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The Stick Jar: One Tool – Many Uses

By Sina Rautman

Imag­ine the fol­low­ing sit­u­a­tion: You want your stu­dents to read out their results, but you are run­ning low on time. Your stu­dents are high­ly moti­vat­ed, and most of them want to share their work with the class, but it is clear from the start that you can’t involve all of them. What do you do now? Pick your ‘favorite’ child? Pick the child who did the best job as an excel­lent exam­ple to the rest of the class? Or would it be bet­ter to involve the shy child and give her a chance to con­tribute to the class? Will some chil­dren feel neglect­ed or preferred?

JarLast sum­mer, I spent three months in the Unit­ed States where I’d been offered a chance to observe dif­fer­ent ele­men­tary school class­es. There I found a solu­tion to the prob­lem men­tioned above. In one class – full of high­ly moti­vat­ed fourth graders – I noticed a beau­ti­ful­ly dec­o­rat­ed jar filled with tongue depres­sors. At first, I could­n’t think of any pur­pose for this glass, so I decid­ed to ask the teacher about it after class.

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The Ultimate Christmas Movie Playlist

By Daria Radler

Ah, Christ­mas! The hol­i­days are around the cor­ner, and this means a com­bi­na­tion of an incred­i­ble amount of deli­cious food (don’t we all love Grandma’s cook­ing?!) as well as presents and some qual­i­ty time with our fam­i­lies that we’ve either looked for­ward to or have secret­ly dread­ed for months. Either way, I’m sure that by now you have prob­a­bly estab­lished a lit­tle fam­i­ly tra­di­tion of your own when it comes to decid­ing on your ulti­mate Christ­mas movie selec­tion. So let’s look at a few movies that should def­i­nite­ly make your list.


  1. It’s a Won­der­ful Life (1946)
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George Bai­ley has spent his entire life devot­ing him­self to the peo­ple of Bed­ford Falls. Bro­ken and sui­ci­dal on Christ­mas Eve, he decides that his fam­i­ly and friends would be bet­ter off with­out him. What he doesn’t know is that they have prayed for him to get through these hard times, and that their prayers have been heard: His guardian angel Clarence falls to earth to show him how dif­fer­ent the lives of his loved ones would have been if it wasn’t for him. Heart­warm­ing­ly beau­ti­ful and deeply mov­ing, It’s a Won­der­ful Life teach­es us how much it means to look after one anoth­er – a mes­sage that makes this movie worth watch­ing over and over again.

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An Earth-Day-and-World-Book-Day Bloem

By Maryann Henck

Nature doesn’t real­ly care whether there are human beings or not.
I’m sor­ry to break this to you.
- Mar­garet Atwood

pho­to cred­it : Lawrence Mur­ray

I’m not sure what I need to com­ment on first – the bloem or that wry, news­flashy quote. Let’s start off with the easy things first – the quote. Cana­di­an envi­ron­men­tal activist and con­tem­po­rary Scheherazade, Mar­garet Atwood, real­ly knows how to dri­ve her point home and reverse per­spec­tives. Isn’t it utter­ly refresh­ing to hear Nature’s point-of-view? Although She may not care about our exis­tence, we should def­i­nite­ly be con­cerned about Hers – espe­cial­ly on Her spe­cial day – April 22 – a.k.a. Earth Day!

Source : Only Lovers Left Alive

Now you might be won­der­ing what a bloem is or maybe you’ve already guessed by now that it’s a port­man­teau or a blend – a word formed by clip­ping two words and then merg­ing them: blog + poem = bloem. If you ask me, it’s quite a sim­ple equa­tion and an appro­pri­ate trib­ute to World Book Day, which hap­pens to be on April 23. If you’re inter­est­ed in words, lit­er­a­ture, the future of books, and their con­nec­tion to the envi­ron­ment – for there is one – then you are cor­dial­ly invit­ed to sam­ple my bloem, “The Future of the Library: The Future Library,” which serves as an appe­tiz­er for the main course, an inter­view with Mar­garet Atwood about this fas­ci­nat­ing lit­er­ary and envi­ron­men­tal project.

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Under Dark Skies: A Review Essay

By Michaela Keck

The End of the Night

On Fri­day, Octo­ber 16, our group of five – two mas­ter stu­dents, three bach­e­lor stu­dents, and I – set out from the Insti­tute of Eng­lish and Amer­i­can Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Old­en­burg for a four-day excur­sion to the eco­log­i­cal field sta­tion of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Pots­dam in Gülpe. This small vil­lage is locat­ed approx­i­mate­ly 70 kilo­me­ters north­west of Pots­dam, or cir­ca 85 kilo­me­ters north­west of Berlin, along the east­ern bor­der of the Nature Park and Dark Sky Pre­serve West­havel­land. Here, we want­ed to study, debate, and direct­ly expe­ri­ence dark­ness in an area that still afford­ed a phe­nom­e­non that is increas­ing­ly lost to our bright­ly illu­mi­nat­ed Euro­pean con­ti­nent: dark night skies. The plan for this long week­end was to have the after­noons set aside for text dis­cus­sions and to ven­ture out into the dark after the moon had set. The morn­ings were free to either recov­er from our noc­tur­nal activ­i­ties or to explore the wet­lands of our imme­di­ate surroundings.

Includ­ed in our con­sid­er­able amount of lug­gage – the eco­log­i­cal field sta­tion requires self-cater­ing – were three sem­i­nal texts for our eco­crit­i­cal stud­ies of dark­ness: Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods: Sav­ing Our Chil­dren from Nature Deficit Dis­or­der (2005); Paul Bogard’s The End of Night: Search­ing for Nat­ur­al Dark­ness in an Age of Arti­fi­cial Light (2013); and the chap­ter enti­tled “Ridge” from Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places (2007). Although the titles of the first two books express a sense of loss and there­fore sug­gest a yearn­ing for an ear­li­er, bet­ter, more “nat­ur­al” life, Louv and Bog­a­rd both inves­ti­gate the Anthro­pocene with an atti­tude that com­bines curios­i­ty, fas­ci­na­tion, and prag­ma­tism rather than regres­sion, nos­tal­gia, and mor­al­iz­ing. Read more »

Tweet Me a Story:
Twiction – The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

By Maryann Henck

One week before Christ­mas and no gift in sight?
Allow me to assist you out of your plight
For who real­ly wants one more thought­less gift?
Doomed to be piled on the re-gift­ing snowdrift
So why not cre­ate a sto­ry to tweet
In 140 char­ac­ters – short and sweet


Well, actu­al­ly in 280 char­ac­ters or less as Twit­ter has recent­ly dou­bled its tweet length. No Twit­ter account or mon­ey is required – just a bit of time. There’s no rea­son to fall under the glam­our of the pre-hol­i­day com­mer­cial­iza­tion craze. All you need is a seed for a sto­ry that you can let grow and trim back into shape. You can do the old-school thing and write or type it on a dec­o­ra­tive piece of paper. Then just stuff it into a lit­tle stock­ing. Of course, you can text or What­sApp your gift of twic­tion as well. In search of ideas? Then take a peek at some of the twic­tion from my cre­ative writ­ing students.

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