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Often educators’ creativity spills over into a book, blog, app or other work. We’re happy to showcase members’ talents.

The Science of Anime

Chris Meharg, East Side Teachers Association, has found a unique way to entertain students while teaching them something. The self-described science nerd and anime aficionado teaches high school biology and also writes Anime Science 101 (animescience101.com), which breaks down how science is portrayed in anime and video games. The blog has tips on how to use the info in the classroom, such as conducting a standard chemistry lab flame test based on characters from the Japanese manga series Fairy Tail. Meharg’s personal favorite? Explaining how viruses kill cells by citing Naruto blowing up a snake in the Forest of Death by making numerous shadow clones inside of it. We’ll have to study up.

“Hey, that’s me!”

As a stay-at-home mom and then a reading specialist, PHELICIA LANG struggled to find books for her children and students with characters that looked like them and reflected them in a positive way. The Antioch Education Association member created Me on the Page (meonthepage.com), to produce and promote “what is true, healthy, and good … so our children see themselves on the page.” The Tay Early Reader series is the first out and is available on the site, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Next up: a series for girls. “My greatest joy comes when I hear children say, ‘Hey, that’s me!’” after reading one of her books, Lang says. “Encouraging the kids to dream big dreams and be kind is the message I want to impart to them.”

You Here?

Cal Poly physics professor TOM BENSKY mainly teaches in a lecture hall. For years, he couldn’t find a good way to take daily class attendance. Then it dawned on the California Faculty Association member that smartphones are ubiquitous — and location-aware. Last summer he used his “meager” Web-design skills to come up with Youhere, an app that uses geofencing and a phone’s location capabilities so students can let teachers know they’re present (those who say they are but aren’t are stymied by the virtual fence). Bensky now starts class by saying, “Please check in with your phone.” Genius!
Attendance records are compiled and available on the site youhere.org. Download the app from Apple Store or Google Play.

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