Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Opportunity to Teach Students About Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

By now we are all familiar with the "similarities" between Melania Trump's speech (2016) and Michelle Obama's speech in 2008. Looking at them side by side, it is quite apparent that the speechwriter (I use that term loosely) took big chunks of the 2008 speech and pasted them into the speech given by Mrs. Trump at the Republican National Convention. Take a look:

Putting the words side by side:

When I taught my students about plagiarism, an important element was a discussion on paraphrasing. Most students are not aware exactly what paraphrasing is, and some are satisfied to replace a word here or there in a sentence, thinking they are making it their own. Even when paraphrasing, a citation MUST be written, because the original idea is not yours.

EasyBib has some excellent videos which talk about plagiarism and paraphrasing. I always show my students these two videos. (The female voice on the second one is a bit odd, but the information is great.) This recent event is the perfect opportunity to show students the right way to do research.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting to Love the PDF File

Have you ever received an attachment in Word, Excel or another program and you just wanted it to easily open? Have you ever created a document and didn't want the people you shared it with to edited it? The answer is the PDF file. (portable document format)

The beauty of the PDF is that any computer on any operating system can open this file. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free download and allows you to open all PDF documents.

The steps are very easy when working in Microsoft Office's four main programs:

Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher follow the same three steps:


  Save the document as a PDF

A Visit from Author Jeff Gottesfeld

I'm a very fortunate woman. I grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, and graduated high school with so many talented people. So when my friend and author Jeff Gottesfeld said he would come speak to my 7th and 8th graders, I jumped at the chance.

Jeff is an accomplished writer for page, stage, screen, and television. On the fiction side, his children’s picture book THE TREE IN THE COURTYARD (Knopf, 2016) has garnered a number of starred reviews and was an pick-of-the-month  His other works include the Los Angeles Times bestseller ANNE FRANK AND ME and the New York Times bestselling teen series THE A-LIST under an alias. He also co-wrote the adult novel HOW TO TEACH FILTHY RICH GIRLS  which became the CW television series PRIVILEGED. His current focus is on books and plays featuring heroes and heroines from diverse cultures  For television, he was Emmy-nominated and a Writers Guild Award winner for THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and wrote the Paramount movie  BROKEN BRIDGES.

When he visited my school on Tuesday, Jeff read THE TREE IN THE COURTYARD, which is based on the story of the large tree which Anne Frank was able to see from the attic where her family was hidden from the Nazis. The students asked terrific questions and posed with Jeff in a few photos. Yes, that is me crouching in the photo below. Just wish that student had been facing the camera!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Time for a New Chapter: Moving On

At the end of June, I will be "retiring" from my teaching job as media specialist. I put the word "retiring" in quotation marks because after 25 years of teaching, I am ready to cut back to part time, and to utilize my technology and design skills in another place. With a B.A. in Communications, teaching certificates in Early Childhood, Elementary Education and as a Media Specialist, I feel well-rounded and ready for the changes that await me. (Let's not forget the Master of Education!)

This has been a bittersweet decision, as I work with the greatest colleagues and students, but to understand my decision, you have to know me and the many interests I have.

1. I have been writing music since I was ten years old. Having produced a CD over twenty years ago, I have missed writing and playing the guitar. As a senior in high school, I composed the music to a play written by one of my friends. You can find the CD on or iTunes®. (Scroll down a bit and you will see the CD Baby ad on the right.)

2. Photography has been an important part of my life since high school.(Thank you, Mr. Reilly) I took photos for my high school yearbook and developed them in my darkroom at home. When digital photography came about, I immersed myself in Adobe Photoshop®, and began learning how to retouch and restore old photographs. This came in very handy when I needed to create a website for the school's media center. I learned basic HTML and was off and running. I'm proud to say that I've written more pathfinders than any other high school on the web. (Let me know if you have surpassed 133!) I then learned Adobe InDesign® and started designing newsletters, business cards, websites and the school newspaper. Here are some samples of my work:

3. My technology skills have grown by leaps and bounds since I became a media specialist. I taught professional development classes to my colleagues and worked with classes and individual students. I'm excited at all the new changes which occur on a daily basis. I NEVER have turned down the opportunity to learn more or try something new.

4. I'm not sure if I want to remain in New Jersey. Our property taxes are one of the highest in the United States. The air pollution is bad. My door is open to change. Where? I don't know right now, but it's definitely on the table.

So, what do you think? All suggestions and job offers are welcome. Please email me if you'd like.......I'm ready for that new chapter to begin.  

Monday, May 2, 2016

UPDATED: Need a Teaching Job? Here's a Megalist of Resources!

Wow. Another school year is coming to a close It's that time when students are graduating college and school districts are eliminating positions for next year. I am once again posting my comprehensive list of resources for teachers looking for a job. Special listing also for school librarians/media specialists. Over 79 links (33 in the job search category!!) to 100's of resources! Good luck!

updated 5/2/16

Job Interview Questions- covers interview questions, interview guide, after the interview, salary negotiation, second interview

10 Things Job Applicants Should Know- from the NY Times

2016 Best Private High Schools in New Jersey

The Association of Boarding Schools- search by keyword, job type, calendar year, salary and location

Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS)- 

Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE)- search by school or location

Career Builder- search for all types of jobs on this site

Christian School Employment- K-12 Christian teaching jobs

Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) -click on a school to see their openings

Indeed- one search, all jobs

Jobs 4 Teacher- search by city, state or zip code

K12 site says they have served a million teachers and administrators in a year.......

