All Posts (15)

Sort by

Research Made Easy

Okay, not easy, but much clearer! Kentucky Virtual Library's Research Rocket offers a student-friendly, step-by-step introduction to the research process.

While the screen shot to the right gives you a basic idea of the steps involved, what it doesn't show you is that each individual step provides its own easy to understand tutorial (see below).

For media center specialists or teachers introducing students to the research process, this is both a great introduction and a great stand-alone resource to which students can refer when going through the motions of information collection and organization.

(The picture to the right is the page a student would access if she clicked on the "Scan First" square of Step 4 on the map. As she reads over the information provided, she can also roll the mouse over the graphics, which provides additional visual cues).

And of course, there's always the option of using individual components of the whole process (such as the Scan/Survey module here) as reading comprehension skill builders in the elementary classroom.
Read more…

My new YA novel Rikers High.

Rikers High is based on the real-life stories of several students with whom I worked during my six years of teaching incarcerated teens to read and write on Rikers Island, the world’s largest jail. Ibelieve that it is, by far, my best and most important work, revealing whatreally happens to teens who get caught up in our criminal justice system and experiencehigh school behind bars. The overwhelming number of events in this book Iwitnessed first-hand—events that document the learning, hope, hopelessness,violence, and nearly unbreakable spirit of these teens.

“Rare is the reader who won’t find this narrative sobering.” –Booklist

“Volponi writes with an authenticity that will make readers feel (the protagonist’s)fear.” –Publishers Weekly.

“This tale of education and life on the Island will keep readers locked to the page.” –Kirkus.

“(Volponi) portrays power, hierarchies, and race relations both outside and inside the jail walls with unflinching realism.” –SchoolLibrary Journal.

I urge you to read the opening chapters of Rikers High at --Paul

Read more…

Sqworl is More Tasty than

Re-post from my Library Media Tech Musings Blog

Dear Sqworl...I Love You!
my new obsession is Sqworl! or for my Tweeps....#Sqworl!
i mean, i seriously have a super geek crush on this site! backstory: ever since Backflip has died (RIP) i've tried to find an easy alternative to bookmarking to use for myself and with my kids.

i've never really warmed up to delicious... and i'm a visual kinda when i stumbled across this it was love at first click! My first group was called Addictive Tech Crisps for Education: Web 2.0 Tools : Mmmm tasty techie crisps so good you can't just nibble one! I also created one called: Animation Sites & Education Resources : Animation sites & resources for school use. Some for media/classroom/unit marketing and some to use with kids!

each Sqworl group page is a yummy screenshot thumbnail lightbox of the sites AND with a short url! - SO easy for sharing or adding to a wikipage for students...WITH the added benefit that each time you add sites to it...its automatically updated!

when creating a group of blogs or journal pages - select blog mode = on. that way, each time the page is updated you'll get a nice little star in the corner of the page! yes, that's tracks the RSS feed of a page!

Sqworl also keeps trcks of your views and stats...just click and you'll get a link to how many people have tweeted your group or linked to it! SWEET!

with easy to add bookmarklet button for your toolbar you can add pages on a fly in only 2 clicks!

Using the combination of Sqworl's collections and thumbnails, you may soon be scanning for links based on visual clues - much like the icons on your desktop. If saving URLs with a visual reminder sounds helpful to you, take Sqworl for a spin and start squirreling your URLs away.

Talented wunderkind Caleb Brown created this resource and it's amazing! AND he's very responsive giving out his email address at the bottom of the page and when i had a question - he actually answered it himself within a day or so!

You can even edit the page reposition the links easily!

keep up with new updates by checking out the Sqworl blog

To get to a cheat sheet of this posting to share on your blog or to give out to your staff visit my wiki and snag or link back to it!

Read more…

1 Month Left!!!! - GotBrainy Video Contest

We've got 1 more month to accept submissions to our VideoContest! Compete to win $600 for you and your school by making a fun,creative video teaching a word off of our list of common SAT words.

* We've already begun accepting submissions! The deadline is 3/15/2010.
* Anyone can enter, and we'll have prizes for runner-ups and iTunes songs for anyone who submits 3 videos.
* If you need to boost your grade, ask your teacher if s/he'll give you extra credit for it.

Below is last year's winner if you need a good example. Think you can do better? We know you do. :)

Your GotBrainy Guys,
Jack & Nori
Read more…

Cold Skin by Steven Herrick

Cold Skin is a novel in verse that takes place after World War II in a mining town in Barruga, Australia. The story is told from many different characters' points of view who are listed at the beginning of the novel and their name is repeated when they tell their side of the story. Most of the men in Barruga have come back from the war, Albert Holden drove a truck but did not fight during the war. Mayor Paley never went to war and Jack O'Connor saw too much fighting. Albert's sons, Eddie and Larry, couldn't be more different. Eddie is ridiculed by his teacher in school and wants to work in the mines. His father refused to go back down in the mines (won't entertain Eddie working in the mines) and now does manual labor on someone else's farm. Larry Holden loves learning, and sees it as a way out of town. Both Father and son, Larry, enjoy drinking too much, as do many of the other men in town on Friday evenings after a tough week. It is on one of these Friday nights, that a young sixteen-year-old girl is missing and later found dead. Every man in Barruga is suspect and the spare verse by Herrick, paints a picture of revenge, cowardice, and twisted justice while also probing the friendship of Eddie and Sallie as it slowly becomes love.
Read more…

