This week, September 22 – 26, 2014 is ‘Banned Book Week’. There are so many reasons parents, administrators, educators and people in general fight to get books banned and out of the hands of young readers everywhere. This week is dedicated to celebrating the freedom to read according to American Library Association (ALA).
Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
What an honor that we are able to read the books we choose and have the freedom that we can share with others. Whether you read a printed book or and an electronic version, it is exciting that we have this opportunity every day. There is a proclamation you can take to your local library listed on this webpage: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/proclamation.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) does not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges. Research suggests that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported. In addition, OIF has only been collecting data about banned books since 1990, so we do not have any lists of frequently challenged books or authors before that date.
Have you read any of the humorous ‘Captain Underpants’ books by Dave Pilkey. There have been efforts and challenges to ban his books. He created this video below.
Celebrate this week and share with your students that not everyone has this freedom! Please share what you are doing in your classroom or library to celebrate ‘Banned Books Weeks’.
I am so excited to finally announce my book will be released shortly. You can order it from Visions at http://www.toolsforteachers.com/kim-caise! After months of writing, editing, and reviewing it is finally finished!
The book is based on learning activities and tools that you can use in mystery adventure quests along with sample activities and tools to use in the mystery adventure quests you design for your students. You can click here for a full description of the book. The book takes quests and scavenger hunts to the next level and can make them content based with technology integrated. The book is applicable to all educators, administrators and parents – parents you weren’t left out! This is a great start to gamification learning activities for everyone that works with children so check it out!
With the domestic violence incidences in the news lately, I wanted to share an app created by Dr. Phil McGraw’s wife called The Aspire News App. The app is part of ‘The Aspire Initiative‘ created to help those directly or indirectly affected by domestic violence. The app is disguised to look like a regular app in case someone is using the app but doesn’t want the want the abuser to know about the app or that it is being used. The icon doesn’t indicate that is has anything to do with domestic violence to protect the user as well. There are many safeguards in place to safely use the app without notifying one’s abuser.
A description of the app is as follows:
Additionally, if someone you know is in an abusive relationship—or if that someone is you—the Help Section of the application contains resources for victims of domestic violence.
This app does not serve as a replacement for emergency services—in any situation where you feel that you may be at risk, please dial 911 or your local emergency number.
The app can be downloaded at https://www.whengeorgiasmiled.org/the-aspire-news-app/#.VBtMAeeryVo. You can also download from the iTunes Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aspire-news/id733163167?mt=8.
Some of the features include:
- Tap top of the screen 3x to inform selected individuals and notify them you need help and need them to show up
- Find local shelters quickly
- Learn about domestic violence. Many don’t feel they are in an abusive relationship or want to face the danger they are in.
- Many more features to help keep you safe and informed.
You can view information about the app on Dr.Phil.com, on the ‘When Georgia Smiles’ website (Georgia was Dr. Phil’s wife’s name) and the iTunes store. The actual app is called ‘The Aspire News App’. The app has features that can literally save one’s life. There is curriculum associated at the app’s website that is acceptable for tweens, teens, and adults and comes with information in Spanish as well. There is no age that is immune to domestic violence and physical abuse in romantic relationships.
Apple recently released a complete guide book of all the new features of iOS 8 for the iPhone 6 and older devices. iTunes describes the book as,
Here’s everything you need to know about iPhone, in a handy digital format. Get to know iPhone and discover all the amazing things it can do, and how to do them. It’s the definitive guide for getting the most from your new iPhone, straight from Apple. The iPhone User Guide covers iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, and iPhone 4s. It’s an essential part of any iBooks library.
You can download the guide from iTunes here. The book can be read on a Mac desktop/laptop or any iOS device. Beware that there is a rumor there is already a bug in the iOS. I still downloaded it because I am excited about the new features. I am currently in the process of downloading as the first time through the download failed saying it lost its connection. We will see if it works for me!
I have been doing a great deal of research on gamification, using technology in the classroom with students and providing quality training for teachers. In order to implement current trends and initiatives with various technology hardware and software, teachers need training and time to practice using the technology with support. Teachers need to debrief and discuss their experiences and have support personnel to walk them through the process This has become evident and research confirms this.
On September 10th, 2014, a report titled, “Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning” released by the Alliance for Excellent Education, confirms the significant results that using technology makes a difference and greatly reaches and appeals to the at-risk student population. This coupled with quality teachers that have attended professional development that is meaningful and relevant to the technology integration initiatives teachers are asked to implement will make a dramatic improvement and difference in student achievement.
Without technology access, student performance is significantly hindered. The Pew Internet report indicates that teens use their mobile devices and/or cell phones to access the internet more than any other piece of technology hardware. Allowing cell phone usage in the classroom alleviates the lack of technology equipment including bandwidth overload.
