Friday, December 19, 2014

PowerPoint Presentations Need a Boost? Here's Some Great Advice

We have all seen it; the teacher who sits with their textbook next to the computer, marking bullets in their PowerPoint presentations. They all look the same. The teacher reads from the screen during presentation. Do the students stay awake? If I was a teenager, I'm not sure I would. I have posted before about ways to make presentations more interesting, and today I would like to add Seth Godin's to the post. Seth mentions how presentations have not really changed over the last few decades. He offers advice that all presenters need to heed. The second one you might have seen here before: "You Suck at PowerPoint!" Both presentations are terrific.

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You Can Now Export Your Citations From EBSCO to EasyBib!

If your school is fortunate enough to have access the EBSCO databases, students can now export their citations directly into EasyBib. Schools with an EasyBib Pro account have the ability to save their bibliographies and come back at another date to finish their work. The following tutorial is based on a school with EBSCO and an EasyBib Pro account. (For a pro account, make sure you or your student is logged into EasyBib BEFORE the steps below.) The bibliography we are making is based on MLA format. If you want another format, you must tell EBSCO under "preferences".

1. Log into your school account

2. Choose which database you wish to use

3. After you search for a specific topic and choose an article,
your screen should look like this one. Choose EXPORT
from the right side of the screen.

4. You will then see the EXPORT MANAGER. Choose DIRECT EXPORT TO EASYBIB.

5. You will be brought to EasyBib and see this screen above. Arrows indicate what you should pick.

6. Presto! Your bibliographic entry is listed.

Problems? Your EBSCO account might not have the export manager activated. Call EBSCO's customer service for help.

The Edublog Awards Process Needs to Change

Let me say up front that my post has nothing to do with the fact that I did not win this year's Best Library/Librarian. When I won last year, I posted my concerns about using Listly for the voting process. This year, I felt compelled to post about changing the entire voting process, and why I feel this way. Of course I am interested in how you all feel, so please post in comments below...

1. The Nomination Process
     Things changed a bit this year, and people were not required to post their nominations on their blogs. There was either a form to be submitted or an optional blog posting. Problem #1- Anyone can fill out the form. You can ask a friend, relative, a colleague.

2. The Voting Process
     Can you say "popularity contest"? That is really what the voting process is all about. You hustle to get the vote and the one with the most votes wins. Problem #2- Listly.  I have already mentioned publicly that this program should not be used for voting. It did not work with iPads or Internet Explorer. And as a nominee, I certainly did not want to know who voted for me, because that also told me who didn't vote for me. ( I'm a sensitive person, and it hurt that I didn't get support from certain people. )  The voting process should be private.

3. How I Would Change The Edublog Awards
     It is an honor to be awarded for the work we do as educators. The Edublog Awards would be much more prestigious if a committee was formed (educators*) and those people nominated and chose the winners. If the everything remains the same next year, I will probably withdraw from the competition. Don't take this as a threat. I'm just frustrated. I'll be fine. Congratulations to all the winners. (Though it would have been nicer if the winners blogs were linked right there as they were last year....just sayin')

*I would be more than happy to help out in any way I could with the process....


Thursday, December 18, 2014

43 Free iPad Apps for Geography, History, Civics & Social Studies Teachers

It's becoming a little harder to find free iPad apps, but they are out there. The dwindling school budgets make it difficult to afford the purchase of iPad carts AND apps for each device. When I posted this today, the apps listed below were free. Hope it stays that way. Have a suggestion? Please comment below.

Civic Quotes- "notable quotations from a variety of U.S. government leaders over the years "

Constitution for iPad- a copy of the Constitution on your iPad

Constitution and Federalist Papers- full text of the Constitution, 85 of the Federalist papers and more

My Congress- information on all  U.S. Congressional officials

Pocket Law Firm- game

The Presidency- for elementary and middle school students

3D National Parks Lite- 2 national parks on this version; 28 on the full version

Atlas for iPad

Earth Viewer- "EarthViewer is like a time machine for exploring Earth’s deep history. Based on the latest scientific research, it lets you scroll through the last 4.5 billion years with your fingertips."

Geo Photo Explorer- "
an easy way to explore, organize, manage photo galleries and share photos from Google Panoramio and Flick."

Google Earth

History: Maps of the World- interactive maps

Historypin"reveals photos near your current location and allows you to view them layered over the modern scene in front of you. You can also explore Collections of some of the best old photos from around the world, wherever you are."

Sphere 360ยบ Photography"See Paris from a hot air balloon, feel the energy from the American ldol stage, and hold onto your raft as you approach Hubbard Glacier."

