Thursday, September 27, 2012

Technology Tools & Websites

       I spent the morning at the dentist with my husband. He had to have two teeth taken out - Ouch!!  Now that's that is done his mouth should feel better.  Check out  my new page- Technology tools/ Websites. I will update it several times a month. Right now I am putting links on  that I discussed in the summer blogs.  I hope this is helpful to the techies - instead of pulling up old blogs you can just go right there and see the  links and  go straight to them.   Let me know what you think.
    Good day to be off- the sun is shining and it is pleasantly warm out. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Technology Tools- What we need for our students

                 So far  most of these tools are interactive sites that we use with our students to provide a e  more engaging , compelling, interesting, and competitive education for our 21st century learners.  Porta Portal is one way to organize them all.  A Porta Portal is a site that you design and organize specific sites for students to use  in their day to day work for you. The sites are already there and ready. The student does not have to search for them and they are easily accessible. There is no cause to get on a questionable site when looking for something else. So this is a safe place for  you to  collect the sites you want  students to use.
              Once you design your site and add you desired  addresses, you are pretty much done until you want to add more , change the arrangement , or color.  The one thing I try to do each year is make sure that all the sites are still linking, My example needs to be gone over and fixed / removed becasue there are soem sites that are no longer working,

               If your class does a lot of  web work, always point  the students to your portal portal- for  an easy way  to get students to find out what they need to know.

              Here is the link to the portal portal that I designed many years ago. There are a couple of links that no longer work and need to be removed.

            Here is the link that will bring you to where you can sign up and design your own porta portal. Follow the prompts on the left hand side to create your own portal.  When  you are logged in you can begin to organize  and add your sites. Create categories that make sense for your students. It is pretty easy to get this up and running.  Have fun!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest Post - Darcy Pattison- Author

Why would you devote a website just to books for 2nd graders or 3rd graders?
First, books change lives. We know that the right book for the right child at the right time can do wonders. It can create a lifelong reader, it can encourage, it can comfort, it can—well, in short, change a life. That means each student’s needs are important.
Second, with the education reform bringing in the Common Core, teachers and parents are looking more closely at the grade level of books. As librarians and teachers, we are also looking for teaching materials that fit the bill for the Common Core. Our staff screens every book for its reading level and suitability for the second or third grade. We know that these books are a great read for students.
Third, we believe that kids should be reading contemporary literature. What does your child or student watch on TV?
  • Reruns of “I Love Lucy”?
  • Reruns of “Gomer Pyle”?
  • Reruns of “Lassie”?
There’s nothing wrong with classics, but if your student ONLY watches reruns, something is out of whack. Today’s students need today’s literature. Not reruns.

A recent study of books read by kids revealed that Dr. Seuss was the most popular author for K-3rd grades. The classics are great, we love them. But it appears that classics are 75-80% of what kids are reading in school. Something is out of whack.
Instead, 2ndGradeReading wants to encourage kids to read contemporary literature, nonfiction and fiction. Publishers are turning out exciting, engaging, contemporary work in every genre. Kids are missing out on books meant for their generation.
Finally, we understand that teachers, librarians, students and parents are all busy. Even if you agree that kids should be reading the best of today’s literature, who has time to read through the stacks of books to find the gems?
We do. We screen through the mass of books looking for the best. And we make sure you hear about it. Our newsletter goes out three times a week, each time featuring a brand new book. Do we expect that you will love every book we review. Of course, not. But we hope you will find unexpected gems. We hope you will find the right book for the right kid—and change a life.

2ndGradeReading.NET and 3rdGradeReading.NET offer reviews of contemporary, grade-appropriate books for kids.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What we need for our students- Part 6

    Another program to engage and encourage our students is Voice Threads.  This is a subscription based online tool where students can share their voice and their work.
   We have used it  the final part of a project . Students in grades 1-2 were beginning a unit on nonfiction and research. I worked closely with the teachers and students  preparing them for research  and having them do research with books and  a specific database.
     Then students did illustrations ( posters) of their animal and wrote a report on their animal. . I took photos of the illustration . Then the students read/ told about their animal. Both of the these were placed on Voice Thread ( which lives on our website so it can be viewed from home)  A couple of rules we follow, students never mention their last name.  Last names are also NOT put on the web.
     Older students use voice threads to write and illustrate book commercials. They love to do this!

Check out the site on Voice Threads and see if you think it would for your students.

 Free to Help you get started and see if you like!

Educator Voice Thread

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A new site for book reviews!

             I recently started doing book reviews for a really interesting site  (
This site has been developed by Darcy Pattison. This author believes that Reading Changes Lives. Yes, I totally agree with her. What librarian, and teacher would believe otherwise?  She  also , like myself, had a family that love to read.
           This site would be great to share with your  first, second and third grade teachers. It highlights some of the newest and best books. Coming soon will be a 3rd grade site.

           Find it here:

            Darcy's Website for her books can be found at  .   .   She also is dedicated to the common core so that is a site to become familiar with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What we need for our students.

     There are many free available web tools that we can use with our students to help them with reading and writing.  One I have found is at Kids.Com and  gives the younger students an opportunity to work on line writing and creating story's.. This site provides writing prompts and characters. It is a fun site and students will enjoy using it and working with it.
     The students will find  they can vote on this week's stories and read last week's stories.  There is a writing challenge . There are games that students can play.
  Check it out and see if  this will be beneficial  for you and your students.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New School Year!

     A new school year! Time for new schedules, meetings, Common core standards, and library information skills and library literacy!  But the most important are the students! We need to instill a love of literature, learning, and reading. 
    I am reading The Book Whisperer  Awaking the reader in every Child. ( Donalyn Miller)  This is an excellent book that all teachers should be required to read.   This reading teacher shows how  she instilled the love of reading by allowing readers to read what they choose . I hope to write a review here or on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Administrators Want from their Librarians

     What do administrators want from their librarians?  Librarians are asked and need to do many things as we have seen in the past blogs.   Most of us love to learn about new ideas, strategies, resources and books. We love working with students, teachers , and parents.  As part of our jobs, we need to learn about  new  ideas and we need to model that love of learning to our students and teachers.
    Most of all ,the Librarian does not work alone. For a school to have a successful library program it takes everyone (  librarians, , teachers  , and administrators) working together for the students to be successful in their education and in their lives.