Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb

While WW II was waging furiously in Europe, some countries didn't see as much action. But it didn't mean that pivotal moments didn't occur in those countries.  Switzerland declared itself neutral, but Norway didn't.  And there was one place in Norway that became very VERY interesting to the Nazis.  It was a place so obscure and rare, they would do anything to make sure they could control it. 

An interesting fact - the science behind the nuclear bomb was being explored before and during World War II.  Everyone knew that whomever developed it first would win the war.  And the race was on.  Different physicists and scientists came up with various ways to create one and there were many elements that had to be used.  One of them was called heavy water.  Hydrogen has been replaced by deuterium, which made it essential for bomb making. The unfortunate thing was that heavy water was difficult to produce and there wasn't much of it.

But there was one place in Europe where heavy water was produced.  The Vemork Hydroelectric Plant in Norway.  Difficult to access, it was the perfect Nazi situation, making it hard to infiltrate.  It was to be a huge Nazi secret that gave them the extra incentive to win the nuclear race. 

One thing they didn't count on was the patriotism of the Norwegians.  There were underground resistance groups that sprung up and when the Nazis found them out, they used scare and death tactics to contain them.  It only bolstered them to fight back even more.  Several Norwegians went to England to train with the secret intelligence service to become infiltrators, spies and saboteurs.  They were to go back to Norway and create new resistance groups and sabotage any Nazi effort.

The top priority was to destroy Vemork....but could they without getting caught or putting the small town of Rjukan in jeopardy for their lives? Even worse, their mission was to take place in winter across a vast frozen area where survival would be severely tested.

Young adult non-fiction is fascinating for one very simple reason - these are the events that aren't usually written about in history books. Neal Bascomb hit it out of the park with his newest book. Narrative in nature, Bascomb tells a riveting story as well as providing images and photographs of the main players and sites.  In hindsight, readers will see how one mistake could have changed the outcome of the war. This is the invisible part of WWII teens will find fascinating.

Fiction book pair:
Black Out by Robison Wells

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Kind of Orientation!

Freshmen library orientation, if anything else, should be straight up interesting.  First impressions are the best (and most lasting) ones, so it is up to us to create relationships day one of meeting the first freshmen class that comes in.  Last year, I did a meme powerpoint, which the students absolutely loved!  I am going to use this again, but I thought I'd also create something else for the little time I have left afterward.  
My creation?  10 Things to Know About the Library web list.  But it isn't just any's set up like Buzzfeed and other feeds that have lists with animated gifs in it.  Fun and definitely relatable teen and tweens who are familiar with animated lists.  Pictures do tell a thousand words (boy, I'm full of classic cliches this morning!!).  Enjoy!

Monday, August 15, 2016

That beginning of the school year post!

The week before school starts
And through the library,
We started getting ready
For the extraordinary.

Books were displayed
On the shelves here and there,
Waiting for readers
From here and elsewhere.

The students still had
A week to sleep late,
While librarians work hard
For the big opening date.


Not only the students

But also the teachers,
Were all given info
On things that were keepers.

Like sources and websites
And great info to know,
About books and collab’ing
Great things we can show.

Emails and posters
All ready to make,
To show off resources
For the campus to take.
And use for their projects
And digital work,
The library is here
Like Spock is to Kirk.

Not only does reading
Take place in here often,
But makerspace, gaming
And Lunches, and talkin’.

The library has changed
Through the years can’t you see,
From quiet hush zones
To chill places to be.
The collection has more
Than just books to check out,
But all sorts of things
For all users to scout.

From movies to audio
Kids books and much more,
All for the taking
On the fab library floor.

So with only five days
To get ready to open,
How bangin', how awesome
Let's bring lots of hope in!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

100 Useful Websites for Educators and Students

There are so many websites out there, it's sometimes difficult to run the gauntlet and not get hit with websites you weren't expecting or even dead links.  I know I've blogged and tweeted many websites I liked over the years and it didn't occur to me to make a list until this summer.  So here is my list of what I consider the top 100 sites for educators, students, and of course librarians.  I tried my best to make sure they were free to use, but always keep in mind the appropriate age of use.

If you see one you love and it isn't listed, please share on the comments section below!
Here is the link to the Google doc you can download.

