Sunday, September 29, 2013

PERSIA graphic organizer

Tip of the Week – PERSIA graphic organizer
Today’s tip focuses on helping kids to organize basic information about a specific topic, country or period of history. An acronym called PERSIA, this simple graphic organizer breaks down general knowledge into six broad human concerns and over-arching questions:
  • Political: Who is in charge?
  • Economic: How do we make a living?
  • Religion: What do we believe?
  • Social: How do we relate to one another?
  • Intellectual / Arts: How do we learn? How do we express ourselves?
  • Area / Geography: How does where we live impact how we live?
When students are asked to study a time period in history, they sometimes have difficulty organizing all the seemingly unconnected facts about different people, dates, events, and issues related to that time period. The PERSIA approach is one way to organize how the people lived in a society at a certain time in history and so help students to understand that culture.
By considering in turn different dimensions of a historical period or event, students probe deeply into the many facets and implications of the past. Because of the depth of resources available online and in print, students can easily find evidence to support their investigations into all six of these areas. ShmoopWikipedia and the World History Resources page at Social Studies Central are a few of the online tools that may be helpful.
(Download a pdf version here.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Plagiarism Tutorial

Here's a great tutorial on plagiarism from the University Libraries of The University of Southern Mississippi

Table of Contents
The following tutorial was adapted from Robert A. Harris's book The Plagiarism Handbook : Strategies for Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism, Los Angeles, CA : Pyrczak Publishing, 2001:

1. Pre-Test Your Knowledge of Plagiarism
2. What is Plagiarism?
3. Citing Quotations
4. Acceptable Use or Plagiarism? Quiz #1
5. Paraphrasing and Summarizing
6. Acceptable Use or Plagiarism? Quiz #2
7. Post-Test Your Knowledge
8. Final Suggestions and Useful Links

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


It seems that "summarizing" has been dying a slow death since the introduction of "copy/paste". In my Library this morning, a student asked if he could use his ipad to take notes.

He read from the teacher's website and pecked some key points into his ipad. I thought it was a great way for him to read for importance, evaluate the information and then summarize in his own words. This could have been done faster with pen and paper - but this generation seems to lose paper easily and gadget love is a strong motivator.

I asked him about his research process and he said that he wants to put everything into his own words because it's embarrassing to be in front of the class during a presentation and not understand something that he put into his powerpoint. They don't explicitly practice "summarizing", but his teacher often calls them out on the meaning of words and concepts they have put into their projects. If they don't know; it's obvious that they just "cut/paste" the information.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013


We have BrainPop again at our school. I absolutely LOVE this resource for quick lessons on most concepts. I've added BrainPop Jr, ESL and Spanish to the subscription this time. Let the games (and movies) begin!

Contact me by email if you are member of our ISB community for the username and password.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Your Next Read

This is a great tool if you are looking for inspiration for your next book. YOUR NEXT READ takes crowd sourced information from Amazon and creates a map around a book you liked. The suggestions are other books purchased at the same time as your book was. 

Compare the differences between Amazon UK and Amazon US when I searched for "The Catcher in the Rye".

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Schools in the Cloud - how to videos

English: Cloud Computing Image
English: Cloud Computing Image (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Schools are changing the way we access, share, and store our stuff.

In any given day, students and teachers will create documents, take photos of student work, start a photo album, build a presentation, bookmark sites for further research, look for books, tag a video to watch later, email a link, read professional journals and blogs, make a map, chat, book an event, take notes, reflection video or blog, post lessons and homework, meeting minutes, curriculum mapping, agendas, pre-reading and pre-viewing lesson material, mobile alerts, etc.

Most schools use a blend of "in house" servers and "cloud" computing. Cloud computing is simply using applications and memory that is stored outside your workplace. Gmail is one such application that has up to 10 GB of storage available. 

For teachers and students, this means you are not restricted to using one laptop or one desktop. All your information, emails, bookmarks, web browsing history, usernames and passwords can be accessed and shared from anywhere on any device. I can access all my files, links, photos, and history from any screen.


These are all the great tools that stem from your gmail account. At this time, there is no other company doing a better job than Google. Schools can greatly benefit from these tools.

What happened to the area called DOCS? 
Docs has been renamed "DRIVE" but many people still refer to these files as "Google Docs". This is the online storage area for all your files - documents (like word), spreadsheets, forms, drawings, and presentations (like powerpoint). This area is being improved every month.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012