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A High School English Class Blog

Archive for the category “In The News”

Fidget Toys

Apparently, there is much debate among educators and parents about the usefulness of these devices called “fidget toys.” Some claim that they assist students in concentration, reduce stress and help them focus. Others argue that they are mere distractions and the latest “fad” item for kids.

English 9 & English 9H: Monday and Tuesday, May 15th, 16th

I thought it might be neat for the students to research points on both sides of the issue and weigh in with their own ideas in the form of a live debate this week.

First, I showed two news videos in class, one that discusses the positive attributes of fidget toys and another that covered the distraction aspect of them. Then, I assigned an article for them to read about a school in Illinois that has banned the devices. You may be able to access the article by clicking on the link.

Students are required to find TWO sources (legitimate ones) that support their side in the issue. They need to be able to CITE their sources during the debate.

How you can help: Have a discussion about these devices with your student. Do you feel that spinners, cubes, and other objects are distractions or do they work as attention-focusing aids?


The imagery of headlines

Today in class I mentioned the media overuse of the term “fiscal cliff.” I brought it up because I want you to be aware of the reference and what it’s about, but also to note the effect of the phrase on readers and viewers. Language is a powerful tool. Journalists and editors need to be careful about how they use (or misuse) it to gain readers’ or viewers’ interest.

1. Even if you don’t know what a “fiscal cliff” is, what are some things the phrase leads you to believe about it?

2. Question of the day: What is the “fiscal cliff” and how might it affect you now or in the future?

Try this link: From the NY Times…an explanation


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