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