Loving Teen Read Week!

From: https://pixabay.com/en/books-book-pages-read-literature-1082949/

“Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually in October the same week as Columbus Day. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.” http://teenreadweek.ning.com/

It’s Teen Read Week! October 8-14, 2017! Support your local library!

I love this! If you have read any of these books vote for up to three that are your favorites. You have until the 15th of October to vote.

http://www.clipartkid.com/teen-school-cliparts/
http://www.clipartkid.com/teen-school-cliparts/

If you are in the 8th grade with Oak Meadow, you have the opportunity to choose a place to volunteer in your community as a community service project assignment. There are a variety of ways to provide service in a community.

My students have done projects as simple as picking up trash in their neighborhood, walking their neighbor’s dog, or playing cards once a week with a grandparent. Others have reached a bit further into the community by volunteering at a local Red Cross, community kitchen, or recreation center.

If you are wanting to do some community service and are undecided as to what to do, I encourage you to find the nearest public library during Teen Read Week and ask if you can volunteer. If the library doesn’t have positions for students your age, substitute your volunteering assignment with joining the teen club at your library. Most public libraries in the United States have teen clubs. Read for the fun of it!

 

Banned Books Week!

Celebrate!

Banned Books Week is celebrated each autumn in the United States. This year Banned Books Week is September 24-30. There are many events happening during the week at your local library or bookstore. Check it out!

The American Library Association is the main sponsor of the event because it is an event that proclaims intellectual freedom and the right of all to have free and open access to information. It is a time to consider censorship and how it impacts our communities and society.

Banned Book Week promotes our freedom to choose, and the importance of the availability of books on all topics and about all viewpoints for those that want to read them.  ALA: Banned Books

Check out the list. I’ll bet you’ve read some of these books such as The Hunger Games, And Tango Makes Three, or The Golden Compass.

Banned Books Virtual Read-Out!

Readers from across the country and around the world will participate in a “Stand for the Banned Read-Out” during Banned Books Week 2017. 

Visit our “Stand for the Banned Read-Out” playlists to view videos from past participants which include videos from Judy Blume, Chris Crutcher  Stephen Chbosky and Dav Pilkey, as well as actors Jeff Bridges and Whoopi Goldberg!

Do you think that any book should be banned? Have you read a book that is on the list?

 

In Honor of Barack Obama

“What I’ve realized is that life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children – all of our children – a better world.” – Barack Obama

Last week, our nation celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This week, it’s important to honor former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama. A proponent of higher education and an advocate of literacy in children, one of his major goals as President was to work diligently in doing what was necessary to give every child a chance to succeed. This included responding to letters written by children that were sent to him at the White House. Last year, a second grade Oak Meadow student sent an essay to President Obama (“If I Were President”). On January 8, 2017, during a very busy time before stepping down from his duties as President, he responded with the following letter:

Photo Credit: Checa-Sacasa Family

Dear Carlos:

            Thank you for writing. Letters like yours mean a lot to me, and they remind me why I ran for this Office in the first place.

            Being President has been the greatest privilege of my life, and while my term is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop fighting to make sure doors of opportunity are wide open for you and your generation. That is a promise I will never stop working to keep. And once I leave the White House, I’ll be counting on young people like you to step up and get involved – because we all share a lasting responsibility to bring about real and meaningful change that will make our Nation stronger.

            Wherever your talents and interests take you, always remember that nothing is beyond your reach so long as you are willing to dream big and work hard. America is depending on students like you to build a brighter tomorrow, and I know there are no limits to what you can achieve.

            Thank you, again, for your kind note. Your generation gives me great hope for the future, and I trust you’ll stay engaged in our democracy.

            Sincerely,

            Barack Obama

Like Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other great contributors to our society, Barack Obama is to be honored for all he contributed and accomplished during his eight years as President. Inspired by others, he also brought inspiration to the young and the old – both in our nation and all around the world.

If you and your children are inspired to read more about Barack Obama, there are several children’s books available about his life. This even includes the book he wrote, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, which was inspired by his own daughters, Sasha and Malia.

