iPads vs. Textbooks

An essay written by a fifth grader

IPads Vs Textbooks

by Anisha

            Textbooks have become a nuisance for students and school districts across the nation. As technology advances, learning has become more efficient, and children have become more accustomed to devices like iPads. Some school district officials think that textbooks are the way to go, but iPads are obviously the sensible alternative. This course of action will reduce stress on students, save the district resources, and endure a longer period of time than textbooks.

Although a few people may think iPads can be frustratingly slow if overloaded with applications, the majority of people realize that iPads are easier for students to use. Textbooks put considerable weight on a student’s back, which can lead to medical conditions such as scoliosis. With an iPad, on the other hand, the weight on the student’s back is reduced by a large amount. Also, iPads are much more portable than textbooks. In addition, when a student has to pack just one iPad daily rather than four textbooks, the chances of forgetting a book decrease by 75%. On many occasions, I have forgotten to bring my textbook home the night before a test. This made it difficult for me to prepare effectively for the next day’s exam.

These electronic devices can provide an opening for other distractions, but iPads use fewer resources than textbooks. Some people may feel iPads are more expansive than textbooks, but they actually save money in the long run. School districts also have fewer pages to print each year. Unlike textbooks, iPads will allow the school districts to go green. Since there is no paper printed, the Evergreen School District will save the thousands of trees that go into making textbooks and printing paper. iPads will also save students a lot of space in their backpacks and in school. Instead of having thick textbooks, they will have a skinny iPad.

With iPads, there is a slight risk of software corruption; however, iPads do not wear out like textbooks. To begin with, iPads are impossible to rip or tear. On the other hand, as a student flips through textbooks, the pages are easily damaged. iPads also prevent students from writing in answers to questions in textbooks or vandalizing them. With an iPad, each child can think for him or herself without a previous student filling in the answers for them. Lastly, an iPad has no flimsy spine that children can bend and break. This will help the iPads stay in good condition.

Last but not least, using iPads in schools to substitute textbooks is a wonderful way to solve the problems of kids of all ages. This replacement is the most productive and efficient method because it helps students be more at ease, allows the district to conserve resources, and will last a long time. Make the smart choice and replace textbooks with iPads in the Evergreen School District.



book turning pages_animated

The most brutal of all critics is a child.

When I first became a writer, I was in middle school. I wrote in secret and didn’t share my work with anyone. It was a guilty pleasure. I enjoyed creative writing assignments and even turned some essays into narratives, like the eighth grade assignment on the Civil War. I wrote a narrative from the point of view of a slave. Teachers gave me good grades, but they did that in all subjects so it wasn’t particularly validating for my writing.

After finishing college, getting a job, marrying, having children, and changing careers, I decided to try and write a whole novel. Tentatively, I showed my work to a few colleagues with satisfying results. I joined TheNextBigWriter.com which is a site for aspiring authors to read and review each other. I received lots of constructive criticism and encouragement.

Since then I have published two novels and have a third one entered in a contest. Sales are steady, and reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads are good. My novels are Young Adult novels, so I knew my sixth graders would read them. Both novels are passed around the classroom and receive good comments. Last week, however, one of the most validating experiences ocurred.

I was walking my class inside after lunch. Another class walked beside us. In that class, a boy was reading as he walked. He was so engrossed in the book he almost bumped into the girl in front of him. I peered over his shoulder to see what he was reading, and it was my book. I smiled for the rest of the day.

I know that for each child I see reading my book, there are others who are also enjoying it. Writing is a somewhat solitary task, and positive feedback is so wonderful. Please put a smile on the face of authors you enjoy by leaving reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.


Everybody Has a Story

Republished from the archives because of its relevance to a new crop of students! Enjoy!

Personal Narratives are probably the easiest type of writing to do because everyone is full of stories.  Maybe the stories in your life aren’t as exciting as Harry Potter’s, as romantic as Bella Swan’s, or as frightening as Anne Frank’s, but they are stories.  So how do you decide what events in your life are good stories?  The best ones come from your most vivid memories of a special person, a unique event, or a time you felt a strong emotion.

One mistake people make when they are choosing ideas for personal narratives is that they want to tell the story of a week at Disneyland, or a summer spent in another country.  Those events have hundreds of stories in them!  Choose one piece of that vacation to develop into a story.  For example, when our two sons were very young we took them to Disneyland.  One son was afraid of the costumed characters, but the other one ran right up to them (His favorites were the mice from Cinderella).  Contrasting the two boys’ reaction to the characters might make a nice story.

