Skip to main content

Book Review: The Lost Kingdom

What if colonial America used steam punk technology to discover the lost Welsh Indians? Matthew Kirby takes that giant leap in his historical fiction novel for young adults, The Lost Kingdom.

Just prior to the outbreak of the French and Indian War, Benjamin Franklin sends several members of the American Philosophical Society on an unlikely adventure. Tasked with discovering a lost tribe of Welsh speaking Indians and the descendants of
Madoc, these scientists explore the wild frontier along the Ohio River.

As a Hoosier, I'm familiar with our state's early history, but little before the revolutionary war. As I read about their journey, I would often go to Google Maps trying to locate their position but the book gives few clues to specific sites. A few arcane animals are also mentioned, requiring another web search. These magnificent creatures are currently extinct, but in Kirby's alternate reality some remain.

One of the major themes throughout is the tension between a father and son who see the world through different perspectives. Some readers may be offended by the father's prejudices and disappointed with a lack of resolution to the issue. I suggest teachers and parents use it as a springboard for discussion about how we form opinions about different cultures and ethnic groups.

Overall the book read well with only slight inferences to romantic stirrings and a single use of an exclamation that appeals to a deity. At times I had trouble keeping the characters organized in my mind as each is distinct but not always distinguishable. The book was given to me by a couple students at last year's Scholastic Book Fair and I am happy to give it a home on my personal bookshelf.

Popular posts from this blog

Classcraft Interactive Notebook Page

Finished crafting interactive notebook pages for Classcraft, an engaging classroom management tool.

This fall I plan to add interactive notebooks to my classroom procedures. The goal is to provide students with something tangible to take home at the end of the semester. So that means creating or borrowing resources to guide students in developing their notebook.

Classcraft is a classroom management tool, an elaborate punishments and reward system designed like an epic role play game. Students create avatars and can upgrade pets and outfits based on experience and gold points earned. They can also lose points and suffer minor penalties. Everything is done in a fun, game like environment.

The computer lab is already divided into five or six stations, which lends itself easily to guilds or teams of students who work together in the game. I want students to develop their own backstory and choose their characters for the good of the group. I also need students to keep their login info some…

Easy Offline Lesson Plans

My lesson was on search engines, but the Internet was down. Learn how to have great offline backup plans.

So I had a room full of fifth grade students with a lesson plan on search engines. We were going to compare search results from different engines. We were going to learn how to refine our searches. We were not going anywhere because the Internet connection had gone down.

So I quickly checked with the librarian and moved my lesson offline. We selected books from the reference cart: dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedias and records books. I then gave students the same search queries from the lesson. We still compared results and discussed why some sources provided better results. We even contemplated if other libraries would have better selections or unique resources.

The trick to any offline lesson plan is understanding what concepts digital tools are built upon. Digital search is still the search for and analysis of information. For centuries, people have dug through catalogs of i…

Create A Custom Mobile Experience with Microsoft PowerApps

I recently dabbled with Microsoft PowerApps, creating a custom mobile experience for my own data collection process. PowerApps comes packaged with our Office 365 tenant so there was no additional cost. Overall it was fairly straightforward and easy to get up and running quickly.

Like so many things, the actual interface was quick to construct, most of it pulling from templates. Where most people will struggle is in the construction of the data management tools behind the app. I already had a working Excel spreadsheet for collecting data so that part was already done.

PowerApps quickly pulled together a mobile experience where I could sort, filter and search through spreadsheet data. I can also create additional lines in the spreadsheet using mobile form fields. I liked being able to make two separate apps for different sheets in the same workbook, helping to keep my data organized.

Now I already had the same Excel spreadsheet pinned to the home screen of my Android phone. So the Powe…