Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Website: Making the History of 1989

MAKING THE HISTORY OF 1989 is a website exploring the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
The website begins with an introductory essay explaining the significance of 1989 in world history. The primary sources section contains over 300 government documents, images, videos, and artifacts. The scholar interviews and case studies explore specific aspects of the time period. Finally, thematic teaching modules each provide an introduction, primary sources, teaching strategies, lesson plans, document-based questions, writing prompts, and resources.
Librarians will find this website provides a useful context for world history lessons. Involve students in comparing the perspectives represented in the scholar interviews. Involve students in building their own case studies using the primary sources.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, October 29, 2018

Website: Kaggle

KAGGLE is a website focusing on data science projects.
Watch the “see how it works” video to get started. Users can then search for information or choose from sections of the website. A login option allows users to organize datasets and participate in activities.
The Competitions section shows projects currently seeking participants. While some projects involve real-money, others simply provide kudos. This project provides wonderful examples of real-world applications of data. Several of the projects are appropriate for K-12 students and citizen scientists. Teachers can even host free competitions for students to apply machine language to real problems.
The Datasets search lists thousands of tagged datasets and provides the option to organize datasets for personal use. Users can sort by project size, file type, license, and tags.
The Kernels area awards money to authors of high quality kernels on datasets each week.
The Discussions section provide access to information for beginners, technical information, requests for data, and learning resources.
The Learn section provides practical data skills including Python, machine language, visualization, SQL, and more.
Other sections of the website provide additional resources such as a jobs area, blog, and documentation.
Librarians will find this website useful in teaching data literacy. Use the website to locate projects and encourage teachers across the curriculum to think about ways to integrate data projects into the classroom.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Book Review: Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word

THOMAS PAINE AND THE DANGEROUS WORD by Sarah Jane Marsh is an engaging picture book biography.
This fast-paced story traces Thomas Paine’s experiences growing up and exploring various careers. After meeting Benjamin Franklin and traveling to America, Paine takes a job editing a new magazine and finds success writing and debating important issues. The story describes his work publishing Common Sense and its impact on everyday people. The picture book concludes with information about his life and legacy after 1776, a timeline, bibliography, and quotations used in the book.
Librarians will find this book to be an easy and effective way to introduce the American Revolution and Thomas Paine to elementary students. Use this title to talk about primary sources. Pair it with other books about American founders.
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 29, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Website: ChemCollective

CHEMCOLLECTIVE is an online resource for teaching and learning chemistry.
The website contains virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, tutorials, and concept tests. The materials are organized by topic and resource type. A Teachers section provides ideas for modifying and creating activities.
Librarians will find that teachers and students enjoy the varied, hands-on activities. Some of the activities would work well in a learning station to draw interest in STEM activities.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, October 22, 2018

Website: Google Dataset Search

GOOGLE DATASET SEARCH is a search tool for locating datasets.
This Google search tool helps users locate datasets using a simple keyword search. The search accesses thousands of data repositories available on Internet.
Read the ABOUT section for more details about the project. As repositories increasingly use standards for describing datasets, more resources will be available through this search.
For some examples, try a search for flu, volcanoes, travel alerts, climate change, malnutrition, and air quality.
Librarians will find that data literacy is an increasingly important information skill. Use the Google Dataset Search to locate example datasets and discuss ways to approach data literacy with teachers.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Book Review: Flying Deep

FLYING DEEP by Michelle Cusolito is an informational picture book exploring a deep-sea submersible.
In this engaging picture book, readers follow a pilot and scientists as they climb into their submersible and journey underwater for a day of scientific investigation. Young readers will be attracted to the realistic artwork and lyrical narration. Questions are woven throughout the story keeping readers active throughout.
The experience concludes with the story behind the book, an illustrator’s note, facts about the submersible, a glossary, organism list, and additional resources.
Librarians will find this book popular with children who enjoy sea exploration, science, and adventure. Integrate the book into the science curriculum and associate it with oceanography careers.
Published by Charlesbridge on May 22, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Website: Maps from American Battlefield Trust

MAPS from American Battlefield Trust provides access to engaging maps, videos, and apps from American history.
The MAPS section is part of the larger battlefield website.
The animated maps are actually videos that bring to life the movement of troops and battles of American wars. The Revolutionary War Animated Map covers America’s war for independence from Lexington to Yorktown and beyond. The Civil War Animated Map includes everything from Fort Sumter to Appomattox and more. In addition to the overview videos, specific battles are also available.
Over 400 maps are currently available such as the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Virginia during the Civil War. Both historical maps and battle maps are available.
Users can access the maps by war (Civil War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812), battle, or type of map (animated, battle, historical.
The American Battlefield Trust also have map apps available include the Civil War Battle Maps app.
Libraries will find these maps to be an excellent way to help students visualize the “big picture” related to these American wars. Work with the history teacher to weave these maps into the curriculum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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