Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pass It On

There are often times when you might want to create a list of URLs to post on a site or share during a workshop.  I've played with a few but never found one that entirely met my needs until today when I discovered Sqworl.

With Sqworl you are able to add a bookmarklet to your browser (I use Firefox).  When you find a site you'd like to add to a list, you just click on the icon.  A pop-up window allowing you to add to a list, create a new list and annotate your entry.  It provides you with a URL for your list and you can log-in anytime to edit.  Note: In the demo on their site the instructor is  copying and pasting URLs.  You won't need to do this if you add the bookmarklet to your bookmark toolbar.

Some suggestions for use:

  • Ask students to compare and contrast the information found on several sites.  Good for website evaluation, detecting bias or point-of-view, choosing the right site for a given assignment.
  • Post several sites and ask students to form an opinion based on the information.
  • Ask students to vote on options presented: which place to visit on a field trip, which novel to read aloud in class.
  • Post links to opposing reviews after students have read a novel.  Ask if they agree, disagree.
  • Ask students to visit the posted sites and write annotations, comments, summaries, citations.
  • Ask students to compile a list of questions based on sites listed.
  • Ask students to rank sites posted.
  • Prepare a list as a series of tutorials or steps in a process.  Or ask the students to do the same.
How have you used lists of URLs?  I'd love to hear your ideas in a comment!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Two New Search Options

Two good new search options came my way through RSS today:

From Free Technology for Teachers  - Database for Award-Winning Children's Literature.  It offers a variety of search options including genre, gender of protagonist, age ranges from baby to 14+, historical period, publication date range, and language.  Click the image for a better view of the search options.

From Joyce Valenza's NeverEndingSearch blog - SweetSearch for students.  Every web site has been evaluated by their research experts.  There is a nice collection of links organized by subject and level in the Web Links section.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guidelines for Student Comments

Watching a teacher setting a class loose to comment online prompted me to come up with some resources to guide students in the art of commenting.  When little or no direction is given, students post comments full of slang, miss-spellings and humour that may be misunderstood or offensive.

In short, student comments should:

  • be succinct
  • stay on topic
  • extend the conversation
  • be polite, respectful
Students should remember:
  • your first comment of someone's blog is like meeting a stranger
  • using slang may confuse or offend
  • your comment is a reflection on you, your school, your community
Online Resources:

New York Times - The Learning Network - Lesson Plan

Give your students commenting practice or post your class blog to invite comments from others

Jan Smith's class commenting guidelines

Sue Water's The Edublogger 

Kim Cofino's

I'm adding Silvia Tolisano's Blogging Lesson Plan thanks to a comment left by Alex, below.

If you know of any other useful resources please leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Now How Did That Happen?

Today I was helping one of the French as a second language teachers learn about Posterous. She was wondering how to make the accents show up in her posts so I tried a few things in my Posterous account not remembering that it was linked here to the WFB. Hence the strange posting previous to this one.

I wasn't aware of this until a friend who follows me on Posterous said that there had been 30+ views of the post. To those of you who came looking for a new post only to find one word, I apologize! When I started this blog I used it as a sandbox, experimenting with new tools but haven't done that so much of late.

If you are interested in the key sequences for Macs the instructions are here (thanks @bryanhughes). It appears that you can use these instructions in gmail and here in blogger to get French accents.

Etre, ou ne pas être, c'est là la question.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Twenty Ten

The first three weeks have gone by in a blur and I have not blogged or tweeted much.  It seems to go that way for me, either I can't write the blog posts fast enough to keep up with ideas or I have no time to sit and write and my mind is blank.

Our school is about to pilot an open wireless program and I have been working with a team to compile suggestions for teachers who are really not all that comfortable with the prospect.  We want to offer them some management solutions and ideas for harnessing the power of student mobile devices.  When I have the list organized I'll link to it here.  In the meantime, do you have any suggestions?

We're getting ready to celebrate the 2010 Olympics here in Vancouver, signing students up to take the Healthy Living Pledge and preparing banners to welcome the torch relay as it passes through our community.  For those of you in the area the Vancouver Sun will be publishing a series "Bound for 2010" starting Jan. 26.

Our district's Learning Innovation Leadership Team has been moving ahead offering a variety of ProD sessions to teachers and administrators.  In addition to our regular LAN parties (see our K12 Online Presentation) we have begun using Elluminate, free to B.C. Educators.  Bryan Hughes (@bryanhughes) hosted our first two sessions giving participants an introduction to Elluminate and its features.  A recording of this session is available here.  We welcome people from outside the district so if you'd like to participate check out the LAN calendar of events and follow LAN44 on Twitter for updates and links.  For more information have a look at the LAN44 blog.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Google Maps Mania: All of Wikipedia on Google Maps

Google Maps Mania: All of Wikipedia on Google Maps: "The Full Wiki is different because it maps all the locations mentioned in a Wikipedia entry. So, for example, if you look up '1945' in The Full Wiki all the locations mentioned in the entry are mapped. So you can see at a glance all the major events of 1945 directly on a Google Map."

This should be great for Socials teachers or English teachers building context for a piece of literature. Read the full article to learn more.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What is BlogThis! ? - Blogger Help

What is BlogThis! ? - Blogger Help: "BlogThis! is an easy way to make a blog post without visiting Once you add the BlogThis! link to your browser's toolbar, blogging will be a snap. Or rather, a click. Clicking BlogThis! creates a mini-interface to Blogger prepopulated with a link to the web page you are visiting, as well as any text you have highlighted on that page. Add additional text if you wish and then publish or post from within BlogThis!"

Just discovered Blog This thanks to CCHS Library Learning Commons. Thanks! It will save me so much time in addition to making my blogging more spontaneous. It's a great tool for Blogger users.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More of this and That

YALSA has announced the 2010 Finalists for the William Cl Morris YA Debut Award which honours first-time authors writing for teens.  Learn more about this and the YALSA book trailer contest for teens over at the readergirlz blog.  More on book trailers:

  • @AngelaMaiers just tweeted Movies for Literacy that includes trailers for Early Elementary, Late Elementary and Adolescent readers.
  • I have more trailers and how-to links in delicious

Seth Godin has written some powerful words about The Future of the Library this week and Joyce Valenza has posted her response: Seth Godin and Mike Eisenberg and me on the Future of the Library.  I have posted a link to Joyce's blog in my local teacher librarian's forum along with a few questions.  What have you done lately to retool yourself?  This is critical!  Pass it on to your teacher librarian or if you are a TL show it to your principal and engage them in a conversation about change.

MakeUseOf has released a Guidebook to Internet Searching free to download.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Those Pesky Overdues

Getting teenagers to return the books they have borrowed can sometimes be a daunting task that can eat away huge chunks of a librarian's time.  Here at Seycove we compile weekly overdue lists and send them out to classrooms, but even with an automated system this can take up to a day.  We make phone calls to parents, use the callback system to leave automated messages and send letters.
So I thought, why not use technology?  Almost every teen carries a cell phone these days.  This week I tried an experiment with one particularly recalcitrant individual.  I asked him to use the alarm feature on his cell phone and had him set the alarm for 7:45 the next morning with a message to put the overdue book into his backpack.  The book was returned the next day!