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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

Whether early or accomplished readers, if your students read, then their emotions and imaginations can be evoked when they engage the "literate eye". Add this to your cognitive toolkit: literate students learn better when they have opportunities to work with information in different visual formats.  

So, encourage your students to play with graphs, charts, tables, maps, lists, VENN diagrams, info graphics etc.


The Literate Eye: A Cognitive Tool

If you have been following this Tools of Imagination series on BAM EdWords, you will be familiar with the term “cognitive tool”. The practice of organizing knowledge in different visual ways is another tool of the imagination and, thus, learning or "cognitive tool." Here’s why: when we become literate the way we access information shifts. Rather than gaining most of our information about the world through our ears (which is the case primarily for oral language users) we now access information actively through our eyes. We de-code symbols all around us (language being one symbol system) all the time. So, afford your students opportunities to play with information visually and you will tap into this powerful feature of their imaginative literate lives.

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

Books like the Guinness Book of World Records or Ripley’s Believe it Or Not never stay on the shelf for long.  

Young people tend to be fascinated (even obsessed) with the limits of experience and the extremes of reality--these kinds of books reveal all the record-breaking aspects of the world. I recall leafing through our own home copy of the Guinness Book Of World Records at about age 9 or 10, just consumed by the images of the curling, caramel-colored finger nails of that record-holder or the unsettling size of the world’s largest human, pig, or pumpkin pie. 


We don’t completely lose that interest in the extreme features of reality—think about the headlines that most engage you now. Often they reveal something that falls outside the normal—far outside. We love the “superlative” tense in life—the fastest, slowest, most and least of all kinds. The most expensive houses. The smallest technologies etc. We are curious about things that are foreign to us, that seem odd, exotic, bizarre and—for many young people—just plain gross.

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens


This journey. This transformation, started one cold, dark morning nine years ago.

She was only 8. Because her mom worked late and her dad? Well, her dad was just a photo she kept by her bedside. Just in case he ever came back, she might recognize him. But, by this point she couldn’t care less.

Anyway. She had to walk to school by herself. 9 blocks. 9 city blocks. The first few times were horrible. Mariposa could not believe all that went on between her apartment and her school. But it did. And she had never known it. She tried to block it out. The gunshots. The trash. The people she had to pass everyday on her walk to school. But she couldn’t! So she decided at the age of 8, that she was going to read on the way to school. If she couldn’t block out the world around her, she would immerse herself in new ones.

She stumbled the first couple times she tried this. But after a few weeks she had the route memorized. She didn’t even need to look up. This was a good thing. All that went on around her became background noise. She knew it was there. But could ignore it. Because she had her own worlds to worry about now. Hogwarts was her favorite. Her escape plan was working.

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

teenage girls

"You've been getting messages since you were a baby. Messages about who you are and what you're good at, about how the world sees you and what you should do if you want to succeed ... They said you need to be thin and beautiful ... They warned you if you're strong, opinionated, or take control, you'll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. They asked you why you can't take a joke ... Well,[ f**k] that. I'm here to tell you something else."

So begins Laura Bates' Girl Up, an unsentimental and honest follow-up to Everyday Sexism that works as an introduction to feminism and as a guidebook for young women navigating the realities of misogyny in  the digital age. Bates offers advice on a range of issues from staying safe online and understanding the differences between sex and porn, to speaking up in class and challenging authority.

Girl Up starts with an examination of sexism in social media in which Bates clarifies many double-standards with which many young women are already acquainted:

Step 1: Select your avatar

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens


Jordan knew the moment she sat down to take the test, that her life would never be the same. This little test that they wanted her to take, was to see if any of them had the "aptitude to further their education in a stimulating environment that was able to better help students reach their full potential."

Or in other words, was there anybody smart enough to go to the rich kids private school?

They would have three hours to complete the test. She opened the thin booklet and skimmed the pages that were about to change her life. After quickly glancing at the first few pages she closed the booklet and put her head down on the desk.

Jordan are you okay?

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