Friday, March 20, 2020

Thousands of Online (Mostly FREE) Resources to Deal With Social Distancing

We are all in this together. Many companies are stepping up and offering free concerts, movies, lectures and classes, and it's wonderful that we have all these options! (Don't forget to read, folks!) Here's my curated list of things to view while you practice your social distancing. Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments section, as I will be updating this post regularly.

150 Free Textbooks- meta collection from Open Culture's blog

1,000+ Open Textbooks and Learning Resources for All Subjects

4eBooks- computer programming books; very large collection

Academic eBooks- covers humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, formal sciences and professions & applied sciences.

askSam eBooks  and Databases- askSam viewer needed for downloaded books

Barnes and Noble Free Nook Books- search 0.00 and get a listing of free eBooks

Bartleby-small site contains classic literature, poetry and reference works.

Bibliotastic-free downloads for indie authors; rating system for titles

BluePortal- computer-related titles, such as Facebook for Dummies, Javascript Bible and the Digital Photography Workflow Handbook.

Bookyards- currently 800,000 ebooks

Books Buddy- a Nook app to locate free books

Digital Library NJ- Kindle, Nook; library card needed

eBooks Habit- regular postings

eBook Lobby- categories include art and photography, children's books, literature and fiction and sports.

eBooks Directory- close to 1700 titles; includes textbooks, lecture notes; updated daily

Flatworld Knowledge- free textbooks

FreeBookSpot- 96 categories and over 4,4000 titles

Free-eBooks- register for free; download on iPhone or computer; includes magazines

Free Computer and IT Books

FreeComputerBooks- 12 major categories and 150 sub-categories; includes tutorials. lecture notes and computer and math eBooks.

FreeBook-s- download for iPad, smartphone or eBook reader; this is a search engine which looks through many collections to find eBooks.

FreeTechBooks- covers computer science, engineering, programming, textbooks and lecture notes.

eReaderPerks- Kindle, Kobo and Nook; also, the "latest device news, book/ereader reviews and author interviews."

Feedbooks- Kindle, Nook; public domain books

Fictionwise eBooks- Kindle, Nook

GetFree eBooks- free legal downloads

Globusz Publishing- ePublishing house which has free downloads

Goodkindles- up and coming authors offer short-time free downloads via Amazon

Inkmesh- search engine for free eBooks, including Kindle and Nook

Internet Archive- Kindle, Nook

Kindle Store's Top 100 Free

KnowFree- ebooks, video training, educational materials; IT books and magazines

Kobo- includes NY Times Bestsellers, Oprah's Book Club

Lendink- loan and borrow "officially lendable eBooks for your Kindle and Nook."

Librophile- search by genre

ManyBooks- more than 29,000 eBooks; download to iPod, eBook reader or PDA

Memoware- some categories include literature, (biography, horror, children, western...) reference, (education, computers, history..)

Mobipocket- Kindle

New Jersey State Library- new ebooks

The Online Books Page-"over 1 million free books on the web".

OnlineComputerBooks- just what the title computer books

Online Free eBooks- mainly pdf downloads; nine categories

The Open Library- Kindle, Nook; one million titles

Page By Page Books

Planet eBook- free classic literature

Project Gutenberg- 15,00 titles, all in the public domain. Easy download text files written in ASCII; readable on all computers.

Penn State University's Electronic Classic Series Site- Kindle, Nook; pdf files Pixel of Ink- free and bargain Kindle books

World Public Library"the world’s largest eBook provider"mp3, pdf files; they have classic literature, graphic novels, audio books, children's literature and so much more"


BroadwayHD- free 7-day trial; $8.99/month after ($99.99/year)

MarqueeTV- known as "The Neflix of the Arts"; get 30 days free; $8.99/month after (First year $69.99)

PBS' Great Performances- full shows for Kinky Boots, The King and I, 42nd St., The Sound of Music, Much Ado About Nothing.

Austin City Limits

Billboard's Live Streams & Virtual Concerts to watch- updated daily

Chamber Music Society- livestreams, concerts, lectures and master classes

ClassicFM- list of classical music organizations who have made their concert archive free for streaming; worldwide listing

Glamour- all artists offering free concerts online

The Guardian- 'Quarantine soirees' include operas and classical concerts

NPR-stream live concerts; classical included in this list

NPR Music: Tiny Desk Concerts-YouTube channel Artists sharing live music

Vulture-all musicians streaming live concerts

7 Online Fitness Classes to Stream- some have free trials

12 Meditation Apps for Better Sleep & Less Stress

13 Online Workouts-Amazon Prime $

21 Best Meditation Podcasts to Listen to in 2020

Daily Burn- free 30 day trial

Fitness Classes on YouTube

Meditation Classes on YouTube

Philly Fitness Studios Offering Online Classes via Facebook

Planet Fitness- free at-home workout classes

Studios Live-Streaming Fitness Classes- CBS News article

The Ultimate List of Free Meditation Resources

YMCA360- free on demand classes include Bootcamp, Barre, Yoga, Active Older Adults, Weightlifting, Tai Chi, YBox.

