Archive for the ‘Reference’ category

Flocabulary – Five Elements of a Story

October 30th, 2012

Flocabulary has a great set of songs to teach educational concepts. The one that I watched dealt with plot, setting, characters, conflict, and theme. It’s fun to try and catch all of the allusions to other works of fiction.

MIT + K12

October 26th, 2012

Remember the awesome videos that the Khan Academy produced for teaching math/science/technology?

MIT is joining in and creating a database of videos to teach math and science concepts with its MIT + K12 site. What I like about the site is that it has clearly marked areas where educators and MIT students can create lessons and tag them with concept names and target grade levels.

Here’s a fun one with the Doppler Effect:

Google Cultural Institute

October 11th, 2012

Check out Google’s Cultural Institute to see history in a media-rich context.

Ads of the World – Propaganda is not just a U.S. thing

October 10th, 2012

Part of critical thinking is being able to analyze the media around us for ethos, pathos, and logos. Advertisements surround us, whether it’s in our browser windows or street corners, and it’s crucial that we can sift through the messages to get to the truth of the matter. Ads of the World is a repository of ads that you can search by media (video, print, radio), region, and industry. What’s great is that you can compare ads from other countries and see that propaganda is a universal thing.

Speech Resources

February 28th, 2012

Another librarian asked for a collection of speeches to use as examples for students. A co-worker of mine recommended these sites that are free to the public.

American Rhetoric – Michael E. Eidenmuller from the University of Texas has gathered a collection of speech audio and video from U.S. history.

Presidential Speech Archive – The University of Virginia organized these by sections of U.S. history.

Recorded Sound Reference Center – This is the Library of Congress’s collection of audio.

Poligraft – Tracking financial influence in politics

December 2nd, 2011

I recommend the Congress app for Android, iPhone, and Windows phones. It’s a very handy tool to stay informed about what your elected officials are doing.

While on Sunlight’s website, I found Poligraft, a site that helps you track financial influence in politics. You find an article online and paste in the URL or the selected text. The site then searches the article for political names and organizations. On the side of the screen it highlights those names and shows either how much money that politician has received from which organization or how much the organization has donated to politicians.

It can help you track influence when sifting out bias (which helps students meet standard 1.2.4 from the AASL’s Standards for 21st Century Learners).

Click here to learn where Sunlight gets its data.

The difference between a works cited page and a bibliography

November 22nd, 2011

A teacher asked me a simple question today about the difference between a works cited page and a bibliography. That’s actually something that I had not been asked before. We always used works cited pages or annotated bibliographies in my own schooling and in my classroom. But what about a simple bibliography? I learned something new today (or that I had forgotten over time).

It’s actually an easy differentiation:
A works cited only lists what you quoted from.
A bibliography lists every work you read, even if you didn’t quote from it.
A bibliography tracks what influenced your thoughts/opinions.

On a related note about citations: here are the current standards for MLA and APA format.

PBS’s collection of research on educational technology

November 10th, 2011

There is definitely a push to use technology in education, which makes sense since much of life in the United States involves some form of technology. Throwing technology at students for technology’s sake, though, is not best practice.

That’s where PBS comes in as a great resource with their collection of articles about using technology in education, complete with research as evidence and essays on effective use. If you’re an educator, it’s something you will want to check out by clicking here.

One of my favorite features is a database of technology lessons that you can search by content area. With just a few clicks, I found 78 pages (as of the time of this post) worth of lessons for using technology in Reading and Language Arts classes.

Alternatives to YouTube

August 10th, 2011

In our school, and many others, I’m guessing, YouTube is blocked. This has some pros and cons. Pro? There is some nasty stuff on YouTube. Con? Teachers can’t show clips that supplement their instruction.

That being said, here are some sites that you might be able to find clips to use:

Khan Academy – Even though YouTube’s blocked, Khan Academy videos are still viewable. These are amazing videos that demonstrate in simple language pretty complex math and science concepts. – has 5-minute videos (thus the name) that explain concepts in a quick but thorough manner. I easily found a video about the Homestead Act and then discovered a video from the Khan Academy about why (not just how) borrowing works in subtraction problems.

MovieWeb – Do you want to show 30 seconds worth of a film instead of the whole thing? Try

and then you have the classics TeacherTube and SchoolTube if you want to share videos (and find ones shared by other educators…I prefer SchoolTube over TeacherTube because it loads faster).

Hopefully that helps!

Using the HJHS Databases

February 3rd, 2011

I put a handout online for how to log into the library site and access the Biography Reference Center and Student Research Center. Click here to view the instructions in PDF format.

Here are the instructions without the screenshots:

  1. Go to .
  2. Click on ‘Highland Junior High’.
  3. Log in by clicking in the top-right corner.
    Your login name is 8 characters long. Your password is 9 numbers long.
    (Add zeroes to your ID number to make it 9 numbers long.)
  4. Click on the ‘Databases’ button.
  5. Choose either ‘Biography Reference Center’ or ‘Student Research Center’, depending on what you need to look up.