Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Online Jeopardy Tool + YA Books and Authors Game

I love Kahoot! ( www.getkahoot.com ) because it's interactive, kids love to play it, it's quick to make and easy to reuse.  But as with all things, I like having a variety and some options, so I started looking online for a jeopardy game.  The first one I went to I couldn't get into, and then I stumbled on this website:

So easy to use!!  So I went to play with it, and created a jeopardy game based on YA authors and novels.  Here's the link:

Please use it with small groups, during lunches, with book clubs...however you'd like.  And if you create one, please share it as well!!

One other thing - You can create an account, but it'll cost 20.00 for a LIFETIME membership, which isn't much.  It will allow you to save your games & other bells and whistles.  If not, you need to remember the URL of the games you created and the URL for the edits, which can be tedious.

So, have fun and quiz on!! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Good Things Come in Threes: three great tech tools!

There are tons and tons and TONS of websites out there so look at and use, but it can become very overwhelming. I have gone there and it seems like the first day of school is those times my mind and list grow and become frenetic. So, after I've sifted through everything, here are three of my favorite sites this year:

 1. Photosnyth: https://photosynth.net/ Using your phone and the Photosynth app, take multiple pictures to create a 360 image. After saving it, go to the website to edit, publish and save. Think of the many things you can use with this app, including a tour of the facilities, posting where you are (famous places are great!), as a virtual field trip for those who couldn't go or to take a class with you.

2. Easel.ly: http://www.easel.ly/ I've always loved Piktochart, but sometimes it can get a little cumbersome.  I also love Smore, but it can be too elementary.  Easely is the perfect balance of the two!  It's definitely more of an infographic than a poster, but has the ease of use without all the bells and whistles you may need to know with Piktochart.  Easy to teach, it creates great infographics students and educators can share!

3.Duolingo: https://www.duolingo.com/ Want to learn a new language without having to spend a lot of money on a program? Why not try this site? You choose the amount of time you'd like to spend with Duolingo and the further you go, the more difficult it becomes. Contains 8 different languages. There's an app for that too

Okay, I'm stopping with the ones I've used (for now) and love!  Try one or all of them out - I recommend them for K-12. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes—From Cleopatra to Camus by Kelly Murphy and Hallie Fryd

Zest Books, 2014

I'm going to admit something I've done since I was a teenager and still do today.  It helped not only take the monotony out of the monotone voice of my history teacher in high school, but also made non-fiction seem way more interesting....so here's what I do:
I scope out pictures in history books and look at who's hot and who's not.
And THAT is the reason I picked up this book.  It hooked me from the cover and entranced me between the pages.  Kelly Murphy did an excellent job of choosing some of the hottest historical figures in the world, with some of them that matched my personal hottie list! 

The book is chronological and begins with Cleopatra and ends with Benazir Bhutto.  Each historical figure is a short chapter which is divided into:
Life Story
The Story of His/Her Sex Life (and no...it doesn't get into details, more about marriages, trysts, and orientation)
Why He/She Matters
Best Feature
Heat Factor

The book also has these features:
a full page picture of the person
a short but interesting history
small pictures that collate with the subject
a box with an interesting side fact about the era, person, inventions etc
ends with quotes about the person or from the person him/herself.

I'll admit, I didn't know who each person was (12 out of 50..is that bad?) but this book propelled my knowledge forward, making the ones I didn't know interesting and those I did even more interesting. 

Overall, this is one of the more fascinating non-fiction books I've read this year.  It was "chunked" up enough to satisfy not only the voracious reader, but the reluctant one as well and the pictures really pull a reader in.  I had to go back and really look at the person to judge him/her after I read the chapter to either agree or disagree with the heat factor.  I also liked the fact Murphy didn't shy away from the bad boys and girls too....we all know there is that deadly attraction to them.  We all love the good guys, and we love to hate the bad guys.  This has both without detracting from historical fact.

If there were any flaws for me as a reader, it would be two things.  The first is the section entitled "The Story of His/Her Sex Life."  From a book reviewer standpoint, I felt like another word or phrase could have been used that would have been just as good without using the word "sex."  Although the paragraph does NOT convey illicit sexual scenes, I'm worried this may be a decision maker for some librarians. 

The second is more personal, and Murphy and Fryd did an EXCELLENT job of choosing the subject.  It's just that I know some hotties I thought were missing...anyone know who the sexy Manfred von Richthofen is?  He was my first historical crush :) 

Great book I would recommend in JH/HS library collections.