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

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

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

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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Website: The Feather Atlas

THE FEATHER ATLAS is a North American bird feather identification tool from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Representing nearly 400 bird species, the image database can be accessed a number of ways. First, students can choose to search the database by the common or scientific name of a bird species or group. Second, users can browse the database by taxonomic group. Third, users can use the Identify Feather tool to classify a feather by color, pattern, or other characteristics.
A glossary is included to assist students with basic terminology related to feathers. The Frequently Asked Questions section details laws, rules and guidelines for feather use.
Librarians will find this image database to be a fun way to explore North American birds and their feathers. Be sure to read the Feathers and the Law section before jumping into a feather project with students.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, August 20, 2018

Website: National Book Festival

The LIBRARY OF CONGRESS NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL is held each Fall to celebrate books and reading.
The event includes a wide range of programs including dozens of author events.
The National Book Festival website allows people from around the world to participate live through video, audio, and social media activities. Videos and podcasts are also available from past events.
In addition to festival information, the website also links to a book festival blog and kids and teacher’s guide.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun way to kick off the school year or to weaving author and book activities throughout the year.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: Do Doodlebugs Doodle?

DO DOODLEBUGS DOODLE by Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig is a humorous information book exploring the names of insects.
This attractive picture book asks silly questions about bugs with funny names such as dragonflies, horseflies, and stink bugs. Although the questions are humorous, the answers are rooted in accurate and fascinating scientific fact. The book concludes with a review of the insects discussed.
Librarians will find this book to be a popular addition to the science collection. The predictable format makes the book a fun read-aloud for preschool and primary grade children. Create a game asking children to identify real and fake insect names.
Published on April 5, 2018 by Persnickety Press. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Website Review: Skunk Bear

SKUNK BEAR with Adam Cole is an NPR video series published on Facebook.
Each short episode explores a different scientific curiosity from around the world. This science series presents a dozen videos in each season. Three seasons are currently available.
Librarians will want to mine the video collection for topics that connect to the science curriculum. Brainstorm topics of interest and submit questions through the NPR website.
To access the website through NPR, go to

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Digital Spotlight: Benjamin Franklin Papers

The BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PAPER from the Library of Congress contains the papers of statesman, publisher, scientist, and diplomat Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).
Contents: The collection contains around 8,000 objects spanning 1726 through 1907. It includes materials related to Franklin’s diplomatic roles along with his work as a scientist and inventor. Of particular note is his correspondence with many well-known contemporaries.
Classroom Connections: The website contains a teacher resource guide and primary source sets. Expert resources are also available for teachers building curriculum materials.
Featured Digital Objects:
Treaty of Paris -
Letter about Bifocals -
Letter about Bald Eagle -

Monday, August 13, 2018

Website Review: Stop, Breathe & Think Kids

STOP, BREATHE & THINK KIDS is a mobile app designed to encourage meditation and mindfulness in children.
Designed for ages 5 through 10, the app encourages children to check in on their feelings. Children choose a mission and create a field of calm by following the steps on the screen.
In addition to teaching basic meditation practices, it can also be useful in promoting peaceful sleep.
Librarians will find this app to be useful with teachers and children interested in mediation. Promote it in a display featuring books on mental health and meditation. An adult version is also available.
The app is available through the App Store and Google Play.
To download the app, to go to

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Book Review: Munmun

MUNMUN by Jesse Andrews is a quirky, imaginative young adult fantasy exploring social issues ranging from wealth to inequality.
Designed for mature teens, the story is set in an alternative reality where a person’s physical size is proportional to their money known as munmun. Warner and his sister Prayer are the size of a squirrel, while the rich may be the size of large buildings. The story follows Warner’s personal growth, literally.
Librarians will find an audience among teens who enjoy dystopian fantasy with a social message. From the unusual vocabulary to the wacky world building, Andrews’ approach isn’t for everyone. However, it’s perfect for those seeking a thought-provoking, humorous, face-paced read.
Published on April 3, 2018 by Harry N. Abrams. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Website Review: Deep Look

