#TestingTheIce Giveaway in honor of Black History Month

We began this month writing about Black History Month…and what a great way to end it: a Twitter giveaway for Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson written by his daughter Sharon Robinson and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Want to learn more about the book? Check out Kid Reporter Liam Childer’s review here. You can also read an interview with award-winning illustrator Kadir Nelson here. Five people will win this beautiful book…here’s how you play #TestingTheIce:

1. Follow @Scholastic on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Scholastic.

2. Tweet @Scholastic with the hashtag #TestingTheIce and tell us one person in African-American history whom you admire.

3. We’ll enter you into the giveaway with each hashtag #TestingTheIce you tweet between 10 a.m. ET 2/26/2010 and 5 p.m. ET 2/26/2010.

4. We’ll select and announce 5 random winners on 2/26/2010, around 6 p.m. ET. Winners will win Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson.

Be sure to follow @Scholastic on Twitter so we can Direct Message you if you’re one of the lucky winners!

If you would like to test your luck to possibly win Testing the Ice, check out the full legal rules here. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY


Future journalists as ‘critical thinkers and critical readers’

I heard something really smart the other day at an event put on by Mashable called The Future Journalist.

(As a PR guy and former journalist I tend to go to stuff like this…)

The two speakers — a Columbia Journalism School professor named Sree Sreenivasan, and one of his digital media students, Vadim Lavrusik — were talking about the essential skills future journalists will need to be successful.

One thing they emphasized (besides stuff like social media skills, business acumen and a knack for storytelling) was the importance of “critical thinking and critical reading” skills.

With smaller, nimbler editorial staffs, media organizations are going to need journalists that can write authoritatively on a vast array of topics — covering foreclosures one day and H1N1 the next. The days of the specialized “beat” may be numbered, they said.

“If you can understand the world and read beyond what your specific niche area of interest is, I think that is going to be absolutely critical in the years ahead,” Sreenivasan said.

“You never know when you’re going to be thrown onto a story,” Lavrusik said. “You’re going to be thrown on subject areas you might not be familiar with, and becoming a critical thinker becomes really important.”

My hunch is it’s not just journalists who will need skills like this. 😉

(Video replay of the Future Journalist event here)

(Flickr photo by sskennel)

Previously On Our Minds:

*Video: Chris Dede and Michael Geisen on collaboration, inquiry, and more
*Video: Milton Chen on learning in the 21st Century
*The decade’s 10 big ideas in education

Scope it out!

Today’s guest post is from Kristin Lewis Senior Editor of Scope, a language arts publication for 6th-10th graders. But we call it THE “reading, writing and reality magazine for teens.” What’s the special occasion? Why the launch of Scope’s Facebook fan page, of course! But I’ll let Kristin tell you all about it…

Exciting news! We—the editors of Scope magazine—have just ventured into the social media universe with our very own fan page on Facebook! We want to get to know the language-arts teachers who use our magazine and we want them to get to know us. We also want to give teachers some “extras” to make their jobs a little bit easier and, well, more fun! That’s why we’ll be offering FB-exclusive weekly writing prompts, editorial recommendations, quizzes, and opportunities for teachers to tell us what they’re thinking.

As I went through Scope’s archive in search of vintage covers to add to our fan page (fun fact: Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson started Scope more than 40 years ago!), I had a chance to think about Scope and its place in literacy education today.

Naturally, this sent me flying through my own school memories. I landed in the third grade when my teacher, Mrs. Carlson, gave me a book that changed my life: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The imaginative narrative fired up my love of reading, and I was captivated by that story like nothing else before it. When I reached the last page, I was so upset the story was over that I decided to write a sequel—the book made me want to write. (Good move, Mrs. Carlson!)

Today, Scope, like so many educators across the nation, has a lot more to compete with in the 21st century than my teacher Mrs. Carlson did: video games, the Internet, text messaging, You Tube—the list goes on. At Scope, our job is to meet these teens where they are, and then inspire them to dig deeper, go further, and reach higher. That’s why we’re making a few changes in the way we deliver content.

Next year, among the many exciting features we’ll be offering are power points on our website, dynamic interactive whiteboard activities and anchor videos—all to help the pages of Scope engage student readers. We will continue to provide 10+ free skills-based online worksheets per issue, as well as read-aloud plays adapted from classic novels and new movies. (This year we did such on-screen hits as Invictus and The Blind Side! We will also offer a steady diet of stimulating debates, juicy nonfiction excerpts, and vocabulary-building exercises. And our step-by-step writing articles make crafting a thesis statement or formulating the perfect haiku a friendly and empowering experience.

