Let's Talk About MetaSearch Engines: See How These 15 Give You Results

The metasearch engine. My students couldn't even tell you what that means. Google is their only friend when it comes to searching. But what if someone wants to pool their results from more than one search engine? Perhaps Yahoo, AskJeeves or Bing? That's where these 15 metasearch engines come in. Perhaps my students will give them a try........

Beaucoup- 2,000+ Search Engines, Indices and Directories

Brain Boost- this is an answer engine rather than a search engine. What that means is that "Brainboost actually finds answers to your questions posed in plain English as opposed to directing you to pages that simply mention the questions.”

Dogpile- search Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask, images, white and yellow pages.

iTools- search the following all at once: Bing, Blekko, DuckDuckGo, AskJeeves, Google Blog Search, Google Scholar, About.com Topics, Yahoo!, Open Directory, Wolfram Alpha PLUS people searches, Twitter searches, biographies and lots more!

Ixquick- they say they are the "world's most private search engine"

KartOO- KartOO is a metasearch engine with visual display interfaces. When you click on OK, KartOO launches the query to a set of search engines, gathers the results, compiles them and represents them in a series of interactive maps through a proprietary algorithm.

Mamma- "the mother of all search engines".

Metacrawler- search Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask all at once

Meta Search Engine- search over 25, including Kayak, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter

Pandia- searches Google, Yahoo!, AlltheWeb, Ask.com, Wisenut and more

qksearch- "world's only 3-in-1 search engine": clustering, blended or split search

Turboscout- "access all search engines without retyping" 

Webscout- find the net's best websites


Is Dewey Done? See What These 17 Sites Have to Say and Then Decide

Ever since bookstores have been selling books, they have shelved them by subject area. When patrons go to any subject section, they can usually find the book they are looking for by the last name of the author. This includes fiction and nonfiction books. Those of us who were taught to use the Dewey Decimal System are used to using decimals for the ten nonfiction sections from 000-999. When a student asks me to find a particular book, all I need is the call number to get to the exact location of that book. How would the bookstore model do in a school library? Some elementary school librarians like the idea because nonfiction books could be easier for young kids to locate. Judge for yourself.

Adams County Libraries Shelving Dewey- Denver, Colorado school libraries

Are the Dewey Decimal System's Days Numbered?- interesting article

The Demise of the Dewey Decimal System- Canadian librarian has incorporated the bookstore model in her school library

Dewey? At This Library With a Very Different Outlook, They Don't- New York Times article about the 15-branch Maricopa County Library District in Arizona. Here's a link to the NPR broadcast about the changes.

Dewey Decimal, Redone

The Dewey Dilemma- from the Library Journal

Dewey's Not Dead

Do We Dewey?-New York Times article from 2008

Has the Dewey Decimal system Finally Outlived its Usefulness?- blog post by librarian Roger Green

Red Hawk Elementary Scraps Dewey Decimal System  for Bookstore Model

Saying Goodbye to the Dewey Decimal System- article about five Albany public libraries

Students Not Fazed By Dewey-less Library- Gilbert, AZ

Three Benefits of the Dewey Decimal System- from eHow

What's So Great About Dewey? 

Will Dewey Still Do?- Massachusetts librarian airs her opinion about Dewey

Who's Killing the Dewey Decimal System?- article about the Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin, IL

Would Your Elementary Library Work Better if You Scrapped the Dewey Decimal System?- from School Library Monthly's blog

Teaching the Gifted and Talented: 33 Websites Where You Can Find Good Resources

I wish the Internet was available to me as a kid in elementary school. In New York City, where I attended kindergarten through sixth grade, they called the gifted and talented class "SP". I remember being put into a class to learn French, but very little else. I figured out how ahead I was only when I entered junior high school in New Jersey. The French language I had studied for three years allowed me to coast through French class for the next four years. Without anymore "SP" or "G and T" classes, I unfortunately developed a lazy attitude and eventually quit taking French in eleventh grade. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is important to nurture the gifted student, so that they can grow. I have personally seen some really smart kids turn into behavior problems because they were bored with the classwork and were not challenged enough. With today's digital learners having access to the Internet, there are more resources than ever for teachers in this area.

