Useful Sites | Academy of American Poets This American site can be search by looking up a poet or poem. It includes featured thematic lists such as “love poems” and “black history month.”
Famous Poets and Poems – Read and Enjoy Poetry This site offers an eclectic mix of poetry, both modern and classic. There is a list of the top 50 poems, famous quotes by poets and you can search thematically.
Poetry Foundation This site includes established and classic poets. You can click on “poems and poets” and browse for poems. Searches can be done by themes or by browsing by poem type. | Poetry archive This an archive of poets reading their own work. It isaccompanied by the written text. It also contains lesser known poets and is searchable by theme, the poet, or a poem.
Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting and Style Guide This is Purdue University’s Citation site, and links directly to the MLA section. It is a valuable resources for all students who are looking for citation information!
R U 4 R.E.A.L? Strategy for Website Evaluation Slideshow that sets out how to evaluate websites using the pneumonic R.E.A.L. Explains how you tell if a website is credible or could be used for a school research project by explaining the R.E.A.L. strategy. Puts up the sorts of questions students should ask to evaluate a website’s credibility before using its information for a school project.
Critical Evaluation – Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything Kathy Schrock has created a long list of links to iuseful information about how to critically evaluate information found on the Web. This page includes forms for teaching the process, articles for learning about the aspect of literacy, and a list of bogus sites to use to showcase that all things on the Web are not real.
Evaluating Internet Resources This post outines the Criteria for Evaluation of resources. “Students need to learn to evaluate the quality of information they find on the web as well as other information resources such as books, magazines, CD-ROM, and television.” Students should be skeptical of everything they find. They need to be encouraged to compare and contrast different information resources. Also has links to hoax sites that can be used to to explain how to evaluate information.
Evaluating Sources – Use the C.R.A.P. Test! — Mercer University Libraries When undertaking any research you will need to evaluate all of them to determine whether or not they are reliable and relevant to whatever your project is. It does not matter if you have a book, article, website, or other source, you can use the C.R.A.P. Test* to decide whether or not it’s worth including in your resource list. This piece outine what is involved in the “C.R.A.P.” test.
Getting ‘REAL’ with web evaluation – tips and tools to develop information literacy | LinkingLearning Using the ideas of Alan November, who presents a great strategy for students to apply whenever they are researching and need to confirm the reliability of the source of their information. The pneumonic ‘REAL’ illustrates the step that can be used to test the any site.
5 Components of Information Literacy – YouTube“Published on 29 Jan 2014. Information literacy can be divided into five different categories: Identify, Find, Evaluate, Apply, and Acknowledge. View academic and real world examples for each component to discover why information literacy is important to success in college or university and in life.”
Why can’t I just Google? – YouTube “Uploaded on 9 Feb 2010 Information is everywhere! Its just so easy to Google and use something that looks relevant… so why cant you just Google?”

Why Technology in Classrooms Doesn’t Always Boost Scores An interesting look at how technology should be used in the classroon for it to be effective. “HAVING technology means nothing. You have to: 1. Have technology in the classroom, 2. Students must have access, and 3. Teachers must know how to teach with tech.  A number of different ideas for “using Technology in Ways that Improve Classroom Learning” are then explained

Free Technology for Teachers: Streamline Your Feedback Process in Google Docs “JoeZoo Express doesn’t limit you to using just feedback phrases that they have listed. You can create your own feedback phrases and explanations.

Teachers who want to use rubrics to give feedback and grades can do so within JoeZoo Express. JoeZoo offers a free rubric builder tool. You can customize the rubric to meet your specific needs. The rubrics that you create can be saved and inserted into students’ documents when you are grading their work.”

Evaluating Websites: Using pneumonics to remember C.R.A.P. AND R.E.A.L.

Working with students in year 7 (and after some research sessions with parents) I created this slideshow to help students (and parents) remember the things we spoke about and investigated. The students used in in conjunction with someweb research they were doing in respone to a variety of English tasks where they were to recommend several websites that would be useful to the characters they chose to work on. The students had to find and evaluate the sites then explain why they were sites their characters would have used.

Useful Links


Innovations in Education » Developing Future Workskills Through Content Curation “The skills a student employs  to successfully curate information include curiosity, media literacy, ability to make connections across disciplines, information literacy, the ability to evaluate and understand perspective, synthesize and evaluate information, and a good dose of self-direction.  Here is how they line up with the 10 skills identified in this study.”

