Library Links

"Content that might be of interest to Teacher-Librarians..."


Author - Illustrator Videos

The website "WatchKnow" has a collection of videos organized by subject area and grade level. The section on Authors/Illustrators features some interesting interviews with writers.

Example: Author Kate DiCamillo Interview - Booklist
WatchKnow, authors,

Teaching Vocab so it sticks!

Doing it Differently: Tips for Teaching Vocabulary
By Rebecca Alber
Rebecca shares some recommended steps to make vocabulary instruction "stickier". She explains Marzanno's "Six Steps to Vocab instruction."

Flashcards on your iPod Touch

iPod - Use it to view Flashcards
"Is it possible to use your iPod to study?  It is now!  Mr. Coley has created specially designed PowerPoint presentations that can serve as digital flash cards to help you review some of the concepts studied in class.  Using iPod's "Photos" feature, you can transfer the images to your iPod and study on the go!  How cool is that?!"
flashcards, ipod


Using eReaders with students

Miguel Guhlin is currently the director of Instructional Technology Services for the San Antonio Independent School District. He writes an interesting blog on technology and education. Here are some of his posts about using eReaders and ePub books with students.

Create ePub Books (includes list of web sites that offer free content as
well as create your own)

eReaders in Schools

ePub, eReaders,

Urban Alphabet Book

Blurb, a virtual publishing site, has a number of books that could be used in the classroom. One great publication is the "Urban Alphabet Book".

"The paintings in this Urban Alphabet are from photographs taken by the American Artist Stephen Magsig from details of old theater marquees, neon signs and painted signs of local businesses. They are a record of a vanishing landscape. Most are derived from photos of the Detroit vernacular scene. With this alphabet Stephen Magsig examines a bit of Detroit’s past and shows a bit of his own."

Could be a spring board for a student project.
(NB, always preview, as some of the books on the site may not be for a student audience.)

Here are some other samples: (just search for alphabet.) (shown below)

Mammals 'R' Us - interactive site

This site presents an interactive  "mammal tree" organizer that helps students see the relationships between mammals. There are also links to a blog, latest news, and some video clips.

mammals, science,


The Role of School Librarians in Promoting the Use of Educational Technologies

The+Role+of+School+Librarians+in+Promoting+the+Use+of+Educational+Technologies 9 10                                                                                                                                   

The Nuts and Bolts of Setting up Literature Circles

Elena Aguilar walks teachers through the steps she used in setting up Lit Circles for her class. It was not an "instant process", but the rewards are great.

"... it took FIVE MONTHS to prepare my first batch of sixth graders for literature circles. I know it was the preparation that led to the success we had. [...] What did I do during those months? I slowly, carefully led students into this structure -- paying close attention to skills, attitude, and social relationships, and then I slowly released them, looping back to re-teach or re-enforce weak skills. Here are some of the things I did:"

Lit Circles,

Book trailers - Youtube Channel

This librarian has "favourited" a bunch of book trailers for secondary.  Cool idea to have them all on one page!

This Elgin Park librarian has "favourited" a bunch of book trailers for secondary and created a Youtube Channel to display them.  Cool idea to have them all on one page! Take a look.

Elgin Park, Youtube, Booktrailers,

For a TL and teacher: Technology Innovation Competition

Announcing the opening of this year's Media Specialist Technology Innovation Award competition! Open to Canadians as well!

Here are the details from Laurie Conzemius (Communications Chair of SIGMS: Media Specialist Special Interest Group of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) )

This annual award is presented to two teams of a school librarian and collaborating teacher who have conducted an exemplary technology program extending beyond the library to meet the needs of classroom students and teachers. The purpose of this award is to identify, promote, and sustain excellence in collaborative and innovative technology-based projects driven by the school library media center in support of curricular and instructional needs in elementary, middle, and high schools.

Award Winners Receive:

   * ISTE Membership (2 per team).
   * ISTE Annual Conference & Exposition registration (2 per team), and recognition at awards ceremony.
   * Featured in an article by Learning and Leading with Technology magazine.
   * $1,000 cash award payable to the school media center (1 per team).
   * $1,000 travel stipend if attending the conference (per team).
   * $300 professional library from ISTE.
   * Inscribed award plaque (one per team).

