The Obvious


Posted in books, good, important, link, vilnius, websites by theobvious on December 18, 2007

I was happy today. Because of little things, like peeling a tangerine at the bus stop and having a woman smile at me, but mainly because I got a new copy of ‘Up the Down Staircase’ and laughed out loud in the street reading my favourite passage, translated perfectly into Lithuanian (I think I should start translating my favourite books pronto, before they are all translated better than I ever could).

I believe every educator should read, and preferably own, this book. No, screw that. I believe every sane person should read and preferably own this book. This is why I’ve made most everyone I know read it, and now I’m giving it to a friend for Christmas. What? He’s a teacher. Have you read this book? You ought to. I hear there’s also a movie, but don’t watch that instead of reading! It’s not the Odyssey after all.

And now that I’m already bossing you around (don’t I have a talent for segues), let me direct you to several websites you might find nice, especially around this time of year, which is all about being charitable and giving others what you have enough of and they haven’t got any. Like food. I can only use some of them for want of a credit card, but at least I can spread the word.

1. FreeRice – a very nice campaign. It’s a word game that lets you expand your vocabulary while giving rice to the poor. Best part – it’s free both for you and the people at the receiving end. It’s also educational, yay!

2. Kiva – this lets you support an entrepreneur of your choice in a developing country. It’s basically a loan program with a smart follow-up system, so you can help someone out of poverty and then watch their progress.

3. Donors Choose – a totally awesome website where teachers submit their educational projects and you can choose which of them to fund with your donation. You will then receive feedback from the students.

4. Of course, there’s always the Red Cross. They are doing an amazing job and need all the help they can get. You get to choose whether to donate to their poverty fund, their disaster relief fund, or plenty other funds.

There’s a nice, albeit less dramatic, project on the web called Streetclash. It’s a street fashion competition. Vilnius is one of the last two finalists, and I encourage you to vote if you like it. There’s a different photo daily.

And then, if you just want to be doing good things for the world, you can give me a paid Flickr account. Just kidding. Instead, always recycle, choose handmade, organic, and fair-trade products, smile to people, and pass these links along.

5 Responses

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  1. Pamela said, on December 18, 2007 at 3:49 am

    I remember a dog-eared, beat-up copy of the Up the Down Staircase in my Mother’s bookcase (teacher/school librarian). I don’t think I ever read the whole thing but I remember some funny parts.

  2. ollka said, on December 18, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Ooh, but you have to! Well. I can’t come up there and nag you till you read it, but I wholeheartedly recommend it. I think that ultimately it’s a well-written ode to sanity and being a real person.

  3. Rachel said, on December 19, 2007 at 8:41 am

    You’d think I would’ve heard of that book being that I want to be a high school English teacher and all. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll be looking for it.

    Tangerines and smiles. That’s all I need.

  4. ALF said, on December 19, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Oh man – did you read my rant about donating at the holidays??? Everyone is asking for money!

  5. ollka said, on December 19, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Rachel – it’s very old, so many people haven’t heard of it, but it was a major bestseller in its time. It’s actually about a young English teacher. I hope you like it.

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