EducationHQ Australia – Maker movement gathers steam “In an educational setting, ‘making’ is a technology driven response to the widespread absence of ‘doing’ in many classrooms. In essence, it’s what psychologist Jean Piaget and other ‘constructionists’ see as experiential learning. American educator Gary Stager, author of Invent to Learn, reminds us that we are fortunate that: “this maker movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing”. Make sure you access Stager’s website for more information on this.”

20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking This is from the TeachThought blog. “This is part 1 in our #iteachthought campaign. This is our equivalent to “back to school,” and is intended to help you focus in the 2015-2016 school year on taking a thoughtful approach to your craft as a teacher. Among these shifts we’ll talk about is turning our focus from content and teaching to thinkers and thinking. This is a student-centered approach to pedagogy (and heautagogy), and will consist of three parts:
Part 1: Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking
Part 2: Learning Profiles: What Great Teachers Know About Their Students
Part 3: 50 Questions To Ask Your Students On The First Day Of Schoo”

5 Creative Strategies to Facilitate Student-driven Learning | Imagine Easy Solutions “21st century learners who are digitally literate and determined to take charge of their learning. Consequently, teachers need to adjust their strategies and give students more voice and ownership.
When the classroom moves from teacher-centered to student-centered, more learning takes place and students tend to be more engaged in the lesson. The student-centered classroom allows for more differentiation and personalized learning.
Making the transition into a student-centered classroom can be a challenge. This post looks at some strategies for getting started with creating a successful learning environment”

Key Conditions for Suspense: Part 14 – Put Your Plot Together with the Story Cycle – SFWA “It’s good to know you need to make the problem hard to solve, but how do you use all the obstacles to develop the plot? How do you layer them in? How do you start and move forward?
You follow the story cycle, which is simply a model of how we humans go about solving problems, and apply the techniques we’ve been talking about in ways that make sense to you and spark your interest. You can move forwards or backwards around the cycle, whatever is most productive to you at the time.”

10 Collaborative Mobile Apps For A Creative Classroom “Trainer, Naomi Harm shares 10 free mobile apps that will allow students to engage in rich content activities and digital projects in his training video Mobile Apps For The Classroom.”

Digital Citizenship Scope & Sequence | Common Sense Media From Common Sense Media. ” Scope & Sequence tool to find age-appropriate lessons that address digital literacy and citizenship topics for your classroom. You can browse by grade band or click a category to highlight the lessons that address that topic. From professional development materials, to student interactives, to lessons and assessments, and family outreach materials, our comprehensive curriculum is turnkey to implement.”

Why Should We Teach Storytelling? 5 Reasons to Start Today | Getting Smart “five reasons why we should be creating storytelling opportunities for students today.”

ICT is failing in schools – here’s why “National data released this week confirms an ongoing trend that now sees nearly half of Australian secondary school students failing to meet minimum digital literacy standards. Current data underpinning decision-making and the new digital technologies curriculum isn’t working for ICT in schools for these four reasons:”

Storyboard Maker – Outline a Story With Visuals | Android 4 Schools “Storyboard Maker is a free Android app.It lets you to set out your story. In the app you can outline story scenes by sketching frames then writing text to outline action and dialogue in each scene. ”

Draw Notes on Your Android Device With Google Keep | Android 4 Schools “this is an Android appthat allows you to write short notes and set reminders. It can also used be used as a mindmapping tool of sorts through the use of sticky note sorting. Google Keep for Android also allows you to draw notes in the app.”

Some Very Good Tools and Apps for Creating Educational Comics to Use in Class ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Using comics in your instruction can be a great way to engage students in learning activities and boost their motivation. There is a wide variety of web-based tools and mobiles apps that make comics creation a simple and easy drag and drop process. Students can use them to unleash their imaginative potential and experiment with a number of various multimodal creative activities. In this post there are some examples of web tools and apps teachers can use with students in class to create great educational comics.”

How to Storyboard in Scrivener “Storyboarding as it pertains to novels and short stories is the process of mapping out your story, often using index cards, in a high-level way that allows you to see your story visually and rearrange it. Scrivener’s corkboard view provides the perfect interface to storyboard your novel digitally”

Ninja Guide to Content Creation: Top 10 Writing Tools A piece that brings together, in an annotated list, a number of useful tools for writing purposes. There are also a number of other mentioned in the comments that follow the post.

Research revolution in schools | District Administration Magazine An interesting article about the skills today’s students need. “teaching students to find reliable sources, synthesize research findings and communicate results is more urgent than ever in a world where every blogger with a keyboard can pose as an expert.”

