Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Website: iDigBio


IDIGBIO is an educational website providing digitized information about natural history collections.
The project contains three sections.
The Researchers section features a specimen portal. Users can access digital objects by scientific name, a publisher’s list, or an advanced search that includes access to text search and map tools. A tutorial provides assistance. In addition, the website contains research ideas, tools, and links to scientific publications.
The Collections Staff section provides access to technical information, working groups, workshops, and information about projects and digitization.
The Teachers and Students section includes learning resources for the K-12 and college level. A citizen scientist section provides ideas for connecting to the local community. The K-12 resources contain lesson plans, tutorials, video, apps, and website.
Librarians will find this amazing digitization project useful across the science curriculum. Also, use the website to jumpstart discussions about the importance of digitization in the sciences.
To visit the website, go to https://www.idigbio.org.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Digital Spotlight: Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives

GULAG: MANY DAYS, MANY LIVES takes an in-depth look at life in the Soviet Gulag between 1917 and 1988.
Contents: Uses explore exhibits including original documentaries and prisoner voices. The achieve contains documents and images through history. The teaching and bibliographic resources are useful for teachers. Finally, the reflect area allows visitors to share their thoughts.
Classroom Connections: Librarians will find this website useful in meeting the needs of students and teachers exploring 20th century history.
To visit the collection, go to http://gulaghistory.org/.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Book: Belle's Journey

BELLE’S JOURNEY: AN OSPREY TAKES FLIGHT by Rob Bierregaard tells the true story of an Osprey’s first migration experience.
When scientist Dr. B places a tracking device on an osprey he names Belle, he’s able to follow her migration to South America and back. Reminiscent of Rachel Carson’s creative nonfiction, the story explores what Belle may have experienced on her long journey. Dr. B’s connection with two young naturalists will appeal to young readers. While the illustrations meet the basic needs of the book, the photographs at the end of the book really bring Belle to life.
Librarians will find an audience for this book among animal lovers and the growing number of nonfiction narrative fans. Share this title on creative nonfiction lists otherwise it might easily get lost among the informational bird books. Encourage science teachers to offer this title as an optional assignment.
Published by Charlesbridge on May 15, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Website: Nature Works Everywhere

NATURE WORKS EVERYWHERE from The Nature Conservancy provides educational resources associated with nature.
The resources section of the website contains lesson plans, videos, virtual field trips, webinars, teacher resources, tip sheets, and other types of resources. Users can search by grade, resource type, standards, themes, or tags.
Use the Nature Works Gardens map to explore over a thousand gardens around the world. The planning tools allows users to design, measure, and track garden activities.
Librarians will find that this website provides useful classroom as well as community connections to nature. Be sure to check out their grant program.
To visit the website, go to https://www.natureworkseverywhere.org/.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Website: The Founders' Constitution

THE FOUNDERS’ CONSTITUTION is a rich set of resources related to the creation of the U.S. Constitution.
This easy-to-access online resource contains an anthology of 18th century documents. These writings reflect the debate over the creation of the Constitution.
The website begins with a reader’s advisory and introduction. Users can then search by key word or select sections of the Constitution to explore based on major themes or articles. The index provides quick access to authors, documents, cases, and constitutional provision.
Librarians will find that many students are surprised by the various opinions of the founding fathers and how the Constitution was crafted. This website is an effective way to help youth dive into the formation of this founding document.
To visit the website, go to http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Website: Ransom Riggs

RANSOM RIGGS is a popular young adult author whose website includes books, films, and photos.
Best known as the author of the Peculiar Children series, Ransom Riggs also has an interest in film and photography. The film section of the website shares mini-documentaries and personal reflections. The photography section focuses on his passion for found photos.
In addition to his website, it’s interesting to follow Riggs on social media including Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr.
Librarians will find Riggs’ website to be popular with teens. Use it as an example of how authors reach out to their readers. Also, use it to show the author’s passions beyond books. Partner with the English teacher for a writing contest focused on Riggs’ 18 favorite found photos.
To visit his website, go to http://ransomriggs.com.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Book: The Ultimate Book of Sharks

