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Polar Vortex!
02/01/2014

With the help of Polar Vortex, I love the way that rolls off the tongue, I have been able to get caught up slightly on my professional reading for the month.  Each snow day I set aside a little bit of time to scour my favorite bloggers for relevant articles, links, and ideas to take back with me once we actually got back to school on a regular basis.  By the way, we are already well past our calamity day limit…EEK!  Let’s not talk about that though.  Let’s talk a little bit about some blog postings that I think could be of interest to my fellow school librarians!

Mobile Apps for Teacher Librarians…HEY THAT’S ME!

Often times we are searching for apps and websites that would be good for our students/teachers/administrators in the educational realm but often forget about ourselves.  Sure, some of these would be good for your students or teachers but what hit home for me is that they work great for someone like myself…a school librarian!  Some of these you might have heard of such as Dragon Dictation, Feedly, and Easy Bib but some of them you might not have such as Free Books-23,469 classics to go or WordFoto.  Check out the article!  See if there is anything you don’t have!

Article can be found here 

Listen to the Sounds of Nature from All Over the World with Nature Sound Map Website

I think this website could be used in many different grades.  It can obviously be used at the primary level to introduce the different nature sounds from around the world.  It could also be used in a Science class as a way to hear, for example, what a volcano might sound like when it is erupting.  Finally, it could be used as background music in-between periods and what not.  The real question here is does this solve the age old question of…if a tree falls in the forest does it make sound?

Article can be found here

i Visual info Touch app for the iPad allows you to create Infographics on the iPad

For the past two years I’ve collaborated with my 7th grade Language Arts classes to help them create their own Infographics for a project they are assigned.  We have been using primarily web tools such as infogr.am, easl.ly, and so on that all have their strengths and weaknesses.   I’ve been looking for an iPad app for this purpose and this might be it.  What I really like is that fact that the kids don’t have to make an account.  The infographic simply gets saved to the camera roll on the iPad.  The downfall is if you want to insert your own images you have to go with the paid version that cost $2.99.  Compared to the paid versions of some web tools that is not that bad. 

Article can be found here

Google Images and Usage Rights more easily accessible for searchers

This has been a thorn in my clavicle for a while now. No matter how many times I’ve shown my students creative commons images websites, I’m still going to have a good amount of students use Google images for their pictures.  In the past, the usage rights option in the advanced search has been too cumbersome for students to use and many just take their chances.  Now that it is in the tool bar above the search results ,I’m hoping I can get my students to use it more often. 

Article can be found here      

Websites for Free Public Domain Images

So before it was a thorn in my clavicle it was a thorn in my femur.  Well, to get it out of my femur I linked some of these nice free public domain image sites to our school media center webpage.  This really helped some kids find safe images to use and also made them more aware of copyright issues.  Some of these are common knowledge but a few others, such as morgueFile which I really like, might not be.  Before you go and unblock all of these, because I’m sure your filter has blacklisted some of them, I would check them out and make sure they fit the needs of your clientele.   

Article can be found here

February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day but also International Book Giving Day!

I had no clue that February 14th is also International Book Giving Day.  I feel bad I didn’t know this…maybe you didn’t know it either and can feel bad with me?!?  Well, not only will I be giving my wife something special but also something special to someone who wants to read!  The brief article has links to the International Book Giving Day website and to a place where you can donate to an organization that gives books to kids in need. 

Article can be found here

The Option to Get Paid to take College Courses

I found this article very interesting to say the least.  Harvard University is planning on offering the opportunity to get paid to take certain classes, looks most likely to be MOOCs classes right now, as another incentive for students.  The payment received for taking a class can then be used towards another course.  I don’t know how successful it will be or if I would do it because you don’t get course credit.  It might be a nice option if I didn’t feel like I was prepared for a higher level course and needed an introductory class that I wasn’t going to get credit for anyways.  The real question is could we see a hybrid of some sort coming in the future at our level of education?  Some way to make college more affordable for those who plan to attend a higher education institution?

Article can be found here

My favorite Infographic of the Month Says E-Books Will Not Kill the Book  

I get ants in my pants, frozen ones during the POLAR VORTEX, when people say books are going to be extinct in the very near future.  Come on people, really?!?  Books are not going to be totally E-Books in the near future.  Look towards the history of media for proof of that.  Radio was supposed to die when TVs were invented.  Don’t get me wrong, E-Books are definitely becoming a big part of the market, but to say books WILL be obsolete in the near future is a bit much.  Heck, I have an e-reader and enjoy reading on it but I still buy print too.  As this infographic hints to, it’s more likely the two will “co-exist”.   

Article can be found here

Reading Changes Your Brain

I’m not surprised at the study conducted in this article or the findings, but it does make me want to come home and read a book.  We all knew that books and/or reading can help change our outlook on different things, but did you know that it can also alter your brain?    Now if I could just find another job that will allow me to go home and do that more often. J    

Article can be found here

Governor Kasich and the Calamity Days

So in the end I ended up talking about snow days and the fact that my district has already exceeded the maximum amount of days.  The following article should give those of you like me some hope. J

Article can be found here