Media Matters

May/June 2013

Scholastic Buy-One-Get-One-Free Book Fair

The Scholastic BOGO Book Fair will be held in Room 203 on May 28-30. This is a great way to stock up on books for summer reading! This is the best time to buy the more expensive adult bestsellers and cookbooks! Drop in and check it out!

How to Capture a Screen Shot on the iPad

Did you know that you can easily capture a screen shot from your iPad? This allows you create a picture of anything displayed on the screen, no matter which app you have open.

To capture a screen shot:

Simultaneously press the menu button (the main button below the screen) and the power button (on the top edge of the iPad).

Your screen will flash white for a second and make a camera shutter noise (if you have the volume turned up) to indicate that the screen shot has been taken. The screen shots you take are automatically saved in the default Photos app (or "Camera Roll"). From here you can email the screen shot by clicking the menu icon (a rectangle with an arrow coming out of it, in the bottom left corner of the screen).

Thanks to Mrs. Jackson and her students for showing me this trick!

Ocearch (Shark Tracking)

Something to think about when you're swimming in the ocean this summer! Your students will be fascinated by this! Ocearch has been tracking three female Great White sharks off the southeastern coast (including SC). You can learn more about Mary Lee, Genie, and Lydia on their website (and/or check them out on Facebook). There is even an iPad app -- just search for Ocearch in the App Store!

At the home page (map), find the "Filters" section and click on the box under "sharks." Then, look for the names of the female sharks. "All Activity" should be in the Tracking Activity box, and press "Enter." It's amazing to see where they've been!

Here's an interesting article about this project on ABC News:

CK12 (free online textbooks)

CK12 is a great resource for students and teachers, providing tons of online textbooks (all free) for teachers to use. You can also create your own flexbook on the site, combining parts of other textbooks from their site, or using materials of your own. Books are available in PDF, Kindle, iPad, NOOK and other formats. In February, they reached 1,000,000 books downloaded, showing how popular open, e-textbooks are becoming. They also have content: US History Sourcebook - basic, available in ePub format (readable on iOS, Android and NOOK. In addition to the digital textbooks, CK-12 offers free SAT prep and an interactive Algbra curriculum.

Harnessing the Power of Wind

National Geographic has a neat little interactive activity designed to help people understand how wind turbines generate power. Harness the Power of Wind walks viewers through the basics of wind turbine design. After reviewing the design principles you can design and "test" your wind turbine's efficiency. You can adjust the height of your wind turbine, the wind speed, the altitude, and the blade radius.

Discover Your World

Discover Your World is a free 158 page activity book from NOAA. The book is available to download as a complete package in one PDF or you can download it in three separate sections. The sections are titled Explore the Earth, Understand the Earth, and Protect the Earth. In total, the books has 43 hands-on activities, and the majority are aimed for 4th-8th grade.

Docs Teach (National Archives Experience)

Docs Teach provides seven free tools that teachers can use to create interactive learning activities based on primary source documents and images. The seven tools are Finding a Sequence, Focusing on Details, Making Connections, Mapping History, Seeing the Big Picture, Weighing the Evidence, and Interpreting Data. To get a sense of how each of these activities works, you can view existing activities made and shared by other teachers. In fact, you may want to browse through the Find & Use section before creating an activity from scratch as you may find that someone else has shared an activity that meets your instructional goals too. The Find & Use activities are arranged by historical era and are labeled with a thinking skill and a level of Bloom's revised taxonomy.

Richard Byrne in his posting tells how he created an activity to use in his classroom:

I used the Docs Teach activity creator to create a Weighing the Evidence activity this morning. I searched the archives and selected a few images of Paul Revere then dragged them into the activity. Then I asked students to determine which image does the best job of accurately depicting Paul Revere's ride.

Imagination Prompt Generator

Imagination Prompt Generator randomly offers ideas and writing prompts for free creative writing projects.


Bookbub is a free email service that keeps you updated about free and bargain Kindle and Nook ebooks. You choose the genres, and they send the best deals in those genres to your inbox.

Read Works

ReadWorks is a free service that has cataloged hundreds of lesson plans and more than one thousand non-fiction reading passages aligned to Common Core standards. With a free ReadWorks account you can search for lessons and reading passages by grade and skill. In your account you can create digital binders of the lesson plans and reading passages that you want to use.

Changing the Balance

Changing the Balance is a website for students to use to explore climate change through looking at its impact on mosquitoes, malaria, and the West Nile virus. There are nine sequential parts to the site. In the first four parts students learn about mosquitoes, Malaria, and West Nile and how climate change may be a contributing factor to the spread of those diseases. In the beginning students also learn how mosquitoes bite and how Malaria affects the human body. The last five sections are geared toward a more general explanation and examination of causes and effects of climate change.

Wishing all of you a safe, happy summer break!