Sunday, January 30, 2011

#bookstack 1/30/11

I had to put the dew instead of the coffee cup. Artemis Fowl 6 would be here too if I hadn't left it at school.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 28, 2011

If at first you don't succeed

I've been having a difficult time keeping track of which student is reading what book. I've don't it many ways, and I haven't ended up with the results I wanted.

I tried using a spreadsheet, including columns for when students finished or abandoned Their books, but I couldn't pull up individual students and show only them their progress.

I thought about using Evernote and either creating a note for each student or a note for each author and having students type their names below a screenshot of the cost of the book on Amazon. Unfortunately, we can't edit rich text notes on the iPad (coming soon, I hope).

Now I'm using a template on my Noteshelf app that will hopefully allow me to keep track of everything closer to the way I want to. And I'll hang out and wait for Evernote (or the iOS software) to catch up with the way I want to use it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 23, 2011

1/23/11 #BookStack

This Week in Links 1/23/11

This one isn't a link, but an iPad app that has recently been updated to include some pretty cool features. During my semester, I usually have a hard time keeping up with my Google Reader. There are so many blogs that I follow that I end up deleting exponentially more than I actually read. Because Flipboarrd now links with my reader, I can read blogs during the week when I'm waiting for other things to happen, which means I miss fewer posts.

Webpage Highlighters:
I came upon these because I have to read a book online this week for class. I wanted to be able to annotate without having to write everything down first. Markkit and Awesome Highlighter are two ways  to do just that. Markkit works with Chrome, Safari and Firefox. For both applications, each highlighted webpage is given its own URL so it can be shared or accessed from other computers.

Awesome Highlighter works within any browser if you only want to highlight that single page. They also have a bookmarklet that works solely with Firefox. Awesome Highlighter has an additional feature: the ability to add notes to a page.

I tried them both and didn't have fantastic luck. Then again, I didn't spend a lot of time with either program. I'm sure it also didn't help that the reading I was trying to do existed on more than one webpage.

Online Stickies
In my continued search for the ability to annotate webpages, I came across Lino It, which is not available to annotate websites, but is like an online cork board. It's similar to a few of the links I posted last week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

World's Greatest Compliment

Last week one of the counselors came to me about a student in my class. Apparently this student told the counselor that his reason for coming to school (and he was often late) was my class. First period Title I Language Arts. So he decided that he wanted to change his schedule and be in my class for the second time. Here's why (yes, I know it's sideways):

What better validation than that?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 16, 2011

1/16/11 #BookStack

From what I understand, my Twitter friends have been doing this for a while, and I happened to pick up on it last night. Every Sunday, they post a picture of their bookstack with a coffee mug. It leads to conversation about what we're reading and it's a great place to get book recommendations. So here's my current bookstack.  I think I'm going to try to read it down, then start over again. (Although, given the current conversation on Twitter, I may make it bigger before it gets smaller.)

I think I may start with Elijah of Buxton and see where we go from there.  My friend Aaron says that Watchmen took him 2 weeks to really get through, so I may start that one too and let it play out. I always need more than one book with me anyway. Oh, and I'm reading Readicide on my iPad right now, hence why that's in the picture.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This Week in Links

I just tweeted:

And I think I will. I know I get so bogged down in classwork that I forget about my Google Reader for weeks at a time. Trying to go through all of those posts is a daunting task. And figuring out what I'm going to read all the way through is even more daunting (this is why titles are important).
What I think I'll try to do every so often is share (and catalogue) the links that I find interesting or useful. I did this once before, but I know I need to get into the swing of semester schedule. Routine is helpful.  So here we go.

Awesome Stories
I've used this site before, but forgot about it. It's a great place for primary sources for all sorts of subjects. In the past, I've used it for history type lessons, but there's so much more information that just that which is related to history. Awesome stories also offers videos and still images. And as far as I've been able to tell, it's all free.

One Word
I've seen this one before too, and it's another that I've forgotten about. On The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness, Michael Zimmer offers a few uses for this website.  Check out his post on One Word here.
Zimmer has also created some content specific posts with resources. I'm going to post here a link to his English/Language Arts resources, that way I don't have to pick and choose the links I'd like to include here. Oh, and Zimmer, thanks for being awesome. is an alternative to Wallwisher and Stixy. Of the three, Stixy is the most versatile, but I think is the most user friendly, especially when using with students who are luddites when it comes to technology used for education.

