CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF ALBANY ter l te ch Newslet Instructiona Volume 11 Issue 7 March/April 2012Spring Happenings May 15– continuing Inside this issue:For the next fewTuesdays we will be PBL projects. You can email her at World War I 2working on how to Reading is good for you 3,5,6get something set up If you would like to spa- Using Polling 4for Project Based attend please just let email@example.com Storybird 4Learning. us know. There is always room for oneHere is a brief sched- more!ule in case youwould like to join us. Just let us know youApril 17– Setting up are coming as we al-a project ways have food. Just drop us an email.May1– Weebly Sandy is located at Abrookin now inMay 8– Finishing Room A09 which isWeebly Pages where support group is held.InstagrokThose who have good but for educa- os, and even quizzes. Iknown me a long tors I think I might think the potential for thetime can remember have found its re- classroom and students iswhen Google came placement. I put in limitless! This is probablyout I thought it was terms like American my new favorite!the greatest thing on Revolution, and I gotthe planet. It still is websites, facts, vide- http://www.instagrok.com/
PAGE 2 INSTRUCTIONAL TECH NEWSLETTER World war I Once again this section graphic site that had interactive get a detailed outline of the comes from your re- maps, outlines and other valua- event. This site may be good quests. I hope you find ble resources. for students who have to re- the links useful. The search a topic on World War I. http:// links run the gambit education.nationalgeographic.com/ http:// from those geared to- education/multimedia/interactive/ www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ ward younger students pearl-harbor/?ar_a=1 FWW.htm to those geared to high school students. The in- formation is useful for teachers across the PBS continues to have some of This is another comprehensive board. the best resources out there. site that would be useful for re- search. http://www.pbs.org/greatwar/ http:// The BBC site has great www.historylearningsite.co.uk/ clips and a perspective ww1.htm Causes of World War I that is worth taking a look at. http://www.historyonthenet.com/ WW1/causes.htm This site looks at the role of http://www.bbc.co.uk/ history/worldwars/wwone/ women in World War I. This site talks about the role of http://wiki.answers.com/Q/ African American soldiers in What_did_women_do_in_World_ BBC School is a site War_1 World War I. worth looking at. The site has an excellent sec- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ tion on true stories from aaohtml/exhibit/aopart7.html different perspectives. This site is definitely worth a look. At first glance this site doesn’t http://www.bbc.co.uk/ appear to have much. Howev- schools/worldwarone/ er, each link has a great deal of information. For example, if you click on chronology, a list of dates and topics comes up. Remembering Pearl Har- Once you click on the topic you bor is a National Geo-
VOLUME 11 ISSUE 7 PAGE 3 Your Brain on Books: 20 Proven Benefits of Being an Avid Reader http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2012/01/25 /tln_magiera1.html?prin t=1 B y J en n i e M ag i e r a http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/2012/04/09/your-brain-on-books-20-proven-benefits-of-being-an-avid-reader/For those of us who are avid readers, this is just fuel for our passion. However, the research supports what teachershave known all along, reading is good for you!Romantic types like to portray books as flights of fancy offering up imaginative escapes from everyday drudgeries ofwork, school, and the like. But literature, no matter the medium, holds some pretty amazing, scientifically analyzedperks right here on terra firma.Passionate readers generally enjoy more finely-tuned brains than those who prefer more passive (though not lesser)activities, so anyone hoping to improve their minds both psychologically and cognitively might want to think about tak-ing up the habit of regular reading. Enhances the sensesMerely reading a word reflecting a color or a scent immediately fires up the corresponding section of the brain, whichempathizes with written experiences as if they actually happened to the audience. Researchers believe this mightvery well help sharpen the social acumen needed to forge valuable relationships with others. Enables lifelong learningIn correlation with the previous perk, sensual stimulation makes it easier for aging brains to keep absorbing and pro-cessing new information over time. This occurs when the occipital-temporal cortex essentially overrides its own pro-gramming and adapts to better accommodate written language. Allows for better skill retentionAvid readers enjoy a heightened ability to retain their cognitive skills over their peers who simply prefer other media— even when exposed to lead for extended periods, as indicated by an article inNeurology. It serves as something ofa “shield” against mental decay, allowing the body to continue through the motions even when facing temporary orpermanent challenges. Improves creativityWhen educators at Obafemi Awolowo University incorporated education-themed comics and cartoons into primaryschool classrooms, they noted that the welding of pictures to words in a manner different than the usual picturebooks proved unexpectedly beneficial. Exposure to these oft-marginalized mediums actually nurtured within them ahealthy sense of creativity — a quality necessary for logical and abstract problem solving. Better verbal abilitiesOn the whole, readers tend to display more adroit verbal skills than those who are not as fond of books, though itmust be noted that this doesn’t inherently render them better communicators. Still, they do tend to sport higher vo-cabularies, which increase exponentially with the volume of literature consumed, and may discern context faster. Increases one’s stores of knowledgeAnne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich’s “What Reading Does for the Mind” also noted that heavy readers tendto display greater knowledge of how things work and who or what people were; once again, findings were proportion-ate to how much the students in question devoured in their literary diets. Nonfiction obviously tends to send morefacts down the hatch, though fiction certainly can hold its own in that department as well. Higher test scoresSome students obviously don’t perform well on tests despite their prodigious abilities, but in general, findings (such
CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF ALBANY Teacher Guide to Polling Since many of you are getting “clickers” for your class- room, this brief article seems appropriate.Community Technology Initiative However, within the article is an embedded 100 pageIf you would like to contact us: guide that outlines numerous ways you can use clickersSandy Paben and polling in your classroom. So, even if you don’t441‐5605 (cell) have access to clickers there are tools out there you canSpaben@albany.k12.ny.us use with your students. It talks about using Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, QuizEmer Geraghty Snack and other tools that can be incredibly useful in605-1229 the firstname.lastname@example.org http://edudemic.com/2012/04/the-teachers-guide-to-http://webhelp.albany.k12.ny.us/Instructional polling-in-the-classroom/ Storybird There is also the option of in- This is a site that could be used viting a collaborator. So, if youby almost any age group. Stu- want students to work togeth-dents can write their own sto- er it would be a perfect option.ries or read one of the many,many public stories. There are also options to pub- lish, print and reading list.There are many prompts wewould call story prompts. There It is so easy and the possibilitiesare pictures that you can use are endless!that are pre-loaded. There arealso themes you can choosefrom as a way to start. http://storybird.com/To start it’s as easy as draggingand dropping pictures onto thework space.
