Library Links

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


Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network - Reading Lists

HAISLN Recommended Reading Lists 2012

(PDF downloads - seperate lists for grade levels)

This list of titles has been compiled by librarians at member schools of the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network (HAISLN).  It includes both fiction and nonfiction books by some of the best authors for children and young adults.

Books on this list are evaluated annually by grade-level committees.  Committee members rely on recommendations from standard, professionally prepared evaluation aids and on input from students and teachers, as well as the collective HAISLN expertise.  A conscious effort is made to appeal to the broad range of interests, maturity levels, and reading abilities of students.


20 years of Magic tree house

Mary Pope Osborne MAGIC TREE HOUSE interview

It has been twenty years since the first Magic Tree House book was published! In honor of this milestone, Mary Pope Osborne, Will Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce reflect on the book series.



BibMe: Fast & Easy Bibliography Maker

An automated citation creator and bibliography generator

Don't want to spend countless hours typing in information about your educational references, or looking through the style manuals' rules? No problem! BibMe can find your source from external databases, fill in the information, and then accurately format the citation. Or, if you have the source in front of you, you can enter your entries in manually. Students can also learn how to properly cite their references by consulting the style manual guidelines (and plenty of example citations) on the "Citation Guide" page.

Video Tutorial: A step-by-step walk through


Cultural Centre Media Lab - Richmond

The MediaLab at the Cultural Centre

1.  a space equipped for experimental study in media
2.  your place to access media technology and create digital magic
3.  a toolbox of ideas and skills designed for all ages and abilities

Richmond Cultural Centre
7700 Minoru Gate
Richmond, BC V6Y 1R9

Programming includes drop-in sessions (during which supervised youth can work independently) and a variety of structured classes. Participants will learn media literacy skills that are relevant to their interests and will be placed in a supportive environment where they can engage with positive role models.


2012 film guide | R2R Festival

Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth

APRIL 13-­20, 2012
Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street (@ Davie Street), Vancouver
Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews (Pacific Blvd. & Davie Street) Pacific Cinémathèque, 1131 Howe Stret
Cineworks, 1131 Howe Street
Educational and entertaining, Reel 2 Real offers children and youth the opportunity to learn about film and cultures from around the world. Activities include internationally acclaimed films and workshops on animation, sound design, digital filmmaking, and much more. This exciting program is sure to delight, move and amaze audiences of all ages!



NFB - Across Cultures - Multicultural Canada

Themes to explore in addressing Multiculturalism

The main goal of Across Cultures is to celebrate Canadian cultural diversity by highlighting the extraordinary contributions that different communities have made to Canada, as well as the many challenges they have had to face, while acknowledging the less praiseworthy moments in Canadian history regarding cultural diversity.

The site features 120 films from the NFB collection (60 in English; 60 in French in the French part). Of those, 48 (24 in English; 24 in French in the French part) include an audio description for the blind and visually impaired.

  • Canada: A welcoming land?
Explores the history of immigration to Canada and the policies that shaped the country.

  • How have we contributed to Canada?
Presents contributions by diverse cultural communities in the fields of politics, economic development, art, music, as well as in the struggle for workers' rights.

  • Who are we? What can we become?
Looks at ways of living out cultural distinctiveness in Canada.

  • Why did we come to Canada?
Shows people talking about their decisions to immigrate to Canada. Many state that political and economic pressures were compelling.

  • How do we reach out?
Concerns intercultural communication—conversations, public addresses, interaction on the street, music.

  • How does integration challenge us?
Explores some of the economic and social challenges faced by members of cultural communities in Canada.


NFB :: Images of the Two Great Wars

World War I
Discover this unique and rich collection of more than 120 archival films accompanied by photos, historical essays by noted Canadian experts and a range of teaching materials.

World War II
Discover several of the National Film Board of Canada films related to World War II. Experienced by millions, both soldiers and civilians, this war was filmed from many angles at the time and has also been revisited by contemporary filmmakers.


"Writing what you know" - LearningSpace - The Open University

An 8 hour Introductory course on Writing

"Do you want to improve your descriptive writing? This unit will help you to develop your perception of the world about you and enable you to see the familiar things in everyday life in a new light. You will also learn how authors use their own personal histories to form the basis of their work."

Secondary teachers might find some useful lesson ideas, audio interviews and resources in this Open University course.


True—or Not? Assessing online resources

How can students know whether the information they find online is true—or not?  by Debbie Abilock

We choose everything—from toothpaste to health care, from education research to instructional strategies—by evaluating information.  

In this participatory digital world, we're all novices at some point when judging whom to trust. Appearance, credentials, and other indicators of quality that used to serve as shorthand tests of credibility don't readily transfer online.  

