Great Gatsby Digital Bookmr. Becker's Classroom

For me, the issue that resonates the most concerning the possible negative effects of technology is gaming. As someone who has owned several gaming platforms, subscribed to at least two different gaming magazines for several years, and spent countless hours with friends named Zelda and Mario as a child, I understand the draw that these type of games have on a young person. Having worked at a boarding academy for 8 years, I know that it has only become more difficult for young people, especially young men, to turn these games off.

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  1. The Great Gatsby: An Instructional Guide for Literature is the perfect tool to familiarize students with this well-known novel and encourage them to connect the.
  2. The Great Gatsby is an American novel that focuses on the gluttony of the jazz age. This era may seem distant to students so these activities help connect them with this time in history.

In my own experience video games were always around in my childhood. I can still remember unwrapping the Nintendo Entertainment System that Christmas so long ago. It was exciting and like some kind of super candy. I was hooked from the get go. It wasn't until I was working and finished with college though, that I realized that video games could be an addiction for me. I once spent 26 hrs straight playing a game called Knights of the Round, and it makes me sad just to admit that. I remember that as I played the game I kept telling myself 'Oh, it's okay, I'll just play for one more hour.' Then I would end up playing for 12 more hours. I remember when I finally quit playing I was astounded that I had utterly wasted more than a day. I vowed to never do that again. It reminds me of the article 'When Games Stop Being Fun' by David Becker. In the article Becker quotes a Dr. Timothy Miller who '...cites two defining characteristics of addiction: The person regularly engages in activity for much longer than originally planned and '(continues) doing it in spite of adverse consequences.' I was lucky; I recognized my addiction and I quit.
In my life today, I see this kind of gaming addiction all the time, especially in my freshmen boys. At first we could control this issue because we don't allow TVs in the dorms and that was really the end of it. Nowadays, with laptops in every pair of hands and the ultimate accessibility technology provides, it's become really hard to turn kids off of these games. I know how attractive and time consuming some games can still seem to me (and I'm 32 years old!), and I think how much more attractive these games must seem to the young men their being created for.
When I think about the reality of gaming addictions I have two very strong examples that come to mind. First, I have a 20 year-old family member who almost never leaves the house instead he chooses to 'live' out his life in front of a computer screen. If he reads, it's on, if he watches TV, it's on, but more than anything he's playing games. The closest he comes to exercise is playing Wii sports. The rest of the family tries very hard to get him to experience real life, but he seems stuck and uninterested in changing. His human interaction is so limited and his interest in real life is minimal. For instance, he recently flunked out of college (where he was starting to make real friendships) because instead of doing homework, he was too busy playing games. This is very scary to the rest of us in the family because this addiction to gaming is having real negative effects on his life. Now if only he could see it that way.
The second example I can think of isn't a student, but the father of one of my current students. I was amazed and saddened to hear this student talk about her father. Like the examples in Becker's article and an article called 'The Quest to End Game Addiction' by Julia Scheeres, this student's father spends countless hours playing Everquest every week. She says that every night he gets home and goes straight to the office and plays online. She says that her uncles and other relatives also play and that every family function is dominated by the game. She told me she finds this embarrassing and sad and it makes her worry about her parents' marriage. According to the aforementioned articles, she has plenty of reason to worry.
Simply put, I can't yet think of a way that this kind of technology is contributing to the academic pursuits of any young child or to the health of any individual in any way. Instead, I believe this is one of those areas where we need to educate our children very specifically about why this type of activity could be a problem. I think that people can enjoy video games in a healthy, limited way. However, many of these games, especially those with an online option, are geared specifically toward taking up a lot of a young person's time. That time, is, of course, meant to be taken up with much healthier and more meaningful pursuits. Getting kids to see that, is, I believe, the real goal and the big challenge we face.
Professional Development School
  • Secondary English
    • Inquiry Ideas

Truth, Troth, and Authentic Learning

Amanda Bricker
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High School South, grade 9 English

Learning is more than a search for truth; it is a passionate commitment to knowing, a betrothal to knowledge. We all have students that seem somewhat less than passionate in the classroom. How can we spark their passions to create real, relevant, and authentic learning?

Student Agency: The power to Explore, Question, Create, and Declare, “NO!”

Rebecca Struble
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High School North, Grades 11 & 12 English

What does agency mean to my colleagues, my classes, my individual students, and me? How do these competing definitions play out in the classroom experience, and what might these tensions mean for teachers and students?

Great Gatsby Digital Bookmr. Becker

“Do I Have To?”- Understanding the Motivation of Middle Level Learners

Stevie Jean Nast
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Park Forest Middle School, 7th/8th grade English

What is it about school that engages some learners, while completely disengaging others? Why do some students have a thirst for knowledge, while others drift apathetically through their days in school? Using examples from my own experience and students’ first hand accounts, we will look at effective ways to encourage all students to learn!

Breaking Out of the Basics: Using Multiple Intelligences to Make Learning Fun

Great Gatsby Digital Book Mr. Becker's Classroom Lesson

Anthony Macario
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State College Area High School South, 9th and 10th Grade English

Facebook, Comic Life, Garageband, iMovie, and acting exercises are all Language Arts activities that draw upon multiple intelligences, thus making the English classroom an enjoyable experience for all students.

