Thursday, April 29, 2010

How Should a Christian Live?

How Should a Christian Live? is a devotional by the Word of Promise next generation aimed at teenagers. This particular devotional covers 1 Corinthians through Philemon in the New Testament and also covers a wide variety of topics that can apply to a teenager's daily life. First of all, the devotional also comes with an audio CD of the scripture used in the study. This audio CD features a cast of young talent who is familiar to most teens, including AnnaSophia Robb, Sean Astin, Corbin Bleu, Emily Osment and more. It is refreshing to hear young actors reading scripture and I think this will draw in many teens. The devotional is also geared toward teens in its format. Each devotion includes an introduction that uses an inspiring or realistic story. Along with each story and devotion, there are word games and puzzles to keep teens interacting with the material. There are, of course, principles for living included in each devotional and helpful hints and ideas for teens to apply these principles to their own lives. There are also definitions of commonly used words in scripture and in Christian living, and they are defined in ways that are easy to understand. Each devotional wraps up with a journaling section, where teens can record their thoughts and questions. Overall, I feel this devotional is well-suited for the age group it is trying to address. The use of games, images, colors, and the audio will keep teens interested. Each devotion covers a topic well, and discusses the scripture in easy to understand terms. Teens will find advice on everything from the definition of an abundant life, to how to have a humble heart. There are articles on trusting in God and how to live in His love. This is a great series to help teenagers understand the principles of the Word without overwhelming them with concepts and ideas. The Bible can be difficult for this age group, but by using the audio and this devotional, even young teenagers will be able to apply many biblical concepts. I would recommend this devotional for ages 13 and up, particularly for youth groups or Bible studies, as teens would probably get even more out of it by sharing the ideas with others.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 8 Reflection EDUC 6715

In weeks 6 and 7 of this course, we were asked to develop a lesson plan using some of the technology we had been exploring in this course. I chose to use gaming to enhance my lesson plan for several reasons. First of all, I found the research on games in the classroom interesting. I have never been a proponent of games in class, because most of the educational games I had discovered seemed too childish for my junior high and high school students. Also, I had difficulty finding educational value in the majority of the games. Therefore, when presented with this assignment, I challenged myself to find a game that would enhance my instruction and be of value to my students. I felt the research in this course supported games and other digital learning in the classroom, as it gave students a sense of ownership over the work. It also allowed them to take acceptable risks and to learn on demand. Gaming will help support higher-level thinking when used in conjunction with content in the classroom. For this lesson, I chose to pair an online role-playing game with the reading of literature used in my room. After students completed the readings, which discussed oppression and the Holocaust, they were then using to role-play what oppression is like in other cultures. Students in my classroom have difficulty empathizing with the situation in Darfur, as they have relatively normal lives here. Using this website and online role-playing game supports the benefits of the technology in the classroom. It allows students to virtually experience a situation they cannot imagine on their own. It provides acceptable risk-taking and on-demand learning. It also gives them the opportunity to compare the role-playing to the literature they read and discuss their reactions. In short, using the game gives them an additional way to incorporate what they are learning. This assignment demonstrates that I understand the purpose of gaming in the classroom and am able to successfully incorporate it to my students' advantage.