live their life? I'm not a designer and sometimes I have a hard time knowing what works and what does not work. Do you think the design on this poster works?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Project 3--Feedback Needed

I have revised my Project 3 campaign quite a few times. I am still not happy with it. I need to work on it. If anyone has any suggestions, please post to comments section. Thanks!

Anyway, here's the progression--Project 3, Phase 3:

Phase 4 is in next post.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Storytelling Then and Now

My daughters (4th and 6th grades) spent the week doing the MSA--the Maryland state assessment tests. The tests are lengthy. The verbal tests requires students to complete BCRs...brief constructed written responses. From 3rd grade on the format for writing a BCR is drummed into their heads. The BCR written responses must be answered in a certain way and of course students must write within a black box in their test booklets. There is no creativity involved, just answer the question and move on to the next BCR.

With this in mind I stumbled upon a website on storytelling via imovie:

Tom Babaszewski discusses how imovie is an essential tool for teaching kids how to tell stories. He mentioned how he surveyed his 4th and 5th grade students to find out which students considered themselves writers. He posed the question "Are you a writer?" About 60 % of his students said "yes." After a year of using imovie as a storytelling device he asked the same students the question "Are you a writer?" This time 99 % said "yes."

I can see that imovie would help a child who struggles with writing. The computer would allow the child to tell a story through images, music, and words. A child with a handwriting issue may see imovie as a form a freedom of expression. Ban the pencil and click up the mouse!

I am looking forward to the project. I have wanted to learn how to make is my chance. As for inspiration I am pondering rooting in our toybox to find stuffed animals. I have an idea about a gang of bears confronting a gang of monkeys. I wonder who will win. I wonder if the bears would be outsmarted by the monkeys. I think it might be funny to have different sizes of animals. Also, a gang composed of Curious George, a monkey glove puppet, and a gorilla might have some internal strife. I wonder how they would get along with each other? Curious George is sneaky, but not aggressive. George might not be that effective in a fight.