Star Wars Day & Other Fascinating Topics

Thanks so much for welcoming all my guest posters this past week! I enjoyed a jam-packed trip to Washington D.C. where I spent 3 days at Mom Congress, 1 day sight-seeing (aching feet!), 1 evening gallivanting at the Reading is Fundamental gala, and 1/2 day of meetings. (I’m more introverted than extroverted so don’t expect spoken words for several days. Need. To. Rest.)

Did you see that May 4th is Star Wars Day? (You’re so excited, aren’t ya?)

via MTV Geek

Speaking of the Evil Empire, grading standardized test essays can now be robotized. Isn’t that peachy? Not really says Les Perelman, director of writing at MIT who made it his mission to prove how idiotic the robot grader (called Robo-Reader) really is. You’ll want to read the NY Times article how he writes essays using long sentences, inaccurate facts, and a random Ginsberg line to get a good score – a 6.

In geeky word news, the Oxford Dictionaries has games! Palindromes, and malapropisms are my two favorites.

Temple Grandin shares with Salon her thoughts about the new autism numbers. (1 in 88!) And, she seems quite disgusted with the DSM’s proposed changes, too.

Sing along with this RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) jaunty tune, “Book People Unite,” and watch the Three Little Pigs sky dive and Little Red drive the wolf in her sporty convertible. Isn’t it a catchy song?
Get books in the hands of kids who don’t have any. It’s easy!
1. Send a Macy’s Mother’s Day eCard and they’ll donate $3 to RIF.
2. Donate a gift of money. $10 buys 4 books.

Here are 19 Fun Facts from Mental Floss about our favorite children’s books and their authors. For example, “Maurice Sendak was a window dresser for F.A.O. Schwarz while in art school” and “Dr. Seuss said he expected to spend “a week or so” writing The Cat in the Hat. It ended up taking a year and a half.”

EdX, a partnership between MIT and Harvard, will offer free online classes to the world. Free. Harvard. Wow!

Mom Congress 2012 = advocacy information galore! Highlights from the Mom Congress 2012 experience, part I and part II. I LOVED trailing Melissa Bilash, Educational Advocate from PA and Carole Samango-Sprouse, Ed.D. of the Focus Foundation, to meet with education-committee Senator aids to advocate for the TALENT Act and the need for a formal definition of the term “educationally relevant” –which is often used to deny students services and at the moment has no legal definition.
(from Melissa Bilash & Jenny Nance for ACFE & The Focus Foundation: “The term “educationally relevant,” when used in connection with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), refers to a criteria that schools use to determine whether or not a child needs a related service to access their education. “Related services” can include a variety of areas, from transportation to speech therapy, from nursing services to parent counseling. [1] However, although the definition from the IDEA is fairly broad, unfortunately many parents find their districts arguing against providing various related services under the contention that they are not “educationally relevant” but are instead “medically relevant”—that is, they are a medical need but not an education need. The line between the two may be fine, but the difference is stark: if a need is medical instead of educational, then the district can refuse to provide the service or accommodation, leaving the child’s parents to seek reimbursement from insurance, to pay out of pocket, or worst of all, to go without.”)

Finally, two inspired graphics. First, a wonderful idea from Easy Peasy Kids — “Imagine If.” The blogger, Nathalie, uses these ideas with children who may need some help getting started with imaginative play. (I think we adults might need these more though – don’t you?)

Second, a graphic that’s gone viral from a non-profit literacy agency here in Denver, Burning Through the Pages. Genius!!

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends.

~ Melissa


  1. says

    Star Wars! Back during the old days, I was really in awe when I first watched the movie. Now the kids are in awe fighting over the computer so they can play the newest Star Wars game… how time flies!

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