Library Links

"Content that might be of interest to Teacher-Librarians..."


Brain Facts book -

Brain Facts: Download the Full Book
"Access Brain Facts, a newly updated primer on the brain and nervous system, published by the Society for Neuroscience. Brain Facts is a valuable resource for secondary school teachers and students."


"schoolphysics" - Resources for teachers and students

Physics anyone?
This online resource repository for all 11 to 19 year old Physics and Science students and their teachers contains the following materials:
  • 'Physics in Depth'
  • 'Physics at a glance'
  • Animations
  • Exam specifications
  • Data
  • Dictionary
  • History
  • Physicists
  • Diagrams
  • Photographic images

CSI: THE EXPERIENCE — Web Adventures

Crime Scene Investigation - web-based

"Imagine entering a crime scene and being the one responsible for noticing and collecting every trace of evidence. The pressure is on: you know the analysis of your evidence must be scientifically sound to crack the case.

"You've seen the hit television crime drama, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS. Now, there's a Web-based learning adventure related to the TV show.


Engineering Stories (Realistic Fiction) in Science, Tech, Engineering & Math

Encourage creativity, problem solving, and confidence

Stories range from 20 minutes to 2hrs of reading. Viewable in html (online), PDF or ePub (for eReaders).

"Engineering Stories are short dramatizations allowing the reader to experience the challenges and satisfaction of being an engineer, inventor, or scientist. The stories are very plausible, being a composition of author experience and the experiences of his peers.  The objective is to encourage students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, or math, show what it may be like, dispel a myth or two, and encourage creativity, problem solving, and the confidence to make the world a better place.


Poppy (Dimwood Forest) Series - activities

Poppy (book 2 in the series)
"At the very edge of Dimwood Forest stood an old charred oak where, silhouetted by the moon, a great horned owl sat waiting. The owl's name was Mr. Ocax, and he looked like death himself. With his piercing gaze, he surveyed the lands he called his own, watching for the creatures he considered his subjects. Not one of them ever dared to cross his path . . . until the terrible night when two little mice went dancing in the moonlight . . .

Here's a link to some extension activities from the publisher.

Audio files (Avi reading)

Ereth's Birthday - Reader's Theatre

Video interview with Avi


Food for thought: Letting Go of Homework and Worksheets

Do worksheets make students hate learning?

Mark Barnes has some "fighting words" about worksheets in classrooms. Do you agree? See what he suggests as alternatives.

"I stopped using the word worksheet years ago while I was still hammering students with pointless assignments. ...A successful results-only classroom is free from worksheets and the harm they cause. Among other things, worksheets have been proven to waste valuable class time and focus on teaching only rote skills (Volante, 2004). Most important, though, is that worksheets make students hate learning. If you don't believe me, simply ask your students, "Hey, do you guys like this worksheet? Do you think it helps you learn the material?"


Researching Animals?

Rethinking the Animal Project:
  • Imagine getting a new exotic pet! Compare a Komodo dragon (or whatever) to a dog.
  • Interview candidates for your new school zoo. They explain what they need.
  • Match celebrities to an ideal pet. "What would Justin Bieber pick?"
  • Choose creatures for a new line of animal crackers. Shape, size, facts on box?
Some other lesson ideas
Places to search:
1.    World Book Kids & World Book Student
Use the "compare animals feature".  (via under the Visual tab of your catalog) Note: password needed for home access.
2.    EBSCO mag - Zoobooks
3.    EBSCO mag - Scholastic SuperScience

Some Websites:

Teacher Newsmagazine available online

Read "Teacher" magazine digitally

The BCTF "Teacher" magazine can be browsed online via PC or tablet. (Issues can also be viewed/downloaded as a PDF.) In addition, you can view past editions in the archive. Along with articles, you will find links to the Pro-d calendar and teacher-related vendors and classified.



Using Google Docs to Create Digital Kits for Student Projects

Use digital kits to structure student projects

"Digital kits are nothing more than collections of content -- still images, video clips, audio clips, passages of text -- connected to the topic being studied that teachers assemble for their kids before a project even begins.  Then, students use the content in digital kits to assemble their final products.

"What I love the best about using digital kits to structure student projects is that they speed up the process of creating influential visuals.  Instead of spending days searching for content, students using preassembled digital kits are freed to think about the topic of study immediately.


Dealing With Depression: Antidepressant Skills for Teens

A workbook for teens that explains depression and teaches skills

Printable resource for teens living with depression.

"Dealing with Depression is a workbook for teens that explains depression and teaches three main antidepressant skills you can use to help overcome or prevent it. The skills are presented in a step-by-step way so that you may learn them easily and apply them to your life. Sometimes these antidepressant skills can be used on their own, when the mood problem isn't too severe, and sometimes they have to be used along with treatments prescribed by professionals. Either way, practicing these antidepressant skills will help you deal more effectively with low mood and depression."


Building Comprehension in the Primary Grades With Picture Books

Picture Understanding!

"Comprehension is an essential component of successful reading. Through modeling and progressive levels of independent work, students become aware of the importance of retelling and essential story elements. Students demonstrate their understanding of stories through the use of online interactive graphic organizers and present story elements of an individual book through a book talk."

