9.29.2011

New Site for Teachers Launches Today: Classroom Freebies

The official launch of Classroom Freebies, a collaborative blog of teachers who post all freebies, all the time, launched today. Over 50 educators have come together to offer you their free resources. Why not check it out today?


9.27.2011

Twilight? The Hunger Games? Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010

This week is Banned Books Week, sponsored by The American Library Association. I wrote a post on my other blog about it, but thought I would add this link to The Huffington Post's InfoGraph with the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010, and the reasons why. It is amazing to see many of my students' favorites on the list. But some of the reasons for why they were challenged are baffling. I think it just goes to prove that many of the people who challenge these books read only small parts rather than basing their objection on the book as a whole.

The interactive InfoGraph can be found here on "Huff Post Books" page.



APPLYING THIS IN THE CLASSROOM
To educate our youth on censorship and freedom of speech, I ask them to journal their thoughts on censorship. I show them the lists of censored/challenged books (and another visual aide, found here, which shows some surprising banned books). Then I start asking them some specific questions, such as:

1. Do you believe in freedom of speech? Explain.

2. Do you believe in censorship, or removing materials from the library or classroom if someone opposes them? Why/why not?

3. Are there any books that should not be allowed in schools? Explain.

4. Are there any books that should not be allowed in libraries? Explain.

5. Are there any books that should never be printed? Explain.

After they write, I ask them some discussion questions to reflect on their answers, such as:

-If you answered "no" to number 1, but "yes" to numbers 4 or 5, then you need to change your answer to number 1 to "yes."

I bring up one of my favorite quotes by Noam Chomsky:

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." 

This always makes them stop and think. If they wish to have freedom of speech for themselves and their beliefs, it is only fair to allow it for all. It ceases to be freedom of speech when we limit others' rights.

Do you have a discussion with your students about censorship and/or banned books?

Don't forget to download my FREE banned books bookmarks, found on my Teachers Pay Teachers website:









9.25.2011

More Clip Art Borders & Frames





Check out the new borders and frames I uploaded for commercial use:
FUN FRAMES & BORDERS

These were so much fun to make. Hope you enjoy!

9.11.2011

Thoughts are of those lost 9/11 and in the Aftermath...and for the Survivors


Today marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. It is also a day to remember those who lost their lives, and a day to serve others.

Many lost their lives on the 11th, but so many more have lost their lives in the aftermath of 9/11, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many innocent people on both sides of the wars have perished because of the fighting, differences, and lack of compassion and understanding for our fellow human beings. How long must this go on?

In order to break this seemingly unending chain of destruction we humans are prone to, let's try to teach our youth to be kind and tolerant, to serve others instead of using destruction as a means for "peace." (In another post, I will write about my discussion I have with students about "the end justifies the means" in regard to Machiavelli's The Prince, and how this "justified" excuse for criminal acts still goes on in today's world.)

Take time today to do something for others. Tomorrow at school, talk to your students about how they can serve others. Have them write about it, plan it out. Let them take ownership over their service project. Allow them the pleasure of doing something for another person.

You can download my free writing prompt for initiating a service project (anytime of the year) here:
A Day to Remember, A Day to Serve

9.04.2011

Thanksgiving Clip Art Now Available

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I just posted my newly created Thanksgiving clip art package. It includes a cute turkey, several different autumn-colored leaves, an acorn, two different types of squash, pumpkins, a ready-made frame with turkey, and a cornucopia. All images come in color AND grayscale! Download the graphic of the leaf to assess the overall quality of my clip art. I think you'll be pleased. :) All of my clip art is available for commercial use.