First books

Do you remember the first book that had an impact on you? A few that I remember very, very vividly from my childhood, as much for the pictures as the stories.┬áNot suggesting you should buy these, but take a look at the “Look inside”:

Anyway, I thought about this after seeing this video about a non-profit called First Book in a rural part of Iowa, where a “lunch lady” is organizing a book bus to help get books to children during vacations:

Our short winter vacation is coming up soon. What do you plan to read?


To do

Two things I found that I hope will inspire students as we move into longer research projects in many classes. You can be more than you think you can; you can do more than you think you can. Be curious.

From Open Culture: Leonardo da Vinci’s “To Do” list is amazing. At first it might make you feel lazy, even if you’re as busy as I think you all are. But I hope it also inspires. His intellectual curiosity is boundless. And he knows what he knows and what he doesn’t know, and he’s not afraid to ask experts. I want you to do the same.

From Mental Floss: 8 musicians who are brilliant in other fields, too. Talk about “renaissance men”! (I do wish they’d highlight some women in this list, too. Maybe that can be a research project idea for someone? Find some female musicians or athletes and also scientists, for example).

Anyway, these men continue to write and play music, while at the same time studying other things.

This is Brian May, the guitarist from Queen. 10 years ago he got his PhD, and he’s since written two books about space and helped NASA when they sent a probe to Pluto.

This is the lead singer/songwriter of The Offspring (remember them? Saw them in concert in Tokyo ages ago). He just got a PhD in molecular biology and he’s doing research into HIV and AIDS.

Tube Quizard

Tube Quizard is a collection of YouTube videos with gap-fill quizzes. You can browse in several ways: by level, by language focus, by category, and you can choose either US English or UK English. There are two other options that don’t seem to be available yet (Australian and Indian). Let’s hope this site is just getting started and more options and more videos appear soon.

Click on the empty box and the video will cue to that time. Fill in the blank and check your answer.

You can also search the archives for available quizzes. Just past a YouTube URL into this search box.  The YouTube video you use must already have subtitles.

You can also create your own gap-fill quizzes. There’s an explanatory video on the About page.