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The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786444908
ISBN-10: 0786444908
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I don't want to oversell this book, but it's better than ten Super Bowls! Probably fourteen to sixteen Super Bowls to be exact. Highly entertaining, thought-provoking and, most importantly, funny. Using The Simpsons, Denise Du Vernay and Karma Waltonen have given us a new way to look at the world and that's pretty cool. This isn't just for academics: any Simpsons fan with half a brain will enjoy it, and those with full brains will love it." --Josh Weinstein, former Showrunner, The Simpsons, current Co-Executive Producer, Futurama

"Like The Simpsons itself, this book can be enjoyed on multiple levels--both for its trenchant, incisive sociocultural commentary and for its poop jokes. Okay, maybe there aren't so many poop jokes in there. But the trenchant, incisive stuff more than makes up for it." --Robert Siegel, writer-director of Big Fan, Editor-in-Chief of The Onion 1996-2003

"A delightful and engaging work that is sure to be a useful and often referred to resource for anyone engaged in popular culture studies. Not only does the book offer a helpful reference guide for the bourgeoning scholarship dedicated to textually analyzing and exploring the social and cultural impact of The Simpsons, it also provides helpful ways in which academics can use to connect with students in teaching otherwise foreign and difficult concepts from composition to critical thinking to linguistics. I believe that both scholars and fans of The Simpsons will find this to be a perfectly cromulent introduction to the world of Simpsonology." --Joseph J. Foy, editor of Homer Simpson Goes to Washington: American Politics through Popular Culture and co-editor of Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture

"A practical, useful, and engaging book for teachers." --Mignon Fogarty, host of the Grammar Girl podcast and bestselling author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

"A delightful and engaging work that is sure to be a useful and often referred to resource for anyone engaged in popular culture studies. Not only does the book offer a helpful reference guide for the bourgeoning scholarship dedicated to textually analyzing and exploring the social and cultural impact of The Simpsons, it also provides helpful ways in which academics can use to connect with students in teaching otherwise foreign and difficult concepts from composition to critical thinking to linguistics. I believe that both scholars and fans of The Simpsons will find this to be a perfectly cromulent introduction to the world of Simpsonology." --Joseph J. Foy, editor of Homer Simpson Goes to Washington: American Politics through Popular Culture and co-editor of Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture

"A practical, useful, and engaging book for teachers." --Mignon Fogarty, host of the Grammar Girl podcast and bestselling author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

"A delightful and engaging work that is sure to be a useful and often referred to resource for anyone engaged in popular culture studies. Not only does the book offer a helpful reference guide for the bourgeoning scholarship dedicated to textually analyzing and exploring the social and cultural impact of The Simpsons, it also provides helpful ways in which academics can use to connect with students in teaching otherwise foreign and difficult concepts from composition to critical thinking to linguistics. I believe that both scholars and fans of The Simpsons will find this to be a perfectly cromulent introduction to the world of Simpsonology." --Joseph J. Foy, editor of Homer Simpson Goes to Washington: American Politics through Popular Culture and co-editor of Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture

About the Author

A former president of the Margaret Atwood Society, Karma Waltonen is an instructor of literature and composition/rhetoric classes. She also teaches special seminars on British humor and American satire. She lives in Davis, California.

Denise Du Vernay teaches humanities, speech, and writing at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She writes a bi-weekly film column (Take Your Queue From Du) that runs every other Sunday at Matchflick.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (April 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786444908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786444908
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,460,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield, a gold mine of information for teachers of composition at the high school and college levels. The authors of the book, Karma Waltonen and Denise DuVernay, freely share their experiences teaching classes called "Writing about the Simpsons", including their lesson plans and assignments, offering inspiration and fresh ideas to any of their colleagues who choose to read the book. I highly recommend that you do so!
Although I have taught writing skills in 4th and 5th grade classrooms, I'm never going to do so in a high school or college setting. But I do know about the work involved for teachers at any level who must create lesson plans for their classes, and who hope to come up with new, fresh ideas from time to time. Dr. Waltonen and Ms. DuVernay are freely and generously handing you materials that may inspire you to be a better teacher, or to try something new. Read this book! Profit from it!
Don't imagine for a moment that a "Writing about the Simpsons" class is anything other than a serious education in composition. The authors have used a popular television show as the basis for the writing in the class so students can relate to the material, learn how to read or view with a more critical eye, and feel confident writing about something familiar. "The Simpsons" explores important life topics in surprising depth, providing students in a composition class much fodder for their writing.
Perhaps you don't teach composition classes at an appropriate level for the use of this book's ideas. Perhaps you teach in a school setting where "Writing about the Simpsons" would be inappropriate or unacceptable.
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Format: Paperback
It's easier to engage students when the topic is fun and familiar, and what could be more fun and familiar than "The Simpsons"? The show has been on the air for over 20 years, so nearly every current student grew up with it. The book focuses primarily on the humanities and has in-depth chapters focused on composition, linguistics, literature, culture and society, and satire and postmodernism. The sample lesson plans and detailed episode list should help teachers quickly find something that will work with specific lessons. It's also well written and fun to read; I'm not a teacher, but the book was so interesting that I closely read more than half the book before skimming the rest.

A practical, useful, and engaging book for teachers.
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Format: Paperback
This book not only makes a compelling argument for the legitimacy of teaching with the rich subject matter of The Simpsons, from its commentary on social and political issues to its reflection of and sophisticated satire of American popular culture (including its own contributions to the landscape), but it functions as a teacher's guide, a course supplemental text, and a Simpsons nerd compendium of the intellectual examinations and approaches that are "most teachable." Looking for a way to engage students? Play the suggested clips from this sometimes controversial, always entertaining, critical-thinking-encouraging (Oops, and without your noticing, students!) series. Whether you teach sociology, linguistics, political science, literature, or composition (you Mrs. Crabapple wannabe!), you can use The Simpsons to jumpstart everything from student involvement in engaged discussions to paper topic refinement. As seasoned college composition instructors, the authors of this book even go so far as to map out related exercises and activities to provide full lessons that integrate the material and address issues in logic, thesis development, and more. The book includes many fitting jokes from the show, but it takes its subject matter seriously and shows (as the beloved animated series does, as well) why it is appropriate to do so. If you have ever been in doubt, you won't be after reviewing this careful compendium, instructor's guide, and nerd-worthy analysis of its merits and value as a source for teaching. (Also, I have a master's degree in literature, and I learned something new about postmodernism.) You not like this book? That's unpossible.

8/21/2011
Tonia Hoffman, M.A., Literature
Adjunct Professor, Saint Johns River State College
Orange Park, FL
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Format: Paperback
As a longtime Simpsons fan, I checked this book out to see if it inspired any lesson activities for my elementary school students. Although I had trouble finding a good fit that would work with children so young, it made me jealous of those who teach high school and college that could steal many of these wonderfully creative ideas! A well-organized reference book bursting with innovative classroom exercises, but also a thoroughly enjoyable pleasure-read for true Simpson fans. Highly recommended!

~Jeff Gephart, author of Out of Dark Places and The Second Life
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Format: Paperback
This book was entertaining, knowledgeable and above all, funny. This book involved ways to actually incorporate The Simpsons in the classroom. The impact of long-running show is in all relation to society and pop-culture. It would be a great book to teach in a pop-culture classroom setting. I know you think that the two would not go hand in hand, The Simpsons and teaching, but you would be surprised! I wish I could tell you all my favorite parts from the book, but I really want you to read it for yourself! It is great, and even inspiring. Grab the book as soon as possible, you won't regret it!
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