They do the hard work for you

Is e-mail becoming obsolete? Some believe that, but there are e-mail newsletters that continue to do the hard work of curation for us. Here are a few I have been enjoying recently:


Everything Changes from the Awl— the theme changes, the frequency changes. You never know what to expect. This week there is a list of “tiny kindnesses” that people noticed. Here are a couple:

 

 


Make Your Point — to improve your vocabulary. I posted about this in January.


The Daily Pnut — a daily update of important news, curated for you, from sites like BBC, NYT, the Atlantic,


Elevator Grooves — the name here is still “Sweet Chili” but it’s now called “Elevator Grooves” and is from the Daily Pnut people, a weekly collection of songs you may not have heard. A couple of weeks ago I found some great Cuban music I didn’t know about thanks to them, and was reminded about how perfect for this time of year the Buena Vista Social Club is. The same day I was playing their music again, after forgetting about them for years, this documentary happened to be on TV. Kismet.

Tween Tribune

TweenTribune

The Smithsonian’s TweenTribune is a free, nonprofit newspaper for teenagers and “tweens” (people between childhood and their teenage years). Most of my students are 18-22 years old, but this site is good for language learners of all ages because you can choose articles by topic and by difficulty (“lexile level”).

These are the topics you can choose from:

Some recent stories:

“Take a virtual trip to the International Space Station”

How Mozart outsold Beyonce in CD sales in 2016

Michigan teen gets size-28 shoes, thanks to 3-D printer

Would you eat a pizza made by robots?

In Japan, autumn means a parade of robot puppets

Some older stories:

“Does acupuncture work?”

“Performers audition for spots on New York subways”

“Tennis and fashion are a match in Paris”

“Mrs. Obama asks, ‘How do you stay healthy?'”

“Britney, Katy on display at the Smithsonian”

“Fitting rooms go high tech”

Each story has a short reading text and a critical thinking challenge. Each story is also labeled by lexile level. Some stories have videos, too. You can read articles and comments without logging in, but to comment, you do need to log in. Students need the log-in password from their teachers (my students: let me know if you want to log in and I’ll give you the password the for “classroom” I created).

There are other things you can do by logging in: see the news captions on the photos of the day in the upper right corner (“What do you see?”), take a daily news quiz, and more.

Tween Tribune also has a page in Spanish, so if you’re majoring in that language, this is another good source of input.

Live like a surfer

It may help you stop procrastinating.

“The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination” (from Harvard Business Review)

Why do we put off doing things? Fear of feeling (disappointed, sad, frustrated…). But:

More often than not, our fear doesn’t help us avoid the feelings; it simply subjects us to them for an agonizingly long time. We feel the suffering of procrastination, or the frustration of a stuck relationship. I know partnerships that drag along painfully for years because no one is willing to speak about the elephant in the room. Taking risks, and falling, is not something to avoid. It’s something to cultivate. But how?

Practice.

Many students will, I hope, remember the phrase “the elephant in the room”.

And speaking of surfing, see what Obama has been up to lately. He sure looks happy.

He’s also been busy on the phone. (Yes, this is a joke.)