SyncUp With StudySync
It's time to get started preparing students for the 2017 MyStudySyncTV contest. Students will work collaboratively to produce their own episode for any text or skill in the StudySync library that does not already have a StudySync® TV or SkillsTV episode. Teachers will then submit student-created videos, which mimic StudySync’s proprietary StudySync® TV and SkillsTV episodes by May 3, 2017. Video submissions are then screened by StudySync’s Curriculum and Production team and prizes are awarded to the top Middle and High School submission. Recognition is also given to Best Actor/Actress and Best Direction.
Megan Alubicki Flick, Education Consultant, CT State Department of Education
As teachers, we know that it is critical to help students develop the necessary skills for future success in college and careers. For students learning the English language, this can be an especially challenging task, so it’s important to have tools like StudySync with built-in vocabulary and fluency supports.
The 2014 MySyncTV Contest is officially underway!
Teachers- Have you ever watched SyncTV and thought, “My students could do that.”? Well, now here’s their chance!
One of the greatest challenges of the Common Core is finding a wide range of challenging, authentic texts that engage and excite students. StudySync can help students make engaging connections with our newly introduced Units. Units are a set of comprehensive lessons which offer a full complement of supplemental texts and comparative writing assignments that support the reading of a core text from classic and contemporary literature. All StudySync Units include the engaging media, video, and writing platform so well-known to StudySync users, and allow for an even richer learning experience as students read and analyze the cross-curricular texts within a Unit.
Published in 1997, Arundhati Roy’s debut novel The God of Small Things was described by the New York Times book review as, “part political fable, part psychological drama, part fairy tale.” The novel tells the story of the Kochamma family, a wealthy family in the village of Aymanam in Kerala in Southern India, the same village where Roy herself was raised. The story begins with the daughter, Rahel, returning home as an adult to see her twin brother, and goes on to explore the events from their childhood that shaped the family and changed all of their lives.
The God of Small Things gained almost instant international success after it was published. It won the British Booker Prize for Fiction and was named as one of the five best books of 1997 by TIME Magazine. Since then, Roy has concentrated solely on nonfiction and political causes and The God of Small Things currently remains her only novel. However, with that detailed and sweeping first work, sometimes focusing on the history of India itself, sometimes on the individual concerns of one family, Roy truly connects the universal to the personal and illustrates how the small things in life are important and can have far-reaching effects.
Chief among the many talents for which American novelist and Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck was noted was his ability to demonstrate how social and economic conditions affect various individuals in a given society. The Grapes of Wrath, his ninth novel, served as no exception. With the Great Depression of the 1930s as a backdrop, the novel focuses on the economic struggles of a family of migrant laborers who are forced to leave their homeland of Oklahoma in order to attempt to seek prosperity out in California.
Written in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath almost immediately garnered support from the masses, especially among the working class. Yet, it was often assailed by critics who felt that Steinbeck was pushing too much of an anti-capitalist agenda with his gritty, no holds barred approach to portraying the hardships faced by the Joads, the destitute working class family that the novel centers upon. With disagreements among different economic classes just as much of a hot-button issue today as they were in the 1930s, it is easy to understand how The Grapes of Wrath has endured as an important literary classic that still serves to make an strong impression on readers of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Like many of Jane Austin’s works, Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1813, is centered on the life of a young woman growing up in middle class Regency England. Through the use of infectious humor and gritty social commentary, this book served to help spearhead the way toward the literary revolution of 19th century realism. Indeed, "Pride and Prejudice" still stands as an invaluable tool for stimulating philosophical exploration of both the status of women throughout history and the struggles between and within the different social classes of both the past and present, all written in a style that consistently succeeds in bridging the gap between Austen's world and that of the reader.
I’ve done a lot of presentations over the years on education and technology but as a fan of “TED Talks” I felt some pressure to say something profound. When I sat down in my office to write something for today, I realized there was very little chance of that actually happening. And, I’m okay with that, because there’s a freedom in not having to get it exactly right, to float ideas out there, to be able to promote thought, to let ideas evolve in this social setting.
In part, I owe this humble insight to a mystic I’ve followed, someone that I think you’ll recognize…
Clearly, the world is full of great ideas and you’ve heard a number of them tonight. But what’s equally important as those ideas is the questions they raise, how it challenges your thinking! That’s the way the knowledge has evolved over the centuries, that’s the evolution of thought.
Consider this clip from MGM’s Love and Death between Diane Keaton and Woody Allen:
Sonya: “If God created the World then everything in it is beautiful even if his plan is not apparent to us.”
Boris: “Sonya, what if there is no God? What if we’re just a bunch of absurd people running around with no rhyme or reason?”
Sonya: “If there’s no God then life has no meaning, why go on living? Why not just commit suicide?”
Boris: “Let’s not get hysterical. I could be wrong. I’d hate to blow my brains out then read in the paper that they found something.”
Perfect. Hypothesize … express an informed opinion … but always remember the likelihood is that, upon further examination, possible flaws in your logic may become apparent, even dramatic. Moral of the story – keep reading, keep your ideas fluid.
So really, what does this have to do with education? Everything. Knowledge evolves, a challenge of previous notions, some sound, some absurd, all contributing to the next. The key is to have knowledge so you have something to build upon. And what’s the primary source of knowledge? Wikipedia? Spark Notes? Despite this common practice for students – no, not exactly, but close. That would be, ah, yes, … reading.
I’m pretty sure I know why I didn’t get into Harvard. They asked me for the titles of all the books I’d read over the last three months, so I listed a dozen James Bond novels. What was I thinking?
Luckily the college I did get into, Colgate, moved my reading beyond pop lit. It also led me, in a roundabout way, to StudySync.
Late in 2009 my friend and Colgate classmate, John Romano, mentioned that his brother, Robert, had started an educational company concerned with critical reading for young adults.
I had just returned to freelance writing after doing twenty years as a writer and editor in the School Reading Department at Houghton Mifflin. Prior to that I’d written educational media programming in Canada, including a ten-part radio series on writing. I also had a teenage son.