Friday, November 29, 2013

Turning Dollars and Coins Into Books and Smiles!

Get ready to celebrate the love of reading with our upcoming Scholastic Book Fair! This year, one of our goals is to ensure as many children as possible receive books and have access to books. One of the ways we can do that is through the All for Books program. With your help, all of the money collected goes to purchasing more books for children in the Child Life Program (CLP) at Winthrop-University Hospital. Mr. Patten and Ms. Dennis' classes have been visiting these children in the hospital as part of their Participation in Government Service Learning Project. These students will hand deliver the books we buy directly to the patients.

Not only does your donation help our cause, but Scholastic Book Fairs will match monetary donations raised with a donation of up to one million books to two non-profit organizations dedicated to helping children, families, and teachers acquire books and educational resources - Kids In Need Foundation and Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc.

Please take a moment to donate $1 or loose change in the bins in the school library. THANK YOU!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Reading Oasis: A Cool Place to Discover Hot Books!

Our eighth annual Scholastic Book Fair is here! Can you believe the school library has been hosting this fair for 8 years!?!

We invite you to visit our Scholastic Book Fair and experience a celebration of reading that provides families the opportunity to get involved in a universal mission: encouraging kids to read every day so they can lead better lives.

Our Book Fair is part of a reading event that brings to school a wonderful selection of fun, engaging, and affordable books our students want to read. Giving students access to good books and the opportunity to choose books will motivate them to read more. And like most acquired skills, the more students practice reading, the better they’ll get. Reading is vital to every student’s success, and it’s the door opener to 21st century skills!

From Monday, December 2nd - Wednesday, December 4th from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. you can shop our book fair up in the school library or at all hours on our online fair by clicking here. On Tuesday, December 3rd from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., the book fair will feature a special Family Night in conjunction with the Parent/Teacher Conferences. Parents, students, teachers, families, and the school community are invited to attend.

All for Books, our annual fundraiser, in conjunction with the book fair will provide funds this year to buy books for children in the Child Life Program (CLP) at Winthrop-University Hospital. All purchases benefit our school too. Proceeds from the Fair will be used to buy books for the school library, and to support activities of the school’s chapter of the National English Honor Society (NEHS), such as our annual author visit.

Books enrich our student’s lives – and we all reap the benefits. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Padlet (formally Wallwisher)

Image linked from here
They give you a blank wall (think of it as a canvas) for FREE and then you put anything you want on it. Richard Byrne who writes the blog, Free Technology for Teachers, has a great article/video on how to create a Padlet Wall for Your Classroom. It seems very easy to use, just drag and drop the different components. Padlet has fun, flexible layouts, with many designs and backgrounds.

Everything auto saves and who doesn’t LOVE a program that auto saves? Padlet has instant collaboration, meaning that you can see everyone's activity on the wall instantly without reloading the page. And who doesn’t LOVE a program that refreshes a page automatically?

Padlet lets you to paste a link to a YouTube video, drag a word document from your computer, and take a picture from your iPad camera. You can also embed the wall on your blog or website. 

Padlet is educator-friendly. It allows you keep your wall private between students and classes. The creator of the wall decides who has permission to change what is written on the wall and who has access to see the wall. It is designed to be viewed on your phone or tablet as well as your computer, laptop or TV. 

Some competing brands include: PrimaryWall, "a web-based sticky note tool designed for schools that allows pupils and teachers to work together in real-time" and lino, "a free sticky and canvas service that requires nothing but a web browser."  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mysteries of Vernacular

Website: Mysteries of Vernacular
I was recently introduced to a unique Website called, Mysteries of Vernacular. It is one of the most visual stunning videos I have ever seen. Created by Myriapod Productions, this site "contains 26 etymological installments, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each episode takes more than 80 hours (!) to create between the research, construction of the book and the animation." Click on the books on the bookshelf to see the next installment or click on the links below.

A - Assassin
B - Bewilder
C - Clue
D - Dynamite
E - Earwig
F - Fizzle
G - Gorgeous
H - Hearse
I - Inaugurate
J - Jade
K - Keister
L - Lady - coming soon!
M - Miniature
N - Noise
O - Odd - coming soon!
P - Pants
Q - Quarantine
R - Robot
S - Sarcophagus
T - Tuxedo
U - Ukulele
V - Venom
W - Window
X - X-ray
Y - Yankee - coming soon!
Z - Zero

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spotlight On: is a database that we subscribe to courtesy of the Nassau BOCES School Library System. Teachers can bring books and authors to life with online multimedia resources, including author interviews, lesson plans, book guides, vocabulary lists, book trailers, videos and audio.

"If you read fiction and nonfiction books in any discipline or setting,'s database of instructional materials will enliven your K–12 reading and library activities. helps with your Common Core instructional shifts by:
  • Identifying exceptional and relevant books for your classroom,
  • Providing ready-to-use instructional materials for each text,
  • Exposing students to a range of text types, formats, and cultural perspectives,
  • Analyzing books with qualitative and quantitative text complexity measures.
This resource is worth a look by all our ELA faculty. It is password-protected, so come see Ms. Stack in the library for log in information.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I have been a faithful Jing (from TechSmith) user for all of my screencasts for the last 7 years. However, our new Website does not support .swf files and neither does YouTube. So, I have been on a hunt for a comparable solution. I came across Screencast-O-Matic, a FREE online screen recorder. This works on Windows or Mac computers with no install! The FREE version includes:

  • a maximum of fifteen minutes of recording time per video
  • Record screen and webcam (I'm very excited to try this feature!)
  • Publish to YouTube HD
  • Publish to MP4, AVI, FLV movie
Coming soon: Be on the lookout for new screencast postings on this blog!

Monday, November 4, 2013

lingro: The coolest dictionary known to hombre!

Sample Lingro page of
The tag line is true! Lingro turns any Website into an interactive dictionary where users can click on a word to view the definition and hear the pronunciation. Supported by 12 languages, Lingro is also a useful tool for translating text.

Lingro is super easy to use.
Step 1: Enter a website address (copy and paste the URL) into Lingro's web browser to make all words on that page clickable.

Step 2: Click on words you don't know.