as those offered by the National Endowment for the Arts) show a link between pleasure reading and better scores.The most pronounced improvement, unsurprisingly, occurred on exams focused on analyzing reading, writing, andverbal skills. Reduced stress levelsAccording to a 2009 University of Sussex study, picking up a book could be one of the most effective strategies forcalming down when life grows too overwhelming — great for both mental and physiological reasons. The Universityof Minnesota built on these findings and recommends reading some form of literature for at least half an hour everyday for optimum relaxation. Improves critical thinkingFully engaged reading sessions — not just skimming, in other words — actively engage the sections of the brain re-sponsible for thinking critically about more than just texts. Writing, too, also serves as an excellent conduit sharpen-ing the skills necessary for parsing bias, facts vs. fictions, effective arguments, and more. Staves off dementiaIn a British Medical Journal article, academics at the French National Institute of Medical Research showcased theirfindings regarding the relationship between a mind occupied by reading and a lower risk of dementia. Obviously, lit-erature isn’t going to act as a cure, but nonreaders are 18% more likely to develop the condition and experienceworsened symptoms. Dementia settles in at a slower rateReaders genetically or environmentally predisposed to MCI, Alzheimer’s, and other disorders characterized by cog-nitive decline won’t escape their fate if they live long enough; but not only do their literary habits push back the on-set, these conditions also encroach at a more sluggish pace. More than any other way to pass the time, picking upsome sort of book (no matter the medium) proves among the most effective strategies for delaying and slowing de-mentia. Better reasoningAlong with bolstering critical thinking skills, the authors of “Reading and Reasoning” in Reading Teacher noted thatliterary intake also positively influences logic and reasoning. Again, though, the most viable strategy for getting themost out of reading involves picking apart the words themselves, not merely flipping through pages. Confidence-buildingImproved literacy means improved self-esteem, particularly when it involves kindergarten and middle school stu-dents whose grades will swell as a result, although high schoolers, college kids, and adults are certainly not immuneto this mental health perk. Set realistic reading goals and work toward them for an easy, painless (and stress-free)way to kick up the spirits when confidence starts wavering. More white matterNeuron published a Carnegie Mellon paper discovering how the language centers of the brain produced more whitematter in participants adhering to a reading schedule over the period of six months. Seeing as how this particulartissue structure controls learning, it’s kind of sort of a good thing to be building, especially when it comes to lan-guage processing. Increases brain flexibilityBrain flexibility is how the essential organ stratifies itself, delegates tasks, and compensates for damages, and Car-negie Mellon researchers believe reading might serve as a particularly excellent way to encourage this. These dis-coveries of how the brain organizes itself beg for further insight into the autism spectrum and other conditions thatmay stem from poor neurological communication. Improved memoryThe physiology of reading itself contributes to better memory and recall, specifically the part involving bilateral eyemovement. However, it holds no influence over implicit memories: most of the benefit comes when recalling episodicmemories.
Builds relationships between parents and childrenKids and parents who read aloud together enjoy tighter bonds than those who do not, which is essen-tial to encouraging the healthiest possible psychological profile. Along with the cognitive perks, thesesessions build trust and anxiety-soothing comfort needed to nurture positive behavior and outlooks. Better listening skillsListening skills improve reading, and reading improves listening skills, particularly when one speakswords out loud instead of silently. When learning a primary or secondary (or beyond) language in par-ticular, fostering interplay between the two ability sets makes it much easier to soak up vocabularyand grammar. An easier time concentratingOnce again, any bookish types hoping to claim the full benefit of this cognitive phenomenon gain it viaclose reading and analysis, not skimming, speed reading, and skipping. Because the activity is farfrom passive, it challenges the mind to focus, focus, focus: which certainly carries over into other are-as of life! Alleviates mental health disordersPsychology professionals in the United Kingdom and United States gravitate towards bibliotherapywhen treating non-critical patients, thanks to studies printed up in the journal Behaviour Research andTherapy. The practice involves prescribing a library card, which recipients use to check out one of theapproved 35 self-help books for 12 weeks; as a supplement (not a replacement) to conventional ther-apy, it has proven extremely valuable to the clinically depressed and anxious.