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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Google Squared and Ashfall

Okay, I confess that I am still contemplating the possibilities of Ashfall occurring in real life and people writing off Iowa and states westernly as a dead zone. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to read my post and definitely get your hands on the book Ashfall when it releases.

I think I’m getting a little addicted because I keep visiting Mike Mullin’s author site, his blog, and his facebook page for any word. Ahem, Mike, get to work on writing the sequel please! I understand there is an extremely unlikely chance this disaster will occur in our lifetime. But look at all the weird things that happen unexpectedly and it makes you ponder.

My addiction strayed into my Google Docs workshop that I attended this morning. While others were playing with boring presidents for Google Squared, I was creating dystopian fiction and disasters squares. Go try out Google Squared and search for the word Volcanoes, then try adding your own columns like easiest route, age, volcanic arc/belt, etc. I added fiction and then realized that I’d be doing the locating of titles myself. What a fun project!

My obsession with volcanoes erupting has caused me to overcome my summer laziness and to seek out more information using Google Squared.

It has also validated my feelings about those fill in the blank charts teachers give students and call research. Excuse me, teachers, the students can input the same headings you ask for: Date of birth, Home state, vice president, death date, political party. In less than twenty seconds, Google Squared did all the searching for me. Now, what are you going to do with the students for the rest of the hour or block? Oh, it might take me ten minutes to COPY the information into your chart, but did I really read it or learn anything?

How about changing your research questions and making them fun,  meaningful or ESSENTIAL? Have students posit theories, look at historical examples, and write plots for their own presidential mysteries involving events that were occurring during their presidency. What kind of coverup could the president been involved with? Let’s go beyond Area 51, folks.

I’m going back to my steampunk book and learning about that style of writing and trying to resist the lure of a good disaster. Any suggestions of good steampunk series for a GoogleSquared document?