Library Links

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


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