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF SHARKS by Brian Skerry is filled with fascinating facts about this popular sea creature.
This large format, full-color informational book contains eight chapters exploring anatomy, life cycle, species, fossils, conservation, and common myths. Featuring amazing photographs along with maps, diagrams, and infographics, readers of all ages will enjoy the short blocks of informative text, labeled visuals, and numerous sidebars.
Librarians will find this work of nonfiction popular among shark enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy highly illustrated nonfiction. Because of the large size, it could easily be incorporated into small group activities.
Published by National Geographic Kids in May 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Website: Middle School Chemistry

MIDDLE SCHOOL CHEMISTRY from the American Chemical Society contains lessons and multimedia for educators and their students.
The Lesson Plans section is divided into six chapters. Each chapter contains a series of lessons that include a video and multimedia, lesson plan, activity sheets, readings, standards alignment, and teaching resources.
The Multimedia section takes students step-by-step through the lesson with embedded interactives, illustrations, and videos.
Librarians will find that the lessons and multimedia resources align well with the science curriculum. Of particular note are the Spanish language versions and hands-on activities and animations.
To visit the website, go to http://www.middleschoolchemistry.com/.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Website: The Writing Center

THE WRITING CENTER at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides a tips and tools resource.
Although designed for the college level, the tips and tools at this website are useful for middle and high school students. The materials are organized into four categories: writing the paper; citation, style, and sentence level concerns; specific writing assignments or contexts; and writing for specific fields. Most of the resources are handouts, but a few involve short YouTube videos.
Librarians will find the handouts and videos useful across many grade levels. Be sure to share the Writing for Specific Fields section with teachers in each content area.
To visit the website, go to https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Website: National Screening Room

The NATIONAL SCREENING ROOM from the Library of Congress features movies from the library’s digital collections.
The project contains nearly 300 videos with 18 from the 19th century. Almost half of the collection are in the category of nonfiction while 50 are fiction. In addition, over 100 are silent films.
The project also includes articles and essays that provide a context for the films including an exploration of mental health films and persuasive films. The National Film Registry is a list of films considered to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Librarians will find this collection useful in teaching about the history of film along with providing fascinating primary sources across the curriculum. Ask students to watch a film from the National Film Registry and write about why they think the film was included for special recognition.
While many of the items are in the public domain, others are copyrighted. Keep in mind that the moving images reflect the time period when they were created, so be sure to talk with youth about changes in perspectives and beliefs over time.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Website: Children & Youth in History

CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN HISTORY is a learning website connecting children to world history concepts.
The project is organized into four sections. Within each section, users can select a particular area of the world to explore.
The Website Reviews section provides descriptions of online resources useful in teaching history.
The Primary Sources area includes 300 annotated primary sources featuring children throughout world history.
The Case Studies area examines specific topics connecting children and world history such as folktales, orphans, propaganda, human rights, and disabilities.
The Teaching Modules section provides primary sources and teaching materials for over a dozen topics.
Librarians will find the focus on children to be an effective way to introduce world history concepts. Work with teachers to weave the primary sources, case studies, and modules into the history curriculum.
To visit the resource, go to http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Book Review: Vincent and Theo

VINCENT AND THEO: THE VAN GOGH BROTHERS by Deborah Heiligman is an engaging nonfiction narrative exploring the life of artist Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo.
The story is told through a series of galleries that contain very short chapters. Works of art introduce these galleries. Each section explores a different time period in the lives of the Van Gogh brothers. Much of the story is told through the letters written among family members.
The book contains a timeline, author’s note, biography, thank you, endnotes, and an index. In addition, the book contains a series of full-color plates.
Librarians will find that Heiligman’s conversational writing style will immerse readers in the world of the Van Gogh brothers. Use this title as part of a nonfiction narrative literature circle or nonfiction young adult book club.
Published by Henry Holt on April 18, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Book: Captain Superlative

CAPTAIN SUPERLATIVE by J.S. Puller tells the story of a seventh grader who becomes a superhero’s sidekick.
Janey’s goal is to avoid conflict and fly under the radar. However when Captain Superlative arrives bearing acts of kindness, Janey decides to team up with this superhero and take action. This fast-paced and endearing middle school drama explores social themes such as bullying and childhood illness. Elements of humor and authentic characters add to the appeal of the story.
Librarians will find youth drawn to this story of courage and kindness. Feature it along with other positive school stories with a message.
Published by Disney Book Group on May 8, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Website: ReadTheory