Read about past winners and download information about nomination materials, criteria, and the judging rubric from the Awards website at:

Laurie Conzemius
SIGMS Communications Chair

Christmas Wishes

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Teach English idioms with videos. (ESL and others)

The BBC has produced a series of "Bill Nye" style video clips on a range of English idioms that use sports, colour, body, food, animals, etc. Your ESL teachers might find this useful. The clips could also be used as part of a creative writing workshop!

ESL, idioms, BBC,

Author-Illustrator Websites for K-8

Authors & Illustrators
Here's a page of author/illustrator websites.
Pages are tagged for Middle School, Elementary School or K-PreK.
Some contain podcasts, video interviews, games, quizzes or teaching materials.

Immigration lesson website - Grade 5

Immigration "Webpath" for the Grade 5 level. (BC teacher created.)  Includes clickable links with worksheets for the unit study. Incorporates computer skills.
"These lessons are designed for teachers to help grade 5 students learn about immigration and Canadian Citizenship through a series of fun activities involving discussion, books, role playing and computers. Teachers may wish to consult with their school ... Librarian to get help in doing some of the activities in this unit."

immigration, Grade 5, socials,


Some 6+1 resources

6+1 Trait® Definitions

6+1 Posters

Printable Benchmark Papers

An overview of the model along with the scoring rubrics for each trait.

Some Teaching resources and picture book titles

6+1 traits, writing,

StatsCan: Learning resources bulletin, December 2010

The December 2010 issue of Learning resources bulletin is now available at

In this issue:
  •         Get your free booklets: "Canada at a Glance"
  •         Canadians students among the best in the world!
  •         Explore your province's education indicators
  •         Environment: Energy and water conservation
  •         Aboriginal children: languages, childcare, participation in sports
  •         All about Christmas trees!

Writing Fix - Home of interactive writng prompts

WritingFix: Inspired Teachers Sharing Great Ideas
"outstanding writing lessons strategically designed to "fix" your most reluctant writers."

"Navigate this website's menu bar (at left, in the light blue area), to discover pages dedicated to hundreds of complete writing lessons developed during local workshops, and thousands of student samples submitted by teachers all over the world who used the posted materials to inspire their students to write."
WritingFix, writing,

Hi-Lo Series for Struggling Readers - QuickReads -with samples

300910_124912_0.jpgThis looks like a great re-issue of a hi-lo series, with brand new, very appealing covers. Take a look at the link below, where you can see the covers and read excerpts from a number of the titles. (towards bottom of webpage) Good for reluctant readers and ESL students.

Artel in Burbaby is selling them for  $ 4.50 CDN each (w 20% discount for schools)
There are some bundle deals as well. (But make sure you get the new covers, and not the older ones.
604-435-4649 (Burnaby)

Literature Circles Resource Center

Literature Circles Resource Center - College of Education  - Seattle University
("information and resources for teachers and students in elementary and middle school")
Contains a number of suggestions for developing and maintaining Lit Circles.

Extension activities

Booklists for Literature Circles
Some of the links to book lists on the site have expired, so I've reworked the list, pasted it below without the expired URLs.

Cynthia Leitich Smith's Children's & Young Adult Literature Resources

Boys Read: Turning boys into readers

Out of the Ordinary Teen Book Lists

The Lazy Readers' Book Club

Critical perspectives of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books

Lit Circles,

Copyright-free images and photographs

 EduPic Graphical Resource

EduPic Graphical Resource was launched in September 2006 by teacher William Vann as a source of free images for teachers and their students. Now with over 6000 different photographs and education illustrations, the images on EduPic are "free for use by educational professionals and the students they serve without permission."

While not as nearly extensive as a "Google image search", there are some good images here, and they are all "free."
copyright free, images


Search Conflicts by time period and place

This site allows the user to search conflicts by time period and place. A combination of Google Maps and Wikipedia data, students can select the era and zoom in to see the battles that occured at that time.
conflicthistory, Google maps,

Bogus sites - can kids spot the fake?

