Comics are fun (and educational)!

I’ve seen several stories pop up in the news in the last couple of months about comic books and their value as a teaching tool.

Here’s a great one from a small newspaper in southern Illinois. This line from the story really captures what’s happening out there, and echoes my opinions on reading in the 21st Century:

“Before anybody explodes about kids reading comic books when they’re supposed to be doing quadratic equations or studying Shakespeare, know that comic books have changed, and so has reading.”

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Is tech good for kids?

On the heels of yesterday’s post, here’s a story from the San Jose Mercury News called “Is Tech Good For Kids?” The article presents answers that range from “technology can take up an extraordinary amount of time” to “it’s myopic not to get kids into it as soon as they’re interested.” Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital in Boston, suggests the ever-elusive balance:

Parents should not get so seduced by bells and whistles of technology to think that a laptop is better for (their kids) than playing in the sandbox, because it’s not. It’s just a different experience and should be placed in context with all the other experiences that are necessary for a healthy balanced life.
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Who are you on the Web?

I know I’m not the only one today who’s blogged about the Washington Post story about young teachers and some of their inappropriate Facebook/online personas. (Ironic that it should appear on the same day as the Miley Cyrus in Vanity Fair “controversy.” Will the real adults please stand up?)

On its face(book), the answer seems obvious: don’t do stupid stuff, take pictures of it and then post it on the Web. Someone will find it. Someone will always find it. But this story (which won’t be the last) raises another question. How you can you be on the Web?

‘Practice Makes Perfect’

As we’ve mentioned, it’s All-Star time at Scholastic…when we name 9 kids around the country READ 180 All-Stars. These are all kids who have struggled with reading their whole lives. Before this year, many of them have never read a book. One of these kids is Michael Hale, an 8th grader from just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

A Nashville Public Radio reporter, Blake Farmer, went out and spent some time with Michael and his teacher, Laura Lipinski, this week–and produced a terrific segment that perfectly captures the emotions of kids who struggle to read and the fantastic teachers who help to teach them.

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Some thoughts on using Twitter in the classroom

I recently caught the Twitter bug, as various people who know me (or follow me) might have noticed. (If you don’t know what Twitter is, check out this video posted on YouTube.)

And since I think about schools and education and technology on a daily basis here at Scholastic, it’s only natural, then, that I should wonder whether Twitter can be useful in the classroom.
So I did what every good Twitterer does in a situation like this. I sent a tweet out to the Twittersphere asking for help. Not many people follow me out there (yet) so I didn’t expect much, but I got one reply from a woman in Toronto named Sarah McQuillen, who gave me my first clue.Thanks, Sarah.

Looking for natural moments

We talked about libraries a lot last week— we love ’em, but we love the Earth too. So, in the interest of Earth Day every day, check out this mangrove exploration by New York Times Science writer Andrew Revkin and his intrepid videographer (and 10 year-old son) Jack. (btw, that’s not Jack in the photo, but another adventurous soul.)

Do you know other kids that are exploring nature and then sharing their discoveries online? We’ve already introduced you to Enzo, but we welcome any other finds.

Earth Day by the Numbers

In honor of Earth Day, some fascinating facts:

38 – Number of years since the first US nationwide Earth Day rally

20,000,000 – Number of people estimated to have taken part in the first Earth Day

1,000,000,000 – The number of people expected to take part in Earth Day events worldwide

1,500 – Distance in miles the average dinner travels from field to fork

46 – Number of comic strip authors who banded together today to tell the world that climate change is no joke

6,250,000 – Number of websites that are returned from a Google search on “Earth Day”

7 – Number of tons of paper and cardboard recycled by students in the High School Life Skills Class at Erie II BOCES School in Angola, New York.

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