Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb


While WW II was waging furiously in Europe, some countries didn't see as much action. But it didn't mean that pivotal moments didn't occur in those countries.  Switzerland declared itself neutral, but Norway didn't.  And there was one place in Norway that became very VERY interesting to the Nazis.  It was a place so obscure and rare, they would do anything to make sure they could control it. 

An interesting fact - the science behind the nuclear bomb was being explored before and during World War II.  Everyone knew that whomever developed it first would win the war.  And the race was on.  Different physicists and scientists came up with various ways to create one and there were many elements that had to be used.  One of them was called heavy water.  Hydrogen has been replaced by deuterium, which made it essential for bomb making. The unfortunate thing was that heavy water was difficult to produce and there wasn't much of it.

But there was one place in Europe where heavy water was produced.  The Vemork Hydroelectric Plant in Norway.  Difficult to access, it was the perfect Nazi situation, making it hard to infiltrate.  It was to be a huge Nazi secret that gave them the extra incentive to win the nuclear race. 

One thing they didn't count on was the patriotism of the Norwegians.  There were underground resistance groups that sprung up and when the Nazis found them out, they used scare and death tactics to contain them.  It only bolstered them to fight back even more.  Several Norwegians went to England to train with the secret intelligence service to become infiltrators, spies and saboteurs.  They were to go back to Norway and create new resistance groups and sabotage any Nazi effort.

The top priority was to destroy Vemork....but could they without getting caught or putting the small town of Rjukan in jeopardy for their lives? Even worse, their mission was to take place in winter across a vast frozen area where survival would be severely tested.

Young adult non-fiction is fascinating for one very simple reason - these are the events that aren't usually written about in history books. Neal Bascomb hit it out of the park with his newest book. Narrative in nature, Bascomb tells a riveting story as well as providing images and photographs of the main players and sites.  In hindsight, readers will see how one mistake could have changed the outcome of the war. This is the invisible part of WWII teens will find fascinating.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Kind of Orientation!

Freshmen library orientation, if anything else, should be straight up interesting.  First impressions are the best (and most lasting) ones, so it is up to us to create relationships day one of meeting the first freshmen class that comes in.  Last year, I did a meme powerpoint, which the students absolutely loved!  I am going to use this again, but I thought I'd also create something else for the little time I have left afterward.  
My creation?  10 Things to Know About the Library web list.  But it isn't just any list....it's set up like Buzzfeed and other feeds that have lists with animated gifs in it.  Fun and definitely relatable teen and tweens who are familiar with animated lists.  Pictures do tell a thousand words (boy, I'm full of classic cliches this morning!!).  Enjoy!



Monday, August 15, 2016

That beginning of the school year post!

The week before school starts
And through the library,
We started getting ready
For the extraordinary.


Books were displayed
On the shelves here and there,
Waiting for readers
From here and elsewhere.


The students still had
A week to sleep late,
While librarians work hard
For the big opening date.

via GIPHY

Not only the students

But also the teachers,
Were all given info
On things that were keepers.


Like sources and websites
And great info to know,
About books and collab’ing
Great things we can show.


Emails and posters
All ready to make,
To show off resources
For the campus to take.
And use for their projects
And digital work,
The library is here
Like Spock is to Kirk.


Not only does reading
Take place in here often,
But makerspace, gaming
And Lunches, and talkin’.


The library has changed
Through the years can’t you see,
From quiet hush zones
To chill places to be.
The collection has more
Than just books to check out,
But all sorts of things
For all users to scout.


From movies to audio
Kids books and much more,
All for the taking
On the fab library floor.


So with only five days
To get ready to open,
How bangin', how awesome
Let's bring lots of hope in!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

100 Useful Websites for Educators and Students

There are so many websites out there, it's sometimes difficult to run the gauntlet and not get hit with websites you weren't expecting or even dead links.  I know I've blogged and tweeted many websites I liked over the years and it didn't occur to me to make a list until this summer.  So here is my list of what I consider the top 100 sites for educators, students, and of course librarians.  I tried my best to make sure they were free to use, but always keep in mind the appropriate age of use.

If you see one you love and it isn't listed, please share on the comments section below!
Here is the link to the Google doc you can download.

Happy new school year!!


