Mar 27, 2018

Fake Update Screens

There is always one computer in the lab that insists on updating just as students are about to get to work. Most of the time this update runs quickly and creativity and learning can proceed. Other times it seems as though the computer is rebuilding itself from within, using every minute of the period or class.

Then there are the kids who enjoy pranks, or those choose to use their great digital skills to avoid classwork. April Fools is coming. Are you ready? and allow the user to make it seem as though their computer is installing updates (perpetually stuck at 0%). In a moment of desperation, the user can also make it appear as though a crash has just occurred (blue screen of death).  Geek Prank's Windows 10 Update is a little more sophisticated, it begins at 0% and slowly works its way through a very long update installation.

Quick way to check if this is real or a prank: All of these work through a browser in full screen mode. Simply press esc or F11 to return to windowed view. If that doesn't work, then it is very likely that the student is sharing your frustration with a slowly updating computer!

Nov 16, 2017

NJASL: Google Forms in the School Library Program

Hello NJASL! Are you ready to talk Google Forms? Today we'll look at how Google Forms and related add-ons can support library management, facilitate instruction, and help you stay organized. You may access the slide deck and links through the participate app or right here:

All links embedded in the slide deck can be accessed through this OneTab link.

Oct 29, 2017

My #OneSmallThing

Teacher2Teacher has a super simple activity that has the potential to positively impact your classroom or school in a big way: One Small Thing.

#OneSmallThing is based on the simple idea that a BIG impact comes from focusing on one small change at a time.

I get to see almost every student each week through library/media classes, classroom visits, or just walking through the halls. Every day I see students learning great things, persevering through challenges, and being kind to one another. I commit to sharing my students' awesomeness with their families!

Visit Teacher2Teacher to download an implementation toolkit that includes tips for success, suggestions for including colleagues, goal ideas, and templates.

Oct 17, 2017

Cool Tool: Bookcision

I love my Kindle. One of my favorite features is the ability to sync highlights across devices. Depending on my purpose for reading, I will often reorganize those highlights in Evernote so I can quickly refer back to the best ideas and practices.

Long ago I was able to see my highlights through the web browser, then copy and paste them into Evernote.  At some point Amazon restricted the ability to copy this content. Not wanting to retype my notes (I am a happy highlighter), and not finding a workaround, I went back to print books and post-it notes. Not the most efficient method for needs, but it was better than nothing.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Norbauer's Bookcision. This bookmarklet captures the precious highlights (with location) into a copy friendly format. Chrome users can also download the page as text, XML, or JSON. Notes are not captured, and in my experience have caused error messages.

To install, simply drag the button to the bookmark bar. To capture your highlights: open the book through Amazon Cloud Reader in your browser, click the bookmarklet.

Oct 2, 2017

International Top Spinning Day (October 11)

International Top Spinning Day is celebrated annually on the second Wednesday of October (Spinning Top and Yo Yo Museum). Here are a few quick resources to help you and your students celebrate this day:

Wonderopolis has a great article on What Makes a Toy Top Spin.

PBS Kids shares a simple Bottle Cap Spinning Top that would be a great addition for a makerspace.

Thrifty Fun shows how to make Penny Spinners with easy to find materials.

Looking for an extra challenge? Make your own origami spinning top:

Sep 25, 2017


Factitious  is a free-to-play current events game developed by the American University JoLT team. It connects topical issues in the news with critical information evaluation skill practice.

Choose Quick Start to Jump right in and begin evaluating articles. Alternatively, select Full Start to create an account (email only, no password) to save progress. Some basic information will be asked: age, gender, education, and media savvy self-assessment. Note: email addresses with two or four character domains are not accepted.

Players are given an article to read and evaluate. Articles come from genuine news and satire sites (e.g. The Onion). The name of the article's source is hidden, but can be easily seen by clicking a button at the end of the article. It may be helpful to share the "Tips for detecting fake news" page or your preferred evaluation guide with students (CARP/CRAAP, RADCAB, 5W's) to help guide the process.

Players receive instant feedback for each response. The main article source is linked and described; the article's source material is also mentioned when available. Players can click the link to go directly to the originating website to verify the Factitious evaluation.

As an extension to this activity, consider submitting articles for inclusion in the game.

H/T To Test Your Fake News Judgment, Play This Game/NPR

Sep 14, 2017

National Punctuation Day (September 24)

September 24 is National Punctuation Day! The founder's website describes the day as "A celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis." How will you recognize this day with your students?


Images and Infographics
Have your students make their own punctuation infographics. Use these for inspiration:


Test online grammar tools to see how how they work on finding and correction punctuation errors:

Greenwich School teachers are invited to stop by the Media Center and select from GES's favorite punctuation books.