Friday, January 13, 2012

The Shelving Issue: How Do You Handle it?

Why do students just return books anywhere on the shelves? I have signs all over the library encouraging them to put them on our blue carts (they are marked) if they don't remember where they took them from. Yet, I always find them shoved above books, at the end of the wrong row or in the wrong section. Funny thing, I remember doing the exact same thing when I was a kid, and I just "figured" that the staff would take care of it.

Elementary school teachers use shelf markers (with a student's name) when they send their kids into the stacks to find books. Should I purchase them for my junior and senior high school students? Would they use them? Something to consider. Is there enough time to read the stacks every day? Not for me. I don't even have an assistant. How do YOU deal with this problem?

Here's a very funny video about a librarian who takes her shelving very seriously. Hope you enjoy it!

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Viber Allows You to Call & Text For Free!

Viber is an application for iPhone® and Android™ phones that lets you make free phone calls and send text messages to anyone who also has the application installed. This app makes it very useful for communicating with other teaching colleagues from all over the world (Relatives, businesses, schools, whatever) I personally haven't tried it yet, but if you have used Viber, please give us your feedback.

Teach Photography? Try These 22 Sites For Lessons and Resources



A Beginner's Guide to Digital Cameras- learn about pixels, aspect ratio, types of graphics formats, memory and digital/optical zooms. 

Digital Imaging

Digital Photography Tutorials 

Every Picture Has a Story Lesson Plan- from Smithsonian 

Exploring Photographs Lesson Plans- from the J.P.Getty Museum

How to Take Great Group Photos- 12 excellent tips are listed here with a photo example for each one

Sports Photography Techniques- excellent and complete site with step-by-step information on shooting sports. You can view many sample shots taken for a school newspaper.

Ten Tips for Great Pictures- from Kodak; excellent!

Using Photography to Enhance a Story 
Using Photography to Help Save the Oceans - from National Geographic

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Check Out Word Hippo

The interface is simple. Students can enter a word and find its definition, similar words, opposite words or words which rhyme with that word. The translator offers 12 different combinations of translations and you can download translation software Babylon 9 for free. Word Hippo can be used by students of all ages, even though the name gives you the impression it is just for younger kids.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nothing Quite Like a Real Book

A student asked me today if I own a Kindle or a Nook. My answer was simple; I still love feeling the pages and turning them one by one. And I also have a stack of books I haven't read yet lining my bookshelves in my home library.  Yes, one day I personally will jump on the bandwagon, but for now......

Here's a video animation which was created by a bookstore in Canada named Type Books. It sums it all up for me:

Watch YouTube Videos with VuSafe

Looking for safe and secure place to save those videos for your class? VuSafe allows you to create your own library of videos, as well as "use VuSafe to find videos, post them to a VuSafe library, organize the videos using keywords and categories, and share them with their students safely. The service removes all outside content present on sites such as YouTube, eliminating access to inappropriate comments, advertisements or other non-approved videos." If your school presently blocks YouTube, you will still be able to show the videos on VuSafe, so pick your videos at home and put them on VuSafe for when you are at school. VuSafe is a free service for K-12 schools. The video below is an overview of the site:

Looking for Better Lessons for Your Class? Why Not Try BetterLesson!

BetterLesson is a great (and free) social network just for teachers. Collaboration is easy and you can use any of the thousands of resources on the site. Share your own lesson plans or download any which other teachers have uploaded. Here's a brief introduction to BetterLesson:

Loads of Educational Apps on APPitic

Reviewed by Apple Distinguished Educators, APPitic is a super site which boasts more than 1,3000 plus educational apps. Main categories include: SPED and Autism, Pre-School, Themes, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom's Taxonomy, ISTE NETS and Teachers. Many apps are free, and there are also those which cost $$. The site can be translated into 10 different languages. I've been an Apple girl since the first Mac computer, and I am very excited about what APPitic has to offer teachers.

PikiFriends is Great For ESL Students

PikiFriends is an "online 'penpal' program made for junior and senior high school students and teachers only. Member students and teachers manage their own personal profiles and communicate with each other in a variety of ways using English. The main goal of PikiFriends is to improve English communication skills among EFL students".  PikiFriends provides a safe, filtered environment and teachers have a lot of control over the student accounts.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Students Love My Big Campus' Facebook Interface

The first time I saw Edmodo, I knew that students would find it "cool". That's because the interface looks like Facebook, right down to the color choices. Several teachers in our school have been using Edmodo with great success, enjoying the safe web environment. Enter My Big Campus, an online program which also looks like Facebook, and in a safe environment allows students to store files, (say goodbye to the school's server) monitor assignments and due dates, interact with their peers in class and collaborate. They can also access normally blocked videos. Teachers can create quizzes, create blogs, post videos and more. All of this is within the My Big Campus interface.If you have been using My Big Campus, please share your experience with everyone by posting. I'm interested in seeing how it compares to Edmodo. Here's a short video about My Big Campus:

17 Places Where You Can Find FREE Kindle and Nook Downloads

Now that our iPad2 raffle was a huge success, I am trying to decide how to use those extra dollars. As a teacher-librarian, I am always interested in getting our students to read and enjoy reading, so I thought the next big step was getting eReaders for the library. I am still on the fence as to which one to purchase, so I thought I'd start my research by seeing how many sites have free downloads for Kindle and Nook. I was surprised at the results; there are many ways to get free downloads for both eReaders.

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

Bookyards- pdf files can be ported to your Kindle

Books Buddy- a Nook app to locate free books

Digital Library NJ- Kindle, Nook; library card needed

eBooks Habit- regular postings

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

Feedbooks- Kindle, Nook; public domain books

Google eBooks: Best of the Free- Kindle, Nook

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

Internet Archive- Kindle, Nook

Kindle Store's Top 100 Free

ManyBooks-Kindle, Nook; 29,000 downloadable books

Mobipocket- Kindle

The Open Library- Kindle, Nook; one million titles

Penn State University's Electronic Classic Series Site- Kindle, Nook; pdf files

Pixel of Ink- free and bargain Kindle books

Project Gutenberg- Kindle, Nook; 33,000 downloadable books

Public Libraries- Kindle, Nook; check your state and local libraries (I have listed my state of NJ above)

***Here is a comparison chart of Kindle vs Nook.***

Sunday, January 8, 2012

READ180 Assists Struggling Students

"READ 180 is a comprehensive system of curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development proven to raise reading achievement for struggling readers in Grades 4–12+. READ 180 is designed to maximize student engagement, teacher effectiveness, and leader empowerment."  ESL  and special education students will see their Lexile scores increase when they apply the program.  Scholastic provides a list of funding resources, as well as information on grant writing. (See the Scholastic Funding Connection )


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