My wish is for all students to have the life-long love affair with language that I’m having, to experience through reading and writing the magic that can happen in one’s imagination. At Scope magazine, I like to think we’re helping to sustain that passion. We hope you’ll stop by our fan page and say hello, have a look around, and stay awhile!

—Previously On Our Minds:

* What magazine got you started?
* 5 Questions with Scholastic media maven Marie Morreale
* MATH Magazine editor takes on The Times

You’re Invited! Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Present the Largest-Ever Teacher Survey

Our offices are buzzing with excitement, because today we can share some major news with you: on March 3rd at 10 a.m. ET, Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be releasing the results of Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools,” what is believed to be the largest-ever survey of America’s public school teachers.

We asked. Teachers answered. And now you can hear what they said.

We hope that you will join us on March 3 for a live webcast presentation of the findings, moderated by Harry Smith of CBS’s The Early Show and featuring:

  • Vicki Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Margery Mayer, President, Scholastic Education, Scholastic Inc.
  • And a panel of teachers from America’s public schools.

Click the invite below, or visit www.scholastic.com/primarysources to register.

Primary Sources

Add Event to your OUTLOOK or iCAL

Previously On Our Minds:

* The Decade’s 10 Big Ideas in Education
* Are Teachers Becoming More Digital?
* No Reader Left Behind

5 Questions with Stephanie Wong: Klutz at Toy Fair (Part 2 of 2)

The Klutz publishing mission is to “create wonderful things, be good, have fun.” And what a wonderful mission! As you may recall, last weekend was the International Toy Fair in New York City, where Klutz shared some of the products from their mission with all Toy Fair attendees. Our friends at Klutz (who always know how to have a good time) not only attended Toy Fair, but they exhibited some of their best books as well – not to mention their booth was no small “feet”!

So, for those of us who didn’t get to attend Toy Fair in person, our friends at Klutz promised us a video tour nonetheless! And to show us what some of the hottest items are from Klutz this season, I present to you… Samantha Wolfert interviewing Klutz rep. Stephanie Wong. Take it away, ladies!

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYHH4jIA%5D

Don’t forget to join the Klutz Facebook community by becoming a fan today!

Previously On Our Minds:

* Giveaway: Are you a fashion Klutz? (Part 1 of 2)
* 5 Questions with Rachel VanDeVoorde, Manager of The Scholastic Store (SoHo)
* What kinds of books do boys like?

Wicked: Awesome.

I am from Rhode Island, originally, and there are a few little things in my vocabulary that utterly out me as a New Englander. Periodically, I drop the “r” on words, I refer to milkshakes as “cabinets” (a purely-Rhode Island thing) and, yes, I refer to things as “wicked awesome.”

I’m also a history buff. So, I considered it my very lucky day when, a year or so ago, I had the chance to work on the launch of a new non-fiction series for teens from the Scholastic Classroom & Library Group, A Wicked History–A series exposes the truth about tyrants who twisted the course of history. In the months since it’s launch, the series has covered Ivan the Terrible, Mary Tudor, Robespierre, Vlad the Impaler and others…all horrifying historical figures. All pre-20th Century.

But, as we all know, horrible historical figures didn’t die out when the 20th Century began. And so, Scholastic has added four 20th Century villains to the series–Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Idi Amin.

The series is perfect for reluctant teen readers who are interested in the tyrants who twisted the course of history. They include maps, photos and primary source documents…and their design is so cool–and those covers?! All designed by the fabulous Mark Summers!

The series is, in a word, awesome. And in two words for this Rhode Islander who has a penchant for history, wicked awesome.

Previously On Our Minds:

* The Wall Street Journal Talks Boys & Reading
* On Our Minds: Bookpiles!

Video: Chris Dede and Michael Geisen on collaboration, inquiry, and more

Expert Talk video highlights:

Scholastic hosted another “Expert Talk” last week, the second in a series of live webcasts with educators, school leaders and academics who share ideas on how schools can better prepare students for this fast-changing world.

Last week’s talk focused on the science curriculum, with Chris Dede of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and Michael Geisen, a middle school science teacher and former National Teacher of the Year, as guests — and award-winning journalist John Hockenberry as moderator.

In case you missed this fantastic conversation, you can watch it in its entirety here, or see some video highlights below.