Occasionally, I get requests for "hoax sites" to use in media lessons (checking for web accuracy, etc). Here are a few of the more well-known ones, along with some lists of additional sites compiled by others. (There is also a link to a "video game spoof" to see what kids know about being cyber-safe.)

West Coast Tree Octopus

California's Velcro Crop

Boilerplate Man

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research

More Bogus Website Lists

The Adventure of the Three CyberPigs
In this game, designed for ages 8-10, the CyberPigs play on their favourite Web site and encounter marketing ploys, spam and a close encounter with a not-too-friendly wolf

Short snappy Video clips that explain tech tasks

While the site is a little "tongue-in-cheek", Google has assembled a number of videos in a range of categories, ostensibly to teach parents of adult tech-savvy kids how to perform basic functions on a computer: THE BASICS, WORLD WIDE WEB, COMMUNICATION, MEDIA and FINDING INFORMATION.
Any of these videos could be used as a quick refresher, or a straightforward introduction, and is suitable for teachers, beginning computer students and yes, even your parents! (There's even a handy webform to email video links.) Videos can also be embedded in a web page or blog.

tech tips,

Assessment for Learning: 3 webcasts that explore this topic.

A Webcast series on Assessment for Learning
from BCELC "British Columbia Education Leadership Council"

Hear what is being done in the area of "Assessment for Learning" around the province. Listen to some of the foremost proponents of AFL. Review the basics and reflect on your own practice. (Downloadable agendas, handouts, reflection sheets accompany the archived video presentations.)

Back To School with Assessment for Learning
Webcast #1 of 3
October 1st, 2008 Event - Presented by Yrsa Jensen, Lori Johnson and Tom Schimmer

A Focus on Informed Assessment Practices
Webcast #2 of 3
January 21st, 2009 Event - Presented by Caren Cameron

A Focus on Informed Assessment Practices
Webcast #3 of 3
April 1st, 2009 Event - Presented by Yrsa Jensen, Pat Dooley, Andy Leathwood, Shellie Malloff, Kathi Knapik, Judy Gadicke, Wendy Forsythe and Rick Prosk

assessment for learning, webcast, BCELC,

Rethinking Homework - 20 questions

Twenty Questions Homework
by Kelly Gallagher

"I designed the Twenty Questions homework assignment to illustrate to students that it’s normal for good readers to be confused when starting a book. It helps reinforce the notion that confusion is normal and is a good thing. Strong readers develop the ability to live with ambiguity, and they trust that the author will eventually clear up confusion. This assignment helps students to see that."


Why keep "reading aloud" to kids? It's good for them!

Darsa Morrow blogs about why reading aloud is important, even if the child can read on his/her own! Might be a good link to share with parents.

"Darsa Morrow is an elementary school teacher on an extended hiatus to raise her three sons. She created this blog to provide a place for her children and herself to reflect about their reading experiences, as well as to provide a resource for parents and teachers of boys."

The call for more "teacher-readers"

Proficient Readers Need Teachers Who Read
By Gaby Chapman
("A recently retired English teacher, Gaby Chapman is currently a consulting librarian for, an online book lending library for kids. Before she was a teacher she served four years on a district school board in Northern California. ")

Creating "Student Holiday Reading Plans"

The "Book Whisperer" offers suggestions on how to help students maintain reading momentum over the holidays.  
("Donalyn Miller is a 6th grade language arts teacher in Texas who is said to have a "gift": She can turn even the most reluctant (or, in her words, "dormant") readers into students who can't put their books down.")

Readability of a website with just one click

Here's a post I made to my blog about how to find the readability of a website.

Handy for selecting an article to use with a class or student.
You can paste in any URL, or use it as a bookmarklet from your browser bar. (Explanation about bookmarklets here.)
bookmarklet, reading level,


International Debate Education Association resource Database

See this page for resources on controversial topics
(International Debate Education Association Database)
IDEA, debating,

Cell structure and size: Genetic Science Learning Center

From the Genetic Science Learning Center of the University of Utah.

A great way to view the relative sizes of cells, viruses etc.

