Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Student Scribbler Literary Magazine

What could be better than seeing your work in print?   

NOTHING!  

Now Online Scribblers gives students the opportunity to be published in our annual Literary Magazine designed to showcase student writing.

Writing will be accepted in the following categories:


  •  creative fiction (appropriate for short stories, creative journals)  
  • non-fiction (appropriate for journals)  
  • poetry  
  • journalism  
Who can submit work?
Any student who enrolls in at least one course during the 201516 academic year may submit up to 2 written works of no more than 350 words. The best piece will be chosen for publication.

When can I submit my work? 
Submissions will be accepted beginning on October 1, 2015 and end on May 1, 2016. Any submissions after the May 1, 2016 deadline will be held until the next edition of The Student Scribbler is published.

When will The Student Scribbler Literary Magazine be available?
The Student Scribbler will be available for purchase in the summer of 2016.  

Can I submit artwork?
The Student Scribbler Literary Magazine will accept pdf files of original hand sketched artwork to accompany any piece of writing with the understanding that this artwork will be included in the final publication as space permits. No color artwork will be accepted.

Monday, September 28, 2015

SAT Word of the Week: COLLOQUIAL


Colloquial means informal especially pertaining to language.

If your instructor recommends you stop using colloquial language, she means to avoid informal or conversational words. Instead of "yup" use "yes." Yes is the less colloquial term.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Do Modern Students Needs Traditional Writing Skills?

In an article entitled “How to Teach Kids to Write Effectively,” Penelope Trunk suggests that learning traditional writing skills is a waste of time for the modern student. In fact, she goes so far as to intimate that old fashioned skills such as 5 paragraph papers, stories, and letter writing are counter productive to a student’s future success in the work place.

According to the article, the modern student should instead be taught “work place writing”  - aka video making, email etiquette and instant messaging. Ms. Trunk maintains that any other writing skills will hurt ones chances of obtaining a job at all. Teachers should focus on typing, informational video making, and social media style communication.

Both the teacher in me as well a the parent within find it hard to stomach this short sighted view of writing as a life skill. I cannot imagine a world in which good writing constitutes a well constructed 100 character tweet. I refuse to believe that education geared toward impressing a future boss is any kind of education at all. After all, education should be a path toward becoming a well rounded individual who can communicate well and think critically. A proper and thorough education prepares a student for life long learning in any curriculum or field of his choice. If one follows Ms. Trunk’s logic of education, the modern student should also forgo reading the classics of literature giants such as Faulkner and Dickens. Why bother honing comprehension skills if only to read Facebook and emails?  Why read at all if the future of communication lies in video messaging? With this grim outlook of our future generation, I worry about their ability to contribute in the world marketplace and provide global  leadership.

Through learning traditional writing forms such as the 5 paragraph paper and journalism, students learn punctuation, sentence structure, and clarity of thought and organization. In a nutshell, students become proficient communicators which carries over into their speech and confidence.  Even in a job which requires little formal writing, communication will be key—and written and verbal communication go hand in hand.

I cringe at the thought of a world in which writing is so devalued that people cannot correctly place commas or construct a complete sentence. Whether it be taking cursive writing out of schools or rendering traditional writing skills defunct, today’s society needs to stake its claim on the value of a traditional curriculum. Otherwise, the “modern student” will likely be come synonymous with an incompetent one.

Monday, September 21, 2015

SAT Word of the Week: SALUBRIOUS



Salubrious means healthy or promoting health. Perhaps you enjoy green smoothies - a wonderful, salubrious beverage!

In Spanish, when you raise your glass in a toast, instead of saying "cheers," we say "salud" which means "to your health."

The prefix "salu" means health.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New and Improved SAT?


As you have probably heard by now, the College
Board has announced important changes for the
SAT exam beginning in 2016.

One of the most talked about changes is that the written essay will become optional. For
many students, this is welcome news. But I wonder what this says about our educational system. Why is it that writing is always the first to go? Why is it that writing is expendable when human resource professionals routinely list this as a key skill for employment.      

According to the College Board, the changes were made to “make the exam more representative of what students learn in high school and the skills needed to succeed in college.”

Hmmm… I guess writing is either not taught in high school or not needed in college. Silly me.


Monday, September 14, 2015

SAT Word of the Week: IMPECUNIOUS


The word impecunious means penniless or poor. The word stems from the Latin word pecunia meaning money. Therefore, the prefix "im" means not. In this case, when you put the prefix with the Latin root, you get "not money" or poor.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten Ways to Get Young Kids Writing

It can be challenging to get young children writing. But the fact is, the sooner you make writing a regular part of your child’s life, the easier it will be to keep their pen to paper. These tips can help children as young as 4 and 5 make writing a happy habit!

10.  Have little ones make birthday cards for friends and   family and write their own message

9. Have little ones write captions on all of their drawings.

8. Enlist your little one’s help writing shopping lists.

7.  Play rhyming games. Write a word in the center of a  paper and take turns writing rhyming words all  around it. The last one to think of a rhyme wins!  

6.  Find a fun book of children’s poems and have them  copy the poem and illustrate it.

5.  Begin swapping “mommy mail.” Leave notes for your  little one at night and encourage them to leave replies  for you.  

4.  Have your little one make a menu and serve snacks/ lunch to the family.  

3.  Have your little one write his/her own thank you notes  for holidays, birthdays, and even outings with grand ma!  

2.  Begin keeping a weekly journal of special happenings.

1.  Get a pen-pal...a cousin, a neighbor who moved out of  state, or a school friend across town! Getting mail is  fun for kids...and to get another letter, he’ll have to  write his own!

Monday, September 7, 2015

SAT Word of the Week: ABHOR



Abhor means to strongly dislike something - to hate it. Although at our house, we abhor the word "hate" and much prefer to strongly dislike something!

Friday, September 4, 2015


Just a peek into my work station...where all those awesome Scribbler submissions are reviewed! Keep those journals and assignments coming - we are finishing up our first week of our fall session, and I am impressed with the dedication of our students from all over the US and Canada!

Good work, everyone!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

No More Cursive?

Will we kill creativity by taking
cursive out of schools?
Is it possible that children of today’s generation might never know how to write their own signature?

It will happen if school districts around the country continue to eliminate cursive writing from their core standards requirements. Already some schools in Hawaii, Indiana, Florida, and North Carolina have stopped teaching cursive writing. Instead, children are taught to print until the 3rd grade at which time writing and letter formation are replaced with typewriting and keyboarding skills.

Besides the obvious ability to sign ones own name, the thought of an entire generation who can neither read nor write cursive is troubling. How will they read historical documents written in formal penmanship or sign a bank check?

The need for students to be technologically adept in this electronic era of computers and iPads is undisputed. It should be noted, however, that studies have been done to show what a long term detriment it will be for our students if writing by pen and pencil are replaced by computers.

Anne Margen, a Norway university professor, performed studies with university students and drew the conclusion that simply writing with a pen or pencil provides valuable feedback to the brain. It alerts the brain of motor skill activity and energizes the five senses. If this study is accurate, encouraging students to trade writing by hand for computer writing could inhibit their ability to think creatively.  Another study at Vanderbilt University, isolated the brain activity of writing by hand versus typing on a  computer. The study found that brain waves are significantly more active when a person holds a pen and writes on paper.

Our schools need to stop these cuts to school days and to subjects they deem unnecessary. First art and music were cut, then physical education. Will cursive writing be next on the chopping block? Will we watch as the creativity of our youth continue to be undervalued and undernourished in our schools?