Friday, December 21, 2012

The Great Gatsby - Crash Course

Popular young adult novelist John Green recently released a Crash Course series on English Literature.  The most recent videos dissect the major plot lines of The Great Gatsby in a format that might be more appealing to a student struggling to understand the novel.  

Parts 1 and 2 are linked to below.  ***SPOILER ALERT: The videos assume you've already read the book!

And for a little piece of local history, part of the 1974 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby was filmed here in Uxbridge!

Novels of Charles Dickens, Re-serialized

Nearby Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Gordon Library is offering modern readers the chance to experience the novels of Dickens in their original, serialized form.  Project Boz is digitizing roughly 12,000 pages of text as searchable PDF images.  

"We wanted to offer everyone the opportunity to encounter these novels as Victorian readers did," said Kathy Markees, preservation librarian and co-director of Project Boz with Lora Brueck, assistant director of collections.  

"Looking at the high-resolution scans we've made of the text, the delightful illustrations (which are not always included in modern print editions), and the ads from publishers, tailors, apothecaries, and other merchants, is the closest you can come to experiencing these rarely seen serial parts short of holding them in your hands," Markees said.

To read more about this project, see the full article here.  

And don't forget to follow the Twitter account @DickensDaily if you are a Dickens fan. Part 1 of A Christmas Carol was just tweeted to help get you in the holiday spirit!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Top 10 Guidelines for Digital Citizenship

Doug Johnson, Director of Libraries and Technology for Mankato, MN public schools and author of the Blue Skunk Blog, has compiled a Top 10 List of Guidelines for Digital Citizenship that everyone should follow.

1. Protect your online privacy.
2. Respect the online privacy of others.
3. Protect your property.
4. Respect the property of others.
5. Respect the rules, values, and policies of your family, religion, community, and school.
6. Understand the values of other cultures, religions, and communities.
7. Build a positive online reputation and portfolio of work.
8. Use online communications in constructive ways, doing nothing you would not do in a F2F setting.
9. Evaluate the accuracy of any information you find or receive online - or share online.
10. Maintain a healthy balance between your online activities and relationships with your physical world activities and relationships.

Digital Trials Pamphlet Collection

The American Library Association recently spotlighted the Cornell University Law Library's Digital Trials Pamphlet Collection, which consists of pamphlets ranging in date from the late 1600s to the late 1800s.  These pamphlets provide contemporary accounts of trials that involved prominent citizens or that dealt with especially controversial topics.  As primary source material, the collection provides a wealth of information about the daily lives of ordinary people of the time period.  Pamphlets from several notable trials are included in this collection such as John Brown's trial for his raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, and the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

Vintage holiday books put together a festive Pinterest board of vintage holiday books from the late 19th century to the 1960s, including titles from Charles Dickens, Jean de Brunhoff, L. Frank Baum, Alison Uttley, G.A. Henty, and Enid Blyton.  A fun board to browse for any booklover.

Interview with author Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor, author of the bestselling novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone, recently chatted with Figment teens about her writing process, character development, and everything in between.  A great interview to read for any aspiring writer.  Check it out here.

2012 Seventeen Magazine Fiction Contest with Figment and Scholastic

The Seventeen Magazine Fiction Contest with Figment and Scholastic is here again!  If you're a writer, consider submitting one of your original stories in any genre, on any topic, that's no more than 500 words long.  If you win, you'll receive $5,000 in cash, publication on, and a phone call with Maggie Stiefvater, author of The Raven Boys, The Scorpio Races, and the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy.
All entries must be submitted by February 13, 2013.  The contest is open to both male and females, ages 13 to 21 only!  Click here for more contest details.  Good luck!

Need some holiday recipes?

'Tis the season for cooking, baking, and hosting holiday parties.  Need some inspiration or some new holiday recipes?  Check out Punchfork - think of it as Pinterest for food. Enjoy!

The Breakfast Club

The next meeting of our informal breakfast book chat will be in the library media center Tuesday, January 8th at 7:00am.  Share what you've been reading with others, check out some new materials, enjoy some snacks.  All are welcome and bring some books to swap if you'd like to!

UHS Book Club

For our next meeting, the UHS Book Club will be reading and discussing Yann Martel's Life of Pi.  We'll be holding our book discussion Wednesday, January 9th at 2:00pm in the library media center.  New members are always welcome!