How to Build a Growth Mindset into School Culture | Getting Smart “For all of us as educators, a growth mindset must be a prerequisite belief and an easy one to champion. However, where Dweck’s idea presents us with a narrow gap in comprehension, the divide between comprehension and practice can be quite wide. As school leaders, how can we bring awareness to this gap and implement practices to cultivate a growth mindset within our schools?”

24 Ways for Students to Showcase Their Best Work (With Tech) – InformED : There has been a lot of research that supports student learning being enhanced by using online presentation methods. This post offers an annotated list of 24 favourites.

What is Collaboration for Professional Learning? | My Island View “The time investment to accomplish this can be as little as twenty minutes a day. The warning here however is that often times a learner may actually get caught up in the learning and spend more time than planned on a given topic. Social media opens educators to the pedagogy, and methodology of others. It offers transparency to policies. It questions the status Quo. It forces reflective thinking. It acts as a megaphone for new ideas. It gives educators a voice in the discussion of their own profession. None of this will happen however unless an educator comes to the table with a collaborative mindset and a willingness to spend time collaborating. Educators should never expect less from themselves than they expect of their students. A good teacher is also a good learner, and a good learner can always become a great teacher”

Empathy and libraries – Home – Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog “Building cultural understandings by building empathy is now more urgent than ever in our classrooms and libraries if we wish to create a more empathic community. I am re-posting a column about building empathy through reading below.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Educational Postcard: ”Collaboration is by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  Ken Whytock 
South Orange Middle School Library – Twitter Style Book Review How to create Twitter style book reviews. This activity can be easily adapted and students of all abilities can have fun trying to create a good tweet about their book.
Transforming assessment and feedback with technology | Jisc “JISC page that provides ideas and resources to help colleges and universities enhance the entire assessment and feedback lifecycle.” There are many transferable ideas for secondary school teachers.

20 Ways to Engage Students “A research study was carried out at PROCAT to investigate students’ expectations and experiences when using technology at college. You can read the research report here. The E-Zine below is a further resource, which follows on from the research report. It provides 20 key messages for Instructors, which summarises feedback direct from PROCAT Students on how to engage learners. The magazine provides a useful checklist for teaching staff and is a resource they can keep referring to for ideas and to check they are on track. You will need flash to be installed to view the e-zine.”

Developing students’ digital literacy | Jisc A quick guide to a very good and comprehensive report on Improving the student digital experience
Growth mindset for teachers | Education Evangelist Offers a nice graphic to encourage a “Growth Mindset for teachers using technology”
‘Which Book Reader Species Are You?’: INFOGRAPHIC | GalleyCat “In this post, we’re describing and classifying close to 50 reader species-from the folks who see books as precious display objects to those who sort of hate reading.”

Kelly Fitzgerald ~ EdTech Nut: Using Collections in TweetDeck to Save Tweets I use TweetDeck. It is a useful tool for following along during a Twitter chat as it allows you to build columns that help to keep track of the many different feeds, notifications, mentions, etc. It can be difficult to check out the resources shared and keep up with it all. There are many methods for ‘saving’ the resources shared. Kelly Fitzgerald @LISDTechie uses the collections feature in TweetDeck to gather those resources to review at a later time. Here she offers advice about how to add a collection and start saving those wonderful resources people are sharing.

The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You Can Use Now) | Edutopia Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) has shared the apps or app categories that she recommends for other teachers in their schools. “There are lots of apps, and these are just my opinion based on what I’ve used with my students or successfully tested.”

15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer) | Edutopia Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) put forward the following resources that you can use to teach programming with every student and every age

Professional Conversations | Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership “The formal and informal dialogue that occurs between education professionals including teachers, mentors, coaches and school leaders, which is focused on educational matters.What do teachers talk about professionally? Where do these conversations happen, when do they happen, and what are the conditions that are needed to make them more effective? Most importantly, what is the impact that they can have on developing teacher expertise and improving student outcomes?
he Professional Conversations Project sought to answer our questions about professional conversations by exploring the literature and asking teachers in schools across Australia about their experiences with professional conversations”