Yoga Classes on YouTube

20 Biology Courses- Alison

77 Online Museums- from this very blog!

Coursera- audit classes for free

edX- 2500+ online courses from Harvard, M.I.T., Boston University, Berkeley UCal, Stanford; 140!

Photoshop Cafe- free tutorials

Photoshop Essentials

SkillShare- listing of free courses offered; categories included create and build.

Apple's Facetime- I'm sure that if you own an iPhone, you are familiar with 

Facetime; one call at a time.

Google Hangouts- add to Chrome browser

Skype- owned by Microsoft, you need to download software for Mac or PC

Webex- current upgraded basic plan

Zoom- Basic plan allows up to 100 participants and a 40 minute meeting; educators and schools do not have the 40 minute limit.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Free Resources for the K-12 Virtual Classroom

With a national emergency declared by the president, schools across the United States and the world have been closing their doors and adapting to a new way of teaching. Colleges have been teaching virtually for years, but are K-12 schools prepared to take the plunge into cyberspace? There are many websites dedicated to showing schools how to teach online classes. I've compiled a listing of companies who have waived their fees for schools presently going through this health crisis. Please feel free to add any suggestions in the comments section. Stay healthy, everyone!

Distance Learning Resources

Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due to School Closings- comprehensive listing which is continually updated.

Free Online Learning Resources for Teaching Your Students Virtually- from We Are Teachers

G Suite- Google says that "Starting this week, we will begin rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including: 
  • Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
  • Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain 
  • The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive"
Microsoft- Office 365 is now free for schools and students

Webex- download for your school to transition to the virtual classroom

Zoom- host class meetings; the basic plan's 40 minute limit has been removed for schools

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Photography Teachers: 8 Infographics for Your Classrooms

Not many of you know that photography has been a hobby of mine since high school. Students today have the ease of working without chemicals in a darkroom or paying to have film processed. (I'm jealous.) Today I came across some wonderful infographics for photography teachers to hang in their classrooms. They are all visually beautiful and can act as guides for your students. I made sure to download only high resolution graphics so enlarging them will be clear and unpixelated. Thank you to all the credited creators of these works!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

22 Graphic Novels About Slavery and the Civil War for High Schoolers

Although I know of certain media specialists who think of graphic novels as comic books, they need to take another look. I have seen students excited to read graphic novels. After all, reading is reading, right? Here's a list of graphic novels that will get your students interested in reading....and they will learn in the process!

Friday, February 8, 2019

What Will Your Teaching Legacy Be?

I never wanted to retire. I had been working in a school media center without a budget, and had reached the top of the guide. With the prospect of earning less money the following year due to health insurance payments, union dues etc., I had no choice but to leave. I miss my kids, but I don't miss the lockdown drills. Fire drills ok. Lockdown drills... frightening.

I did an enormous amount of research when I created our school's media center website, including research assistance, infographics, tutorials, and 135 pathfinders, more than any other high school has posted. The site was a gift to my students, but it was hidden with other "important resources" under the high school's main page. Students could never find it. The website I created is no longer connected to the school. No one ever updated it. It disappeared within the last month or so. The domain and site have been paid for up until the fall of this year. You can take a quick peak if you're interested: RP Media Center.  My 20x30 poster tutorials lined the walls in the media center. I sure hope they are still there. Here's just one of the dozens I created:

Student aide working at the front desk

I love Photoshop® and Snagit. They have been   my favorite go-to programs to create lesson plans and tutorials. (The new version of Snagit has   some terrific features.) Education pricing is here.

It has been 2.5 years since I left the profession, but I've been giving back in many positive ways. I serve on the Board of Directors for The Palisades Virtuosi, a trio of classical musicians. I design their posters and assist with fundraising. My volunteer work brought me back to my hometown of Teaneck, NJ, where I do design, communications and web site updates for The Teaneck International Film Festival. For a while I was even on my condo's board of directors. Today I was just accepted to be a student blogging commentator for Edublogs. Another top-secret project is in the works, and I'm beginning to write my first children's book. I also dabble in photography and retouching old photos. I'm looking forward to writing more music, and loving the time to just simply enjoy a good book. I continue to post on Twitter.