Embedded in every subject are natural tasks—locate a news article, select a photograph, read a map or graph—that lend themselves to evaluation using rules of thumb that work online. Students can learn to marshal effective rules of thumb to find answers that "satisfice" (both satisfy and suffice).

(Follow the link to read the whole article.)


Make Every Day Read Aloud Day - The Book Whisperer -

Reading aloud builds community and capacity.

"Read alouds are perfect opportunities to expose students to genres they often avoid like poetry, biographies and nonfiction, too. After discovering books they enjoy first through read alouds, children are more receptive to reading more books from these genres. You don't have to read the entire book to entice readers, either. Frequently, I will read the first chapter, article, or poem from a book and place it on the marker rail. The book rarely lasts until the end of the day before an eager reader claims it."

Some more blog posts on this theme:


Draw 50: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw

A great resource for budding illustrators.

Lee J. Ames has written a number of "Draw 50" titles that are perfect "how to" books for the growing artist. Even students who are not very pencil-minded will find Ames' step by step instructions easy to follow, and will be pleased with the results. If you want your students to sample some of these great books, just go to Google Books and search for "Draw 50". Students can view a half dozen pages from each of these super guides. Use them in the lab or with a projector! Buy them for your library!

(His "To The Reader" and "An Additional Note" at the beginning of the endangered animals book are well worth reading.)

Draw 50 endangered animals

Draw 50 cats

Draw 50 vehicles


Backup Books for the forgetful student

Creating a "Red Tape Shelf"

Do you want to be a librarian who makes sure every child leaves the library with a book if they want one? What about the kid who says "I turned that in months ago." "I never checked that book out." "It's in my desk?" (Love those question types.) I now have a Red Tape Shelf (that needs a better name, and okay, really needs an actual shelf....).

What is she talking about? This TL has collected books from donations, or advance readers' copies, or almost-ready-to-be-weeded titles, and set them aside with a strip of red tape on the spine. She's also added a sticker that encourages kids to borrow, read and return (if they want). These books are not catalogued, not barcoded, and are meant to be loaners for those "problem kids" who never seem to bring anything back. Everyone gets a book.

As an aside, I used to do the same in my high school library with National Geographic mags. Parents were always donating them, so I kept a stack handy, with a sticker on the front that said "Take and read this magazine - it's yours - you don't have to bring it back!" Also, at the beginning and end of the year, I used to create a display composed entirely of these magazines to fill that gap when I wasn't actually circulating materials. It gave everyone a chance to focus on non-fiction for a while!


IThinkIcon - Icon Search Engine

Looking for high quality, free icons?

IThinkIcon is a search engine designed to simplify the process of finding high quality, free icons. This database of icons contains multiple formats and sizes. Great for adding an extra touch to a blog or website.


Access to Books crucial- Literacy Facts and Statistics

Parents, read to your kids!

Good advice for parents. These stats (read the full article) by implication also point to the importance of library time for Primary students. Access to books, being read to, and developing a "culture of readers" has huge consequences for success in later life.

"A typical middle class child enters first grade with approximately 1,000 hours of being read to, while the corresponding child from a low-income family averages just 25 of those hours, such differences in the availability of book resources may have unintended and pernicious consequences for low-income children' long term success in schooling. M. Adams, Beginning to read. (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990)."



New anti-violence song by Raffi - lyrics available in pdf format

"On Hockey Days" Song

BC's iconic musician Raffi has created a new children's song on sportsmanship and anti-violence.
"On Hockey Days."  available on iTunes

"On Hockey Days" is a toe-tapping all ages song, Raffi's tribute to the game loved by young and old.   
It honours hockey parents who devotedly take their kids to the rink all winter long, and sounds
a call to fun, fair play and respect as only a Raffi song can!"

The lyrics are available from his website in pdf format. Other resources for educators listed.


How will e-readers change the book as we know it? Bookfest Authors speak.

Will e-books encourage reading?

"Sales of e-readers continue to grow at an astronomical rate. Will the advent of this new technology change the book as we know it? Will e-books encourage reading or signal the death of conventional "paper and ink" books? National Book Festival (2011) authors share their thoughts on how technology will change the way we read."


Meet the Authors - National Book Festival (Library of Congress) 2011

Welcome to the National Book Festival Kids and Teachers web site
(– your key to joining thousands of book lovers in this annual celebration.)

The 2011 lineup includes great authors, like Carmen Agra Deedy, Tomie de Paola, Calef Brown, Cassandra Clare, Katherine Paterson, and Kadir Nelson, that you can start reading today. Get details about the 2011 authors below and find out more about past festival authors.


