Thursday, May 30, 2013

“The Internet really IS a series of tubes! Who knew?”—David Pogue

Yes, David, the internet is made by people and it is made up of tubes, servers, and all sort of real physical stuff! I confess to thinking that electricty was a type of magic until my fifth-grade teacher set me straightand I'm pretty certain that some of today's students think about the Internet in the same way. You just log on and go, right?
In Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, Andrew Blum will take your students from the room in L.A. where the Internet began to the busiest streets in Manhattan as new fiber optic cable is laid down; from the coast of Portugal as a new transatlantic undersea cable that connects West Africa and Europe is laid down to the Great Pyramids of our time, the monumental data centers that Google and Facebook have built in the wilds of Oregon.

Along the way, Andrew not only explains how it all worksbut why students should care about how vulnerable all this infrastructure is and what how all this interconnectedness will impact their lives.

“An engaging reminder that, cyber-Utopianism aside, the internet is as much a thing of flesh and steel as any industrial-age lumber mill or factory. It is also an excellent introduction to the nuts and bolts of how exactly it all works.”
   —The Economist

And, here's Andrew at TED.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

FREE Common Core Esamplers

In other big news, we have two free Common Core esamplers releasing on May 21!

The first, 12 Common Core Essentials: Literature, features 12 of our best new and classic literature titles (like Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Alchemist) that fit perfectly into the English Language Arts Standards for Middle and High School.

The second, 10 Common Core Essentials: Nonfiction, similarly features 10 of our best nonfiction titles (like The American Reader: Words that Moved a Nation, and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind), as the Common Core encourages adding more nonfiction titles to your curriculum.

Please check out all of the wonderful books in these free esamplers here or in the "Common Core" tab at the top of our blog!

NEW Agatha Christie Flashcards

And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie
We’re very happy to share two new sets of flashcards we created to supplement the teaching of Agatha Christie’s classic titles And Then There Were None, and Murder on the Orient Express.

Check them out here, or at their new home on our blog's sidebar (look right), to test your students on their knowledge of these classic mysteries in a really fun and engaging way, either chapter by chapter or in full!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Addition to FYE Catalog: Rolf Dobelli's THE ART OF THINKING CLEARLY

The Art of Thinking Clearly By Rolf DobelliFor the last couple of weeks, we’ve been selecting the best books of the past year to include in our new First-Year Student catalog. There are a number of wonderful new additions, the first of which is The Art of Thinking Clearly, by world-class thinker and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli.

Have you ever invested time in something that, in hindsight, just wasn’t worth it? Or continued doing something you knew was bad for you? These are examples of cognitive biases, simple errors we all make in our day-to-day thinking. The Art of Thinking Clearly is an eye-opening look at human psychology and reasoning—essential reading for anyone who wants to avoid these “cognitive errors” and make better choices in all aspects of their lives. This indispensable book reveals the most common errors in judgment, and how to avoid them.

With short, punchy chapters such as "The Calamity of Conformity: Groupthink," "It's Not What You Say, but How You Say It: Framing," and "How Eye-Catching Details Render Us Blind: Salience Effect," The Art of Thinking Clearly will change the way your students think and transform their decision-making, enabling them to make better choices now and in the future.
“Rolf Dobelli is endowed with both imagination and realism, a combination hard to find since the 16th century Renaissance.”—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan

"A serious examination of the faulty reasoning that leads to repeated mistakes by individuals, businesses, and nations…In this fascinating book, Dobelli does not offer a recipe for happiness but a well-considered treatise on avoiding ‘self-induced unhappiness.’”Booklist (starred review)

If you would like to read more about Dobelli’s book, please click here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kenneth C. Davis Hosts #sschat TONIGHT on Twitter

literatureWhen looking at the recent "Recommended Reading List for College Bound Students" from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Kenneth C. Davis, author of the popular Don't Know Much About series, was struck by how dated the selections seemed. The most recent addition to the fiction list—Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solutide—was published in 1967, and the latest in the nonfiction arena includes John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage, published in 1957.

While Davis agrees that these are certainly classic titles, he wants to engage teachers in conversation about the "new classics"ones that represent even greater diversity in race, class, and gender, and confront the issues of the last 50 years in this country and around the world.

Davis wants to know what "new classics" you use in your classroom. So join in on twitter tonight (May 13) at 7pm ET, using #sschat.

And to check out his blog post on the chat, please click here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Molly Melching Interviewed on PBS NewsHour

However Long the Night By Aimee MolloyMolly Melching, the central focus of Aimee Molloy’s However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph, gave a wonderful interview last night on PBS NewsHour. In the segment, Melching speaks about her collaboration with Senegalese locals to create the remarkably successful Tostan, a democracy and human-rights-based education initiative to promote relationships built upon dignity, equality, and respect.
Unlike many Western organizations of the past that have tried to transform African cultures from the outside, Molly Melching and Tostan’s philosophy is to work within a community, allowing people to make major changes to their culture of their own volition with the understanding that true change must come from within—a wonderful lesson for students looking to make social change anywhere in the world.
Tostan's groundbreaking strategies have led to better education for the women of rural Africa, improved health care, a decrease in child/forced marriage, and declarations by thousands of African communities to abandon the centuries-old practice of female genital cutting.
If you would like to check out the full interview, please click here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Course Adoption: Victor Cha's THE IMPOSSIBLE STATE

The Impossible State By Victor ChaVictor Cha’s The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future just got adopted in a course on modern Korea!

The Impossible State is the definitive account of the most secretive country in the world, written by the much-lauded professor and former White House Official, Victor Cha. The volume, published last year, explores how, in a world that has seen the collapse of the Soviet Union and its socialist satellites, North Korea has managed to maintain its tenuous hold. Filled with anecdotes from his time in North Korea, where he served as the US Deputy Head of Delegation for the Six Party Talks, Cha’s book is a comprehensive guide to modern North Korea, from its seemingly endless war with its southern neighbor, to its decimated economy, to its nuclear pursuits and threats. Cha ultimately warns of its regime’s potential collapse under Kim Jung-Un—a fall for which America and its allies may be woefully unprepared.

With all the nuclear threats coming out of Pyongyang in recent months, this should be a really fascinating course. It’s odd that a country could be in the news so much, yet still be so seemingly inscrutable, and The Impossible State does a wonderful job combatting the mystery.