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Blogging On History, Science, and Education

An Upside to A Computer Hacking

My computer got hacked today by someone from the Philippine Islands. I hope no one took it seriously. I don't think so. And there was an upbeat side to it. Got phone calls from: Canada, London, Vermont, Nevada, Texas, and more. It turned out to be a day of connecting with friends who care.
It also got me thinking about the Philippines. It just happens that I've been reading about King Philip II, who ruled and put his name on those Pacific islands. A blue-eyed fellow with a jutting Hapsburg chin (lots of inbreeding among royals) he was king of Spain, eventually Portugal, ruler of The Netherlands, and for a short time while married to Queen Mary, King of England. When Mary died he sent a letter of proposal to Elizabeth. She never answered. Maybe he was annoyed by that rejection, whatever, he sent a huge impressive fleet, an armada, to prepare for Spain's invasion of the island nation. Things didn't work out as he expected.  Read More 
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Teaching With The Game

In "The Game Believes in You," Greg Toppo, the education writer for USA Today looks at videos games as a way to revolutionize learning, and maybe our schools too. We all know kids who spend hours immersed in those games, a pursuit that often takes intense concentration as well as brain power. Why not use games as a way to teach problem solving and school content? As Toppo shows, some schools are doing just that. And some game designers are coming up with games that challenge and inform. This exciting book took me into a world I hadn't considered. It's upbeat and encouraging. Read More 
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Reading Reality

When my grandson was four he had a favorite book. It was all about birds: bird wings, bird beaks, bird tails, with pictures of a whole lot of birds, big and small. My daughter, his mom, complained: "If I have to read that bird book one more time I may explode!" That grandson, who loved books about the real, finally discovered fiction and poetry in high school when a great English teacher led him to delve deep. The point: we often neglect nonfiction in our schools, assuming that children prefer made up stories. In this Information Age those who are fascinated by the real world may be telling us something. Many of them happen to be boys.  Read More 
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Reading About the Real World in English Class?

The books usually assigned in language arts classes--novels--don't prepare students to read with understanding about the world they inhabit. Yes, like everyone else I love a good novel. But nonfiction can be just as gripping. This year's "Boys In the Boat," is a page turner and a true story.
What about nonfiction that deals with physics or history? It can not only be compelling, it can lead to understandings of the world we inhabit. Good nonfiction is enthralling and, knowing that your are reading a true story? Well that just adds frosting to the reading cake.
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