There's a television show in the UK called "Are You Smarter than an 5th Grader" or something like that -- I've never watched it because I have a sister in the sixth grade who assures me that the answer to that is an unequivocal "No." I'm cheered by the fact that she's still not smarter than eighth graders in 1895. Via the mental_floss blog, we're privileged to see the 1895 final exam presented to 8th-graders in Salina, Kansas... and boy howdy are those questions hard. FIVE HOURS were allowed for the final test. Five.
Remember that many young adults decided to teach school after graduating from the 8th grade in those days -- and honestly, if they know how to respond to such questions as:
A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold? 3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
... then they had the chops to at least teach fifth graders... check out the whole exam here.
Imagine treasure-hunting with your granddad -- looking for old cannon balls on a site of a battlefield -- and actually finding treasure. Nine year old Alex found 4,600 silver coins dating from the 13th century -- then archaeologists uncovered almost three thousand more. Hands down, best day out with Granddad, EVER.
Via the Guardian blog -- Shakespeare is being revised -- again -- into "yoofspeak." "Dere was somefing minging in de state of Denmark." Okay, so it's accessible to some -- readable, even, if you're in the know, but the beauty and power of the original language is what makes Shakespeare, isn't it? This isn't an issue for some, because the language tripped them up... Once again, people use the argument that if the Bard were writing now, he'd be writing in "the vernacular" as it were -- but whose? I dunno. I find this a bit patronizing. We're assuming that people who don't choose to participate in the dominate culture only don't because they can't? Hm.
"Smart, funny and cheery, Meyer does not seem noticeably undead in person." Not "noticeably." Well, that's a relief, anyway.
Time Magazine is trying to figure out just what the heck is up with Stephanie Meyers -- how did this 34-year-old observant stay-at-home Mormon mother and housewife turn into a woman being hailed as the next JK Rowling? Seriously, HOW did this happen?! Hat tip to Original Content for the link.
May looks to be a month stuffed with all kinds of fun, games, blog blasts, contests, fluffy bunnies and chickies and ...vampires. Don't forget it's also National Independent Bookseller Month -- if you haven't dropped off the name of your favorite Indie to the ladies at Shrinking Violets, DO SO NOW!