“I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.”  – Barack Obama

Dots and Dashes

http://publicdomainvectors.org/en/tag/morse-code

It is so easy to send a message these days by way of cell phones or the internet that it is hard to imagine that at one time there was no way to communicate with other people a distance away unless you used the postal mail. When Samuel Morse invented a way to send messages that were a code of electrical impulses, our lives changed forever! Those dots and dashes could be sent and translated over a distance making it possible to send emergency messages to places throughout the country. Many Oak Meadow 7th grade students in the first semester of their world history lessons have the opportunity to learn about Morse and his code. I found this fun website that translates a sentence that you write into Morse Code. You can then click “play” and hear the dots and dashes of the message. Send something to a friend! Here’s the Morse Code Translator.

Plagiarism

I received this well written essay on plagiarism from one of my students. I asked her if I could share it on the Middle of the Meadow blog so that other students could read it. I’m so glad she gave me permission! I think you will be impressed with her clear and complete understanding of plagiarism.images-3

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is taking someone else’s work and saying that it is your own. The University of North Carolina, says this about plagiarism: “The deliberate or reckless representation of another’s words, thoughts, or ideas as one’s own without attribution in connection with submission of academic work, whether graded or otherwise.” http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/plagiarism/

Plagiarism is just copying someone else’s words and pasting them onto your paper. When you do this, you are not really learning anything and it is a bad thing to start doing. When you write a paper, you should show that you know what you have read and write about YOUR analysis in the paper. Once you’re done, you should refer to the sources where you got your ideas from. You do this to show your reader that you have learned and know what your writing and talking about.

People plagiarize because they might be too lazy to do it themselves or they might think that people might not be able to understand them. When you don’t understand something, you should ask your parents or your teacher to help you on your report or your paper. Your teacher or parents should always be willing to help you.cheating

You should stop plagiarizing before you get to high school because if you plagiarize in high school, you will most likely fail on your paper if your teacher finds out you plagiarized. They even have plagiarism software and computer websites that can automatically find out if something has been plagiarized or not.

An example of plagiarism today is from Shia LaBeouf. Shia LaBeouf is an actor who decided to make a short movie. However, when people watched it, they noticed that LaBeouf made his movie extremely similar to Danial Clowes’ comic, Justin M. Damiano. Some of the movie script was word-for-word exactly the same as the comic book! Shia LaBeouf later apologized to everyone and to especially Daniel Clowes. He Tweeted:

“Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work,” he tweeted. “In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation … I’m embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration … I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew  that it would make a poignant & relevant short. I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it. I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want @danielclowes to know that I have a great respect for his work.” http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/17/showbiz/celebrity-news-gossip/shia-labeouf-plagiarism-ew/

Plagiarism is a horrible thing to be caught up in. You can get bad grades and a bad reputation from it. It is better to write even a short essay in your own words than to plagiarize somebody else’s work. I plagiarized once and had to write my paper all over again! It was not fun. I hope you will learn from my mistake and not plagiarize, because it is not worth it.

Summertime Poetry Challenge!

A Summer Challenge! (For my Northern Hemisphere Friends!)

When I was in kindergarten, my school had one requirement in order to move on to first grade. Each child had to memorize ten nursery rhymes before “graduating” from kindergarten! I recall that this wasn’t such a hard thing for me to do since I delighted in the joy and rhythm of the nursery rhymes. Little did I know that not only was I enjoying the beautiful rhythmical patterns, but I was also building my memorization skills, my vocabulary, and my language comprehension skills at a very young age.

Memorizing a poem can just be so satisfying! The poem’s lines can come to you when you least expect it. Just this spring I saw a group of daffodils and the lines of William Wordsworth’s poem, “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” sprang into my mind:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”

And truly, when geese fly overhead in the autumn at my house, I quickly say the first lines of Rachel Field’s poem “Something Told The Wild Geese”:

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go,
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, “snow.”

This summer, why not challenge yourself to memorize at least 6 poems? (You might also enjoy memorizing the lyrics to favorite songs!) You can choose some of your own liking, or try the ones listed on the Mensa For Kids website. There are 12 poems listed there and each one has an explanation of the idea of the poem, definition of specific vocabulary words in the poem, and then great ideas to help you memorize the poem more easily.