View parts of plant and animal cells

Real Cell videos

Home page
cells, animation, genetics


Google and reading levels of sites

Google: set the reading level for your searches

Google now provides three levels of readability for its searches:  
-basic, intermediate, and advanced.

On Google's search page, click on "Advanced Search" and then select the level you prefer.  Before leaving the advanced search page, click on the Advanced Search button in the lower right corner of the page. (Google's default search level is to show no levels at all.) Above your search results, you will get a bar graph showing the distribution of the search results, with the option to filter as "intermediate" and as "advanced". See Google's explanation here.

This is a good way to differentiate during the research process.
reading level, Google,


Eisenberg Videos on Information Literacy

Dr. Michael B. Eisenberg conducts research, writes, consults, and lectures frequently on:
  • Information literacy
  • Information technology
  • Information management in learning and teaching
  • information and library education.
He is nationally known for his innovative approach to information problem-solving and technology in learning and teaching: the Big6. Some food for thought about info lit and the role of libraries and teacher-librarians. "Library Information Technology Program"

1. What is Information Literacy? (13 min)

2. How to Implement an Information Literacy Program (15 min)

3. Accountability in the Information Literacy Program (12 min)

4. The Role of the Teacher-Librarian and the School Library Program (14 min)

Eisenberg, video, information Literacy,

Dynamic periodic table - webpage

Dynamic Periodic Table

"Many other periodic tables use the word interactive to describe themselves while offering nothing more than links to pages of data about elements. Pages of data are fine, and Ptable "outsources" these writeups to other providers like Wikipedia and WebElements through the dropdown in the first tab. However, this is only offered as a convienence. Ptable shines when used as a true application, more interactive and dynamic than any standalone software. Please continue reading to learn about all the interesting things you can do with Ptable that make Mendeleev's creation come alive.

All HTML. No images. No Flash.
This gives all the scalability and accessibility of a normal web page while looking as good as any image or Flash out there. Highlight and copy data, print, and resize to suit your vision, just like you would with any web page."

NFB online - latest films added

New films posted online at NFB

Discover the most recently added films at <>. You can also get a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the months ahead. New titles include: Lights for Gita, Children of Soldiers and Oma's Quilt .
NFB, video

The Colour of Beauty - NFB short film - 15+

The Colour of Beauty  - Media Literacy
 (High School Level)
"We live in a media-saturated world and are constantly being bombarded by carefully constructed media messages. How can students learn to decipher them?
Watch the short film The Colour of Beauty (age 15+) with your students. Ask them to answer the following three questions:
• What is the main issue? 
• What techniques did the filmmaker use to convey her message? 
• Identify one point made in the film that you agree with and one point that you disagree with. Explain."

Youth and Biodiversity - NFB interactive

Youth and Biodiversity
In December, discover The Test Tube with David Suzuki – an online parable about our insatiable appetites, the fallacy of growth, and the things we can and cannot change. By combining interactive video with live data pulled from Twitter, the story illustrates the problems of increasing consumption and unfettered growth, as well as how all 7 billion of us are connected by a simple mathematical reality.
biodiversity, NFB

Ecologie Sonore - site interactif - ONF

(Interactive webprojects on the NFB website)

Explorez ce projet - "Ecologie sonore"
En décembre, explorer Écologie sonore, un projet stimulant pour l'imaginaire, et qui offre un média inédit pour insister sur l’importance de la pollution sonore en la mettant en perspective dans une réflexion plus large sur notre rapport aux sons et au silence.

Explorez tous les projets ici:
interactif, ONF,

Éducation/ONF - Nouveautés en ligne

(New videos available online via NFB/ONF)

Découvrez d’un simple clic les derniers films mis en ligne sur <>. Vous pouvez également jeter un œil aux productions à venir en cliquant ici. Voici quelques-uns des nouveaux titres : Jours de plaine, Enfants de soldats et Paow, Paow, t'é mort!
ONF, vidéos


Books for Young Adults - what authors and kids say

The April 1st, 2010 podcast of "The Next Chapter" from CBC featured interviews with YA authors and adolescent readers on the subject of YA fiction.

