Free Printable Despicable Me Minion Halloween Costume Ideas

Steve Carell's cartoon Despicable Me with the cute little yellow Twinkie-shaped minions is a huge hit. Last year I wrote an article on how to make a minion costume for Halloween. Judging by the popularity this year, I'm guessing people still like the show and its fun-sized characters. Want to make a Despicable Me minion Halloween costume? Here's how.

There are several options to create the yellow capsule shaped body of the Despicable Me minion. The first and easiest option is to make a cylinder from a large yellow poster board, draw on the minion face, goggles and blue overalls. Read on Easy Despicable Me Minion Halloween Costume Ideas

Boycott Casey Anthony Movie, Books

When Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old child was found not guilty, public outrage spurred questions of movie deals. Now over a year after the Miami mom walked free, those rumors are still pending. Here are thoughts on why boycotting books and movies based on Casey Anthony is the best form of justice.

Probably the biggest issue of the Anthony trial was Casey's failure to report her daughter Caylee missing for more than 30 days. She was photographed partying and seeming completely unconcerned about her child's whereabouts. In and effort to bring other parents to accountability, "Caylee's Law" would make it a felony charge for failure to report a child missing or dead within a short period of time. Boycott Casey Anthony Book, Movie Deals

Free Printable Activities from The Hunger Games Books, Movies

It's an understatement to say that "The Hunger Games" book trilogy, by Suzanne Collins, has taken the world by storm. "The Hunger Games" movie blasted to top spot when it came out in March. The saga continues in "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" which don't stay long on book shelves. Planning to teach a unit on "The Hunger Games" books or movie? Here are free printable lesson plans and activities for several different content areas. As for age level, t he movie is acceptable for most ages, but the books are a bit graphic. I recommend using "The Hunger Games" series with kids over 12. Read more at Free Printable Activities from 'The Hunger Games' Book, Movie 

Most Banned Books--Authors of Teen Lit, Kids Literature

Sept. 24 to Oct.1, 2012 celebrated the 30th anniversary of the ALA Banned Book Week. BBW celebrates authors who broke convention to write books about touchy subjects. Here are stats about most oft-censored children and teen authors and literature. Most of these statistics hold true for adult literature as well. Many of the most challenged books were made into movies and some are regularly used in high school curriculum. Have I whetted your curiosity? Click here to find out if your favorite author, book or book-to-movie is on the list. (Six of our family favorites are right on top!) Most Banned Books? Authors of Teen, Children's Literature

Best American History Movies to Watch for 4th of July

The American Revolutionary War wears many faces, some of them mask the real stories. This life of American history and Revolutionary War films provides a more multi-dimensional view of the United States and American history.

"The Crossing" 2000- Jeff Daniels, who has really come into his own in historical character roles, gives an excellent performance as General George Washington. The Crossing depicts Washington's perilous crossing of the Delaware and the bloody winter at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary war. Read the rest of the list at  Best American History Movies to Watch for 4th of July 

Best Suspense Movies and Films with Surprise Endings and Plot Twists

I love surprise endings.There's nothing like a good plot twist to tickle my puzzle lover's brain. Unfortunately, I find that many movies that promise a twist end up being predictable and trite. Here is my quintessential list of didn't-see-that-coming, all-around best suspense and plot twist movies ever made. Since writing this, I would also add "The Jacket." It's not my top favorite, but it's got a nice surprise. For  my faves, read on Best Suspense Movies and Films with Surprise Endings and Plot Twists 

Free Printable Ancient Rome Lessons from Revenge of the Titans

Just in time for the release of "Revenge of the Titans" and to go with "Clash of the Titans" here are free printable lessons plans on ancient Rome. The study of Ancient Rome is an integral part of any curriculum, be it homeschool, parochial school or public school. Our heritage in the western world owes much to the ancient Romans. Ancient Rome gave us our roots in politics, philosophy, many sports as well as technology. Roman roads were forerunners to the modern highway. Ancient Roman aqueducts gave us the protocol for modern plumbing and irrigation. Roman military, warfare and weapons were precursors to modern warfare. All the romance languages stem from the ancient Roman language of Latin. The Roman empire stretched as far north and west as the British Isles. Read more at Free Printable Ancient Rome Lesson Plans, Activities 