The last link I want to leave you with is one to the blog The Concrete Classroom.  Here, the author talks about our "Digital Natives," but with an interesting analogy. It's a short read, so take a look.
I have now cleaned out my Google Reader for this week. *whew.* Now on to finish the reading that I'm trying to get done.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some phrases I'm tired of hearing

There are some phrases I hear regularly that I'm really getting tired of. One is the n-word, directed at anyone. I have yet to successfully handle that one, so I'm in the process of writing a poem about my process. The other is that things/people are gay. Ugh. I saw this video today on YouTube, and I think I might share it with my classes until they understand that gay is not an insult.  Thank you, John Green.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: Shantorian

Shantorian (Trackers, #2)Shantorian by Patrick Carman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Shantorian is the second (and last, apparently) book in the Trackers series. Told in interview format with video support, Shantorian picks up where the story in Trackers #1 left off. Adam, the main character, is talking to Agent Gatz about how he and his team were duped by computer hacker and mastermind Shantorian. I'm not going to spoil it for readers by saying any more than that.

It felt like the pace of Shantorian was better than Trackers #1. At the end of the first book, I felt like I hadn't learned anything, where Shantorian was full of interesting twists and turns. I'm excited to get feedback from the student for whom I picked up this book today.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: The First Escape

The First Escape (The Dopple Ganger Chronicles)The First Escape by G.P. Taylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even though I put this book in the graphic novel category, I'm not entirely sure it can be solely categorized this way. Taylor not only uses comic panels, but also traditional prose and illustrations to tell the story of three orphaned children. Saskia and Sadie are the troublemakers in their orphanage. For me, the transition between comic, illustration and prose was difficult, however, I can see this graphic novel as a gateway for some of my more reluctant readers (and those who are not really reluctant readers, but who don't like to read anything that's prose).

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Review: Shiver

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before I read this, I read the Goodreads review of my friend @donalynbooks. I hadn't heard anything about the series; she suggested that there was criticism that Shiver and it's sequel, Linger, are a rip-off of the Twilight series. While I can't argue whether or not Twilight is where Stiefvater pulled her inspiration, or whether or not she was trying to capitalize on the current emo-vamipre-supernatural romance craze, I felt like Shiver was the better written of the two series.

Personally, I felt more for the characters, especially since the narration wasn't solely one sided. The plotlines were complex enough that, as a reader, I was sympathizing and empathizing with more than just the main character.

Because Shiver and it's sequel(s?) aren't in my preferred genre, I won't be rushing out to get the next title, but it should be added to the collection of our local MS library here in the next few months. I'll let you know what I think about Linger then.

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Review: The Necromancer

The Necromancer  (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #4)The Necromancer by Michael Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was looking at dates, and while it's January 1 and I'm writing my thoughts, this was actually the last book I read in 2010. Not a bad note to finish on.

I've been waiting for the point where the twins' relationship is tested and ultimately broken. This event has been foreshadowed with Josh's jealousy and in the way he constantly compared himself to Sadie since the beginning of the Alchemyst.

The entire novel has been set up so the reader questions the motives of Nicholas and Pernelle Flamel. Characters on both sides--the purported antagonists and protagonists--suggest information that makes the reader realize that no one really knows who Nicholas and Pernelle are, why Pernelle is so strong and how it is that no one knows, even Machiavelli who has extensive files on all immortals and Elders, who she is and where she came from.

I'm particularly interested in the hook-handed man, in whose Shadowrealm Scatty and Joan of got stuck. He has had his hand, so to speak, in the lives of everyone on the protagonist's side. Now he's taking Scatty, Joan, Saint Germain, William Shakespeare and Palamedes back to Danu Talis to save the humani.

I have to admit, while the story is fast paced, and the movement between characters keeps the reader's attention, there is a lot going on here. In the course of the series, I think readers have witnessed approximately a week's worth of time. I hope the fact that there is a soap opera's worth of characters and as many story lines doesn't mean the quality of the story will suffer in The Warlock.

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