26 Livebinders for Gifted Teachers- by Teach a Gifted Kid blogger
ADHD and Children Who Are Gifted
Byrdseed Gifted Classroom Ideas- blog followed by 4,000 people
Characters of Intellectually Advanced Young People
The Center for Gifted Studies-
The Center for Talented Youth- for pre-collegiate students; through Johns Hopkins University
Common Myths About Gifted Students
Council for Exceptional Children
Crossover Children: LD and Gifted
Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox
Gifted Exchange-"blog about gifted children, schooling, parenting, education news and changing American education for the better."
GT Chat- Fridays at noon and 7 p.m.on Twitter; hashtag #gtchat
GT World- "on-line support community for gifted and talented individuals and those who support and nurture them."
HEROES (Higher Education, Resources and Opportunities for Exceptional Scholars)
Hoagie's Gifted Education Page- the "all things gifted"
How to Identify a Gifted Student
Mensa Games
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) - educator links, publications, more
Professional Training for Teachers of the Gifted and Talented
Social Networking: Impacting the World of Gifted Children
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted- site contains resources, news, programs
Teach a Gifted Kid- blog by teacher
Teaching Research Skills to Gifted Students- from the Texas Education Agency
Unwrapping the Gifted- article in Education Week
Venspired Learning- gifted teacher Krissy Venosdale
Working with Gifted and Talented Students- teaching strategies, how to spot a gifted student

41 Ways to Go Beyond the Book Report 
Edsitement- from the National Endowment for the Humanities
Gifted and Talented Education Lesson Plans
Helpful Sites for Gifted Students
Lesson Plan Resources- from Davidson Gifted
Mrs. Sunda's Gifted Teacher Resource Links
Talented and Gifted Lesson Plan- for elementary

Need Suggestions for Your School Newspaper? Here are 9 Places to Find Story Ideas

Geography Teachers: Try These 44 Web Sites With Your Classes

Animaps- create and view beautifully informative maps
Best Blogs for Geography Geeks- 50 listed
Geography for Kids- listing created by teacher Kathy Mitchell
Geography From Space Quiz 2009- from the Smithsonian
Geography Online- huge listing of lesson plans, sites, games and printable puzzles for geography teachers 
Geography Sites- from Internet4Teachers
Geography Teacher Resources- from TeacherVision
Geosense- interactive; students test their geographic knowledge alone or against other online players.
Google Earth Cool Places- "weird, cool beautiful places"
History Pin- "a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history."
Library of Congress Map Collections- primary source documents
Maplandia- Google maps world gazetteer; covers over 2 million place around the globe
Mapping for Everyone- free mapping tools; create maps online
National Atlas- produce maps of all kids; hundreds of types available
National Geographic Maps- lesson plans, activities and other educator resources
Newspaper Map- shows the locations of newspapers around the world
Physical Geography Sites- from Pro Teacher
Quikmaps-doodle on Google
Scribble Maps- from Google; draw on Google maps
Seterra Online- free map quiz games; 16 languages offered
Show World- interactive world map
Toporopa- geography of Europe
Worldmapper-  a collection of  700 world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.

Discovery Education Geography Lesson Plans
Geography Lesson Plans- from the Awesome Library
Geography Lesson Plans- Teachers.net
Map Activities
Mr.Donn's Geography Lesson Plans, Games and Learning Modules
ProTeacher!  -map lesson plans

d-maps- close to 26,000 printable maps
Maps of the World- printables 
Megamaps- 10 collections of maps which can be printed at any size, whether small or large
Outline Maps- print outs for your students

New Page Posted: Graphics

I've just added a new page which has everything related to graphics: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Create Comics Online, Creative Commons Images and Photos and Fonts. The page will be constantly updated when new things come along.

19 Sites Where You'll Find Free Fonts

Free is always good. And when it comes to fonts, there are so many out there, why pay for them? This list should keep graphic design teachers and other creative sorts like me busy. One thing to remember: the downloads are in a .zip file, so your school might block this action. My suggestion is to download and unzip the file at home, then have your tech person add it to your computer at school.

1001 Free Fonts

1001 Fonts- most popular ones are here

Abstract Fonts-13,447

Ace Free Fonts-20307 fonts for Windows and Mac

Acid Fonts-for Mac or PC

Better Fonts

DaFont- nice collection

Ecofont- save ink by downloading this free font; works on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Macintosh and Linux

Font Burner- specifically for blogs; code works with WordPress, SWF, CSS and Javascript

Free Fonts- 1001 to choose from!

Font Space- 16,328 free fonts

Free Mac Fonts- for Macintosh users only

Freeware Fonts- categories from 3D- Valentine

Mike's Sketchpad- free fonts for PC or Mac; this is a very large collection!

Urban Fonts- from 3D to Western

YourFonts- create a font from your own handwriting



The Shelving Issue: How Do You Handle it?

Why do students just return books anywhere on the shelves? I have signs all over the library encouraging them to put them on our blue carts (they are marked) if they don't remember where they took them from. Yet, I always find them shoved above books, at the end of the wrong row or in the wrong section. Funny thing, I remember doing the exact same thing when I was a kid, and I just "figured" that the staff would take care of it.