“Why does this even matter anyway?”!: using literature to create a purposeful classroom

Rachel Miller
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High School North, CP 11 English

The problem arose during my first unit on The Great Gatsby where I found myself teaching from the academically outdated New Critical approach in an effort to make sure my students understood the “right stuff”—the standard, agreed upon analyses of Fitzgerald’s classic. I was met with boredom, disengagement and an obsession with grades from my students. Through my reflections I imagined and began to build a new classroom where literature discussion and analysis have a meaningful and authentic purpose, and where students are able to participate in a community of knowledge construction.

21st Century Literacy—“How should I respond to this text (message)?”

Meghan Noecker
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High School South, Grades 9 and 10 English

The Great Gatsby Book Summary

Have you heard of Twitter? How about Google Reader? Maybe not yet, but I am sure you will soon. That’s the thing with 21st century literacy; there are multiple platforms and applications that you may not know, but will eventually come across. As these technologies expand and evolve, so do the expectations for 21st century readers and writers. Join me as I give possible options for how teachers can utilize these changing technologies as more than a means of initial engagement but in ways that create higher-level thinking.

How To Promote The Achievement Of The Disruptive Male Adolescent Student

The Great Gatsby Free Online Book

Michelle Morganoff
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Mt. Nittany Middle School, Grade 7 English

During the adolescent period, individuals undergo several changes both physically and cognitively. Through anecdotes, personal classroom management approaches, and research, I have uncovered many questions about why male students interact in such ways when in the classroom environment.

Resurrecting Curiosity: The Development of a Creativity-Based Pedagogy

Ali Veneziano
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High School South, Grade 10 English

How did we kill the curiosity to learn? A sea of jaded faces urged me to use experiential and theatrical pedagogy to develop my own creativity-based learning community by implementing three types of activities: communal/dramatic, relevant/interpersonal, and aesthetic/intrapersonal. Classroom phenomena and feedback demonstrate how “creation“ activities have high potential to revitalize student engagement, autonomy, and identity.

Technology: Gaining 21st Century Skills, or Just a Distraction?

Jordan Alderson
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High School North, Grade 12 English

Throughout the year, I have been structuring and implementing project-based instruction in my classroom. Through this instruction, I have used multiple forms of technology in order for students to become 21st century thinkers. Through this experience, I have encountered my biggest foe: video games, Youtube, Facebook, texting, and other “non-academic” sources. I will explore the students’ fascination with these items, and how using these items may actually help our students gain 21st century skills.

“I didn’t read, but I think…”

Great Gatsby Digital Bookmr. Becker

Danielle Kubrak
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State College High South, 10th Grade English

Although students do not complete reading assignments, they still enjoy expressing their opinions during discussion. How do the benefits from a discussion create value that is comparable to a close analysis of the text?

The Fear of Interpreting a Text From Outside Their Own Cultural Perspective

Casey Staib
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State College High School North Building, AP 12th Grade English

Can students get to a point where they are not afraid to interpret a different culture from outside of their own cultural perspective? Join me on an inquiry into the issues surrounding students’ ability to step outside of themselves and their own personal experiences in order to evaluate, analyze, and write about a text.

c u l8er: Finding Value in Incorporating Text Speak in the Classroom

Jessica Wysocki
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State College High South, 10th Grade English

It is no secret that younger generations have found a new voice in today’s technologically driven society. Since this discourse has trickled down into their everyday speaking, should students be allowed to talk this way in the classroom, and can value be generated in using this discourse?

Why Reflect? And Where the Heck is My Grade!

Kristina McKenna
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State College High North, 11th Grade English

“Prospective education implies that students should be capable of approaching problems that do not yet exist” (Kozulin 1998). In the realm of composition, there are three basic problems through which our writing progresses: Planning, Execution, and Evaluation. Using the Vygotskian construct of the Zone of Proximal Development as a framework, teachers can establish instructional and evaluative procedures that help students to internalize the evaluation of their compositions so that they can begin to self-regulate—to make full reflective use of the powerful psychological tool of language.

Can You Teach Without Answers?

Michelle Thiry
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High School North 11th Grade English

“And don’t just tell me that you hate Tom and that Daisy is dumb.” Students are often positioned to seek and give the right answers. How can you use raw emotional reactions, open-ended questions, and personal experiences to teach students how to think rather than what to think thus cultivating an ownership of learning?

Professional Development Associates and Inquiry Consultants: Christine Merrit, Jeff King, Jamie Myers, Hyunmyoung Lee, Jason Whitney, Curt Porter

Great Gatsby Digital Bookmr. Becker

Mentors: Kyle Anderson, Alison Becker, Skyra Blanchard, Marianne Bowers, Andy Cunningham, Beth Hartman, Kate Hoffman, Raeanne Horgas, Kevin Hulbert, Gina Motter, Sarah Rito, Becca Thorsen, Melissa Wager, Kathleen Yingling

Administrators: Marcia Kramer, Craig Butler, Deborah Latta

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