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Calling All Writers: FanFiction.net

Fanfiction.net is a website where children (and adults) can take their creative ideas about anything and turn it into something everyone can enjoy. Have you ever had a favorite TV show? Movie? Book? And you think about the what if-s in the story line? Now you can write stories for all of your favorites. With Fanfiction.net your stories can be viewed by anyone and people can comment on it. You cannot only write stories, but read them, too. You can make an account on Fanfiction and be able to follow stories and authors. Fanfiction is a great website if you want to speak ideas, be creative, and write.

- Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing

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Students & Parents: Info Made Easy

A conversation with a member of a local community brought to mind how important COMMUNICATION is in today's society. Could it be that there is too much information and not enough time to share it all? Case in point: A youngster in school loves reading but finds it hard to take a book out during "library time". There's too little time to allow it, is the excuse. The curriculum must be adhered to. If there's extra time after the lesson, it is implied, then the student is given time to find a book they want to read. Enter the age of the digital catalogue and digital databases.

Most, if not all, schools, have online databases of books that are available through their building libraries. Gone are the days where you had no idea what books were available in school. With the implementation of catalogues like Follett's Destiny product, community members, parents and students should be able to see what books their children have access to (and what books their tax dollars have paid for)! ...

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A Community of Learners

At LogicWing we believe in the power of the individual and of the collective.

LogicWing members are proud to be involved in a community project through the h2empower organization. The mission of the organization is to empower communities through literacy and education. Annual trips are made to run teacher training programs in the remote town of Hosanna, Ethiopia.

The largest contribution to date is help in building a library community center. In November of 2010, h2empower packed 30,000 books for the town and nearby villages. These books were distributed to over 50 schools and universities and included medical books for hospitals. The library began construction in February of 2010. The foundation is almost complete. This is an exciting time for the people of Hosanna, who have hoped for a community center to bring revitalization and opportunity to their community.

Changing the world isn't easy. We salute Helen Boxwill and her team for their dedication and perseverance.

- Blanca E....

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Living to Learn

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

The Living Through Learning Foundation Executive Director, David Gordon, is one of the most passionate individuals you will ever meet. He leads a team of educators who deliver content to children who are chronically ill. Social networking is pervasive in today's society. The ability to keep children connected during times when they are most vulnerable, is his passion. In partnership with the NY Hall of Science, the MET, and others, he works with universities and hospitals to bring educational and fun video conferences to children. We are in awe of the difference he makes in their lives.

- Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing

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Podcasts and Vodcasts - Oh my!

Today I'm just looking for space to post some of the works students are creating while they are learning about natural disasters. Boy, who would've thought this would have been difficult?! It appears that although I consider myself above average when it comes to using web 2.0 tools, posting podcasts online is quite a challenge. Let's start here:

If I post a podcast on Wikispaces, first I must insert a file. Then I need to stretch it out to what seems to be an EXTRA, EXTRA, EXTRA large in order for it to appear in about a 200 X 200 window.

If I try and post a podcast in Google Sites, it becomes more of a challenge because I don't have a widget that will let me insert it into the window.

If I just attach the podcast to a Google Site page or wiki, it doesn't show the title screen, only the name of the file. This somewhat dilutes the power of being able to share the visual with the world. It also means that those without iTunes or Quicktime won't be able to download the file and view it.

...

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Dancing to the Music (In Their Heads)

Today I woke up with one goal in mind. To finish up a project I've been working on for weeks - scratch that - two months. To not get distracted by household chores, I decided to visit my local bookstore to get some work done. Well...it seems that the distractions that I left at home were soon replaced with newer ones. Ones that I carry in my pocket, literally.

So how do we deal with distractions...or to put this in context, how do we help our students cope with distractions that we ourselves sometimes deal with? I've thought about this for all of about 5 minutes but I think that if I can brainstorm for a few minutes and write...that I will soon be able to concentrate on what I need to...if only for an hour. So here's my suggestion to how to talk to students about distractions and how to help them cope. 

1) Teach children to identify their distractions. This should be an easy thing to do. Set aside some time on a Friday afternoon to ask students what they are thinking about. Ask...

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Looking for MATH? Turn to the Comics Section

Today I read an interesting article in one of my favorite educational magazines, Edutopia. Edutopia was started years ago by man you might know...George Lucas. His goal was to create a multimedia library of videos and case studies depicting effective teaching strategies. One of stories I came across today was the story of Mr. Yang.

Mr. Gene Yang is a math teacher in Oakland, California. His Masters in Education project focused on the use of Comics to help students learn math. His website: Comics in Education, states his strong opinion (and more than one fact) about the benefits of using comics to engage students in learning. Of course, using Comics and comic-like characters is not a new concept - we've seen it before. Think BrainPop.

I'm adding another resource to my list...another creative way to engage that hard to reach student in a new learning experience.

Museum: Cartoon Art Museum (CA)

Website: Comics in Education (some dead links but overall good set)

...

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I Love Lucy! In Times Square

As someone who grew up with reruns of the I Love Lucy show, I was somewhat surprised with the t-shirts being sold after a most spectacular display of Lucy, or Dinkinesh as coined by an Ethiopian dignitary. The "I love Lucy" t-shirts didn't refer to the beloved redhead who married her Cuban counterpart in the 60s, but to Lucy, who up to a few weeks ago was the oldest and most complete skeleton of a human ancestor ever found. Discovered in the country of Ethiopia in 1974, her exhibit, "Lucy's Legacy" came to NYC this past June.

Today I had the good fortune of visiting the exhibit. What a treat! I LOVE LUCY, and Ida, and all the other pieces of our human evolution on display in this one of a kind display. An education in Ethiopian culture and history awaits!

What surprised me most about the exhibit? The fact that it was truly a multi-media experience. I listened to audio, watched videos, peered through windows and glass at tools, skulls, bones and more. The ultimate experience was a...

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There's a STAT for THAT

Tonight, as I watch a very well played World Series Playoff game, I realize how every moment on TV can be turned into a teachable - err change that - statistical moment. Ever wonder how to entice that very uninterested 6th grader in a game of statistics? Easy, have them compare stats on two playoff baseball teams and predict the results. Have them find and compare the best two hitters on opposing teams. The lowest % hitters, the best hitters, pitchers with the lowest ERA, define ERA. Listen you might even find you are educating a child or two.

Have younger children note every time the television throws a statistic on the bottom of the screen. Have them count the number of players that come up to bat during an inning. Have them average the number of players per inning in one game. Five games. An entire season.

Do this and you just may be able to increase the number of hours on average per week that a child spends with their parents! :)

Along with every posting I will try and...

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