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

5 stars
The mesmerizing story of two close brothers who become torn apart by the civil rights tumult in 1968 Chicago. Roland Childs is a civil rights leader and father to Sam and Stick. For as long as they can remember, they have been involved in their father's demonstrations. Sam is the "good son" who always does the expected and Stick has the fiery temper and tests his father's oath of nonviolence. And it is this conflict between father and son that comes between the two brothers. Sam learns that Stick is a member of the Black Panthers Party and thinks he may want to join as well. But Sam is conflicted about many things and is not always definite about what kind of person he wants to be. He cares for Maxie, but she lives in a bad neighborhood and at one point, Sam lies and insults Maxie, and loses her caring and admiration. As Sam continues to question what kind of person he is, who he should give his allegiance to (his father or his brother), events conspire to make Sam question the mythological tale Stick would read to him over and over as a child. What kind of person would he be? Was he the rock or was he the river? A piercing coming of age story of a boy who struggles mightily to become the kind of person both his father and brother envision.

<a href="View''>">View all my reviews >></a>

Read more…

Just Another Hero by Sharon Draper

Draper's final book in the Battle for Jericho trilogy, Just Another Hero, was great urban fiction. The plot was fast paced, the African American characters believable using as the backdrop---their final year of high school as seniors includes many fire drills, jobs after school and thoughts of getting into college. I just loved Draper's characterization of Arielle and her mother. They really grew from materialistic one dimensional characters to becoming thinking, feeling women. Kofi was an athlete, in love with Dana, but addicted to pain killers from surgery. He is able to beat his addiction, keep his promises to Dana, and win a scholarship to college. November is back at school, while her baby, Sunshine, is being cared for by friends. A few other memorable students include Osrick as the brainy wierdo that everyone makes fun of and Crazy Jack who clangs his cymbals in the hallway and may be pulling fire alarms to get out of taking tests. As the seniors move toward graduation, money and ipods are going missing, just Who is responsible? And what really makes a HERO? Draper's characters have grown, deepened, and work hard as they move towad their futures. Read all three Draper books and feel how these friends cope with the anguish and drama of everyday life. Great for the reluctant reader also
Read more…

Gone by Lisa McMann

The final book in the Wake Trilogy, does not disappoint. Janie and Cabel are still in love with one another but Janie knows her future holds a life of blindess and losing the use of her hands as a result of her ability to enter people’s dreams and she sees what Cabel is dreaming and not sharing with her. Janie is coming undone by the pressures of this curse, her alcoholic mother, and having to testify at a hearing and being known as a narc. She needs to make a decision, how can she live a normal life with Cabel, if her life is never going to be normal? As she wrestles with this ever constant pressure, Janie finds out her father is alive and about to die because of a brain tumor. What will Janie do, what are her choices? Lisa McMann’s suspense-filled novel, the continued romance of Cabel and Janie through very tough times and the issue of Janie’s alcoholic mother are images I won’t soon forget . Kudos to a realistic portrayal of a gutsy, totally conflicted heroine who yearns for a quiet life but always steps up to handle whatever life deals to her.

Read more…

Ballad by Maggie Stievfater

James Morgan and his best friend, Deidre(Dee) have awesome musical abilities. James plays the bagpipes, is annoyingly egotistical, funny and brash to all his friends, and sarcastic towards almost everyone else. He is desperately in love with Dee, but something happened the summer before between them and now things have drastically changed for both of them. Dee composes text messages and never sends them to James. James never really says what he is thinking to Dee, he just cracks jokes and makes her laugh. Both are new to the prestigious Thornking-Ash School, which only accepts those musicians with a very special gift. Unbeknownst to them, there is a reason both James and Dee are at this school and it involves Faeries. Nuala is a faerie who singles James out and promises James she will make him the best bagpiper but James continually turns her down, knowing she will eventually kill him. But things are changing for James, Dee and Nuala. There are evil forces at work, and Nuala finds herself caring more for James than killing him, James and his friend Paul keep hearing a hauntingly beautiful song that beckons them to the fields to watch an antlered faery king play his song of the dead and Dee seems to be keeping her text messages in her cell phone and not sent to James. The author of Shiver has done it again with complex characters, breathtaking scenes and heartbreaking life or death decisions. I can't wait to read, Lament!

Read more…

Checking Out

According to the website:

Whichbook gives readers an enjoyable and intuitive way to find books to match their mood.

Instead of starting from the overwhelming choice of books available, whichbook starts from the reader and enables each individual to build theelements of that elusive 'good read' we are all looking for but don't quiteknow how to define.

The standard way of organizing books for choice, on shelves in a library or a bookshop, or on the web, starts from the products available - the authors,titles, publishers or genres. Whichbook enables, for the first time, the choiceof book to start from the individual reader and what they are looking for.

This site looks like fun. I am going to try it with my students.

Read more…

Blog Topics by Tags

Monthly Archives