ReadTheory is a free reading comprehension website for students of all ages and ability levels.
The program’s adaptive approach helps students learn at their own pace as they work their way through thousands of skill building exercises. The quizzes span reading levels from elementary through college levels and are aligned with standards. Teachers can use the program to track individual student progress.
Youth begin with a short quiz that involves reading a passage, answering a question, and receiving feedback. After a longer pre-test, students are assigned exercises matched to their reading comprehension needs.
Librarians will find this to be a useful resource for students, teachers, and parents.
The program is available for both desktop and mobile devices.
To visit the website, go to https://readtheory.org.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Website: Virtual Urchin

VIRTUAL URCHIN is a science website from Stanford University containing interactive tutorials and teacher resources.
The website features interactive tutorials in the areas of microscope basics, development and embryology, ecology and environment, and basic biology. The web-based tutorials include step-by-step instructions, key concepts, practice, and hands-on activities.
The teacher resources section provides suggested activities, additional learning materials, and links to other resources.
Librarians will find that students enjoy these hands-on, online interactive tutorials covering a dozen key concepts.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Website: Population Education

POPULATION EDUCATION takes an interdisciplinary approach to population studies.
The website contains lesson plans and sets of activities associated with the topic of population. Users can browse resources or search by grade level, subject area, or topic. In addition to the lesson plans and readings, an Earth Day Lesson Pack is available.
Of particular interest is the World Population Website containing an annotated map, historic timelines, and data visualizations. Students can also explore a world map video and participate in a student video contest. Supplemental resources include standards connections, infographics, population information, articles, and demonstration videos.
Librarians will find this resource useful across grade levels and subject areas. Collaborate with teachers to develop a cross-discipline curriculum.
To visit the website, go to https://populationeducation.org/.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Book: Alpha - Abidjan to Paris

ALPHA: ABIDJAN TO PARIS by Bessora is a heart-wrenching graphic novel tracing a migrant’s experience from Africa to Europe.
The stark, simple illustrations and informal typography reflect the painful plight of a West African refugee struggling to reach Paris. In hopes of connecting with his wife and child, this poor cabinetmaker sells everything and navigates the underworld of fake passports, refugee camps, and smugglers in hopes of a better life. The author’s first-person perspective places readers at the center of this troubling, yet realistic story.
Librarians will find young adults drawn to this powerful graphic novel. Use the book as an opportunity to talk with youth about the work of Amnesty International. Connect readers to works of nonfiction and websites focusing on the challenges of the migrant crisis.
Published by Bellevue Literary Press. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Website: New Jersey Center for Teaching & Learning

The NEW JERSEY CENTER FOR TEACHING & LEARNING is a nonprofit website providing STEM learning materials along with other educational resources.
The website contains classroom teaching materials in the areas of mathematics, math intervention, science, English and Language Arts, and computer science. A section on teaching methods includes specific areas such as assessment and technology resources. The website also contains self-guided open courses for students and teachers.
Librarians will find a wealth of lesson and classroom ideas to weave across the curriculum. Of particular note are the many English Language Arts lessons that can be integrated into information literacy activities.
To visit the website, go to https://njctl.org.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Website: Bozeman Science

BOZEMAN SCIENCE is a website created by Paul Andersen featuring science videos.
This website contains hundreds of science videos on topics including AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, and AP Physics. In addition, it includes videos on other science and math related topics. 
The website also includes videos and lessons associated with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). 
Follow Andersen’s blog for news and other interesting science information.
Librarians will find these short, focused videos integrate seamlessly into the science curriculum.
To visit the website, go to http://www.bozemanscience.com/.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Website: American Experience

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE from PBS is a television series exploring the people and events that shaped American history.
With nearly thirty years of episodes, this long-running program contains a wide range of useful topics for students and teachers.
The film section features full-length episodes. Users can search by key word or topic. Searchers can also locate those currently available for viewing. Most of the episodes include links to additional information, video clips, image galleries, behind-the-scenes footage, and digital shorts.
The videos selection includes short (1-5 minute) video clips and digital shorts that are perfect for focused classroom activities.
The articles area features articles, collections, maps, and other resources that can be accessed by topic or media type.
Librarians will want to mine this website for programs that connect with specific curricular topics. Beyond history, many of the episodes can also be woven into lessons across the curriculum.
To visit the website, go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Book: Absolute Expert