Elementary school teachers use shelf markers (with a student's name) when they send their kids into the stacks to find books. Should I purchase them for my junior and senior high school students? Would they use them? Something to consider. Is there enough time to read the stacks every day? Not for me. I don't even have an assistant. How do YOU deal with this problem?

Here's a very funny video about a librarian who takes her shelving very seriously. Hope you enjoy it!

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Viber Allows You to Call & Text For Free!

Viber is an application for iPhone® and Android™ phones that lets you make free phone calls and send text messages to anyone who also has the application installed. This app makes it very useful for communicating with other teaching colleagues from all over the world (Relatives, businesses, schools, whatever) I personally haven't tried it yet, but if you have used Viber, please give us your feedback.

Teach Photography? Try These 22 Sites For Lessons and Resources



A Beginner's Guide to Digital Cameras- learn about pixels, aspect ratio, types of graphics formats, memory and digital/optical zooms. 

Digital Imaging

Digital Photography Tutorials 

Every Picture Has a Story Lesson Plan- from Smithsonian 

Exploring Photographs Lesson Plans- from the J.P.Getty Museum

How to Take Great Group Photos- 12 excellent tips are listed here with a photo example for each one

Sports Photography Techniques- excellent and complete site with step-by-step information on shooting sports. You can view many sample shots taken for a school newspaper.

Ten Tips for Great Pictures- from Kodak; excellent!

Using Photography to Enhance a Story 
Using Photography to Help Save the Oceans - from National Geographic

Check Out Word Hippo

The interface is simple. Students can enter a word and find its definition, similar words, opposite words or words which rhyme with that word. The translator offers 12 different combinations of translations and you can download translation software Babylon 9 for free. Word Hippo can be used by students of all ages, even though the name gives you the impression it is just for younger kids.

Nothing Quite Like a Real Book

A student asked me today if I own a Kindle or a Nook. My answer was simple; I still love feeling the pages and turning them one by one. And I also have a stack of books I haven't read yet lining my bookshelves in my home library.  Yes, one day I personally will jump on the bandwagon, but for now......

Here's a video animation which was created by a bookstore in Canada named Type Books. It sums it all up for me:

Watch YouTube Videos with VuSafe

Looking for safe and secure place to save those videos for your class? VuSafe allows you to create your own library of videos, as well as "use VuSafe to find videos, post them to a VuSafe library, organize the videos using keywords and categories, and share them with their students safely. The service removes all outside content present on sites such as YouTube, eliminating access to inappropriate comments, advertisements or other non-approved videos." If your school presently blocks YouTube, you will still be able to show the videos on VuSafe, so pick your videos at home and put them on VuSafe for when you are at school. VuSafe is a free service for K-12 schools. The video below is an overview of the site:

Looking for Better Lessons for Your Class? Why Not Try BetterLesson!

BetterLesson is a great (and free) social network just for teachers. Collaboration is easy and you can use any of the thousands of resources on the site. Share your own lesson plans or download any which other teachers have uploaded. Here's a brief introduction to BetterLesson:

Loads of Educational Apps on APPitic

Reviewed by Apple Distinguished Educators, APPitic is a super site which boasts more than 1,3000 plus educational apps. Main categories include: SPED and Autism, Pre-School, Themes, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom's Taxonomy, ISTE NETS and Teachers. Many apps are free, and there are also those which cost $$. The site can be translated into 10 different languages. I've been an Apple girl since the first Mac computer, and I am very excited about what APPitic has to offer teachers.

PikiFriends is Great For ESL Students

PikiFriends is an "online 'penpal' program made for junior and senior high school students and teachers only. Member students and teachers manage their own personal profiles and communicate with each other in a variety of ways using English. The main goal of PikiFriends is to improve English communication skills among EFL students".  PikiFriends provides a safe, filtered environment and teachers have a lot of control over the student accounts.

Students Love My Big Campus' Facebook Interface

The first time I saw Edmodo, I knew that students would find it "cool". That's because the interface looks like Facebook, right down to the color choices. Several teachers in our school have been using Edmodo with great success, enjoying the safe web environment. Enter My Big Campus, an online program which also looks like Facebook, and in a safe environment allows students to store files, (say goodbye to the school's server) monitor assignments and due dates, interact with their peers in class and collaborate. They can also access normally blocked videos. Teachers can create quizzes, create blogs, post videos and more. All of this is within the My Big Campus interface.If you have been using My Big Campus, please share your experience with everyone by posting. I'm interested in seeing how it compares to Edmodo. Here's a short video about My Big Campus:

17 Places Where You Can Find FREE Kindle and Nook Downloads

Now that our iPad2 raffle was a huge success, I am trying to decide how to use those extra dollars. As a teacher-librarian, I am always interested in getting our students to read and enjoy reading, so I thought the next big step was getting eReaders for the library. I am still on the fence as to which one to purchase, so I thought I'd start my research by seeing how many sites have free downloads for Kindle and Nook. I was surprised at the results; there are many ways to get free downloads for both eReaders.