Digital Citizenship: Resource Roundup | Edutopia This id a great list that iffers many ideas babout how to approach the topic.  “Edutopia’s collection of articles, videos, and other resources on internet safety, cyberbullying, digital responsibility, and media and digital literacy.”
Designing Learning That Matters | Edutopia Deep learning often happens when learners encounter experiences that challenge them to figure something out, explore new information, and create a product.
Challenge yourself with Reading Bingo 2014 (pictures) Printable Reading Bingo containing 24 reading challenges that will help you read more and have more fun with it.
Short Stories with a Twist Ending  “A list of some short stories with surprising endings that could be used for learning or teaching careful reading. Sometimes the author tries to give the reader a fair chance to figure out what’s going to happen. Even though a twist ending is supposed to give the reader a jolt, in hindsight it should seem perfectly reasonable. The best ones seem inevitable and seamless.”
Books for Kids Who Don’t Like to Read | eBay Useful list of titles (and series).
8 Excellent Google Sheets Add-ons to Create Smarter Spdreasheets ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning“A post that looks at a collection of important add-ons to use on your Google Sheets to create smarter spreadsheets with beautiful designs and more sophisticated functionalities. Using these extensions will enable you to add different styles and fonts to your spreadsheets; remove duplicate values between two tables or in one sheet; find and clean up data; split names to several columns, search in values, formulas, notes and hyperlinks in all sheets at once; easily generate Gantter schedules from your sheets; add reminders to your sheets; smart autofilling of data into other columns based on the values of the other columns, and many more.”
Five Research-Driven Education Trends At Work in Classrooms | MindShift | KQED News Increasingly, educators are looking to research about how kids learn to influence teaching practices and tools. What seemed like on-the-fringe experiments, like game-based learning, have turned into real trends, and have gradually made their way into many (though certainly not most) classrooms.
10 Tech-Savvy Web Teaching Apps Students (& Other Teachers) Will Love — Emerging Education Technologies Ten great apps are listed and their use demonstrated with 3 Minute Tutorials for each. These videos show you how to get started and the rest is up to you

3 Ways Mobile Technology Boosts Instruction | The Edvocate The piece offers a discussion around the benefits for teachers as well as students. Three ways that teachers can benefit from mobile technologies are discussed.

” Administrative plans must go beyond simply purchasing mobile devices, or implementing bring-your-device policies that include teacher empowerment of the technology. Mobile technology has potential to change the student-teacher dynamic for the better but only if implemented correctly”
How Games Lead Kids to the Good Stuff: Understanding Context | The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning | MindShift | KQED News A good discussion about the benefits of using games to assist learning in the classroom. “Game-based learning is an instructional method that allows students to experience, understand, and solve problems in the world of a particular subject, or system, from the inside. Imagine a game that works like an instrument, but teaches mathematics. That’s how “
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Always do your best by rhondda.p, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  rhondda.p 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Need a science project? Try Science Buddies

We challenge our Year 7 and 8 science students to do an investigative study in science and technology.  The  year 7 boys have to find something to do with the topic “light”, chosen because this year is the International Year of Light.

Members of the library staff have been working with the classes to assist with developing their information literacy skills. It has been going very well and the boys love the idea that the have some choice with their topic.

When we were preparing tips for the boys I came across the Science Buddies site.

Science buddies - homepg

This is a great website for teachers and students. Science Buddies is a very useful resource that offers many ideas about science projects. The people behind it are a non-profit making group who are concerned with developing science enrichment tool for young people.

It ranges from helping with the choice a project and a framework for investigations and experiments to an ask an expert forum and a Science Fair Project Guide..

Last week a student had to change his topic and he used the topic selection wizard to help him come up with a new idea. This little tool asks the student a lot of questions about their interests and understandings and capabilities.

Once you give some basic information you start the selection survey

topic selection

The answers are either yes, sometimes or no. After completing the questions you are offered an annotated list of suggested topics that fit with the answers given.

topic selection survey

The recommendations are clearly described with the most relevant coming up first.


There are more then 1,100 project ideas, organised into categories and levels of difficulty.

It is a great way for students to develop their understanding of science through well-designed, scientific experimentation.

How do You Choose Good Online Sources?

This is a great visual to back up my teaching. We had a session last week where I was explaining this information to a year 8 science class as they embarked on a major research project. You know some” get it” but others are still struggle with evaluating a source even if they agree to the reason why. This is clean and concise.

An Ethical Island

Students often ask how to determine which websites and articles are good sources to cite. My answer is always, “Well, what do you think?” Students need to be able to think on their own. So, if your student offers some questionable sources, ask, “Why did you choose that one?” Try to get the student to think about the who, what, why, and when of the article and website. Let the student use critical thinking to come to a valid conclusion. They might just have a good reason for using the source.

How to chose a good online source…. some questions to ask yourself. How to chose a good online source…. some questions to ask yourself.

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