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Sunday, March 18, 2018

A book about everything

Several months ago, the good folks at the World Almanac sent me an email asking if I'd like a free copy of the 2018 World Almanac and Book of Facts.  Being a Jeopardy! nerd, AND having a son who is majorly into the countries of the world, it didn't take me too long to reply with a resounding YES, PLEASE!

We received the book shortly after Christmas, and it is pretty darn impressive.  This is obviously not the kind of book you sit down and read from cover to cover, page by page.  But as a reference source, it is second to none.

Andrew and I have already flipped through it and read various facts about countries like Nigeria, South Sudan, and Brunei.  We looked up the monetary system of Argentina and Ecuador.  We looked up the current leadership of Mongolia.  We looked up the major exports of Texas.

But this book isn't just about geography.  It also lists winners/losers of the Oscars, population trends, the Constitution and its amendments, sports stats throughout the years, etc, etc, etc.  It's a trivia junkie's dream.

I'm thankful to the World Almanac people not just for providing ME with an invaluable reference source, but also for helping to keep my 5-year-old son interested in world facts (as he continues to become more obsessed with Angry Birds).

I would recommend this book to anyone.

Only downside: the typefont in this book is REALLY tiny, to fit in all those facts.  You may need to use a magnifying glass while using it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Classroom Book - a Novel Idea!

I was recently contacted by Alexandra at about sharing her ideas for a Classroom Book.  Being a publisher myself, I thought it sounded very interesting.  Her husband Mark submitted a guest post, so please continue reading to learn all about this neat idea!


One Way to Champion every Student in your Class – Make Them Authors and Artists

As a Language Arts teacher, one of the biggest problems I faced was how to get kids excited
about learning. Sometimes, you can feel like you’re jumping through hoops to make a lesson
interesting and still wonder if you’re getting through to your class at all.

We know that making a human connection is one of the best ways to inspire students to be
motivated and engaged in class, but how do you reach out to every child in a personalized way
when you have more than 20 or 30 students in a classroom?

One solution I came up with is the Classroom Book, a hardcover book featuring the writing and
artwork of every student in the class. It’s a fun and educational way to champion everyone’s
work in the class. By turning your students into published authors and artist, you’re telling each
student you believe in them and in their potential. You can make a book with almost any lesson
plan that that involves writing.

There’s plenty of other benefits to student publishing. It’s project-based learning, which means
the kids get more involved and take more ownership of their work. It’s also an arts-integrated
approach that gets your whole class engaged – not just the linear learners who are comfortable
with words, but also those who like to express themselves through art and pictures. Most
importantly, the students get a physical book with their name inside, which is a big inspiration
to continue writing and reading!

Mark Swenson is a former Language Arts teacher that started Picture It! Kids, a
company that turns students into published authors and artists through
classroom projects. He started this adventure with his wife Alexandra and
three children, the company’s young “artists-in-residence”: ages 10, 8 and 5.