  • Rukhsana Khan on "Wanting Mor".
  • Eric Walters on what kids oughtta know.
  • Jill Murray on staying cool to teens.
  • Young Adult Readers Panel on what they want to read.
  • Joan Clark on why YA is a bad category.
  • Susan Juby on "Nice Recovery".
YA fiction, interview, The Next Chapter, CBC,

GoogleLitTrips - bring your novel to life

Each “Lit Trip” involves mapping the movements of characters over a plot’s timeline onto the real world using GoogleEarth and providing excerpts, pictures, and links at each location. The LitTrip allows students to make connections and develop a context for the story.
(You will need Google Earth installed for these "trips" to work.)

Explanation on Youtube: (Parts 1 and 2)
Introduction to Google Lit Trips presented by Kate Reavey at Peninsula College


An example with "The Kite Runner"





Indie "Kids' Next" List

Every season, IndieBound publishes its Kid's Next list of top 10 books. You'll find summaries, video interviews, and book reviews. Some books link to Googlebook previews. You can select from Teen, ages 9-12 and 4-8
Indiebound, Kids' Next, reading list,

Fostering Independent Writers in the Primary Grades - online preview

No More "I'm Done" (Preview the book online!) by Jennifer Jacobson, 2010
Fostering Independent Writers in the Primary Grades

071210_104948_0.jpg"Yes! Primary students can grow into being independent writers! Disregarding the false notion that writing instruction in the primary grades needs to be mostly teacher directed, Jennifer Jacobson shows teachers how to develop a primary writing workshop that helps nurture independent, engaged writers."

Primary, writing,

Figment - A site for teens to share and read

English teachers working with students 13 years or older might want to check out the Figment site, created by a couple of New Yorker staffers. Great potential here for kids who write and want to share their work.

"What is Figment?
Figment is a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you're into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels, you can find it all here.

Who is behind Figment?
Figment was co-founded by Dana Goodyear, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and Jacob Lewis, the former Managing Editor at The New Yorker and Condé Nast Portfolio. Pretty spiffy bunch, no? There are other people who turn the little gears inside the Figment machine, who you’ll meet if you stick around long enough."
Figment, New Yorker, writing,

From the hula hoop to in Canada

The Joy of Toys and Games (CBC archives - Topic spans: 1958 - 2004)
(16 television clips  -  4 radio clips)

"From the hula hoop, tabletop hockey, Spirograph and toy guns to Cabbage Patch Kids, Elmo, GI Joe and Transformers, kids in Canada have had no shortage of toys and games to choose from since the 1950s.  Mega-seller Barbie came in various incarnations and the trivial pursuit of digital equipment made popular games seem invisible in the new millenium.  CBC Digital Archives takes a look back at what's been cool and unique in playland throughout the years."
CBC archives, toys,

FictFact - Track series fiction

This site will help you track series fiction. You can browse by author, series name, or do a title search to see what series the novel belongs to, and what number it is in the series. Choosing a title takes you to a details page, with links to all the major online vendors as well as a GoogleBooks preview if available. If you sign up, you can get alerts, newsletters and more.

"You read books in series. You want to keep track of what to read next. You want recommendations on what to read next. You want to know when new books are coming out.

That's why you need FictFact!

FictFact is a tracking site focused on book series. Let us know what books/series you've read and we'll let you know what you need to read next and what's coming out soon. Registration is free, so let us know how you like it, and what series, books & authors we might be missing."
reader's advisory, FictFact,

How to teach "synthesizing information"

Nice review of the nature and value of synthesis, with a request for TLs to share their thoughts on how they teach the process. The "winning" ideas will be featured in an upcoming article in School Library Monthly. Follow the link below to read the author's musings and participate in her survey. ( .)

"For an upcoming issue of School Library Monthly, we're tackling the  
Mount Everest of the research process: how we help students  
effectively synthesize the information they've gathered.

We would love to feature a variety of voices discussing how they  
tackle this issue and really move students beyond merely retelling the  
facts they have found.

If you have successfully climbed this mountain with students, we'd  
love to hear about it -- share your ideas at  

Submissions are open until December 20."
SLJ, synthesizing,