ABSOLUTE EXPERT is a new, high interest series from National Geographic Kids.
From animals to sports, each title in the ABSOLUTE EXPERT series explores tips, tricks, and fascinating facts straight from experts in the field.
ABSOLUTE EXPERT SOCCER focuses on playing the game, origins of soccer, soccer around the world, and soccer in North America. Each colorful and highly illustrated chapter features expert information, suggestions, terminology, and quizzes to engage readers. Filled with photos, maps, charts, diagrams, and other visuals along with short text passages, this book is sure to connect with young soccer fans.
ABSOLUTE EXPERT DOLPHINS examines the world of dolphins, their habitat, and their connection with humans. Featuring expert advise from a marine biologist, the book uses short text passages, photographs, maps, diagrams, and infographics to convey facts about these popular sea creatures.
Other titles include ABSOLUTE EXPERT: DINOSAURS and ABSOLUTE EXPERT: VOLCANOES.
Librarians will find a high demand for this new series. National Geographic Kids knows what topics will be popular with young readers. Feature this series in a display promoting career exploration. Each book contains four chapters that would work well for a nonfiction book discussion.
Published by National Geographic Kids in May 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Website: The Amboyna Conspiracy Trial

THE AMBOYNA CONSPIRACY TRIAL explores topics related to a famous legal case from the early modern period.
Using exhibits, a timeline, and archives, students become jurors in a trial set in Indonesia in 1623. Students must explore both sides, evaluate evidence, and deliver a verdict. Along the way, students learn about European expansion in Asia, the race for spices, and the politics of torture.
A teaching section provides background information, a guide, and further resources.
Librarians will find this website to be useful for students exploring topics related to European expansion in the 17th century. Students will particularly enjoy the “What’s your verdict” activity.
To visit the website, go to https://amboyna.org/.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Website: Data Nuggets

DATA NUGGETS is a science project that provides free classroom activities that combine contemporary research and authentic data.
Available for all grade levels, users can search for a data nugget, make a data nugget, or explore educator and scientist resources.
Users can search for topics by keyword, title, level, or location. Each topic includes a teacher’s guide, student activities, and a grading rubric. Many of the science projects include videos, images, and resources for further reading.
Librarians will find this to be a useful website in promoting citizen science. Think about how data nugget projects could be woven into an activity center or whole-school thematic unit.
To visit the website, go to http://datanuggets.org/.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Book: Ghost Boys

GHOST BOYS by Jewell Parker Rhodes tells the powerful and timely story of a black boy killed by a white police officer.
The story begins with the death of twelve-year-old African American boy. Jerome shares his experiences with bullying and poverty leading up to his death while playing in a park with a toy gun. In alternating chapters, Jerome’s ghost meets the daughter of the police officer who shot him. He also learns about the history of other ghost boys who met a fate similar to his.
Librarians will find this compelling story is effective in tackling tough issues including gun violence, racial bias, and class differences. The easy-to-read, fast paced story would work well in reading groups or as part of class discussions connected with current events.
Look for this title on the “best of intermediate level books” for 2018.
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group on April 17, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Website: American Masters

AMERICAN MASTERS from PBS is a biography series celebrating arts and culture.
This video series features writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists, filmmakers, and others who have made an impression on the cultural landscape of America. More than 30 years of programming is currently available from this acclaimed series.
Users can watch full episodes and short video clips, view images, and read articles. Podcasts featuring interviews are also available to download. All the resources can be accessed through a keyword search or by name or by topic.
A special section features powerful, creative and innovate women. Users are invited to share stories about women in their lives.
A news blog highlights events and upcoming programs.
Finally, the classroom section provides resources for using the video programs in the classroom. These resources are connected to PBS LearningMedia.
Librarians will find biographies that can be integrated into classroom activities across the curriculum. These resources are particularly useful for video and auditory learners seeking resources for research projects.
To visit the website, go to http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Website: BBC iReporter

The BBC IREPORTER is an interactive game designed to help students explore the importance of fact checking.
In this online interactive educational game, users become journalists while learning about the benefits and pitfalls of using social media to collect information.
A teacher’s guide provides a series of lessons, exercises, and other learning materials to guide and extend the interactive experience.
Librarians will find this interactive to be an engaging tool in teaching media literacy skills. Youth will particularly enjoy the fast-paced, video and audio enhanced format of the interactive.
To visit the interactive, go to https://bbc.in/2LDkvyj.
To visit the teacher’s guide, go to https://bbc.in/2wvmaR8.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Book: Hello Lighthouse