When you’ve chosen your topic, brainstorm every detail you remember about that time.  Think of the senses: what did you smell, hear, see, touch, taste?  How did you feel?  What was the weather?  Who was there and what were they doing?  Close your eyes and pretend you are watching the event happen.  Notice all the details.

Now take that twenty or thirty minute event and write it out in descriptive sentences.  Make sure you include your emotions and those of the people you were with.  Describe the setting and the event thoroughly.

Stories are much better when they are shared.  Post your personal narratives here!

On my Kindle: The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson

Expository, Narrative

Editing and Revising

Your written piece is not yet finished even when you place the period after the last sentence of your first draft.  Take a break, celebrate that you’ve completed a big chunk of it, then begin editing and revising.

REVISING is when you change the words to make the actual sentences sound better.  This can be very subjective, but there are a few basic rules I can give you.

1.  Eliminate repeated beginnings of sentences and paragraphs.  If all the paragraphs in your essay/story begin with ‘the’ it’s going to be boring for your reader.  Make sure two sentences in a row don’t start with the same word, and try to start all sentences within the paragraph differently.  Try rearranging the sentence to start with a different word (The dog chased his ball down the street becomes Chasing his ball, the dog ran down the street.)  You might also try adding a prepositional phrase to the beginning of the sentence.  Don’t forget a comma after the phrase!  (The dog chased his ball down the street becomes In the morning, the dog chased his ball down the street.)

2. Make better word choices.  Look at the nouns and verbs.  Can you choose one great word to take the place of an adverb and a plain verb?  (ran quickly becomes scampered)  or to replace a couple of adjectives? (very red becomes scarlet)  HINT: There are a ton of fabulous color words.  Learn a handful and use them!

3.  Add sensory details.  The setting is easy for you to imagine.  After all, it’s in YOUR head.  The reader, however, needs words on the page to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch what your characters do.  Add a prepositional phrase or a carefully selected adjective to your sentence.  (With gale force, the frigid wind rattled the window.)  Do NOT overdo the adjectives!  (With supersonic gale force, the frigid strong howling wind rattled the glass paned window.)

EDITING happens after your revision is complete.  Go through your piece and look for C.U.P.S. (capitalization, usage, punctuation, and spelling)  This can be very tricky because if you are good at these things you wouldn’t have made any errors in them in the first place, right?  Have a classmate, a parent, or a brother or sister read over it if you can.  Sometimes, if you ask for help, your teacher will read it before grading it.  Learn to use the spell-check on your computer for those pieces that you type.  Remember the spell-check will not catch words that are spelled correctly but used wrongly. (Eye sea ewe half too pales of water instead of I see you have two pails of water.)  Have a dictionary close by, and a reference guide for those pesky commas.  Remember, if you can’t find a rule, don’t put a comma there!

Any other good tips out there for revising and editing?  Please share!

On my Kindle: The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Seeing the Other Side

Students sometimes have difficulty with persuasive writing.  I think that is because students don’t practice persuasion in their daily lives.  They ask and are told no, or they whine.  That’s about it.  A student skilled in the art of persuasion, however, can be refused nothing! (Don’t hold me to that…)

Before you can see the other side of the argument, you need to fully understand your own side.  Brainstorm a list of reasons that support your argument.  Put down all your ideas, even the ones you know aren’t going to work!  One strategy to use for thinking of arguments is the EITHER OR list.  EITHER OR is an acronym to help you remember kinds of persuasive arguments.  Try to think of an example for each of the listed strategies.

Once you’ve done that, you are ready to think about the other side.  Really strong persuasive arguments always counter the other side.  That means you know what objections the person you are trying to persuade will have, and you know how to cancel their argument.  For example, let’s say you are trying to convince your teacher to give less homework.   You’ve got some good ideas, but you know your teacher will say you need to practice what you learn in class every day.  To persuade her, maybe you say homework allows less time to sleep and you need your rest in order to be alert in class.  Check out “Homework” for a student example that ALMOST convinced me to eliminate homework for my class for a week.

Remember that the person you are trying to convince already has an opinion that is different than yours.  If you are going to convince them, you need to lessen their concerns about your idea.

So let’s say you want to convince your parents to give you a bigger allowance.  Coming up with the reasons why you want it is easy.  What will your parents’ objectons be?  Maybe they will say they don’t have the money, or they got that much when they were your age, or you don’t earn that much.  How can you weaken their arguments?  Maybe you offer to use your allowance to buy some of the things your parents buy now, or you convince them that kids have more expenses nowadays, or you promise to do more chores.  THEN they will listen to you!

You try it!  What is one thing you feel strongly about?  Share your  biggest reason why you want it.  Now tell me what the biggest opposition is.  How can you counter that argument?

On my Kindle:  The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey