One of my English teacher's was excited about using a poetry lesson from Dr. Vardell's Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, but she wanted to take it to the next level with technology.  We collaborated together and came up with this extension utilizing the "Thing Link" app.  

Here I've visualized the poem "The Deaf Boy" by Marilyn Singer.  We taught the lesson as suggested by Dr. Vardell, and then showed the students how to visualize the poem with this example I created in Thinglink. Once students finished their assignment they scanned a QR code from my computer which directed them to a Google Form for turn in.  This allowed my teacher to have all student project links in one Google Sheet!  

Here are the student instructions:

Choose one of these poems and then create a Thinglink to visualize your poem. 
  • You'll need to Find a background image that gives your poem context.  Save it to your camera roll and then open it in Thinglink.
  • Add at least 6 interactive "thing links"  to help us visualize the poem (see example)
  • Put 6 "text bullets" as references next to your interactive link (see example.)
  • Include two examples of alliteration.
  • You must take at least one picture and one video yourself!

Check out this awesome resource for teaching graphic novels in the classroom! Comics in Education hosts a plethora of ideas on how to incorporate one of my favorite mediums into your daily lessons. Check out the categories on the right side of the webpage to narrow your search. You might find something new about comics like I did! Did you know Graphic Poetry was a thing? Gotta give a big thanks to Comics in Education for reviewing my graphic novel lessons, and I thought I'd repost my video for your perusal.  Throw Back Tuesday, ya'll! (I know, I know, it's supposed to be Throwback Thursday...)

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My Makerspace workshops have been slowing down since we are in the throes of testing, and it is upsetting to me because I was sure that my Makerspace workshops on Garageband, Fangirl iBook Authors, and other Mac driven classes would increase participation.  Then the other day I got an email from Teen Tech Week talking about Mozilla's "Teach the Web" toolkit and I realized, maybe I'm having the wrong type of technology workshop?  I opened up "Popcorn Maker" and began making the most ridiculously fun multimedia experience.  Soon 8th graders crowded around my desk to see why "Gangnam Style" was blasting from my laptop.  They helped me look for silly viral videos to add to my "popcorn."  At that moment, I realized that this is the next Makerspace workshop and all I have to do to promote it is share this video with my students at lunch!  (Please forgive the lag time in the video- it is a free tool and therefore not professional quality- but OH SO FUN TO MAKE!)

Update: They loved the Popcorn Maker Party!

Check out my present.me about using Evernote when Researching!

Last year a student recommended I read Ruby Red, but I put it off.  However, when I did pick it up, I couldn’t put it down! This is an excellent series that combines historical fiction, romance, and timetravel.  I love the costumes and characters-which is probably why this series is constantly flying off the shelf . It is great for middle grade readers because of the purity of the romance.

There are two new series for you and one great stand alone book. Watch the video for the full review. Happy reading!


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Funny Books

We just got a whole bunch of funny books in the library! Lots of good toilet humor for Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans.

Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder, A Waste of Good Paper, Fourth Stall series, more N.E.R.D.S. books, My Life as a Book series, and more!  Watch my video to see all the new titles! (Click on the shushing librarian!)
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Click on "Calamity Jack" to watch my video about teaching graphic novels in the classroom!

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PeanutPeanut by Ayun Halliday
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Halliday, Ayun, and Paul Hoppe. Peanut. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013. Print.

Moving to a new school is a nail biting experience for any teen. But what if you could ditch your nerdy ways and become popular overnight? After meeting a laid back teen with a peanut allergy, Sadie concocts a seemingly harmless plan to stand out at her new school -- a killer peanut allergy that she does not have.

First of all, I loved the quirky twist in this coming of age “I don’t know who I am” teen fiction. Sadie’s sarcastic “I hate everyone, but I want everyone to like me” narration is apropos for today’s teen with low self esteem issues.

While some of the other characters lack depth, Zoo’s anti-technology personality adds to the distinctive plot line. I only wish I knew more about him and the reasoning behind his aversion to all things technical.

Hoppe’s pen and ink drawings lend this graphic novel authenticity and make this a perfect example of what I call the “fake memoir graphic novel” similar to American Born Chinese,Level Up, and Anya s Ghost.

The touch of red on each page to show Sadie’s location is a delightful visual pun that characterizes how every teen always feels like they stand out. When something awkward, funny, or strange happens to them, most teens feel like everyone is staring at them no matter the reality of the situation.

Overall, I think middle school and high school teens will indulge in this uncontrollable lie that quickly gets out of hand.

Note: Review of Advanced Reader's Copy courtesy of Random House Books.

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HiddenHidden by Helen Frost
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Frost, Helen. Hidden. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011. Print.

A young girl is accidentally kidnapped in a carjacking. After escaping the book flashes forward to a summer camp where the hidden girl meets the daughter of the man who kidnapped her.

This is one of those books that is always checked out, so when it came in the other day, I snagged it up to see what the fuss is about.

Students are enamored with this book because they can hear both sides of the story from the two narrators. The poetry format lends this high interest book an easy and quick readability. Students also enjoy the hidden message described by the author at the end of the book.

I enjoyed the unique plot line and quick pace of the book. However, I felt that the hidden poems did not actually give as much insight reader's would crave.

This is a good beginner books for teens interested in reading books by Ellen Hopkins. The intensity is not quite as prevalent and dramatic so the books are appropriate for middle grade readers. Conversely, high school students may find this book too "G" rated for their emotional needs.

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