If I Were President…

In Oak Meadow’s second grade social studies coursework, the students learn about the importance of a being a good leader. With the upcoming US presidential election, this is an especially valuable lesson to focus on. One of my seven-year-old Oak Meadow students, Carlos, wrote an essay for the Bethesda Literary Festival’s Youth Writing Contest. It was on the given subject matter of “If I Were President.” The way in which Carlos expressed his thoughts and words are definitely worth sharing:

“If I Were President”

If I were President of the United States, I would be at least 10 years old and speak at least 9 languages. Being able to communicate with other countries brings peace and friendship.

I would stop war and create peace by helping people deal with their anger. Anger comes from fear and some people might just be afraid so they get angry and violent and want war. People need to share and cooperate and maybe meditate more.

I would have smart people with good hearts around me to help make the best decisions. I would think of ways to help people without jobs find work they enjoy.

All kids would learn to read and write and love it, like I do. Learning is so much fun, but sometimes people forget. We are always learning, no matter how old.

If I were President of the United States, I would make protecting the environment a priority. Our planet earth is Mother Earth and we must take care of her. We must love animals and respect them.

What’s in a FONT?

Vintage Typography Fonts and ImagesThis year I had a student that submitted a research paper about the country of Japan. It was really well written, but I was especially taken by the font she used for typing her final paper. It was different from what she usually used. It made such an impression on me that I had to find out what font it was.

I was reminded of the 2005 commencement speech given by Steve Jobs at Stanford in which he spoke about how he came to learn about calligraphy and, inspired by that course, later developed fonts for the Mac. You can watch the speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

So. I’ve been thinking how important it is to understand that each of the fonts one may use when typing actually COME from somewhere! They have a history! In my search for the history of one font I see all the time, every where I go, I discovered that there was actually a movie made about the font! You can view the trailer here: http://www.hustwit.com/category/helvetica/ (You can also purchase the whole movie.)

How interesting to know that certain fonts are used to impress the reader! So if I use comic sans for a formal research report, I’m pretty much setting a certain mood. In fact, I may investigate further what font this blog is typed in. (It isn’t possible to change it to another font.) I think I’ll also find out which fonts the Oak Meadow curriculum uses.

By the way, the font the student used was Philosopher. Next time you type a paper, think about the font you are using and what impression it may leave on the reader!

UP With Words!

I woke UP this morning, and after getting UP, watching the sun come UP and drinking UP my cUP of tea, I began thinking UP words. UP on top of my list was the word, UP. “What’s UP with UP?” I asked myself. If you look UP the word, UP, in the dictionary, you will discover that its origins come from Old English and its first known use was before the 12th century. It can be identified as a noun, a verb, or an adverb, adjective or preposition; and as you can tell from reading this blogpost, it can also be used as an idiomatic expression.

upwords_lrgThere are so many ways to use the word, UP, in your vernacular. Here is a fun blogsite that brings us UP to date with all the ways we can use the word, UP. Now it’s your turn to come UP with your own word to play with. It’s totally UP to you, but what I know is that this two-letter word has brightened UP my day! So start UP your day by smiling UP to your ears. Look UP and read UP on your favorite word of the day. Then load UP The 5th Dimension song, “UP, UP and Away“, pull UP a chair and write a poem with your UPstanding children using the UP word family – or – you might even come UP with the idea of playing a word-building board game such as “Scrabble” or “UPwords”!

Thumbs UP for the words that keep us UP on top of the world!

 

Riddle Fun!

images

What room can no one enter? (answer below)

I think riddles can be a lot of fun! They can be silly, or challenging, and often they are a tricky play on words. Our family enjoys riddles! Sometimes we have “Riddle Fun” dinners in which everyone, young and old, brings a riddle to the table.

“Scientists get to solve puzzles every day, because science and research involve finding solutions from the clues that we are given. Just like with brainteasers (or brain teasers) and riddles, the answers to science mysteries are not always easy to see at first. With time and effort, they eventually become clear.” From NIEHS website

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has hundreds of riddles and brainteasers you might enjoy sharing with friends and family members.

Try this one: What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?

Answer: A stamp!

Now, what’s the answer to the riddle above?

A mushroom!