1001fonts.com - free downloads to make your projects pop a little more
4shared.com - free 5 GB online storage and file sharing
Adobe Spark - a suite of tools to create presentations, posters,  videos, and websites
Awwapp.com - online interactive whiteboard
Bighugelabs.com - do cool stuff it hour digital photos from posters to magazine covers and more
Bingobaker.com - create and generate hundreds of random cards in PDF
Blockposters.com- take your personal images and create a huge poster through segmentation
Cacoo.com - timeline creator
Canva.com - make beautiful posters, social media graphics and presentations
Cell.ly - send text messages to students, parents and others without sharing your private number
Citationmachine.net - help with citations including APA and MLA
Classbadges.com - award virtual badges to students for their accomplishments
Classtools.net - free games, quizzes and activities for classrooms K-12
Code.org - create classes and teach students to code the easy way
Commoncraft.com - explainer videos for teaching and a library of cutouts
Commoncurriculum.com- online lesson planning where yu can attach files, re-arrange lessons, collaborate with other teachers
Coursera.org - online courses from top universities
Coverr.co- public domain stock videos. Seven new videos a week
Croak.it - record voice messages in three simple steps
Dipity.com - create, share, embed, collaborate on interactive timelines incorporating video, audio, image, text, link, social media and more
Duolingo.com - language learning app
Easel.ly- create infographics from templates or on your own  
Easybib.com -help with citations including APA and MLA
Easypolls.net - create online polls for free.  Save them hen you create an account
Edweb.net - professional online networking via webinars for educators
Edutopia.com - online community dedicated to bringing quality resources to the K12 community of educators
Emaze.com - online presentation creator unlike standard presentation. Create attractive presentations with provided templates
Todoist.com - manage task/projects on and offline. Share tasks in a collaborative environment. Works with many different platforms
Everystockphoto.com- Creative Commons photos
Evernote.com-save, share and work on documents across devices
Flippity.net - use Google spreadsheets to create flash cards
Fotor.com - create collages or seamlessly photo stitch images into one picture
Geogebra.org - dynamic math software for geometry, algebra, calculus, and statistics Getkahoot.com - create interactive games, polls, surveys
Pocket.com- save anything you want to see online for later.  Includes social media apps so you can save from Twitter and other social media sites
Goo.gl - shortens URLs that can be tracked for statistics
Gosoapbox.com - student response system with integrated tools to check for understanding, play quizzes, and generate reports
Grammarbase.com- free grammar checker
Gutenberg.org - Project Gutenberg offers free e-books and audiobooks on works that are copyright free, most of which are classics
Hstry.co - interactive timeline includes quizzes, did you know sections. Add images and videos.  Allows students to interject via comments
Imagechef.com - use photos and texts to create a myriad of different products Imgflip.com/meme generator - use images, add text, create memes
Instapaper.com - save websites for future browsing. Perfect for research
Join.me - screen sharing with anyone on the web
Khanacademy.org -academic videos to learn almost anything
Kizoa.com - create videos with a multitude of options and no time limit
Knowledgehook.com- online game show that targets mathematics for all grade levels
Kwiksurveys.com - create unlimited surveys and polls
Libib.com -cloud based cataloging for beyond the library (think classroom libraries)
List.ly - curate and share lists as well as allow others to add to them
Makerbook.net - creative graphics
Marinaratimer.com - three different types of timers to help with classrooms, presentations et al.  Features pomodoro, custom and kitchen timers
Meez.com - avatar creator
Mentormob.com - online community creating and providing lessons for skills and hobbies
Mindmeister.com - online software with great visualization
Mindomo.com - mind map creator that can be used as a presentation tool as well
Moovly.com - interesting and different approach to presentations based on cartoon images and hand actions
Morguefile.com- free digital photos for projects that doesn't require citations
Online-convert.com - convert most any type of file, videos, documents etc,  into different formats
Openbadges.me - create badges for websites and blogs
Pablobuffer.com- use an image provided or your own, add amazing text, share with the world
Panopen.com -open educational resources which include quizzes, videos, PowerPoint slides
Photosforclass.com- Creative Commons images with attribution
Photopeach.com- video creator with a twist-literally!
Photopin.com- Creative Commons images with easy to find attribution
Piktochart.com - create infographics that can be shared.  Has a presentation mode and are downloadable
Pixteller.com - create online posters
Popplet.com-  create a board to collaborate with others anywhere anytime
Presentation tube.com - record and share quality presentations with free recording and video sharing platform
Purple-planet.com - Creative Commons music for digital projects
Quizzizz.com - create and play multiplayer games
Quozio.com - create beautiful quotes
Readwritethink.org - classroom resources for K12 classrooms created by NCTE
Remind.com - send text reminders of class work to students and parents without sending your cell phone number.  Create chats or send to individuals as well
Ribbet.com - online image editor
Scoop.it - web curation tool to share information
Screencastomatic.com- captures your screen to create and share videos/tutorials
Showbie.com- teacher creates account which allows students to upload their work
Slidedog.com - multimedia tool that allows the user to bring in different types of media from documents to videos and more into one presentation
Slides carnival.com - free templates for Google Slides
Smore.com - create informational posters for organizations, schools, newsletters and more
Snapguide.com - discover and create how-to guides
Spiral.ac - suite of tools to make learning g more engaging.  Includes student response quizzes (quickfire) , interactive presentations (discuss), and group work/collaboration (team up)
Stich.it -  copy and paste web sites into the box, this site will “stitch” or curate them into one web address
Studyblue.com - crowd sourced site with academic flash cards and notes
Sway.com- create and share interactive presentations, personal stories, reports and more
Tackk.com - create pages for anything from online posters to presentations to specific pages you build by inputting information and links
Teachwithmovies.org movie clips with lesson plans
Thenounproject.com - downloadable icons of all types
Timetoast.com- interactive timelines to create and share
Tripline.net - interactive maps you create with images, dates, and descriptions
Twiddla.com - web based, no sign in needed to collaborate online
Tynker.com- programs games, Mindcraft Mods and more
Visibletweets.com - display tweets during a conference or meeting via unique hashtag to see what others are sharing
Voxer.com- text messages with voice, photos and videos to share with groups
Videonot.es -  synchronize videos with your notesto share.  Click on the note to jump to that particular part of the video. Syncs with Google Drive
Visme.co - only site that create infographics, presentations, reports, and web content
Wevideo.com - create quick videos with the free version
Whatshouldireadnext.com - type in a title and it will generate a list of similar titles and subjects Wordpress.com - create a blog with a website look
Zaption.com - turn online videos into interactive learning experience you customize
Ziteboard.com - collaborate, brainstorm, create and plan with a whiteboard