Motivating Defiant and Disruptive Students to Learn: Google Preview

How to stay calm, cool, and in control of your classroom
(on order for DRC collection)

Today's teachers face more challenges than ever before in managing student behavior in the classroom. New teachers often find themselves underprepared for the realities of hard-to-engage students and increased class size. Rich Korb brings extensive teaching and administrative experience to his collection of strategies designed to keep you and your students focused on learning. This accessible, step-by-step guide for new and veteran teachers offers easy-to-implement methods that help you:

  • Motivate and engage students
  • Set up your classroom to prevent disruptive behavior
  • Stay calm in the face of adverse situations
  • Reduce the effect of misbehavior on other students' learning
  • Respond to inappropriate behavior effectively
  • Avoid burning out

"American Indian" Magazine - Smithsonian

Native American art and culture Magazine

"Featuring Native American art and culture, this award-winning quarterly also engages its readers with diverse articles about stunning indigenous travel destinations, the fascinating and often overlooked histories of American Indian nations and the contemporary challenges facing Native peoples across the Western Hemisphere. From Alaska's Native villages to the Andean communities of South America, American Indian tells inspiring and enlightening stories illustrated with glorious photography, and now, with exclusive video content and more available only on the digital version!" (Click on the "Current Issue" tab)


Arthur Slade talks about writing YA fiction

Podcast from Arthur Slade for YA authors

Episode 15: Whoa, Dude, Where's my voice?
A "writing for young adults" podcast about finding your writing voice!
Learn and be amused! [6min]

You can also find the rest of his podcasts here:


Making Plasticine Pictures - Barbara Reid Author & Illustrator

Illustrating Books with Plasticine

Watch these clips to see how Barbara uses plasticine to illustrate her books. The Portfolio link shows some of her finished illustrations.


Graphic Novelists Talk about their craft (archived webinar)

A lively discussion about using words and pictures

"On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, Scholastic graphic novelists Jeff Smith (Bone), Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet), presented a lively discussion about using words and pictures together to create a narrative." (taped before a live audience) 42mins


Create an eBook for iOS devices - just $1.99 per book

Take any book you've made with Blurb and buy it as an ebook !

(Thanks Janice for the heads-up)

"We've brought the beauty and simplicity of Blurb bookmaking to the iBooks® app on the iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch®. Now you can take any book made with Blurb Bookify™ or Blurb BookSmart®, our free bookmaking tools, and buy it as an ebook for just CAD $1.99. We do the behind-the-scenes work, faithfully transforming your creation into an ebook. Blurb ebooks can be sold in the Blurb Bookstore."


French Vocab animations

LearnNowBC - Learning Objects - French vocab animations

For each lesson, there is a "slideshow" and links to audio and animation content. In some cases, you will be prompted to either download a zip file to run independently on your PC, or click on the html link to run it from the web.


Spanish Vocab animations

LearnNowBC - Learning Objects - Spanish vocab animations

For each lesson, there is a "slideshow" and links to audio and animation content. In some cases, you will be prompted to either download a zip file to run independently on your PC, or click on the html link to run it from the web.


mathFROG - Fun Resources & Online Games

Math Games and Activities

Site for Math concepts - grades 4 to 6. Play the games on an Interactive Whiteboard, or in the lab. Students can review concepts at home.


Young Learning Centre @ LearnNowBC

Fun, interactive games and activities for young learners.

"Designed by early literacy and special needs experts, the Edmark House Series introduces early learners to reading, math, science, and useful skills like telling time. Featuring a highly engaging approach to learning, the program is proven effective in engaging students and individualizing instruction - building skills that last a lifetime."

The Edmark House Series resources are available to all residents of BC.


Children in WW2 - Resources - TES

'Lesson Starters' with footage of WW2 in colour.

'Lesson Starters' features footage of WW2 in colour and B&W. Sections are drawn from the home movies of British (and German) film-makers shot in WW2, and are designed to inspire students to think about the hardships children experienced during war.

The clips range from the declaration of war listened to on a Cornish beach, school life, gas masks and air raid shelters. Each section ends with a question for discussion or writing. (Contains images of war and should be watched in full for suitability prior to using as a classroom resource.) Clips are downloadable, along with a lesson plan and other documents in Word format."


Teachers TV: - Story Starts - Resources for writing

Seven exciting "story starts"

"An alluring jewellery shop, a ghostly graveyard and a tunnel with a warning are just three of a series of seven exciting story starts that make up this programme, in Primary ICT. Each story start is a short but dramatic video clip that will fire children's imaginations to continue the story into creative writing."

