Saturday, May 7, 2016

Book Review: Unravel

Unravel describes both the title and my interest in this series.

The first book Linked was a teen space chase that spent large amounts of time exploring the emotional and psychological connection between long lost twins. This sequel by Imogen Howson picks up when the twins return to their home planet.

Naively these teenage girls think they can walk into a galactic social crisis and fix everything. But affections for a boy and hurt feelings towards each other become the greatest obstacle they must overcome.

Where the first book dealt with feelings of affection, the second becomes more graphic in displays of affection. As if to emphasize the character's maturity, the swearing increases as well.

Where the first book could have been a young adult sci-fi romance, the second becomes an unabashed romance novel simply set on another planet. I was glad to finally finish the book and occasionally considered leaving it unfinished.

Howson writes for both young adult and the adult market. Parents should be aware that the distinctions between the two categories may be occasionally blurred.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NBC Teams Up with DOE to Provide Video Resources

The Indiana Department of Education has announced a partnership with NBC to include NBC Learn in the digital resources they provide to Indiana educators. Teachers can create a free account and access thousands of resources aligned to state standards.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Curate Classroom Content Infographic

Graphic illustration reminding teachers who manages classroom content.

As a private K-8 school, we are more vigilant about the type of content students are accessing than a public high school or college. We want to protect our students from improper web, photo and video search results. This means that teachers should not allow students to conduct open ended search queries on the Internet.

While the Internet is overflowing with quality resources, as elementary and middle school teachers we are responsible for teaching students HOW to discern quality content. We do not ask a seven year old to read War and Peace or use sharp scissors, so why would we expect them to wisely wander the Internet?

Of course this makes researching a bit trickier. Teachers need to provide students with a specific set or range of websites that students can use. How this bookmark list is provided to students will be covered in another infographic.

Elementary and middle school teachers should focus on developing students' content discernment skills. I suggest including a couple poor content sites (but not inappropriate) in any bookmarked list. It is easier for children to sort and categorize the quality of eight to ten web sites than half a million search engine results.

As part of my computer curriculum, we learn Internet search skills. Every time we use a browser, I remind students that the Internet is a public place. Just like when the class goes on a field trip we stick together and do not go wandering off. They are also reminded that they should never browse the Internet without a parent's permission.