Media Matters

for Faculty & Staff - May 2015

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Teacher Appreciation - Book Giveaway!

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8), one lucky teacher will receive a copy of The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller! To enter the prize drawing, click the URL below and simply enter your name by May 7th:
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Help Your Students Score Higher on Their Upcoming Tests

The article is written by Eric Jensen whose brain-based learning approach focuses on practical strategies linking brain research to student achievement. He provides easy, practical steps for enhancing brain chemicals:

Also, check out this article on his website, titled "Can You Raise Test Scores in 12 minutes?"

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Our Library "Genre-fication" Project

Big changes are coming to our media center! We are in the process of organizing our fiction section by genre (i.e., mystery, fantasy, historical fiction, etc.)! We believe this will help students find what they want to read for pleasure more easily.

What Genre Are You Living In? (fun quiz)

Discovery Education Activities

Discovery Education has lots of awesome interactive activities, including virtual labs and field trips, in the areas of science & technology, environment, health, language arts, and world/culture. These are my favorites: "Recipe for Innovation" (food production & engineering design), "Dig into Mining" (story of copper), and "Doodle 4 Google" (how new ideas are born for the Google homepage logo).

Analyzing Primary Source Media

In this self-paced interactive lesson provided by PBS, students examine primary source media, specifically, news footage, and practice three steps—observe, interpret, and question—to analyze the media. For a final assignment, they select footage and write an essay or blog post that contains their analysis and reflects their understanding of the content in its historical context. Subjects include the 1979 oil crisis, the 1974 Boston school desegregation controversy, and affirmative action. Note: I did not have to register to access the materials.

PBS Learning Media

Interesting Science YouTube Channels


This YouTube channel provides video explanations of challenging concepts. Some of the topics include: the truth about biodegradable plastic, genetically-modified humans, and "Why am I upside-down when I look in a spoon?"

Minute Physics

This is one of the most popular educational channels on YouTube with over 2 million subscribers. MinutePhysics, created by Henry Reich, features a collection of professionally designed videos explaining different scientific phenomena. Some of the topics it covered include: solar system, wave/particle duality, dark matter, color, momentum, and more!

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Write About

Write About is a new social publishing platform designed for students to share creative responses to engaging images. The site is full of over 500 visual writing ideas, and students and teachers have the option of adding more!

Analyze My Writing

Paste your text into Analyze My Writing and it will generate a ton of information about your writing. The analysis will include:
  • listings of the most common words and most common word pairs in your writing.
  • readability
  • word count
  • how frequently you use punctuation and punctuation types
  • a word cloud

Hemingway is a another free tool designed to help you analyze your writing. The site offers a bunch of information about the passage you've written or copied and pasted into the site. Hemingway highlights the parts of your writing that use passive voice, adverbs, and overly complex sentences. All of those factors are accounted for in generating a general readability score for your passage. Note: I was able to use it on the iPad using Safari.

America's Most Literate Cities

The study, conducted by Dr. Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, measures "citizens' use of literacy" through criteria including local bookstores, educational levels, Internet and library resources, and newspaper circulation.
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Graphic by Darin Nakakihara, a fifth grade teacher from Laguna Niguel, CA

BitLit (Free iPhone App)

BitLit is a great app for those who love printed books, but also like the convenience of ebooks for traveling and commuting. Just sign in and take a shelfie (a picture of your bookshelf). The app will automatically identify the books on your shelf and tell you which ones are available in the BitLit database. If a book is available you can download the ebook version for free or a discount. Note: I haven't tried it yet, but it looks fascinating!

Who Wants to Be a Mathionaire?

Who Wants To Be A Mathionaire is a fun math game that asks students to answer questions and move through progressively more difficult problems until they reach the final goal or get too many wrong answers. Note: Requires flash, so this won't work on iPads.

Another fun game that's a free iPad app is 5 Dice. The game encourages students to use higher-order thinking. Given the answer but not the equation, kids solve the “target” number by working backward. Best of all, teachers are able to receive immediate feedback on students’ progress. The 5 Dice app works for students at different skill levels.

How to End the Year Strong

Larry Ferlazzo has put together a list of resources to help you finish the year strong. This school year has gone by so fast!
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