Back to School: Summer Reading

Heading into my final year of high school, I realize I have much to look forward to. I’ll be (hopefully) passing my driver’s test in a week and, in addition, have my own car for the year. I’ll be taking many anticipated, higher-level courses that I’ve been thinking about since I was a freshman. I’ll be a leader in many of the clubs and activities I’ve been in for the last three years. Yet, despite all these grand new beginnings to kick off my new year, I know that there is also one grand ending: summer reading.

Having taking honors/AP English for all four years, a part of my summer has always belonged to the written word. Though there are novels I willingly pick up on my own when the warm months roll in, I can’t attest to having always been enthralled by the books handpicked for me. When I first heard about summer reading from my twin sisters, who were just heading into ninth grade at the time, I was appalled. Isn’t summertime designed for children to relax? I argued. To take a break from books and education? Of course, I’d watched movies with characters that had summer reading and even, ironically, read books with this same act of atrocity. But I never thought that I, a measly eighth-grader, would have to suffer through it. It wasn’t even that I hated the idea of reading; as I stated before, I willingly pick up books, quite often in fact. It was more the idea that I would have to read a book that someone else wanted me to read. It was the idea that I couldn’t choose what I wanted to read.

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App of the Week: Frog Dissection

Title:‘ Frog Dissection
Cost: $3.99
Platform: iPad iOS 4.3 or later.

This app gives students a seemingly real frog dissection experience without the nasty smell of formaldehyde. The graphics are stunning and the 360 degree views give students a close-up, 3D look at each different organ within the frog’s body cavity.

I can remember dissecting frogs in 10th grade biology class with my lab partner. Once we were finally able to open the frog’s belly, everything inside sort of looked the same. Due to the storage process of the specimens, the brine the frogs are kept in has a way of washing out the color of the frog, making everything appear grey in color. This makes it hard to decipher the different parts of the frog and where they are located. The app brings the dissection process from the lab right to your iPad. If I had this app to review before and after the actual live dissection in class, I would have been better equipped for the proceeding test.

The dissection portion of this app is both interactive and educational. I found myself enjoying using the scalpel to cut and the forceps to pull back the layers of the epidermis. Other parts of the app serve as study guides and tutorials to reinforce what you have just learned during the dissection. Continue reading

28 Days of Teens & Tech # 5: Never Thought I’d Be Saying This With Glee, but “The Kindles are here!!!”

Not much more than a year ago, I was that person who proclaimed I would never own a Kindle. I loved books as objects (I have bookshelves in every room in my house except the bathroom) and, let’s face it, I’m kind of materialistic. I like to own things, to collect. At the same time, I had bigger concerns about a possible future where everyone would need a device to be able to read a book.

Flash forward to today: I am a Kindle owner. What happened?
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