Barnes and Noble Free Nook Books- search 0.00 and get a listing of free eBooks

Bookyards- pdf files can be ported to your Kindle

Books Buddy- a Nook app to locate free books

Digital Library NJ- Kindle, Nook; library card needed

Feedbooks- Kindle, Nook; public domain books

Fictionwise eBooks- Kindle, Nook

Google eBooks: Best of the Free- Kindle, Nook

Inkmesh- search engine for free eBooks, including Kindle and Nook

Internet Archive- Kindle, Nook

Kindle Store's Top 100 Free

ManyBooks-Kindle, Nook; 29,000 downloadable books

Mobipocket- Kindle

The Open Library- Kindle, Nook; one million titles

Penn State University's Electronic Classic Series Site- Kindle, Nook; pdf files

Pixel of Ink- free and bargain Kindle books

Project Gutenberg- Kindle, Nook; 33,000 downloadable books

Public Libraries- Kindle, Nook; check your state and local libraries (I have listed my state of NJ above)

***Here is a comparison chart of Kindle vs Nook.***

READ180 Assists Struggling Students

"READ 180 is a comprehensive system of curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development proven to raise reading achievement for struggling readers in Grades 4–12+. READ 180 is designed to maximize student engagement, teacher effectiveness, and leader empowerment."  ESL  and special education students will see their Lexile scores increase when they apply the program.  Scholastic provides a list of funding resources, as well as information on grant writing. (See the Scholastic Funding Connection )

Facebook in the Classroom: 21 Web Resources (If you're not blocked)

20 Reasons You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom
Creating a Facebook Page for Your School- written by Brad Flickinger

Facebook Guidelines- Papillion-La Vista School District

Facebook4Education Wiki- started by Michael Zimmer

Facebook in Education- Facebook's official page

Facebook Profile Template- created by Suzanne Witlow, this is a Word document

Facebook Strategies For the Classroom

Facebook Templates- choose from a list of six, including a page for JFK

Historical Figure Facebook Project- students will create a Facebook page for a historical figure; lesson plan and instructions are here.

How to Use Facebook: Video Series- eHow;  video tutorials

Tips for Teachers on Facebook- keep students from seeing things your friend are allowed to see

Using Facebook to Teach- history teacher Sara Romeyn talks about using Facebook in her classroom:

Bookshare Offers Assistance to Students with Disabilities

I am fortunate to have a blind young man working for me in the media center. His positive attitude and spirit lift me daily, and he never ceases to amaze me with his ability to navigate the computer lab and library. There are so many things that the sighted world takes for granted, and Matt reminds me of these things every day. Today I learned about Bookshare®, (2012 Reader's Choice Award winner from eSchool Media) a site which is an online library of digital books for people with print disabilities. It operates under an exception to U.S. copyright law which allows copyrighted digital books to be made available to people with qualifying disabilities. I can't wait to share the site with Matt, as well as our special education teachers, as I know our students will find it invaluable. As described on their site, "members with visual impairments can listen to books with using a text-to-speech synthesized voice, read books in Braille, or access the material in large print. Members can read books on a computer or a variety of portable devices, either visually and with text-to-speech as desired. Members with severe dyslexia typically benefit from access to the full text of books in digital format, for multi-modal reading with both visual and audio.(through synthetic text to speech)."  Here's a video of blind student Steffon Middleton using a portable Braille device to read digital books on Bookshare® :

Currently there are about 127,000 digital books, textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, periodicals and assistive technology tools.

Bookshare® has a long list of major donors, including Adobe Corporation, Mozilla Foundation, (their browser is FireFox) Microsoft Corporation and the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Special Education Programs.

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14 Things You Might Have Missed: Why Not Try Them in 2012?

 Happy New Year, everyone!  I am back from an extended vacation and ready to get back to work. (Thank you for being patient!) I would love to hear what you would like to see on the blog in 2012. Please leave your comments and suggestions at the end of the post. Here are are few things you might have missed in the past and are worth mentioning again.

