Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Got books?
With winter break quickly approaching, you may have some readers on your gift list, or maybe you’re just looking forward to reading a good book during the time off. So this week I’m including a number of reading sources.

This first link is the transcript of a lecture given by Neil Gaiman – author of numerous graphic novels, and award winning books including The Graveyard Book, Coraline and Anansi Boys. It’s truly inspiring. OK, I may be biased about the library part.

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Next are a couple websites that may give you some ideas about “what to read next”. Or as the second source put it, “…I just want to know what my niece is talking about…”

What should I read next? – enter the name of a book or author to figure out “what to

read next”


So you’d like to read a YA novel… -
 click on the text options to find out your next YA book (I heard about this chart from a few people)

And for those of you who find it difficult to keep track of all the YA series out there, the following website is an extensive resource that is easy to use

Juvenile Series and Sequels

I recently came across the following blog and will definitely be referencing it in the future for book purchases – a teen blogger who reviews “…books about people of color (poc)”

Reading in Color – this link is for the booklist page

In case you’re not sure if our students are reading, check out this interactive article based on a report from the Pew Research Center

Interactive Chart: American Teenagers Read More Books

The book list resources can also be found on the RHS Media Center website. 

Thank you for all you do to inspire our students to read!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Databases and blogs - oh my!

Databases and blogs

You might be asking why I am writing about databases and blogs together (maybe that's a librarian thing...) since databases are collections of credible data and information for student research. While a blog (a shortened version of “web log”) can be written by anyone about their experiences, opinions, etc. So potentially credible, but they are not always a good source for research and must be evaluated - check out Hennepin County Library's Databases vs. Websites on evaluating web resources.


  • I have updated the database page on the RHS media center site. You can check out the new version here

  • I also added a link up in the right-hand corner that explains how to access the databases on and off site. Users will need to sign into their Richfield Google Apps account to see this information.

  • For accessing the databases that are provided by the state (Gale and EBSCO), users must enter a public library card number when not at school. This is to verify that they are in the state of Minnesota since the state is paying for us to use them.
  • Please let me know if you have any suggestions for improving this page.


  • I have finally put the last couple tech write-ups in an informational blog format so it’s more accessible: Library Without Borders

  • I’ve also included some links on the right for your use. These links can be found on the RHS Media website too. 

  • Again, let me know if you have any suggestions for this site.

Monday, December 2, 2013


The following sites can help students (or anyone) improve their vocabulary in different subject areas.
You have probably used dictionary.com, but have you tried their Word Dynamo (link above the search box)? Use this tool to test your knowledge of words at different grade levels. I use thesaurus.com a great deal when writing as well. Can create a free account. Has apps.

Flashcard Stash – Scroll down to the Popular Lists and Categories to select an area to study. Or click on “View all” in the in Popular Lists to find an exact category. Once the topic has been chosen, there are a number of game formats to try. Can create a free account.

Knoword – Challenge your word knowledge by guessing words based on their definition. Can create a free account.

VocabAhead – Students can use the Study Room to learn and practice vocabulary in a number of formats. Teachers click on the Teacher tab for directions on how to create customized lists. Can create a free account. Has apps.

MyVocabulary.com – Resources for both students and teachers including word lists, puzzles, lesson plans and more.

More of a visual learner? Try out Lexipedia or Visuwords to see words represented in a graphic organizer format. 

Now an update on the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013:

A Few Tech (and not so technical Terms

A Few Tech (and some not so technical) Terms*
Audio book – a book that has been recorded so that it can be listened to on a device
BYOD – bring your own device, as in mobile device
Crowdsourcing – soliciting services, ideas, etc. from a large group (often online)
Dead tree version – printed on paper

eBook – a book in an electronic format that can be read on a device
Emoji – digital version of the smiley face
Emoticon – smiley face made using a keyboard :-)
Hashtag – when using a social networking site such as Twitter or Instagram, inserting a hashtag (#) before a word or group of words “tags” the term and makes it searchable on the site
Hot spot – an area with a good wireless signal
Huge pipes – large bandwidth, i.e. can handle a large amount of network traffic
Instagram – photo / video sharing social networking site
Phablet – a large smart phone or smart phone / tablet hybrid
Photobomb – when “someone” messes with your photo, like this squirrel…
Selfie – photo that you take of yourself

Here are a few more terms that were added to the Oxford Dictionary this year
Cake pops – cake on a stick!
Dad dancing… does this need an explanation?
Fomo – fear of missing out
Omnishambles (UK word of the year for 2012) – “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations”
Digital detox – unplugging from technology
Tl;dr – too long; didn’t read

Now before you start thinking tl;dr about this post, here is some brief information on terms that are helpful for educators to know:

24 Ed-Tech Terms You Should Know
17 Tech Terms Connected Educators Must Know

28 August 2013: Oxford Dictionaries Online quarterly update: new words added to oxforddictionaries.com today