Teacher Spotlight: Whitney Loughry

One of our first School Partners was Colorado’s Horizon Middle School, who recently named Language Arts teacher Whitney Loughry as their 2013-14 Teacher of the Year. Here’s what Ms. Loughry had to say about her experience as both teacher and student. * * * The Cherry Creek School District has played a key role in many of the most important moments of my life. It was in a Walnut Hills Elementary School classroom that I cemented a deep and enduring love of reading. It was in a Campus Middle School... Read More

The Wonderful World of Wonderopolis

As a teacher librarian, I’ve pondered why it is so difficult to teach inquiry to middle schoolers when my three-year-old is constantly chanting, “Why?” If you’ve experienced this problem, I may have some help. Wonderopolis is a great website to help bring back the natural curiosity and imagination of elementary and middle school students. Here’s how it works. Each day a new question is explored, such as What is a fish tornado?, or How are viruses and bacteria different?, or How many is a Googol? Students can watch a short... Read More

Buzz Aldrin Event Postponed

UPDATE – NOV 15: We are sad to announce that Get Your Nerd On Day at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, November 16, has been postponed. Our special guest, Buzz Aldrin, is ill and will not be traveling to Denver this weekend. We will do our best to reschedule this event within the next month or two, but in the meantime, please keep Buzz in your thoughts. If you have any questions, please contact us here. Thanks, as always, for your support of The Big Brain Club. * * *... Read More

Building a Better Student: Minor Details

As a kid I heard the old adage about how to eat an elephant – the answer is, of course, one bite at a time. From this I was supposed to learn patience and how to manage large tasks, by breaking them up into manageable pieces. Instead, my ten-year-old mind grappled with why I would want to eat a pachyderm in the first place. Tough and chewy, I imagined. Then I heard that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, which, as a kid, made no... Read More

Building a Better Student: Is That Writing?

The middle school writing assembly had gone well, with an energized audience and a fun exchange of ideas. Then a young man raised his hand. “I want to write a comic book? Does that count as writing?” My answer aggravated a few adults in the back of the room. The same issue arose when I spoke at a conference, and a librarian and I agreed to disagree. “That’s art, and it’s cute, but it’s not really writing,” she told the panel. At a book signing last year a young student... Read More

Building a Better Student: Beyond the Diploma (Part 2)

It’s difficult to define success, because to 10 different people it means 10 different things. But if, for the sake of argument, we agree that it’s a conjunction of career triumph and personal happiness, then what ingredients should your student add to the mix in order to increase her chances of achieving success? In part one of this discussion we examined elements that bolster a professional life. Now we move inside the head and the heart. Here are six additional steps to building a better student beyond the diploma. 1)... Read More

Building a Better Student: Beyond the Diploma

Every year, the job market is swamped with millions of new high school and college graduates, each racing to land one of the few job openings. The competition is not unlike musical chairs, with more applicants than positions, and it can be heartbreaking for a student who has worked hard for four years – or more – in preparation for this one opportunity. Often they end up settling for a position unrelated to their studies. In fact, according to The Washington Post, barely one-fourth of college graduates are in a... Read More

New Video for Student Publishing Program!

Within the next few weeks, The Big Brain Club will be selecting our school partners for the 2013-14 Student Publishing Program. If you’re not familiar with it, get more information here. In the meantime, it’s not too late to apply! If you need more convincing, just check out our new video, featuring many of the successful students that have already been published: What are you waiting for? Apply to take part in The Big Brain Club’s Student Publishing Program right now! * * * * You should also see: STEAM... Read More

Horizon Teacher Goes to Space (Camp)!

One of our very first partner schools was Horizon Middle School, in Aurora, Colo. And once you’re a part of the Big Brain Club family, you’re in for good. We will always go out of our way to share your school’s successes. Often that means bragging on students, but sometimes it means bragging on teachers, too. This week we got word that Horizon science teacher Shelly Grandell recently returned from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She was one of more than 250 teachers from 27 countries... Read More

Brazilian Students Correct Bieber, Miley

Are you ready for your very favorite news story of the week? A school in Brazil called Red Balloon has been using grammatically incorrect tweets by celebrities — including Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber — to teach their students proper English. This incredibly creative tactic stems from an initiative called Celeb Grammar Cops, which the school unveiled earlier this year. These so-called Celeb Grammar Cops are actually students between the ages of 8 and 13. They seek out tweets from celebrities and (very politely) correct any errors... Read More