Monthly Archives: March 2014

Happy 25th, Internet!

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Internet. It is mind-boggling to think how far we’ve progressed in terms of technology and communication. The internet has changed not only our daily lives, but that of the entire world. It has made us all global citizens and connected us forever.
But, it is still fun to look back and see when this thing called “the Internet” first came into our vernacular. The above video clip shows Katie Couric and her co-hosts discussing the Internet–or at least trying to! My favorite part is when they can’t figure out what the ‘@’ symbol is exactly. This clip makes me think about what might seem strange to people looking back on us in twenty years.
I remember getting my first computer when I was ten years old–it was this big clunky thing–but I was so excited. We had AOL as our service provider and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the dial tone sound of the computer ATTEMPTING to connect. But, when I did hear the “you’ve got mail” welcome message, I would be elated. Looking back at this phase of technology in my life is comical now, but back then, it was the best computers had to offer to our everyday lives.
Technology truly changes the way we do EVERYTHING and it will be interesting to see just how much more it will all evolve in the future.

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March 14, 2014 · 9:11 am

All Abuzz for Divergent

In the student book club I run at my job, the students requested that we read Divergent, by Veronica Roth, this month, in time for the movie’s release on the 21st. Even though I obliged, I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive at starting yet ANOTHER dystopian series. Don’t get me wrong–I ADORE young adult literature, but it just seems to become rather redundant with certain themes. But, as I started reading Divergent, I promised to keep an open mind–and I was soon sucked into Roth’s world.
Once again, there is a strong female protagonist who has to find her way in a challenging, futuristic world. It is rather fast-paced (it only took me two days to finish the book entirely) and it envelopes the reader immediately.
I think the major themes are what speak to its millions of readers! The idea of finding oneself, branching away from the ideals of your family, gaining confidence, being an outsider, defending your beliefs, and of course, falling in love, are all things that speak to the adolescent reader (and older readers as well)!
I already started continuing the trilogy, and began reading Insurgent. The second book picks up at the same exact point where Divergent left off, so it is a smooth transition for readers. I am looking forward to seeing how Tris’ story will end. With other similar trilogies/series, I wasn’t always content with the conclusion, so only time will tell how Divergent ends for me.
And, in a couple weeks, I will be able to discuss the movie and book with my students. This is the first time we are going to have a ‘comparison discussion,’ so it will be fun to hear everyone’s opinions. Passionate readers tend to get very defensive about movie versions of books they adore (myself included), so I expect a heated debate in the near future.
What do you think of the series? (No spoilers please!) Are you a fan…?

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March 13, 2014 · 11:23 am

Changes to Standardized Testing

Working in a school in New Jersey this year has been quite stressful in terms of overcoming many changes and shifts in everything education-related.  There is an entirely new observation system, SGO requirements, and the biggest challenge of all:  new standardized testing.  PARCC is being introduced to our schools next year and it has many students and staff worried.  And, as if this isn’t enough to worry about, a new SAT format was announced yesterday.  

There is a complete overhaul in its format–everything from its scoring to its writing section is going to be vastly different come Spring of 2016.  However, to make all of these transitions a bit easier is the fact that the upcoming PARCC exam and the new SAT have many similarities in nature.  They are both going to have a bigger focus on nonfiction text and asking students to choose excerpts from the text to support their answers.  These expectations make literacy an even bigger hot button now.

Our students have to be ready in every way to tackle all of these changes–and it is up to educators to prepare them. 

 

The New York Times has a wonderful article explaining the new SAT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/education/major-changes-in-sat-announced-by-college-board.html?emc=edit_na_20140305&_r=0

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