In Our Feeds: Teacher pay, apps, protests, textbook-less schools

Every Friday, we share a handful of links we found interesting, provocative, funny — or just plain cool. We call it In Our Feeds. Have a good weekend!

An interesting look at a textbook-less school in Manhattan, and how not every child is as “native” to digital technologies as we sometimes assume. (Gotham Schools)

Great study about how being connected online is helping young people become more engaged citizens, and the criticality of media literacy (ReadWriteWeb)

Is it ok that kids play with the iPad/apps all day if they teach creative thinking and other skills? (

How the (reductive) images of teachers in popular culture (especially literature) are being confounded by the protests in Wisconsin. (Forbes “Booked” blog)

An interesting theory on how teachers should be paid is circulating on Facebook. (The Answer Sheet — Washington Post)

(Photo credit: Flickr photo by scobleizer)


Oscar winners, they’re readers like us!

Image via D'Arcy Norman

The Academy Awards are often described as “Hollywood’s Biggest Night,” and for good reason. The glitz, the glamour, the golden statues! And Oscar winners tend to have certain things in common: dedication to their craft, audience support, talented stylists, and a love of reading. Yup, a love of reading. A bold statement, I know, but if you’ve visited You Are What You Read recently, you may have noticed that many of our Names You Know (178 and counting!) are also past Oscar winners and nominees. And since so many movies these days are based on books, is it really any surprise that the most talented people in Hollywood know their way around a library?

If you’ll be watching the Oscars this Sunday night, make sure to follow @Scholastic on Twitter, because we’ll be live-tweeting the ceremony and testing your You Are What You Read/Oscar knowledge.

And since the OOM team has the Oscars and You Are What You Read on the brain, it got us thinking – we blog often about the books that were influential in our lives, but what about the movies that a difference? The ones we loved, that we grew up with, that we watched over and over again? And so, we’re sharing our “movieprints” here, and we hope you’ll share yours in the comments. Continue reading Oscar winners, they’re readers like us!

Some Things Never Translate: A “My Bookprint” post

Much like my fellow OOMers, I also had a difficult time putting together my Bookprint. At first, there were too many great titles that I wanted to include. Then after I selected five, I started picking them apart and finding faults: “This book isn’t intellectual enough! I know I loved this book, but I don’t remember every last detail of it so it can’t be in my Bookprint, right?”

Finally, I decided to just go with it. The way I  see it, my Bookprint will likely change again. That’s the beauty of it though — the more you read, the more your mind is stretched to places you never thought it would go. Continue reading Some Things Never Translate: A “My Bookprint” post

Which 5 books influenced Lisa Simpson? Our guess…

Fact: this isn’t the first time we’ve blogged about The Simpsons on OOM.

This time, I’m singling out eight-year-old Lisa, who is the obvious misfit of the family. I mean, if you were to be associated with one character in The Simpsons, wouldn’t you pick Lisa? She may be slightly overachieving, but she’s undeniably smart, mature beyond her years, musically gifted and more curious than Jack. I know each of us OOMers have a little “Lisa” in our soul. So imagine how psyched we were when Amanda found The Lisa Simpson Book Club tumblr! Continue reading Which 5 books influenced Lisa Simpson? Our guess…

Calling all Pilkey fans…it’s a BIG cover reveal (with video!)

Tracy van Straaten, our VP of Trade Publicity, stopped by OOM to reveal some amazing news…take it away, Tracy!

Something exciting happened last night, and Dav Pilkey fans, this one’s for you: the long-awaited sequel to the bestselling novel Super Diaper Baby is almost here, and the SUPER sneak preview of the book’s cover was revealed!

Super Diaper Baby 2: Invasion of the Potty Snatchers by George Beard and Harold Hutchins (the fourth grade creators of Captain Underpants) will be published on June 28, 2011­­—just in time for summer reading! But that’s not all…Dav Pilkey created an awesome video showing exactly how he created the book — in a breathtaking, dizzying two and a half minutes!

Continue reading Calling all Pilkey fans…it’s a BIG cover reveal (with video!)

Warp Speed Ahead with Lisa Yee!

We’ve talked about bullying here on OOM before. It’s a subject that no parent, teacher or student wants to have to deal with but from my experience in The Scholastic Store, they almost certainly will! I have parents and teachers ask for books to help both bullies and the bullied. Morgan’s post earlier in January gave some great recommendations. Among them is a new book Warp Speed by Lisa Yee. It was featured last week in the L.A. Times and another review says “Yee has a real gift for writing about the pain and absurdity of middle school with a gentle, low-key sense of humor.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. Warp Speed blends the seriousness of the issue of bullying with the levity you’d expect if you’ve read any of Lisa’s other books. What results is a story that promotes understanding on all sides and makes you laugh a bit along the way. Continue reading Warp Speed Ahead with Lisa Yee!

To teachers who want to blog: “Be smart. Be respectful. Be human.”

You might have read the news about the high school English teacher whose controversial blog post about her students got her suspended from her job.

Apparently she was surprised when people in the school community discovered the post in which she ranted about her students, writing things like “I hate your kid” and “I hear the trash company is hiring” and called her students “utterly loathsome” and “lazy whiners.”

What’s followed is a frenzy of news stories and blog posts asking such questions as: Should teachers be allowed to blog? Doesn’t the First Amendment give her the right to say whatever she wants on her blog?

The answers to both questions are easy: yes and yes. But both of these questions miss the point of what’s really at issue here.

Teachers have every right to blog, and I would argue that they SHOULD blog — to share what’s working and not working in their classrooms, to join a community and find support from other educators, and to document the realities of what’s happening inside our schools.

The issue this raises for me is about professionalism, not about the First Amendment. Would that teacher ever have gotten up on a stage in front of hundreds of people and said the same things she did on her blog? I doubt it. She has the First Amendment right to do so, but that doesn’t make it right.

Best Buy says something really simple and powerful in the subhead of the social media guidelines it requires every one of its employees to adhere to:

“Be smart. Be respectful. Be human.”

What kind of guidelines do you set for yourself when you blog, tweet or post on Facebook?

(Photo credit: Flickr photo by Matt McGee)