Science Apps

Interested in science?  Need a little extra help with your biology or chemistry homework?  Here are some great apps to check out.

Cell and Cell Structure provides an overview of cells, cell parts and structure, and their separate functions.  The app includes 2D and 3D imagery, graphics, and detailed content.  Students can also access interactive activities, quizzes, and flash cards.

Frog Dissection allows students to virtually dissect a frog without the mess.  Dissection "tools" and detailed instructions are provided to complete the procedure.  Once dissection is complete, the frog's organs are exposed for further study.  3D images will also help students visualize the frog's internal organs.

Periodic Table of Elements includes 118 elements and their chemical symbols, atomic numbers, atomic masses, family names, classifications, electron shell configurations, and physical states under standard atmospheric pressure.

Science360 was created by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and provides easy access to engaging science and engineering images and video from around the globe, as well as a news feed featuring breaking news from NSF-funded institutions.

New Materials at the UHS Library

Be sure to check out the UHS Library's Pinterest boards to see what's new in the media center!

Infographics: Applications for the Classroom

Looking for new ways to generate classroom discussions?  Infographics can be a good source of discussion and student learning.  By creating their own infographics, students will gain experience organizing data and research.  For some great examples of how to use infographics in the classroom, take a look at the Cool Infographics Pinterest page.

Randy Krum's Cool Infographics blog also provides some interesting commentary about what makes an effective info graphic.  The Learning Network of the New York Times is another great resource to check out as well. 

Edmodo - Like Facebook for the Classroom

Edmodo is essentially a microblogging system designed specifically for teachers and students.  Very similar to Facebook in appearance and functionality, Edmodo provides teachers with a place to create student groups, post assignment reminders, calendars, images, and videos.  Edtech blogger Richard Byrne, recently outlined 15 ways teachers and students can use Edmodo:

1. Post assignments for students (teachers can attach files to assignments)
2. Create digital libraries (store important files in one central location)
3. Post messages on the "wall" (a great way for students to ask questions)
4. Create learning groups (create project groups for students)
5. Post polls for students (gather informal feedback)
6. Post a quiz for students to take (multiple choice, T/F, short answer, etc.)
7. Connect with other teachers (participate in discussion groups)
8. Create a calendar of events and assignments
9. Access Edmodo through free iPhone and Android apps
10. Turn in assignments (students upload documents and teachers annotate)
11. Create parent accounts (parents can see their children's assignments)
12. Generate printable class rosters
13. Embed Wallwisher into Edmodo for brainstorming sessions
14. Embed videos, images, and audio clips on your wall
15. Use your browser bookmarklet to add content to your Edmodo library

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Next Book Club Meeting

For November's meeting, the UHS Student Book Club is reading Veronica Roth's Divergent.  We'll be having our book discussion Wednesday, November 28th at 2:00pm in the library media center.  New members are always welcome!

Learn Spanish

Interested in learning Spanish?  Check out the Spanish MOOC, which is an open course for people that do not already have a background in speaking or learning Spanish.  The course offers 12 graded assignments which will provide students with personalized feedback.

The course is a combination of recorded video instruction, conversation practice with other students, and homework assignments evaluated through the integrated Instreamia learning platform.  In these assignments, students will practice listening recognition, vocabulary understanding, context comprehension, and grammar usage.

And best of all, the course is FREE!  The course begins January 21, 2013.  Register here.

Pixntell for Photostories

A free iPad app for creating narrated photostories, Pixntell lets the user select some images, arrange them in a preferred order and then narrate each image. Similar to Animoto in its format, Pixntell could be used to create short student biographies, art presentations, book reviews or book trailers.  When a Pixntell project is complete it can be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, or shared via email.  For more ideas on how to use Pixntell in the classroom, visit Richard Byrne's blog here.

Podcast Apps

Do you enjoy listening to podcasts?  Or maybe you have an interest in creating your own podcast?  There are some free apps available for download to your iPad.  Here's a round-up of a few that are out there.

Downcast is a favorite among podcast listeners. Attractive features include importing and exporting feeds, sending media files to Dropbox, marking podcasts for "priority play" playlists, and podcast-specific settings.  Downcast also syncs with iCloud.

