In the Mood for a Debate?

It seems there are social networking sites for everyone these days . . . Facebook, Twitter,  and MySpace pioneered the way for numerous specialized sites such as The English Companion Ning where English teachers connect, BroadwaySpace for theater enthusiasts,  and CafeMom where moms exchange ideas.

Try CreateDebate!

Try CreateDebate!

There’s a new face on the networking block that looks quite different from its predessors – CreateDebate is a new social networking site built around “ideas, discussion and democracy.”  It’s a community for creating debates that scratch your brain and existing arguments that currently rile others up.

Bryan Orme invited me to try out this site.  I dabbled with it a little myself and then had my senior expository students explore it to precurse their argumentative paper research.  The goal of Orme’s team is to build a useful learning tool that will help “people sort through issues, viewpoints and opinions so that consensus and understanding can be reached and better decisions can be made.”  I believe the site does this.

My favorite aspect of the site is the CreateDebate communities tailored just for classroom use.  This is a great technological tool easily allowing students to discuss and debate thoughts with others outside of their classroom or even possibly outside school building walls.  I like that CreateDebate allows teachers to have complete control regarding public accessibility.  If you choose, you can create a site that only your students can access – students can access this from home, but only their classmates will see their reactions.  Pretty nifty – a tool that makes research motivating and fun.  Additionally, CreateDebate makes it simple to keep track of who’s online and what sort of activity is taking place on your site. The administrative panel allows you to manage and customize your community from a central location. Complete control!

Grading Girl gives CreateDebate an A for effort in creating a manageable, motivating debate community that brings current, relevant events literally at students’ fingertips to participate in.  Give it a try!

Brighter Resumes with BriteTab

November 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Educational Resources, Reviews, Savvy Sites

This week, I received a request to review an online resume service.  I was a little hesitant since I imagined the typical fill-in-the-blank format that online resume services may offer.  I knew I was wrong as soon as I clicked on BriteTab and explored its offerings.

Your resume will definitely stand out from the others with BriteTab!

Your resume will definitely stand out from the others with BriteTab!

I’ve always been a firm believer that you have to make your resume stand out from the crowd; I used unique 8 X 8 cards to supplement my own resume when interviewing for my first teaching position.  But, in today’s highly technological, social networking society, it’s not enough just to type in a different font.  Your resume needs to be dynamic, succinct, and easily accessible.  You need to show that you are as progressive and tech-savvy as your words describe.  BriteTab allows you to portray yourself in exactly this manner.

Here’s a breakdown of the grade BriteTab earned:

Stand-out Appeal:  BriteTab is designed to accentuate personality and speaks to specific industry standards at the same time.  Whether you are searching for a teaching position, engineering job, or nursing career, the site offers a variety of themes (both traditional and more colorful modern designs) with user-friendly customization options.  You can incorporate these themes options with a simple click of the button.  I played around with the site myself and found you can create a professional, comprehensive resume in as little as 15 minutes.

Online Advantages:  You can upload videos that correspond to each particular section of your resume so that hiring managers don’t have to navigate through one long video to find out why you’re the perfect candidate. This is a very distinct feature from other online resume sources.  The videos are so easy to upload and, in turn, effortless for hiring managers to view.  You can send your resume to as many people as you want, and it won’t include distracting advertising or branding. BriteTab also allows you to make, save, and edit multiple resumes; each with a unique URL that is kept private.  Additionally, potential employers can contact you directly from your resume via a simple click – your email and/or website are actively linked right on your resume.  You are virtually eliminating the use of paper, envelopes and stamps, saving money, labor and environmental supplies in the process.

More Comprehensive Resume:  With BriteTab, you can easily attach graphics, videos and supplementary materials.  Moreover, you can edit and add to your resume at any time.  You can also create different resumes under the same account.  This makes it easier than ever to customize your resume according to the specific position you are seeking.

Monitor Your Progress:  BriteTab gives you traffic monitoring capabilities – see how many times and when your site is viewed!!

What organization wouldn’t be impressed with this progressive promotion of yourself?!?  Grading Girl gives BriteTab an A+ for its completely comprehensive resumes with stand-out appeal and effortless access.  If I was in the market for a new position, I would definitely take advantage of this opportunity and use BriteTab!!   I am recommending this site to my friends, family, and GG followers!!

Go to BriteTab today.  Check out the video tutorials and FAQs.  Explore and see for yourself how easy it is to create a resume that will help you land that new job and/or career.

I enjoy getting requests to review A-quality products and services.  Put yours to the test and let Grading Girl give the grade.



Let’s Cure Readicide!

September 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Educational Resources, Reviews

Over the summer, I was inspired and awakened after reading Kelly Gallagher’s ReadicideHow Schools are Killing Readers and What You Can Do About It.  Kelly Gallagher is a high school English teacher in Anaheim, CA whose theories I’ve been advocating and utilizing for a few years.  Four years ago, I designed our school’s sophomore reading strategies classes based on his philosophies in  Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, and Teaching Adolescent Writers afforded me new creative opportunities with my senior expository writing students.  

an excellent resource

Readicide talks about the “mind-numbing” practices in our schools that turn students off to reading such as the overuse of study guides and paragraph-by-paragraph overanalysis of literature.  He illustrates data-based research to show just how drastically reading is dying before offering specific strategies to curb this epidemic.  It’s a quick read – it took me all of two hours to sweep through.  For those that haven’t read it, GG highly recommends it!

During our department meeting today, we viewed the 20 minute DVD Gallagher produced that depicts his guidance with the Article of the Week (AoW).  AoW is one of the practices he advocates to curb ‘readicide.’  He points out that while his 9th grade English students could analyze characters in Lord of the Flies, they didn’t know how to discern Al Quaeda from Al Gore nor could they identify the current Vice President of the United States.  This brings up a great point – most students don’t read outside of the classroom; most students are current-event-illiterate.  AoW combats that.  It involves sharing a current events article (i.e. Business Week, Wall Street Journal, etc) with the class at the beginning of the week and then asking them to turn in a response along with evidence of active reading at the end of the week. 

Gallagher graciously shares all articles he used last year for his 9th and 10th grade English classes along with his current collection he is beginning this year.  He shares them on his website,  He asserts that AoW is now practiced in every single English classroom at his school; consequently, students leave the building at the end of the year having read approximately 140 pertinent articles they would otherwise have not been exposed to.

I am definitely incorporating AoWs into my reading classes as well are many of my colleagues.  I am using some of Gallagher’s articles along with my own.  Grading Girl gives Readicide an A+ for eye-opening data, researched reasonings, and practical strategies that assist teachers with helping students gain back an interest in reading and, thus, an interest in life.

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