I had an average of 16 members each year volunteering for the library council, the largest group number the school had ever seen. Some students remained in the group from 7th-12th grade.
Library Council's Year-End Party

Every now and then, I run into a former student, and it warms my heart when they remember me fondly.  I too have fond memories of them, and some have stayed in touch with me on Facebook. As teachers, we never know how many lives we have touched, but social media has allowed us to stay connected and be remembered some day when we are gone.

If any of my former students are reading this, know how much I enjoyed knowing you and teaching you how to be great digital citizens!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The MEGALIST of Natural Disasters

Photo taken before Hurricane Sandy. ©J.Greller

We are witnessing a lot of extreme weather lately which seems to be the product of global warming. Students need to understand the difference between hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes, as well as why they all occur in the first place. Hopefully I have covered all the resources necessary below...

Active Weather Alerts- from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

American Meteorological Society

Build Your Own Weather Station- Discovery Education lesson plan

Commuter Forecast- just enter destination

Discovery Education Lesson Plans

EdHeads: Weather Activities

Hands-On Science and Literacy Lessons About Weather and Climate- grades K-5

How's the Weather Today?- National Geographic Education

Inside the Climatologist's Toolbox

Interactive Weather Maker

Interactives on the Weather- from Annenberg Learner

Introduction to Weather Map Symbols and Terminology

Kid Info- weather facts and weather resources

Lesson Plan Central- weather lessons

National and Local Weather-

Preschool Education Theme: Weather

Preschool Weather Arts and Crafts

The Science Spot- weather lesson plans

Stop Disasters!- disaster simulation game

Tree House Weather Kids- Interactive site is also available in Spanish

Weather Activities and Smartboard Activities- very good site with a weather game, research section and so much more

Weather Lesson Plans- from TeAchnology

Weather Lesson Plans, Themes, Printouts, Crafts- The Teacher's Guide

Weather Map- shows U.S. weather map and some streaming video from weather cams

Weather Printables, Lesson Plans, Resources- from TeacherVision; covers grades K-12

Weather Scope: Make a Weather Station

Web Weather for  Kids


Great California Shakeout Day- world's largest earthquake drill; warnings about "The Big One"
May 24, 2013- 5.7 largest to hit since 2008
October 19 Earthquake- Gulf of California affected



A to Z Teacher Stuff- small list of lessons about hurricanes

Apps for Tracking Hurricanes- nice listing of apps available in the iTunes store; most $$, some free

Best Books for teaching About Hurricanes- from Education World

BrainPop- video on hurricanes (younger kids)

Editors' Choices from Education World- best books to teach about hurricanes

FEMA Site- steps to prepare for a hurricane; kids site here.

How Hurricanes Work- from How Stuff Works; includes quiz, video

How Names are Chosen- includes listing of names to 2017

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank- "Launched in 2005, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita." 

Hurricane Facts and Figures- from the St. Petersburg Times; includes hurricane gallery 

Hurricane Hunters Association
Hurricane Tracker- from

Hurricane Tracking Activity- from Enchanted Learning

Hurricanes Videos- WatchKnowLearn; filter by grade level

Hurricane Watch: Lessons and Activities- from Education World

Hurricanes- page includes graphs, maps

Facts, Damage and Aftermath- from LiveScience article and videos on the 2005 hurricane



Fast Facts- from CNN

Lessons From the Storm- from TIME magazine

Best Books for Teaching about Tornadoes- Education World

How Do Tornadoes Form?- TED lesson with video below

Tornado Safety- Red Cross

Tornadoes Fact Sheet-from FEMA

Tornadoes!-lesson plan for grades 4-5

How Tsunamis Work- TED lesson and video

Tsunami Activities and Lesson Plans- from Teacher Planet

Tsunami Discussion Guide- grades K-2; from Teachervision

Tsunami Lesson Plan- grades 6-8; from Discovery Education

Tsunami Lesson Plans- from TeAchnology

Tsunami Resources for Teachers- from NOAA


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

When the Student Surpasses the Teacher

A few weeks ago, a group of friends and I attended a performance of the musical, Beautiful. What made this trip to N.Y.C. extra special was that we were going to have a Q and A with the show's director, Marc Bruni. Thirty years ago, Marc was a student of mine in an after school program. Seeing him for the first time since then made me gush with pride; my student had become a successful Broadway director!

Anyone who is a teacher understands how proud I felt. We refer to our students as "our kids", even though we are not their parents. Congratulations, Marc! You have surpassed your teacher!!


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