Pocket Casts is great for the person new to podcasts.  The intuitive interface makes it easy to find, add, and organize podcast subscriptions.  A good choice for anyone that doesn't want to be bothered with multiple setting screens to listen to podcasts.

Spreaker lets you record your own podcasts.  Read what you want to say and then share all your latest news with your friends on any social network. Spreaker also includes a DJ console to mix voice, music, and effects while creating your podcast.

Hokusai is a multi-track audio editor for the iPhone or iPad.  Hokusai lets you edit your recorded podcasts/audio tracks side by side, mix them together, and export to mp4 format.  Other tools include fade in/fade out, various filters and effects.

Teenage Life in Ancient Rome

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a teenager in a different time period? A Glimpse of Teenage Life in Ancient Rome is the new TED-Ed lesson developed by Ray Laurence from the University of Kent.  The video and its associated questions feature the story of Lucius Popidius Secundus, a 17-year old living in Rome in 73 AD.  His life is a typical one of arranged marriages, coming-of-age festivals, and communal baths. Learn more about what your life would have been like in ancient Rome and watch the video.

Boston Public Library Field Trip

On October 25th, Mrs. Fournier's Research Class took a class field trip to visit the Boston Public Library.  Students toured the library building, visited some of the revolving exhibits, explored the art galleries, and admired the outdoor courtyard's sculptures and architecture. One exhibit in particular that students found interesting was the current "America Votes: Mapping the Political Landscape" exhibit which included approximately 30 maps, political cartoons, photographs and other graphic images that date from the 1780's to the present.  An interesting and informative trip!

Learnist: Pinterest for Schools

Another great app discovered on Richard Byrne's blog Free Technology for Teachers...Learnist is the equivalent of "Pinterest for Learning." Learnist can be used to visually bookmark and share lesson plans and other educational resources.  Learnist also had an iPad app and iPhone app available which enable users to create and browse boards, and share favorite resources.  Unlike Pinterest, Learnist does not require a Twitter or Facebook account to sign up.  All you need is an email account!

Friday, September 28, 2012

UHS Book Club

The UHS Book Club had a lively meeting this past Wednesday.  We welcomed some new members, talked about what we had been reading over the summer and picked our book for next month's meeting.  We are reading Bram Stoker's Dracula in honor of the Halloween season upon us.  

Dracula is in the public domain and therefore free, so download that copy from iBooks onto your iPad and start reading!  We will be having our book discussion Wednesday, October 24th at 2:00pm in the library media center.  New members are always welcome!

Ferry Tales

Some more light Friday reading for this rainy day...

Audrey Barbakoff writes: “Kitsap (Wash.) Regional Library is taking to the water. Our flagship program is a book group called Ferry Tales. Once a month, I ride the Puget Sound ferry between Seattle and Bainbridge Island. In the direction of the commute, a group of regulars discusses one title each month; in the other, I host a drop-in, ask-a-librarian session. I love helping our community of commuters get to know each other, expand our reading horizons, and just share an incredibly enjoyable ride.”

An interesting book club venue - read the full article here.

The man who turned his home into a public library

If you like books and libraries, you'll like this story...

Kate McGeown writes: “Hernando Guanlao is a sprightly man in his early 60s, with one abiding passion—books. Guanlao, known by his nickname Nanie, has set up an informal library outside his home in central Manila in the Philippines to encourage his local community to share his joy of reading. In the 12 years he’s been running his library (or, as he calls it, his Reading Club 2000), he’s found that his collection has grown rather than diminished, as more and more people donate to the cause. To help the poorest communities, Guanlao rides to them on his ‘book bike,’ which has a large basket piled high with books.”

See the full article here.  Some light Friday reading.

Virtual Read-Out Videos in Celebration of Banned Books Week

Some Banned Books Virtual Read-Out Videos you should watch!