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Summer Reading List - What are You Reading?

June, July, August.  Three months equal 12 weeks equal....how many books could I possibly read this summer?  Here are my top 10 books I AM going to read and some bonus titles I may get to.



1.Dead Wake by Erik Larson  non-fiction, adult

2. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon  young adult, realistic read

3. Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott  young adult, novel in verse/historical fiction

4. Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange  young adult, realistic read

5.  Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone young adult, realistic read

6. Novice by Taran Matharu  young adult, fantasy

7. Radical by E.M Kokie  young adult, realistic fiction

8. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum young adult, realistic fiction

9. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnally, mystery

10. The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs, thriller



And lest we forget these (don't!)

Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp adult, realistic fiction

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten young adult, thriller

Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt young adult, thriller

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven  young adult, realistic fiction

Mayday by Karen Harrington young adult, realistic fiction

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace, horror/supernatural supernatural/horror

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Trailer: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

We have an amazing booklist for freshmen to choose from and this is one of the titles!  I made one YEARS ago and decided to revamp.  Here's the new trailer for an older YA book (didn't even know I was reading dystopia at the time!)
If you can't access Youtube, here are alternate links:

Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-wHb5Nsjhy0dW9XWlB3MGZoUlU/view
Schooltube: http://www.schooltube.com/video/71ae95640e7240da9144/The%20Adoration%20of%20Jenna%20Fox



Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

HarperTeen, 2016

Dinah has been called to the Great Hall to meet with her father.  It isn't something she relishes at all. She gets dressed in her silks with adorning red hearts everything, along with her crown of rubies and makes her way through the Cards to the King's throne...and what happens next begins her saga.

Vittiore is Dinah's step-sister.  Unlike Dinah, with dark hair and eyes, Vittiore is blonde with blue eyes, loved by all, especially the king.  There are favorites in the castle, and Vittiore rises to the top. Dinah is beyond frustrated with this new girl and doesn't give her the time of day.  Perhaps she should...

Charles, Dinah's older brother, cannot be the next in line to the crown because of his condition.  His entire apartment in the palace is filled with hats he makes, which are very coveted. People call him the Mad Hatter, Dinah knows he is more than that.

Wardley, a childhood friend of Dinah's and a Heart Card (soldiers bound to protect the royal family), sees the pain and humiliation Dinah has to face every time she faces her father, and he is there for for her.  His support and friendship will be tested by both Dinah and the court.  Where do his allegiances lie?

