ILLA Blogs

Commentary and reviews by classical Lutheran education commentators.

How Readable Is Your Writing?

Your writing may be without any spelling or grammatical errors, but is it readable?

Simply by cutting and pasting text into the Readability website, you can get an idea on how readable your writing is based on the Flesch-Kincaid method -- and your students will be able to do the same.

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Print, Cut, Fold!

PCF K2PCF LanguagePCF MathPCF Science





Print, Cut, and Fold is a series of books created by Jim Holland which give teachers and students a variety of way to communicate what they have learned. They are not a substitute for writing essays and papers, but these projects can supplement student expressions of what they have learned and discovered. They also make for nice displays in the hallways or showcases of your school. Our students and parents seem to enjoy them.

Most of the projects like dioramas, cascading flip charts, and pyramids are the same from book to book. If you and your students are capable of providing your own data, you would probably only need one of the books -- but the others are helpful if you would like some curriculum-specific ideas.

These projects can be printed out for the students to modify, cut, and fold. Providing that one has the rights to do so, the projects may also be shared electronically so that students can modify them with Microsoft Office programs or with Google Docs -- after which each student may proceed to print, cut, and fold.

While the audio and video isn't ideal, here are two YouTube videos in which teachers are demonstrating the projects found in the books: PART 1   ---   PART 2

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Lo, Judah's Lion Wins the Strife

church window slide show 7Our hymn of the week each year for Quasimodogeniti is John Bajus' translation of Lo, Judah's Lion Wins the Strife.

Besides having a wonderful melody, it relates Biblical stories which children have learned to the work of Christ with stanzas like "'Tis He whom David did portray when he did strong Goliath slay . . . " and "Like Samson, Christ great strength employed and conquered h ell, its gates destroyed." (TLH 211) The hymn is not found in LSB.

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Google Earth, Chromebooks, and Chrome Browser

Google Earth used to be a program one had to download, install, and update - but no longer.

For those who have Chromebooks or the Chrome browser, Google Earth is available online: (You must use the Chrome browser to access it.)

This is exciting news for teachers who can now make use of KML and KMZ files to highlight geographical locations found in literature, history, and science. So, for example, one can follow the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys.

I found this "Google Lit Trip" for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein which we just completed reading: There are Google Lit Trip KML files for Make Way for Ducklings, Paddle to the Sea, Around the World in 80 Dyas,  the Odyssey, the Aeneid, the Life of Luther, and more.

You can search for KMZ and KML files by including "file:kmz" or "file:kml" in your Google search bar -- and by learning more about Google Lit Trips. (I plan on creating some for the missionary journeys of St. Paul, but if someone else beats me to it, let me know!) See How to Create a Google Lit Trip.


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Orwell or Huxley?

Postman AmusingHave you ever had the sensation of reading something profound? Have you ever been impressed that san author could write something so timely -- but had written it decades ago?

One might not be surprised to have that experience while reading or listening to the Holy Scriptures regarding faith, hope, and love in Christ -- but there are other spheres in which something similar may happen. That was my reaction when I read this Foreward to Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death (pp. vii-viii):


 We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares. But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another-slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity, and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

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