HELLO LIGHTHOUSE by Sophie Blackall tells the story of life in a lighthouse.
Told through full page illustrations, this fascinating picture book tells the story of a dedicated lighthouse keeper and his growing family. The precise text and repeated Hello phase make the book effective as a quick read-aloud to introduce children to this unusual lifestyle.
Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall brings the history of lighthouses to life through her detailed illustrations. Of particular note are Blackall’s use of cross-sections and interesting viewpoints. The book concludes with a discussion of lighthouse history.
Librarians will find many uses for this beautifully illustrated picture book. Connect it with the many websites featuring primary sources such as lighthouse postcards, photographs, and log books. Use this fictional story to jumpstart an investigation of true stories connected with lighthouses. Involve youth in tracing the history of a specific lighthouse.
Look for this title on “best picture books” lists for 2018.
Published by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette on April 10, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Website Review: Physics Girl

PHYSICS GIRL is a science video series produced by PBS Digital Studios.
Each episode in this popular YouTube series features a different topic related to physics, astronomy, or other science related topics. The programs include Do-It-Yourself projects, interviews, and cutting-edge research. Users can access playlists including everyday physics, space and the universe, experiments you can try, brainteasers and paradoxes, beyond physics 101, and interviews.
Librarians will find that students and teachers enjoy the humorous approach and real-world applications of science. Connect these short videos with the science curriculum. Or, use the videos to help promote nonfiction reading in the sciences.
To view the videos, go to https://www.youtube.com/user/physicswoman.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Website: Read.Gov

READ.GOV is website from the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.
The web resource links to key Library of Congress resources connected with reading. In addition to materials related to books and authors, users will also find many ways to participate with Library of Congress activities such as contests, events, and awards.
Students will particularly enjoy learning about the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and watching author webcasts.
Librarians will find this website to be a great way to weave literature, author, and reading activities into the classroom.
To learn more, go to http://www.read.gov/.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Website: Newseum Ed

The NEWSEUM Ed website provides free learning tools focusing on media literacy and the First Amendment freedoms.
The website includes sections exploring educational tools, collections, ideas, an online community, and professional development classes. Users can search for primary sources, lesson plans, activities, and other resources.
The EdCollections section explores important topics in-depth using primary sources and interactive tools. Topics include public safety, civil rights movement, women’s suffrage movement, political campaigns, and more.
The EdIdeas area provides tips, classroom ideas, collection highlights, and breaking news. It features primary sources and media literacy activities connected with current and historical events.
The Media Literacy section focuses specifically on fighting fake news and developing student media literacy skills. The resources include activities, lessons, case studies, and guest blog posts.
Librarians will find this resource filled with useful lesson plans and other learning resources that can be woven across the curriculum. Suggest the online resources as an all-school professional development activity to promote media literacy.
To visit the website, go to https://newseumed.org/.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Book: Crash: The Great Depression...

CRASH: THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND THE FALL AND RISE OF AMERICA by Marc Favreau is a work of nonfiction telling the story of life in the United States during the 1930s.
Told through short, engaging narratives, Favreau draws readers into the events surrounding the stock market crash, depression, and recovery. The author uses the stories of both ordinary people along with well-known figures to help readers understand the challenges of life during the Great Depression. By featuring the stories of people across racial, ethic, gender, and geographic lines, the book is effective in demonstrating the widespread impact of the crash. From the New Deal to the dust bowl and labor strikes, the key events are also addressed.
The book is divided into four parts with short chapters. A wide range of primary source documents including photographs, letters, banners, and other materials keep readers interested. The book concludes with source notes, a bibliography, primary sources, a timeline, and glossary.
Librarians will find this book to be a welcome addition to the nonfiction collection. Use it in a nonfiction literature circle featuring other works from the same time period.
Look for this title on the “best of nonfiction” lists for 2018.
Published by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette on April 10, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Website: ABC Media Literacy

MEDIA LITERACY from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation contains educational materials related to media literacy.
The ABC Education website includes sections focusing on News Challenge, Questioning, News, Understanding News, and Making News. Although designed for an Australian audience, most of the materials can easier be adapted for a global audience.
The For Teachers section contains teaching and learning materials associated with the website activities such as a source checker and fake news interactive. It also links to other useful media literacy resources.
Librarians will find the website particularly useful in providing a more global perspective on issues such as fake news. Youth will enjoy the online interactive.