Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Books in the Library Media Center

Our fall new books have been circulating nicely with students enjoying Michael Buckley's The Sister's Grimm: Fairy-Tale Detectives series; cat, horse and dog non-fiction titles; and additional Dear Dumb Diary series books.

New this week are some sports themed chapter books with several focusing on hockey now that winter is here. Titles include:
  • Hockey Heat Wave by C. A. Forsyth 
  • The Freaky Joe Club: The Mystery of the Morphing Hockey Stick by B. J. McMahan 
  • several in the Amulet series including The Stonekeeper's Curse 
  • a dozen or so Cat in the Hat Learning Library titles like:  If I Ran the Dog Show: All About Dogs 
And finally, Madonna has written a book of fiction called The English Roses featuring a beautiful painted cover with rainbows, roses and  girls walking in the rain under golden umbrellas.

Look for these and other new titles in our Elementary Library Media Center.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I have tried on this blog to review  a few books that I have read and enjoyed, but I wondered who else might be out there doing this work that I could just link to.

Today's find is Kidsreads a division of the Book Report Network. There is a LOT of great content. Here is their promo from the About Us page of the website:
"Ever craved a good book and just not been inspired by anything you see? Or felt annoyed that you bought a book that was merely so-so? Or closed a book and JUST wanted to talk about it? Or wished you had a place to discover new books?

We know what this feels like. The Book Report Network aims to solve these reader dilemmas, with thoughtful book reviews, compelling features, in-depth author profiles and interviews, excerpts of the hottest new releases, contests and more every week. We hope you'll visit our websites and discover why since 1996 the Book Report Network has been the best place online to talk about your last great read --- and find your next one."
I especially like the tab labeled SERIES that gives you the ability to find a series alphabetically. Short explanations like the one below have links to a more detailed book review, the Kidsreads' author site and a list of the suggested ages for enjoyment of the series.
A Series of Unfortunate Events written by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist
Ages 10-up
Thirteen books have been published in Lemony Snicket's darkly hilarious collection. Explore our feature and find out more about these unusual books and their mysterious author, Lemony Snicket. You won't want to miss this unique and very funny reading experience!

The Awards area found in the FEATURES tab has listings for 2010, 2011 and 2012 of titles chosen for all of the major children's book awards; again, with reviews and author pages links on the site.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Easy Tech Prescriptive Keyboarding at

Students have the opportunity to work on Keyboarding lessons at our subscription site even when they are not able to advance in the regular lessons. Keep reading to find out more details.

When you first start the Prescriptive Keyboarding Lesson, Miko, an animated host, comes on the screen to show you around. Take her INTRO to find out more about the program and practice the basics of keyboarding using Touch Typing.

Choose the Computer Basics balloon (shown below) and be reminded about what a keyboard looks like. It has six kinds of rows: letters, numbers, punctuation,  the space bar, control and function keys.
Click PLAY on this screen or move the balloons with the white arrows for practice with one of the rows.
When a student completes this lesson they can print a Certificate of Completion that gives a score of 17/17 for a perfect lesson.

The other four balloons are for each of the rows on a keyboard: Home Row, Lower Row, Upper Row and Number Row.
Here is a screenshot from Computer Basics for practice with the CAPS LOCK key..

After the INTRO, click on the PRACTICES button to hear Miko tell you about the other choices and show your keyboarding statistics including accuracy, average time and number of exercises completed. Students are prompted to take an initial assessment and then will have suggested skills to work on. My choices based on my skill assessment are Basic A, Basic 8 and Basic 9.

This is the Practice Page with student STATISTICS and suggested lessons for practice.

Library Button: To go back to the balloons for an overview of keyboarding in general, click on the Lessons button.

This is the Basic A lesson. As you type it keeps track of your keystrokes.

Here is the result. You can try again, or click DONE to go back to the lessons.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

TOUR THE MAYFLOWER / Follow the Pilgrims

Third grade students are taking a virtual field trip this week in the compuer lab with this link at Scholastic --The First Thanksgiving. Once on the website students have so many choices of tabs including The Mayflower, Daily Life, The Feast, Historical Letters and the popular favorite: Video's and Photos.
On the Mayflower tab students can choose to Journey on the Mayflower; a narrated video slide show of the crossing of the Atlantic, or Tour the Ship to see a photograph of each area with a description that can be listened to by clicking on the speaker icon.

Other tabs include:
  • Daily Life depicts Housing, Clothes, Food, Chores, Games and School. 
  • The Feast has ten interactive slides, again with narration. 
  • Historical Letters has six letters from both Pilgrims and Wampanoags that you can read. You can also listen to someone imitating the way each of these people would have spoken in 1620.
  • Videos and Photos Here are 14 video tours and slide shows, some short, some long, with characters from Plimoth Plantation talking all about life in the 1620's for the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags.