Weekly Link Round-up #1: Magnets, Horses, and Star Wars!

Hi, everyone! My name is Charmaine Ng, and I’m the Community Advocate for QuickSchools. I’ve been hopping around educational forums and blogs, trying to keep up with all the cool stuff you guys are doing. It’s easy to be overloaded by information, so we thought we would start a weekly link round-up of fascinating articles and resources to save everyone some time. I hope these round-ups will be useful to you, and please let us know if you use any of the ideas in your classroom or if you have links to share – we’re all ears! Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Are littleBits the 21st Century Lego Blocks? (by Erin Klein)

littleBits are the next hot thing to get your students thinking deeper about the design process that goes into creating everyday objects. Each color-coded “bit” snaps together with tiny magnets and has a different function, from dimmer and pulse to LED and vibration, creating a tiny circuit board. Although the bits aren’t cheap (the starter kit retails at $89), the idea certainly gives you food for thought. What if your student turned out to be a budding engineer?


American Born Chinese Cover
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (by Allison Tran)

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. So to encourage diversity in our literature and curriculum, I thought I would share this great booklist from Allison, a teen services librarian who wrote this guest blog for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). The titles are both realistic and dramatic and work to offset Asian stereotypes. I actually finished reading American Born Chinese (shown here) earlier this week, and it is perfect for both middle and high school discussions. The graphic novel grapples with the topic of being discriminated against in school due to your ethnicity, but it also includes common rituals of growing up, like asking a girl out for the first time and fighting among best friends.


Derby Day Horse Label
Horse Labeling Activity by Babbling Abby

Derby Days! Horses! (by Dabbling Amy)

Isn’t this labeling activity just adorable? The Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, May 5, so this post is a little too late to capture the timeliness of the event. But you can use Amy’s unit anytime, really, because who doesn’t like horses? The activity is designed for first graders and pushes students to flex their research and artistic skills.


Not sure if something is protected by copyright? Consult this handy slider tool created by Michael Brewer and the American Library Association Office for Information Technology Policy (via Darin Johnston and Kathy Kaldenberg).


Lastly, Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you – and while you’re at it, battle it out with some sheep jedi. Have a great weekend 🙂

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