Harris never runs late.  He makes sure his student, Dinah, is kept on schedule. He has been with her since Dinah's mother died and is loyal and kind.  In fact, Harris is more of a father figure in Dinah's life than anyone else.  He is the bargaining chip between Dinah and the king...if she doesn't do what he asks, Harris won't be around much longer.

Cheshire is the king's right hand man.  He is always whispering in the king's ear, with a grin of evil on his face.  He is the only one the king trusts and the one Dinah trusts least.  Although not a royal, Cheshire wields a lot of power.

The Cards play an important role in Wonderland.  The Spades are mercenary soldiers even the Heart Cards fear.  They are wild and bent on destruction, which the king believes makes the best type of soldiers against his enemies.  The Clubs are Wonderland's judge and jury.  Most of them work in the Towers, where the criminals and insane are taken until Execution Day, where their heads are cut off.  The Diamonds are the men who work with the royal coffers.  Dinah learns how to handle these different characters, as only a future queen can.  But will they be loyal to her?

Then one evening, she finds a vial with a message hidden in it
within a tart that is served to her.  Is this a trap, or is this meant to help?  After she reads the message and undertakes the journey, even she is no longer sure.  But her life is at stake...

We all know the Queen of Hearts in Carroll's classic novel, and Colleen Oakes has done an excellent job in recreating Wonderland, the characters, and especially the future queen in this amazing fantasy re-telling.  Put the classic back on the shelf and don't read into the pages what will happen.  Allow the book to take you to this Wonderland in all of its wildness, hidden secrets, danger, and pomp.  And when the reader comes to the end of the book wanting to know more, fear not!  There is an excerpt from the next book in the saga!  Recommended for grades MS-HS.

Friday, May 20, 2016

10 Things Librarians Should Do Before School is Out

It's the final countdown! Another school year in the books (well, nearly...). Why does it seem like the beginning and end of the year are the most frantic times? 100 million things to do, and not enough time. Here are ten things that can help you prioritize before you go out the doors and into summertime!!

  1. Advertise your library social media accounts. That way people can follow you or at least contact you if they need to. Today's new library doesn't ever close, even during summer. If you keep your social media accounts active, you'll have no problem helping people who may need it from a book recommendation or how to access a database.

Twitter GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Twitter GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

2. Summer and reading go together like ice cream and a spoon. Get out information on how to “check out” books for the summer.  Required reading or pleasure reading? Let staff and students know how to access the campus library e-books. Flyers, online or physical posters, email, social media, websites...whatever it takes, let people know they have access to the virtual library

Reading GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Reading GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
3. We can never escape from it....professional development. We all need it, we all have to have it. So make sure you go for the best.  Start looking at your favorite sites and places you know will have top-notch PD, including webinars. (and if you're in Texas, come to our NTX Libcamp! http://ntxlibcamp.weebly.com/ )

Boxing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Boxing GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
4. Take your computer (or device you work with the most) home with you. It’ll save you gas money and headaches. I've often said, "Oh, I'll pick it up on the way..." famous last words! Make sure you can get to it quick. And if it's a desktop, welllllll...

Internet GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Internet GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
5. Write down those usernames and passwords. Yes, for your databases but also for ALL THE OTHER things you'll need to remember. Summertime seems to zap memories, especially to whatever you have in the library that needs one (this also includes combination locks too). Don't put yourself in the position of adding to your first week of school frenzy by forgetting them!

Sad GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Sad GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
6. Share your knowledge! It never hurts to have a presentation or two ready for those just in case moments when you may get a message asking if you can present to new teachers/other staff or be a part of summer professional development. And if not, then start creating a kickin' library orientation for the new kids coming to campus in the fall!

Challenge GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Challenge GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
7. Get a copy of next year’s calendar now. Find out when new teachers are coming in, when school actually starts for students, and when each six weeks starts. And you know you're going to get well-prepared teachers who want to reserve the library for next year.

Thumbs Up GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Thumbs Up GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
8. Make of list of your TBR (to be read) and let that be your summer goal. Or at least 3 of the best books on it (decisions decisions!)

Book GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Book GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
9. Meet with local public librarians and see how both of you can collaborate on programs for the summer and possibly for the next school year. Nothing feels better than connecting with your community!

Superman GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Superman GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
10. Make a list of your favorite librarifriends you’d love to spend the weekend with, find an Airbnb on a beach somewhere and send out those e-vites! And if that doesn't pan out, tell them you'll see them at conference for a night out!

telenet GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this telenet GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.