Friday, May 04, 2012

Sell Those Textbooks!

I gave Dear Daughter some money last week to clean out a few closets I wouldn't have to.

She deposited three large containers with odds and ends at the bottom of the steps and announced she was done. 

 I said....."Oh, are those things to throw away?" 

She responded yes, but I was already ticking off things I could readily see as items I had paid for and might want to use again, so......instead of hauling the containers off to the street to the trash I sat down and went through the containers. 

 I made three piles.....keep, Goodwill, and trash. 

 Wouldn't you know it? The trash pile was the smallest, but Goodwill was fairly substantial. Most of the items in the keep pile were notebook binders and textbooks. Yes, she was going to throw away good....heavy....expensive textbooks.

 I decided I could sell them online, and this is what I found:

Via: Sell Back Your Book

The Atlas of True Names

One of the maps available from The Atlas of True Names

Take a look at the map I posted above.   Notice something strange?   This map is from The Atlas of True Names.

This site…..The Atlas of True Names… a truly unique resource.   The website states its purpose is to reveal the etymological roots, or original meanings, of the familiar terms on today’s maps of the World, Europe, the British Isles and the United States……The ‘True Names’ of 3000 cities, countries, rivers, oceans and mountain ranges are displayed on these four fascinating maps, each of which includes a comprehensive index of derivations.

You can read more about the site from The New York Times or from Spiegel Online.   Apparently these maps have been around since 2008, but I’m just now seeing them.   Yes, I know that’s hard to believe, but somehow I overlooked them.

You can order the maps here.

So, instead of me telling you how I would use them in the classroom……..what would you do?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Quiet, Simple Life

There are many places I like.    There are a few I love.   Then there are those unique places that I fall in love with and could stay there forever.

Seaside, Florida is one of those places for me.

Seaside, Florida

The minute I enter the picturesque town I feel the creative energy.   I feel the friendliness of the town, and the Victorian charm draws me in.

A fantastic livable space....

It’s just an added bonus that sandy white beaches and the emerald water of the Gulf of Mexico are just mere steps away.

The town was developed in the late 1980s as a modern day Victorian town complete with narrow streets, white picket fences, and lots of pastel colors.   

Many of the dwellings are hidden in gnarled mangroves and magnolias.

Can I stay here forever?

Robert Davis – the man who developed Seaside – revolutionized the concept of town planning forevermore.    The development began as a parcel of 80 acres that Davis inherited from his grandfather.  Instead of wanting to build a vacation getaway and keep others away – as many would have done – Davis decided he wanted to build a town……an entire town.

One of the park area surrounded by shops and homes.

Davis based Seaside on the principles of New Urbanism which includes towns that are friendly to walkers, contain a variety of housing, and encourages many different types of jobs.

To tell you the truth the whole thing reminds me of sitting around with a bunch of friends when you were nine or ten and brainstorming some wild and crazy idea and setting off in a frenzy to make it a real thing, but in the case of Davis…..he really did make his dream a reality including touring small town after small town in Florida to grasp the concepts he wanted to reproduce at Seaside.  

This isn’t a place to have a vacation away from your life…..this is a place to make your life the vacation.

Seaside is filled with several interesting shops.

There are work places and creative places and one of the state’s first charter schools is located in Seaside.  There are places for sports, a spa, and a performance theater.

The building in the middle is in the center of's the post office.

Would I introduce a concept like Seaside to my students?  

Why of course I would.  I’d begin by showing them pictures from my Spring Break and move into the concept of New Urbanism and how Seaside fits the mold.   Then I would allow student brainstorm and let them draw up plans to recreate their town into a place where they could have a simple, beautiful life complete with drawings.  

I think it would a fun and thought provoking activity.
What about you?

Just take a gander at the website for the town.
Notice the motto……”A simple, beautiful life”.  

Isn’t that what everyone wants?