The Sharp Point

by Deej Sharp

Photo Source: bigthink.com

Photo Source: bigthink.com

A Teacher’s Take on Technology
It is undeniable that technology has changed the way students learn, and in turn it has changed the world of education as a whole. Textbook companies now offer online textbooks, individual teachers have websites where students can find the class notes for the day, and even some elementary school students take online courses rather than going to a traditional school.

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The Sharp Point

Photo Source: remakelearning.org

Photo Source: remakelearning.org

But Is It Fun, Though?
by Deej Sharp

Well-meaning friends with no background in education love to offer me professional advice. My favorite is the ever reoccurring, “But have you tried to make learning fun?” My sarcastic instincts want to answer, “Of course not! I love boring my students to absolute tears – beat them over the head with the rubber hose of boredom, actually.” But I don’t answer that way, because that would be un-Christian of me.

But now, in the tradition of stating the obvious, I want to remind you parents out there – who already know a thing or two about teaching – to make summer learning fun. Here are some quick and dirty tips to keep in mind when looking for activities to involve your child in:

  • Is there an aspect of play involved? Playing actually includes an important cognitive function for younger learners. Through playing, kids make meaning of their world and are able to test out new ideas. It has its place, so make sure your child gets plenty of opportunities for interactive and imaginative play with others!
Photo Source: arouselkiddiekingdom.com

Photo Source: arouselkiddiekingdom.com

  • Are activities designed to be hands on? It is absolutely amazing how quiet my classroom of middle-schoolers can get when I let them break out the construction paper and glue sticks. Mundane tasks become engaging and interactive when students have an opportunity to get messy.
Photo Source: 4loveimages.blogspot.com

Photo Source: 4loveimages.blogspot.com

  • Field trips don’t just have to be trips to the zoo. Take your child on a nature walk around the neighborhood, or go to the beach. Just make sure you frame your visits with a particular goal. On the nature walk maybe your goal is to collect as many different types of rocks that you can find. Perhaps after coming home from the beach, your child can write a story with it as a setting, or do a mini research project on the ocean.
Photo Source: yanivfrenkel.com

Photo Source: yanivfrenkel.com

For more great tips and ideas check out Edutopia for specific sites and activity recommendations:
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/summer-learning-resources-matt-davis

See you next week and happy (fun) summer learning!

We Love It Wednesday–On A Thursday!

Helloooo Friends!

I realized that the We Love It Wednesday series has fallen off. Not cool! With the addition of my new social media job, I haven’t quite figured out the best way to balance things. But I’m hanging in there!

And, of course I still love stuff. Apparently, I’m just not writing about it (ugh!). SO…here are a few things that my family is excited about or looking forward to this week.

Thunder Soul

My family has a few summer traditions: going to the Hollywood Bowl to see the John Williams concert, a road trip, picking peaches in our backyard. But one of our favorites is the new tradition of an outdoor summer screening series. It’s a great opportunity to bring friends together for a movie and good eats under the stars. This weekend, we’re watching Thunder Soul. I’ve never seen it, but it’s gotten great reviews, it’s rated PG, and it’s family friendly. Win-win!

Photo Source: imdb.com

Photo Source: imdb.com

Morgan Freeman Impressions

My co-worker sent me this video and it cracked me up. Frank Caliendo’s impression is pretty good! The music from The Shawshank Redemption doesn’t hurt either.

Soccer

The summer of 2014 has been filled with World Cup mania. And my JJ just so happens to love soccer. He watched lots of matches. He picked Germany to win, so he was happy. He saved his money to buy a jersey. And he is currently planning a soccer game for his friends next month. GOOOAAAAALLLLL!

Photo Source: dickssportinggoods.com

Photo Source: dickssportinggoods.com

 

What are you and yours loving this week?

The Sharp Point

by Deej Sharp

Recommended Reading List – High School

You might notice that my summer reading lists are thin on the classics side, and favor more contemporary books. Here is my reasoning: Summer reading lists should help cultivate a love of reading – we want students to look forward to cracking open a good book. There will be plenty of opportunities to read and analyze classics when school is in. Let’s use the summer to pour over some the contemporary classics that have been written in the last century.

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The Family Get Right — Update

Photo Source: jokeroo.com

Photo Source: jokeroo.com

So, ugh…the Family Get Right isn’t all that I had hoped it would be. There. I said it out loud.

We haven’t walked. Or hiked. And I’m still not working out. You know what? Change is hard! Don’t be judgmental (say I to my internal voice)!

But, all is not lost.

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The Sharp Point

Recommended Summer Reading List – Grades 6-8

by Deej Sharp 

Next week, I’ll have my high school list. Which I am insanely excited about.

  1. The Giver by Louis Lowry – Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
Photo source: childrensbookalmanac.com

Photo source: childrensbookalmanac.com

  1. The Diary of Anne Franke – Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
Photo source: npr.org

Photo source: npr.org

  1. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinielli - Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run–and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.
Photo source: scholastic.com

Photo source: scholastic.com

  1. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz – Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

    Photo source: scholastic.com

    Photo source: scholastic.com

  2. The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Thomas A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny’s 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble,  they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma’s church is blown up.
Photo source: npr.org

Photo source: npr.org