These story starts are designed for use with a projector or on an interactive whiteboard. (The first clip begins at 2m15s.)


Book Burning, 213 BC–2011 AD - online exhibition

A form of censorship, protest, or hate mongering.

"A library's mission is to facilitate the spread of information. There is no greater action contrary to this goal than book burning. Since ancient times, people from virtually all religions and societies have burned books as a form of censorship, protest, or hate mongering."

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries have created an interesting web-exhibition on "Book Burning through the ages" with some selected titles featured and a list of primary source links for further research. Great for promoting discussion with students.


Mo Willems' websites - activities and more

Planning an author study with your primary kids?

Check out these two Mo Willems' websites
They are chock full of links, activities, interactive games, and info about the books and author.


"Action Research, Anyone?" - Preview book online

Living the Questions: A Guide for Teacher-Researchers
(Preview the book online)

"Living the Questions, Second Edition: A Guide for Teacher-Researchers will take you step-by-step through the process of designing, implementing, and publishing your research. Along the way, it will introduce you to dozens of kindred spirits who are finding new passion for teaching by "living the questions" every day in their classrooms."


Diversity and Media Toolbox - from Media Awareness

A comprehensive suite of resources for teachers, students and others

The "Diversity and Media Toolbox" is a comprehensive suite of resources for teachers, students, law enforcement representatives and the general public, that explores issues relating to stereotyping, bias and hate in mainstream media and on the Internet and is available in English and French.

The program, which includes professional development tutorials, lesson plans, interactive student modules and background articles, is divided into two distinct but complementary topic areas: media portrayals of diversity and online hate. These materials align with English Language Arts, Social Studies, Media Studies, Law, and Health curricula, as well as Anti-Racism and Conflict Resolution programs.


Two Boys and a Body: Mystery Fiction for Teenage Boys | NoveList | EBSCOhost

The Appeal of Mysteries
(Two Boys and a Body: Mystery Fiction for Teenage Boys)
by Tom Reynolds

"YA mysteries are built around a few basic plot points: a murder, a disappearance, a teenager in danger, or all of these things. They provide the tension that gets and keeps the reader turning pages. Often the first line of the book, or a paragraph or phrase in the first chapter, conveys the essential hooks of the story. Think about the phrase, "two boys and a body," a line from chapter one of Craig Silvey's novel, Jasper Jones"....(snip)

(Click on link above to read the rest of the article.)
(This article originally appeared in the April 2012 RA News Newsletter.)


Video clip: Teacher Librarians make a difference

Clip from the School of Information Studies (Syracuse U)

Three faculty members from the Syracuse University's School of Information Studies have created a 3 minute video that provides evidence that school librarians matter. Although it focusses on the New York school system, it helps build the case that TLs in schools make a difference to student learning.



eTextbook Infographic

Comparing eTextbooks to pTextbooks?

This infographic gives a sense of some of the issues in the eText/pText debate.


Educational Leadership: strategies to help the struggling reader

Taming the Wild Text - Pam Allyn

March 2012 | Volume 69 | Number 6
Reading: The Core Skill Pages 16-21

A top-10 list of strategies to help the struggling reader become fierce, unafraid, and strong.

(The current issue "Reading: The Core Skill" is available via the EL site: [LINK] [audio introduction - 6m29]
Articles are also available via EBSCO.

Full-Time School Librarians Linked to Higher Student Reading Scores

Want to see students get higher reading scores?
By Lauren Barack  - March 6, 2012

"Want to see students get higher reading scores? Then make sure their schools have a media specialist. According to new research from Library Research Services, which reviewed standardized test scores from Colorado schools in 2005 and 2011, reading scores statistically increased when schools retained or gained a school librarian. ..."



SmartBoard Favorites - List of links

Sites that work well with SmartBoards

Like any list, some links are more "educational" than others. URLs are divided by grade level.


Things to consider when posting - "Advice for kids" video

What can YOU do to protect your online rep?

This video provides kids with tips and advice on what to consider when they are posting information online. (Features a student spokesperson.) Created by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.


Well Spoken - Preview Text online

"Well Spoken" -Teaching Speaking to All Students
by Erik Palmer ( gr 4-12)

"All teachers, at all grade levels, in all subjects have speaking assignments for students, but many teachers believe they don't know how to teach speaking, and many even fear public speaking themselves."

"In his new book, Well Spoken, veteran teacher and education consultant Erik Palmer shares the art of teaching speaking in any classroom. Teachers will find thoughtful and engaging strategies for integrating speaking skills throughout the curriculum. Palmer stresses the essential elements of all effective oral communication."