Celebrate Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week September 30 - October 6
"Banned Books Week is an annual observance from the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom(OIF) that celebrates the First Amendment right of the freedom to read. During Banned Books Week, libraries, schools, and bookstores across the country will celebrate the freedom to read by hosting special events, exhibits and read-outs.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the annual celebration, and to commemorate this milestone anniversary, ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom is coordinating a "50 State Salute to Banned Books Week." The "50 State Salute" will be the highlight of the second annual VIrtual Read-Out, and will consist of videos from library leaders from across the country proclaiming the importance of the freedom to read.
Also celebrated during Banned Books Week is Banned Websites Awareness Day on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Sponsored by the ALA’s American Association of School Libraries (AASL), Banned Websites Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of the overly restrictive blocking of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries" (

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

50 Ways Schools Can Use Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts can be a great classroom tool for learning, sharing, collaborating, and brainstorming ideas. Another great list from Mashable, here are 50 ways schools can take advantage of Google+ Hangouts.

Need help staying organized?

Need a little help staying organized?  Check out Mashable's roundup of six to-do list apps.  Download one to your iPad and say goodbye to those quickly scribbled to-do lists you're always losing!
Organization might be more attainable than you think...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

New EasyBib Subscription

The UHS Library now subscribes to EasyBib, an online tool that helps streamline all of your note-taking and research citations.  Keep all of your research assignments saved in one convenient location. EasyBib will assist you in generating your bibliography in proper MLA, APA, or Chicago format.  From there you can export your citations to a Word, Pages, Google Docs, etc. document.

Even easier - download the free EasyBib app to your iPad and simply scan the ISBN barcode of any book you are citing, using their free built in scanner.  EasyBib will keep a running list of all of those barcodes you scan and generate the proper citations in a format you can then email to yourself.

UHS Library now on Pinterest

The UHS Library is now on Pinterest!  Another social media tool, Pinterest is a great way to explore interests and ideas in a very visual format.  And it's free.  Keep up to date with the UHS Library by following the username uhslibrary1.  Some of the UHS Library boards include research resources, summer reading books being read by students and staff, magazine subscriptions at the UHS Library, and more.  Register for an account yourself and begin pinning all of those lovely images/resources you see on the web!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Figment & Justine Magazine Writing Contest!

Figment and Justine Magazine invite you to write a modern classic and get published!

Romeo and Juliet meet at a school dance. He’s from a rival school. His team is the Mountain Lions, and hers are the Catapults.

Ahab is a top-notch computer hacker. But for all of his victorious heists, he’s never managed to win the great White-Hat Hacker contest. He’d go to any lengths to win, regardless of the consequences for his team, the P-quads.

Jay Gatsby is the new kid on the block. He’s clever, smooth, and flush with cash. His first weekend in town, he throws a massive party in his huge mansion—and not a parent in sight. Daisy, head of the cheerleading team, can’t help but be charmed. But doesn’t she know him from somewhere?

You can’t beat a classic story, but you can update one (and get your story published in Justine Magazine)! Figment and Justine Magazine want all girls aged 13 to 21 to write a short story modernizing any classic work of literature in no more than 1,200 words. Submit your entry by July 24, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The twenty most-hearted entries will become semi-finalists, which will be narrowed down to five finalists by the Justine editorial team. Those fantastic five will be read by YA author Amanda Hocking, who became a bestseller with her self-published Trylle trilogy. Amanda will choose the winner and two runners-up!

Good Luck!

Five Tips for Young Journalists

The Year of the Gadfly tells the story of Iris Dupont, a teenage reporter who communes with the ghost of Edward R. Murrow, and Jonah Kaplan, a failed microbiologist-turned-biology teacher who is haunted by the ghosts of his past. Jennifer Miller, author of The Year of the Gadfly, has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Marie Claire, Allure, and The Daily Beast, so she clearly knows a little something about journalism.

Drawing from the experience of creating Iris, the young journalist of The Year of the Gadfly, and her own journalistic chops, Jennifer Miller has generously created a list of five tips for those of you whose writing leans toward reporting.

Check out her list here.

826 National

Looking for some writing, publishing, or tutoring resources?

826 National is a nonprofit organization that provides strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of its network of eight writing and tutoring centers. 826 centers offer a variety of inventive programs that provide under-resourced students, ages 6-18, with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. With a center located in Boston, this is another good site to follow for keeping up-to-date on local writing events.

The Office of Letters and Light

The Office of Letters and Light organizes events where kids and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to reach their creative potential.  The Office of Letters and Light is also a sponsor of National Novel Writing Month, Script Frenzy, and the Young Writers Program

The Letters and Light programs are "web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels."

If you are a person who likes to write, this is a Tumblr to watch!