DEEP LOOK is an online PBS series exploring science and nature up close.
With episodes published twice per month, this short video series features stories from the edge of the visible world. Macro photography and microscopy are used to present short science videos connected with wildlife, biology, chemistry, and nature. Available as a YouTube channel, playlists include plants, deep look, marine life, creepy crawly, insects, things with wings, come on up to the lab, and behind the scenes.
Librarians will find that both students and teachers enjoy the three-five minute video format. Closed captioning is available. Use the videos to jumpstart discussions or provide a starting point for more in-depth inquiries.
To visit the YouTube channel, go to

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Website Review: Xplorlabs

XPLORLABS is a website designed to help students solve STEM problems.
Designed for middle-school students, the website includes interactive videos, instructional experiences, hands-on classroom activities and classroom challenges. Two standards-aligned modules are currently available. Fire forensics involves students in collecting evidence and solving a case, while the portable electrical power project asks students to conduct experiments and look for safety solutions. Additional experiments, resources, and challenges are available along with teacher and student guides.
Librarians will find these modules to be an engaging way to learn and apply STEM concepts. Work with science teachers to weave them into the science middle school curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, August 06, 2018

Website Review: Solar System Exploration

SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION from NASA Science is a real-time living encyclopedia of robotic exploration of the solar system.
Developed by NASA, the website provides accurate, up-to-date information about planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and other elements of our solar system along with a record of deep space exploration. Users can choose to learn about the solar system as a whole, planets, moons, or small bodies. A kids section provides activities for youth. Other sections feature news, resources, technology reports and other useful information. Of particular note are the interactives that engage learners with hands-on applications of real-world data.
Librarians will find this website provides an excellent introduction to the solar system. The easy-to-use interface is perfect for younger students and the option to explore in-depth is useful for older researchers.
To visit the project, go to

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Website: Eagle Eye Citizen

EAGLE EYE CITIZEN is a social studies learning resource for middle and high school students.
This interactive website challenges students to solve and create using primary resources. Users can begin with the featured or popular challenge. Or, they can choose the solve or create options. To create a project, students need to sign-in using a username and password to save their work.
The teacher section includes lesson plans, assessment, ideas for differentiation, resources, quick ideas, and ways to incorporate achievement systems like badges and profiles.
Librarians will want to integrate this resource into American history, civics, and government classes. The resources are intended to develop civic understanding and historical thinking skills.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Book Review: What If...

WHAT IF… by Samantha Berger is a picture book exploring the power of imagination and determination.
Using lyrical prose and bright colored collages, the author and illustrator tell the story of a young girl who imagines how she would express herself if her traditional art tools disappeared.
Librarians will find this picture book to be useful in jumpstarting a discussion of creativity and imagination. It could also be applied in a lesson about invention and persistence. Use it in a display featuring other books about creativity.
Published on April 3, 2018 by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Website Review: PBS News Hour

PBS NEWSHOUR is a television news program with educational materials for teachers.
The PBS NewsHour website contains full episodes of the television program, podcasts, and online articles. Resources are organizing by topic including politics, arts, nation, world, economy, science, health, and education.
The PBS NewsHour Extra provides student and teacher resources for grades 7-12. Materials are organized by subject areas and include both lesson plans and articles. The student voices section includes reporting by young adults. Students can submit their story idea, essay or poem to be included at the website.
Librarians will find this website to be useful for both students and teachers. Students will find useful information for their research, while teachers will find lots of ideas of integrating news into the curriculum.
To visit PBS NewsHour, go to
To visit PBS NewsHour Extra, go to

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Website Review: Lazy Green

LAZY GREEN is a website that provides simple ways people can save energy.
The website presents 20 energy saving tips. Each tip is introduced with a simple animation and statement. Readers click the tip to read a short article about the topic. A source is provided for each tip.
Librarians will find this website useful as an information literacy and informational reading activity. Ask each child to read a different tip and summarize what they learned with the class. Then direct students to go to the source of the information and evaluate the website. Advertising is embedded in the page. Use this an an opportunity to discuss product placement at websites.
To visit the website, go to