12,000 Newspapers From Around the World
The world's 400 largest cities are represented on Newspapers24.com,with just about every language covered. This is a great resource for any world language teacher.  

Capture, Annotate and Share
I've been using SnagIt screen capture at work. Although it's not a free program, it has so many great features. At home, I've tried several trials of programs and just never found anything I liked as much as SnagIt. This FREE program has just about everything I need! Some features include capturing a selected area of a page, the entire page and annotation with rectangles, arrows, lines and text. You can also blur out information you don't want your students to see. Here's a great way to do a handout for your class or a tutorial. Although sizing your image capture is not an option, I'm okay with that; Photoshop is always waiting in the wings. Just install the browser plug-in (Chrome and Safari only right now) and you are ready to go! I'm excited to get started with Awesome Screenshot.

Bookins: Swap Books With Other Readers
Recommended by USA Today, Bookins provides free shipping to send any books and a flat rate of $4.99 when you receive an order of books. The trades are arranged by Bookins, so you don't have to contact anyone. The site claims the only 100% "trade risk-free" guarantee, which assures you will receive payment and/or "quality items".

Edudemic: What's Happening in Education and Technology
Edudemic is a "7,000+ person global community designed to keep educators, administrators, and everyone up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of education and technology." There is a section of "How To", ideas for "In the Classroom", current items "In the News", "Tips & Tricks", "Top 10 Lists", guides and a job board. There are RSS feeds for daily access through your reader. 

Google Body Browser

Anatomy classes will find this amazing: 3D rendering of the human body.
Zoom in and out; explore all systems of the body. HTML5 allows you to view the rendering without needing Flash or Shockwave. Viewing must be made in Google Chrome.

The Library of Congress' Digital Collection is One of the Largest
This video explains how items are scanned at the Library of Congress and what's available in their online collection. There are thousands of incredible primary source documents on their site. To visit the Library of Congress site, click here.

Newsmap Is a Visual Palette of Current Events Stories
You can choose from 15 countries as well as how recent the news was posted on the site. Simply roll over a story and you will see a sample of the news article. Click and you are directed to the original page of that article.

The Open Library Offers 1 Million Books For Free
Created by the Internet Archive, this site currently has 612,643 works and 959,053 eBooks published between 1099 and the present. With 20 scanning centers in five countries, they are constantly adding to their collection. Read a book online, download a pdf of the book, or read on your Kindle or eReader device.

"Outside My Window" Connects People Through Photos

Students at Evergreen Valley High School in San Jose, California started Outside My Window in 2003, hoping to make new friends from around the world through photos. "This network helps people see the worlds as other people see it- the first step toward understanding and friendship." I took a look at the gallery of photos and was very impressed. Perhaps your students would be interested in contributing to this wonderful project.

PosteRazor Makes Posters From Smaller Pictures

Take one letter size picture (8.5 x 11) and make it as large as you want, just by using this free program. PosteRazor saved me $$ when I needed to print a fund raising poster.

Squrl:Organize Your Videos
Manage your videos in one spot and then watch it on the iPad, PC. iPhone, or TV. The Squrl App will search for videos, allow you to bookmark videos and make collections of your videos.

Ten Excellent Research Resources to Use Instead of Google
researchYour students love Google. But if they have to locate trustworthy, educational sites for their research, they need to understand that Google merely finds the sites; it doesn't review them, make sure they will offer reliable information and give them resources which will accurately cover their topic. Here are ten great resources  your kids never knew existed:

Academic Info-subject guide descriptions provide relevant sites.
Bubl- selected Internet resources covering all academic areas.
Infomine- annotated academic sites and subject databases
Infotopia- educator selected sites
Intute- annotated academic sites
IPL- information you can trust
iSeek Education- search a topic or ask a question
LibGuides Community- over 100,000 pathfinders from thousands of libraries
SurfWax- search your topic and find similar, broader or narrower ones
Sweet Search- selective searches for students

Use SpeedyMarks to Create Visual Bookmarks
speedymarks The 'ABOUT' page on the SpeedyMarks website says that you can "quickly open your favorite websites." Students who are doing research can easily gather their information by just clicking "Add" at the top left part of the screen. This will store the sites on the computer the student is working on. Storing the sites on the SpeedyMarks server requires registering, (FREE) but it will allow students collaborating on a project to access their 'marks' wherever they have Internet access. You can choose a background color from many choices. I left mine with the default black since it looked the best to me.

Why Most PowerPoint Presentations are Bad
This is a wonderful presentation which gets right to the point with easy to follow slides. Everyone should be required to view this presentation.
You Suck At PowerPoint! by @jessedee
View more presentations from @JESSEDEE

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