Bully Documentary Hits a Raw Spot

The movie "Bully" has been given an R-rating because it contains strong language--language kids are subjected to from their peers. The entire purpose of the film is to demonstrate how hurtful those words are and why we're seeing so many bullying-related problems. Sadly, the R-rating means it will be difficult for teachers to show this film to kids who really need to see it. This movie hits a raw spot for me. Someone I love was horrendously bullied. When he "fought back" like adults so often tell kids to do, it had disastrous results. Here's that story  'Bully' Documentary Hits a Raw Spot 

Best Movie for Lent and Easter: Jesus of Nazareth

Lent is the penitential season is which we prepare our hearts for the resurrection of Jesus at Easter. As Christ journeyed through the desert and was tempted by Satan, we journey in a spiritual way. We practice the spiritual exercises of prayer, fasting and alms-giving. There are dozens of helpful books to guide us on our Lenten journey. The Bible is of course our source of wisdom. In this digital age, however, many people look to the television as the primary source of information. Here's a review of the a great Easter teaching tool. Best Movie for Lent and Easter: Jesus of Nazareth 

TLC Caves to Pressure, Pulls All-American Muslim

TLC (The Learning Channel) has caved to pressure from Florida Family Association and pulled the controversial show "All-American Muslim." Ratings were low, says LA Times, and thanks to FFA's haranguing, many sponsors dropped the show.
I'm a Christian; I'm also an American who believes in freedom, of religion and of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As an American, I don't think one faction, like FFA, should dictate the nation's viewing choices. Read more at TLC Caves to FFA Pressure, Pulls 'All-American Muslim'

Invisible Children Kony 2012; Film Eye-Opening, but Limited

This is an article I wrote about the Invisible Children program and filmmaker Jason Russell's team. It covers IC's film "Kony 2012." Russell is an outspoken advocate for a military presence in Uganda to overthrow Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Russell has harsh words for those who differ with his vision. He said recently in Alternet "A lot of people  fear Christians, they  fear Liberty University, they  fear Invisible Children - because they feel like we have an agenda. They see us and they go, "You want me to sign up for something, you want my money. You want, you want me to believe in your God."  And it freaks them out." Kony 2012 doesn't freak me. It concerns me that it's misguided. Here's why. Invisible Children, Jason Russell's Kony 2012 Movie Limited.

Wild Girls of the Food, Bitchin' Kitchen Great Food Shows

The "wild girls of the food world" -- Alex Guarnaschelli, Debi Mazar, Gabrielle Hamilton and Nadia G -- aren't apologizing for their bombastic, in-your-face cooking shows, the Associated Press reports. I've been following Nadia G on "Bitchin' Kitchen" for several years and she owes no one an apology. In fact, we owe her a thank you for making food fun. Read more at Wild Girls of the Food World Owe No Apologies

Literature Based Movies for Jazz Age, Black History Month

One of the objections raised by people within and outside the black community, is that Black History Month further segregates (Morgan Freeman made this comment among others). It's important that we recognize contributions of this vital community, but we need to be mindful that American history is Black history is U.S. history. They are blended like strands of a braid. Perhaps nowhere in history is this so keenly felt as in  the American "Jazz Age" of the 1920s. The two are wedded.

The progressive movement was mirrored in music (Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Marian Anderson), literature (Langston Hughes, Paul Lawrence Dunbar), labor, religion, film (Paul Robeson), education (W.E.B. Dubois), morality, politics, art. Large cities: New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, St. Louis felt the breath of change more deeply, but there was virtually no place in the U.S. where ripples of it were not felt. Bearing this in mind, here are movies for classroom use that focus on the post-WWI Jazz Age; I recommend using them to explore African American history, too. Read more at Literature Based Movies for 20th Century Economics and History Classes: The Jazz Age: Post WWI

Best Movies For Chinese New Year, Asian Culture

Best Movies and Films to Watch for Chinese New Year One of the best ways to learn about a culture and people is to read books and watch movies based in that country. Chinese New Year begins early in February. Here are best movies and films based in China to explore Chinese New Year. I didn't include "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Snow Falling on Cedars." Both of these films make great cultural analysis pieces, but they are both a bit to mature for most students. They are also set in Japan. Read on...

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