The key to success is creating learning activities that are engaging, challenging and support content. Gamification is one strategy that meets all of those conditions and continues to teach content if the game is developed and structured so that there is repetitive learning, immediate feedback and rewards and consequences for learning attempts. Games like Angry Birds are very effective at developing problem solving but there are content games that support every content area and level. It just takes a bit of research to find what fits best with your content, equipment and teaching style. And then we come full circle back to the need for quality professional development to implement engaging and interactive content learning activities.
“We Give Books” is a new initiative that I came across that is dedicated to helping foster a love for reading and lifelong learning.
We Give Books is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online.
We Give Books combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others, providing a platform for caregivers and educators to inspire children to become lifelong readers and lifelong givers.
We Give Books also helps some of the world’s best, most inspiring, literacy organizations by spreading the word about their great work and by providing books to the young people these organizations support.
This initiatives helps identify quality books, helps put books in the hands of children and provides quality resources for educators to use in the classroom.
We are dedicated to delivering award-winning books empowering you to read and share beautiful stories with children in your life. With age-appropriate content for young readers, our goal is to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Books are right at the heart of this program—books for reading and books for giving!
All of the books available for online reading are children’s picture books appropriate for children through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, a range of authors, and an equal balance between read-alouds and books for independent readers. We’ll be adding news books every month, together with special seasonal offerings.
The We Give Books team works up front with each non-profit literacy partner to identify the kinds of children’s books that best fit their program needs. Some of the same great books you can read online will be donated to our charity partners through your reading efforts. We also donate others they request specifically for the young people they serve.
Check out the site and see how you can help this valiant effort to further the love of reading!
Whether you’re passionate about game-based learning or just getting your toes wet, Gaming in Ed celebrates the value that games offer in educational settings: a safe environment for taking on new roles, opportunities for creative problem solving and experimenting, and learning from failure. When done well, games can foster collaboration, strengthen critical and systems thinking, pose adaptive challenges, and spark inquiry. With guidance from educators, students aren’t just players, but critical evaluators of games and game designers themselves.
This conference offers a variety of perspectives, from educators and game developers to researchers and administrators. Our goal is to have you walk away with practical information and inspiration for furthering game-based learning in class and beyond.
To attend the sessions, visit this page to see the sessions in your time zone. I have become enamored with this topic and am so excited to see the conference sessions this week talking about gamification. Join the sessions and let me know what you think of the conference!
Scholastic and Kellogg’s have joined forces to foster a love for reading and supplying families with free books. I received an email with a kid to get a free book and the first person to leave a comment below can have the free code to receive a complimentary book from Scholastic. You need three codes from inside the cereal boxes and then you can request a free book to keep or donate.
I applaud their efforts and hope an educator or parents receives the code the opportunity to get get a free book for a needy child who may not have many books of their own. I can remember when we would give away books that were no longer being used in the library and we would give every kid one book. For some students that was the only book they personally owned and many treasured the old book that was no longer in adoption, print, or whatever reason the book was being pulled from the shelf and replaced with a newer copy. I hope more libraries do that but with so many new schools being built the older books aren’t in circulation anymore.
We used to do the same with textbooks and as an aspiring teacher in elementary school I used to love to have old textbooks that were out of adoption. As a teacher I would keep a class set and have students do the old ‘drill n kill’ problems that I could fax over lesson plans when I was ill and needed a sub.
Regardless leave a comment below and I will send you the code. Everyone loves a crisp new book of their own!
The National Board for Professional Standards that certifies national board certified teachers is looking for teachers to field test some of the future official tests candidates for certification will take. I received an email from my NBCT network.
The email states,
As part of the National Board’s ongoing revision of the certification process, we need to recruit thousands of PreK-12th grade teachers to participate in field tests over the next three years. To meet our targets for validity, we are in great need of Art, Physical Education, Physics, Social Studies, Counseling, English as a New Language, and Exceptional Needs teachers to volunteer for the field tests.Teachers need not be board-certified to participate.
The field tests offer candidates a chance to “test drive” the various components that make up certification at no cost and no risk. While there is no compensation or scores given, we are offering some incentives for teachers who complete the field tests. We would greatly appreciate your help in ensuring we recruit the required number of teachers for this Content Knowledge component in particular. The remaining components will be field tested over the next two years.
The testing window for the second part of the Content Knowledge field tests has begun and will continue through October 13, with various windows depending on the certificate areas. More information, including a link to the field test application, is available here. Would you consider forwarding this email to teachers in the certificate areas I listed? I would greatly appreciate it.
You don’t need to be a national board certified teacher (NBCT) but if you participate you will receive
As a token of our thanks, field test participants will be eligible to receive
- CEUs – bUp to two Continuing Education Units
- Recognition – A letter of commendation from the National Board
- Gift cards – Up to $50 in either Amazon or Powell’s Books, $25 upon successful completion of each online testing appointment
Join me in helping shape the future of the national board certification process!