Stack the States Lite- "
learn state capitals, shapes, geographic locations, flags and more"
StrataLogica- much more than a geography reference tool

American Revolution Interactive Timeline for iPad- developed by the Museum of the American Revolution

Beyond Textbooks 2010: American History Games- from Pearson Education

Civil War Lite: History Challenge

Clever Crazes You the Time Traveler- for grades K-8

Discovery Education Techbook- if your school has Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook services

Early Jamestown- interactive textbook tells the story of Jamestown

History Line- "History Line is a collaborative learning game for the iPad focusing on US History. The game can be played by 1-6 players."

iAmerica: The Pocket Guide to United States History and the Presidency

Infinity Ring: Revenge of the Redcoats- "Revenge of the Redcoats is set in Washington, DC, during the War of 1812. Dak, Sera, and fellow HystorianRiq have to convince Dolley Madison to leave the White House—before the SQ burns it to the ground!"

James Madison's Montpelier- "
makes history come alive at Montpelier, the historic home and grounds of President James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, and his vivacious wife Dolley. See the Madisons’ works of art and fine china, explore the latest archaeological excavations, and even discover the hiking trails of the Landmark Forest, all in stunning detail with interactive maps and image galleries."

Mapping Revolutionary Boston- interactive map of Boston during 1760s and 1770s

Mission U.S.: Think Fast! About the Pasta- "
fast-paced trivia game that introduces hundreds of fascinating facts about different eras of American history."

National Archives Docs Teach- choose from various activities to teach about historic events 

The Revolution: Interactive Guide- for high school students

Social Studies Friendzy- for grades K-8

TED Talks- inspiring, motivational talks on various subjects

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis- photographs, documents, and recording from the National Archives come to life in this app

Today in History Lite- over 100k historical events

U.S. History Timeline

AP World History- 8,000 BCE to the present

BBC History Magazine- from Romans to Henry VIII to Winston Churchill

Classical World Lite: History Challenge-  ancient Greece and Rome

Cold War Lite: History Challenge

European Exploration: The Age of Discovery

Napoleon: History Challenge Lite

World History Games- Middle school; "More than 100 different games cover dozens of topics, such as Ancient Rome and the Rise of Christianity, The Muslim World, Spread of Civilizations in East Asia, Kingdoms and Trading States of Africa, The Industrial Revolution, World War II and its Aftermath, and more."

WWI Lite: History Challenge

WWII Lite: History Challenge

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

I know we are close to the holiday break, but if you were looking for any resources, I'm sure you're aware of the giant listing of all holidays I have on the the right side of the blog. This list has many new sites added, and I update What a Listing of Holidays on a regular basis. Happy Holidays!!

10 Christmas Science Activities

A to Z Teacher Stuff- sort resources by age level

Christmas Around the World- long list of countries

Christmas K-3 Theme Page- from Enchanted Learning

Christmas Teacher Resources- from TeacherVision

Christmas Webquest- for younger children

Christmas Worksheets and Printables- from

Easy Christmas Crafts- from DLTK

K-12 Teacher Resources- nice listing includes lesson plans, worksheets, interactive online activities

Puzzles and Word Searches

Super Teacher Worksheets- includes puzzles and Christmas math worksheets

Teacher's Guide to Christmas Holidays- from TeAchnology

Teacher Planet-lessons, worksheets, clip art

The Teacher's Corner-how Christmas is celebrated around the world

Winter Holidays Around the World- from the Lesson Plans page

Cartoons Only a Teacher Would Love

Need a laugh? I sure do. Here ya go.........................

Monday, December 15, 2014

Collaborating With Reluctant Teachers

Are you a school librarian who is trying to collaborate with a reluctant teacher? I personally have found it difficult to get my teachers engaged on the high school level. With all the new SGO requirements, and PARCC Testing on the horizon, my teachers are more overwhelmed than ever. And overwhelmed teachers do not have any extra room in their schedules. So when I received a request on Twitter about this topic, I thought about the ways that I have attempted to get reluctant teachers involved in a collaboration.
Being the tech-geek that I am, I approached my teachers at the beginning of the school year with an email which listed all the great things I had to offer as the school's media specialist. Keep reminding teachers how collaboration will help them in their classrooms, and how their students will benefit as well. Two teachers are better than one. Here are a few sites I pulled up on the subject......

10 Ways to Change the Minds of Tech-Reluctant Staff

Collaboration and the Learning Community

Increasing Technology Integration Through Collaboration
Between Media Specialists and Teachers

School Library Media Collaborations: Benefits and Barriers

The Teacher's Take: The Instructional Role of the School Librarian

Sign I made for teachers and students
to see how approachable I am.
(modified after I saw this on the Internet-


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