Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Next Generation

I've spent the last few years commuting before the sun comes up to a fair sized high school surrounded by pastureland to teach English Language Arts to 10th graders. I expected to have very few students who love to read and write. What I didn't expect was the epidemic disinterest in anything and laziness across the board.

Let me give you an example. This January on the first school day of the new semester, I asked the students to introduce themselves, as many schedules had shifted and I saw many new faces. They were to tell the class something interesting about themselves or some activity they were good at doing.  The responses were shocking. Barely any of the students put any thought into their responses.  Most of the responses were things like, "I'm not good at anything" or "I don't have any hobbies" or "I just like to hang out." For them, the question isn't what they can offer the world, it's what does the world have to offer them?

That is a scary thought. They've seen what they think the world has to offer, and if it isn't "flash and trash" it isn't worth their time. It's taken the literary and the education world  awhile, but I think we're finally catching up.  Educators these days are becoming highly trained entertainers. The old black board and chalk are now just theatre props. Whiteboards are even outdated. Classrooms now have interactive whiteboards and are filled with more technology than the first space shuttle.

Interest and curiosity in these students can be piqued!

As a writer and an educator, I've set out to find those "next generation" stories and tools that make the world come to life for this next generation. The truth is that the world is a very small place to students who can't dream of traveling. My goal is to incite a ravenous curiosity.

What you'll find on this site: 

  • Spotlights on Young Adult (YA) novels that vividly transport its readers around the world.
  • Technology that expands the boundaries of literature.
  • Culture Challenges that set readers out on a scavenger hunt to learn about people groups.
  • Ideas for educators and parents to get their students interested in reading.
  • A little bit of Flash and Trash

This site is for you if: 
  • You want to see more of the world.
  • You love reading, or you want to.
  • You are curious to learn something new every day.

Today I'll leave you with a snapshot of some of my classroom technology. 
These are the tools I'm armed with daily to combat teenage apathy to learning: CD Player, ELMO document viewer, Polyvision ENO Interactive Whiteboard, DVD Player, and an iMac for displaying a slideshow of reminders.

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