Happy new school year!! - free downloads to make your projects pop a little more - free 5 GB online storage and file sharing
Adobe Spark - a suite of tools to create presentations, posters,  videos, and websites - online interactive whiteboard - do cool stuff it hour digital photos from posters to magazine covers and more - create and generate hundreds of random cards in PDF take your personal images and create a huge poster through segmentation - timeline creator - make beautiful posters, social media graphics and presentations - send text messages to students, parents and others without sharing your private number - help with citations including APA and MLA - award virtual badges to students for their accomplishments - free games, quizzes and activities for classrooms K-12 - create classes and teach students to code the easy way - explainer videos for teaching and a library of cutouts online lesson planning where yu can attach files, re-arrange lessons, collaborate with other teachers - online courses from top universities public domain stock videos. Seven new videos a week - record voice messages in three simple steps - create, share, embed, collaborate on interactive timelines incorporating video, audio, image, text, link, social media and more - language learning app create infographics from templates or on your own -help with citations including APA and MLA - create online polls for free.  Save them hen you create an account - professional online networking via webinars for educators - online community dedicated to bringing quality resources to the K12 community of educators - online presentation creator unlike standard presentation. Create attractive presentations with provided templates - manage task/projects on and offline. Share tasks in a collaborative environment. Works with many different platforms Creative Commons photos, share and work on documents across devices - use Google spreadsheets to create flash cards - create collages or seamlessly photo stitch images into one picture - dynamic math software for geometry, algebra, calculus, and statistics - create interactive games, polls, surveys save anything you want to see online for later.  Includes social media apps so you can save from Twitter and other social media sites - shortens URLs that can be tracked for statistics - student response system with integrated tools to check for understanding, play quizzes, and generate reports free grammar checker - Project Gutenberg offers free e-books and audiobooks on works that are copyright free, most of which are classics - interactive timeline includes quizzes, did you know sections. Add images and videos.  Allows students to interject via comments - use photos and texts to create a myriad of different products generator - use images, add text, create memes - save websites for future browsing. Perfect for research - screen sharing with anyone on the web -academic videos to learn almost anything - create videos with a multitude of options and no time limit online game show that targets mathematics for all grade levels - create unlimited surveys and polls -cloud based cataloging for beyond the library (think classroom libraries) - curate and share lists as well as allow others to add to them - creative graphics - three different types of timers to help with classrooms, presentations et al.  Features pomodoro, custom and kitchen timers - avatar creator - online community creating and providing lessons for skills and hobbies - online software with great visualization - mind map creator that can be used as a presentation tool as well - interesting and different approach to presentations based on cartoon images and hand actions free digital photos for projects that doesn't require citations - convert most any type of file, videos, documents etc,  into different formats - create badges for websites and blogs use an image provided or your own, add amazing text, share with the world -open educational resources which include quizzes, videos, PowerPoint slides Creative Commons images with attribution video creator with a twist-literally! Creative Commons images with easy to find attribution - create infographics that can be shared.  Has a presentation mode and are downloadable - create online posters  create a board to collaborate with others anywhere anytime
Presentation - record and share quality presentations with free recording and video sharing platform - Creative Commons music for digital projects - create and play multiplayer games - create beautiful quotes - classroom resources for K12 classrooms created by NCTE - send text reminders of class work to students and parents without sending your cell phone number.  Create chats or send to individuals as well - online image editor - web curation tool to share information captures your screen to create and share videos/tutorials teacher creates account which allows students to upload their work - multimedia tool that allows the user to bring in different types of media from documents to videos and more into one presentation
Slides - free templates for Google Slides - create informational posters for organizations, schools, newsletters and more - discover and create how-to guides - suite of tools to make learning g more engaging.  Includes student response quizzes (quickfire) , interactive presentations (discuss), and group work/collaboration (team up) -  copy and paste web sites into the box, this site will “stitch” or curate them into one web address - crowd sourced site with academic flash cards and notes create and share interactive presentations, personal stories, reports and more - create pages for anything from online posters to presentations to specific pages you build by inputting information and links movie clips with lesson plans - downloadable icons of all types interactive timelines to create and share - interactive maps you create with images, dates, and descriptions - web based, no sign in needed to collaborate online programs games, Mindcraft Mods and more - display tweets during a conference or meeting via unique hashtag to see what others are sharing text messages with voice, photos and videos to share with groups -  synchronize videos with your notesto share.  Click on the note to jump to that particular part of the video. Syncs with Google Drive - only site that create infographics, presentations, reports, and web content - create quick videos with the free version - type in a title and it will generate a list of similar titles and subjects - create a blog with a website look - turn online videos into interactive learning experience you customize - collaborate, brainstorm, create and plan with a whiteboard