K12 Jobspot- search by job title and state; when you pick a city it shows you how many positions from the drop-down menu; also shows the location on a map.

The 9 Best Places to Teach Overseas

New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS)

NJ Hire- search by job type, location or keywords postings are constantly being updated

NJ School Directory- all school web sites are listed by county; check employment opportunities on each site.

NJ School Jobs- search by county, specialty, school or date

New York State Association of Independent Schools- sort by position, city

Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools 

Peterson's Private School Search- covers The United States and countries

Private School Job Banks- from the Council for American Private Education (CAPE)

Resources for Teaching Jobs- only ten states are listed here

SchoolSpring- over 86,000 jobs listed; choose location, category, grade, job type

Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS)- search for jobs or check other job banks

Teachaway- find jobs in places from Abu Dhabi to Beijing

Teacher Jobs- join for free; search the United States for a job. site says it lists jobs for 1775 districts and they are in partnership with the NEA.

TESGlobal- from nursery to higher education, search education jobs from all over the world!

Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS)- 

Why Las Vegas is Desperate to Hire Thousands of Teachers- article from HuffPost Politics

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)- state-by-state information

How to Become an International School Librarian


K-12 Media Specialist/Librarian Jobs- from Education Week

SchoolSpring- search by full/part time, location

USREAP- library media specialist job search

The 25 Most Creative Designer Resumes You'll See This Year

38 More Beautiful Resume Ideas That Work
- from JobMob

Cover Letters- from Career Lab

You can ignore the sales pitch---there is a lot of valuable information: 

Create a Free Teacher Portfolio

Got Resume Builder- build your resume online; download as a PDF, Word doc or text file

JobMob- 36 beautiful resume ideas

Resume Help- site has examples resumes

A Resume in Prezi

Resume Tips and Advice- from

Sample CV for Education Counselor- from CV Tips

Teacher Resume- from Microsoft online; you need MS Word to use this template

Teacher Resume- from Monster Worldwide, Inc.

Teacher Resume Template

VisualCV- free Internet-based resume

Your Cover Letter Information Center

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Getting to Know Artist-Writer John Atkinson

I first learned about John Atkinson and his hilarious cartoons when I saw Vintage Social Networking. Googling his name led me to his website, Wrong Hands, where I found a huge collection of cartoons. There is a link if you wish to purchase poster versions of his cartoons on the blog. I chose a special list for those of us who are teachers. Enjoy. Hats off to Mr. Atkinson!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

An Indian Comic Heroine and Her Part in Spreading Diversity in Publishing

NOTE: This guest post was written by my colleague J.M.DeSantis, who has written and illustrated his comic, Chadhiyana.

True diversity in publishing is a rare thing, but there is one publisher that has been living that since its inception in 2013. That publisher is Rosarium Publishing, and I am happy to say that I have been a part of their movement to create diversity in publishing when they signed my comic, Chadhiyana, to be a part of their growing catalogue of books and comics.
Chadhiyana is a dark fantasy series about a female assassin’s struggle to overcome a dark past she is trying to run from. It takes place in a world based on medieval India and the Middle East, making Chadhiyana (the title character), essentially, an Indian heroine--a very underrepresented culture in comics and literature.
In the present series, In the Company of Shadows, the reader finds Chadhiyana as the first female member of a clandestine organization known as the TalIfatiir. They travel to a foreign land to destroy a demon whose darkness, and partly to that end, they capture a witch who is said to serve said demon. Though as they journey to their destination, the witch and her presence slowly becomes a catalyst for Chadhiyana questioning the quest and her place in the group.

Recently, in an effort to further their commitment to publishing diverse books and authors, and to create more demand for those books, Rosarium Publishing began running a crowdfunding campaign. Amongst those being funded is the first Chadhiyana trade (graphic novel; collecting issues 1 – 6; half of the Company of Shadows story).
To date, Rosarium Publishing’s books have received positive reviews and attention for their innovation. Three of their authors and four of their books are up for Glyph Awards this year. But even with all of this, they are still looking for support to reach a new level in their growth.
You can find the campaign HERE and browse the perks for your contribution. (Of course, I’d love if you’d all pre-order the first Chadhiyana volume for your high school library.  It will be in the $20 range--and it comes with a free mini-comic; due out Jan 2017) If you can't contribute, please help to spread the word on social media by sharing this post and tagging #Chadhiyana and #rosariumpub. The campaign ends on May 4th.
Thank you for any way you choose to join this movement for diversity in publishing and building Chadhiyana further.

About the author:
J.M. DeSantis is a writer and artist of fantasy, horror and humour. He has authored a number of short stories and artworks for various publishers. Chadhiyana is his first graphic novel. He is also the writer and artist for the humorous horror webcomic, Gentleman Cthulhu: Emeritus Moribus Monstrum He lives in his native NJ where he teaches studio art and graphic design. You can read more about his work on


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