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ILLA Blogs

Commentary and reviews by classical Lutheran education commentators.

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: http://earth.google.com (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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Create Vocabulary Lists with EasyDefine and VocabGrabber

Do you have a list of words for which you'd like definitions, but would rather not have to look up each word individually? Then, the free online version of EasyDefine could be just the thing.

Have you ever taught a literature unit where the author used many words which might be unfamiliar to your students? VocabGrabber might be a big help, especially if the text is in public domain, found on such sites as Project Gutenberg.

A teacher can select and copy an entire chapter of text from the book (up to 100 pages) and paste it in VocabGrabber (https://www.visualthesaurus.com/vocabgrabber/). VocabGrabber will create a list of words likely to be challenging to students, and let the teacher pick from those words as to which would be saved in a list. The option exists to include the word in the sentence where it is used in the book.

Those particular features may require teachers to subscribe for about $20 a year -- and the interface isn't especially easy to cut and paste into a Word document. However, there is another free version which produces similar results found at Vocabulary.com (https://www.vocabulary.com/lists/vocabgrabber).

Note: Teachers might also like Vocabulary.com to create spelling and vocab lists for their classes each week -- such as lists which incorporate words actually found in contemporary news items and journal articles. The subscription site also provides online testing of the various word lists. And don't forget such resources as SpellingCity.com and Quizlet.com to help your students practice their words.

 

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OneLook for Many Words

I'm told that the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) contains around 600,000 entries. While nothing can surpass the OED as an authoritative resource, the website OneLook.com references 18,955,870 words indexed from 1061 dictionaries.

This can be especially helpful for students working on poems and other composition exercises.

Additionally, there is even a "Reverse Dictionary" feature which can help you find the mot juste simply by describing a concept and then it returns a list of related words.

Examples of OneLook.com searches

bluebird                    Find definitions of bluebird
blue*                        Find words and phrases that start with blue
*bird                         Find words and phrases that end with bird
bl????rd                  Find words that start with bl, end with rd, with 4 letters in between
bl*:snow                  Find words that start with bl and have a meaning related to snow
*:snow or :snow      Find words related to snow
*:winter sport          Find words related to the concept winter sport
**winter**                Find phrases that contain the word winter
expand:nasa           Find phrases that spell out n.a.s.a.

 

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