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Showing posts from June, 2016

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…

Book Review: Surfacing

Add Surfacing by Mark Magro to your summer reading list. It's a good book for middle school with no language, romance that progresses no farther than a kiss and most violence is against giant bugs and robots. The story is filled with classic sci-fi elements, including the plot twist at the end. 
Speaking of plot, the basic premise is similar to City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. Global catastrophe has sent scientists underground where they work to rebuild humanity. Balt is bright and has a sense that something isn't right, but only after he meets Zoe and her mysterious past is he compelled to action. Balt's sidekick AI (who only received a head) adds both humor and wit to the daring duo's attempt to reach the surface.

I'm not a fan of the two person, alternating narrator but both viewpoints advance the story rather than rehash the same events from different perspectives. There is enough sense of mystery, intrigue and suspense to keep the reader moving. Published Octo…

Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a sociological science fiction tale about a young boy struggling to beat the odds and win a military style game. As an illegal third child, Ender is both unwanted and possesses unusual talents that aid his efforts.

The narrative follows Ender's journey through military training both on Earth and off world. Chapters begin with a dialogue between two observers to Ender's condition. While intriguing, these characters are not really developed and only demonstrate that there are greater forces on Ender's life than he can comprehend.

Halfway through Card's military science fiction novel, I wondered if the impending alien invasion was even a possibility. When the story finally resolved, it felt hollow and preachy.

I was surprised that Common Sense Media recommends Ender's Game for middle school readers. The language and brutal conflicts are at times disturbing. A thought provoking story for older readers, the character conflicts rem…