Arts

Why Libraries Still Matter

Blog_LibrariesAs a young girl, I always enjoyed visiting my local library.

My librarian, Mrs. Ferris, knew me by name and greeted me with a loving smile. She always had recommendations for great books, from beautiful Caldecott Medal picture books to the latest Newberry Award winners. She knew just the right stories that would captivate me for hours, keeping me up well past my bedtime as I read by the light of a flashlight under my covers.

In the days before the internet became a household staple, the library was my go-to source for answers about life’s most pressing questions. Even with nothing but that clunky card catalog of old, Mrs. Ferris could find resources to answer my many questions within minutes of me asking them. I wanted to know everything there was to know about kangaroos? Got it. Pompeii? Easy. The Holocaust? Let’s try reading Number the Stars and go from there. Continue reading


Using Hamilton the Musical in the Classroom

hamilton-blogThe winner of the 2016 Tony for Best Musical was “Hamilton,” an untraditional, hip-hop musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life of Alexander Hamilton.

The popularity of this musical is impossible to deny – and the most amazing thing is that this hip-hop soundtrack to a founding father’s life has captivated teenagers in a way perhaps no other musical ever has before.

There is no denying this musical crosses age and cultural gaps and has brought a new love for musical theater that is refreshing and powerful. Many teachers are using this incredible soundtrack to start discussions about our history and to reinvent how students study such an important time period.

It is possible teachers of any content could use Hamilton’s addictive appeal to energize their classrooms, but I will share some ideas specifically for English and History teachers. Continue reading


Writer’s Block? What NOT to Do

writers blockWe all can relate to the moment when you’re writing – or sit down to write – and then boom, you have no idea what to tell your fingers to do; you’re just blank.

It’s the writer’s worst enemy and can be the hardest, and rarely the easiest, thing to get over. We would do anything to get back on track and out of this torturous, uncreative state. We stare at blank sheets waiting for things to happen and bang our head into the wall repeatedly thinking our brain just needs a kick start. If you’ve done these things, we’re not judging, but…maybe it’s not the best way to handle the situation.

Here are some do-nots that, if you resort to them, could resort to the demise of your story; but he’ll most likely live, I promise. Continue reading


Keep Them Learning All Summer Long (3 of 3)

museumEnrichment Activities for Families

This is part three of a three-part FLVS Virtual Voice blog series about enriching activities that will keep students learning all summer long. Part one shared enriching opportunities that can be found at your local public library. Part two focused on Geocaching. This post (part three) is all about art.

This summer, in between the barbeques and fun in the sun, take a moment to soak in the enriching art and cultural activities of your community.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

Continue reading


A Peek through the Lens

photography coverWhen our daughter was 9 years old, we enrolled her in the FLVS middle school (M/J) Creative Photography course. We thought since Ellie wasn’t getting the creative instruction in her traditional school curriculum (it seemed to be all test preparation in straight dull rows), she would be able to find that spark of inspiration through this online elective.

Little did we know the significant impact it would have on her and how this shy little girl would find her inner voice through her camera’s lens. Continue reading


Can Five-Year-Olds Learn Virtually?

Did you know that there are seven times more words in today’s English language than in Shakespeare’s day? Students in the 21st century will have jobs that have not been created yet, for problems that haven’t been realized. Our world is changing! Education is changing too! Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is now teaching Kindergarten and First Grade in a way that we could not imagine 16 years ago. Can 5-year-olds learn virtually? YES! Continue reading