Here are some links to popular primary author pages:


BC Positive Behaviour Support - Conference Handouts

The Making Connections Group

"Positive school cultures where students, staff and parents feel a sense of belonging and safety are critical to student academic and social-emotional learning. The "Making Connections Group" is a not-for-profit society dedicated to supporting school personnel and families in enhancing social responsibility and academic achievement in schools. The group hosts an annual conference, the "Making Connections Conference", each November. School personnel, administrators, and families come together to learn from the most recognized experts in the field and share their strategies."


Young Adult Book Reviews - "What We're Reading Now"

Pamela's Young Adult Books Blog

Pamela's aim is to read and review what is the best and newest in young adult fiction. Her reviews don't pull any punches  -  she tells it like it is. (If you know of new books that should be reviewed, email her at .)


12 Great Videos of Famous Authors Giving Advice to Aspiring Writers

Famous authors doling out wisdom

"We could all use a little advice — especially the aspiring writers among us. Inspired by a delightful (and actually sincere-seeming!) video from John Hodgman that surfaced last week, we've rounded up a collection of videos of famous authors, from Anne Rice to Martin Amis, doling out wisdom essential for readers and writers alike. Set aside the next hour to get a healthy dose of writerly inspiration, and link us to any videos we missed in the comments!


Introducing Students to Infographics

Thinking about layout and design

Bill Ferriter has some great ideas for helping students learn to creat Infographics. While his plan doesn't use technology per se, it could easily be adapted. The focus here is on organizing information rather than finding it. ("Finding" could be part one to this activity.)

"My students have to think about layout and design. They've got to find ways to organize the content that I've assembled for them.  They've got to make sure that their infographic isn't cluttered and that they use text features to create clear visual divisions in their final products."


"Safer" Images for projects

That's not appropriate!

Did a random image search in the lab surprise your students with an "unusual" pic? Finding the right picture for an assignment can be problematic. Even with safe search on, you can still get a "range" of images that may not be appropriate for kids. Images are hard to filter because they are not necessarily accurately tagged and can show up even in the most kid friendly search results! Here are a few suggestions:

Infotopia Images
Infotopia is a custom google search that should search for "safer" images, but it also offers a number of images sites you can search directly as well - take a look at the ones Infotopia suggests. (the buttons below the search window.)

Advertised as a "safe, free image library for education". You'll find copyright-friendly photos and images for classrooms, multimedia projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other project in an educational setting.

"KidRex is a fun and safe search for kids, by kids! KidRex searches emphasize kid-related webpages from across the entire web and are powered by Google Custom Search™ and use Google SafeSearch™ technology."

Remember: no image search is foolproof. Talk to your students about how to handle an inappropriate image or site.



Top Ten Books featuring Autism Spectrum Disorders

Discover some great stories that also deal with ASD

These titles are mostly for middle school aged readers.

"With Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affecting approximately one in every eighty-eight kids (as of 2012) chances are you, your family, your students, and/or friends are confronted with this broad spectrum of challenging circumstances. Autism—Including Asperger's Syndrome—is life altering for the individuals and those around them. The following books are great resources to discover the truth of how lives touched by ASD handle difficult situations."


Teaching Recorder?

For the music teacher and "recorderphile"

Here are a number of links for the serious recorder player as well as the teacher looking to add to his or her repertoire. (Some material is appropriate for beginners, but there are many links to advanced material as well.)

  • Historic Repertoire
  • Modern Repertoire
  • Music in limited range
  • Original Prints and Manuscripts Online
  • Scores on-line


22 iPad Alternatives to the Book Report.

Creative assignments to liven up book reports

For each assignment listed, there are also suggested apps to create and present. Note: the assignments don't have to be made digitally - most suggestions can be implemented using traditional tools as well.


My Strange Grandfather - stop motion animation

Puppets come to life in this poetic short film

"Velikovskaya makes puppets come to life in her poetic short film. It tells the story of a little girl and her nutty grandfather -- an absent-minded inventor who ventures up and down a windy beach in Russia collecting other people's trash. The tiny granddaughter is embarrassed by his quirky habits, that is, until one stormy night, when he builds an enormous, singing beast from the junk he has gathered."


To This Day Project - Shane Koyczan - Spoken Word Poetry

The profound and lasting impact of bullying
(Dozens of collaborators from around the world helped to bring this piece to life. Learn more about them and the project at )

A very moving animation that witnesses to the impact bullying has on the lives of young people and the author's heartfelt desire to empower them.

"To This Day Project" is a project based on a spoken word poem written by Shane Koyczan called "To This Day", to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual. Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. We can give them a starting point… A message that will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying.

Animators and motion artists brought their unique styles to 20 second segments that will thread into one fluid voice.
For more info:


Reading Like A Historian - Teacher Channel

History curriculum that turns away from textbooks

Watch a one-hour "Teaching Channel Presents" episode entitled "Reading Like a Historian". Follow this detailed look at a cutting-edge history curriculum that turns away from textbooks. Join student "Historians in Training" as they examine primary source documents and engage in discussions to discover the complexities of history.


Information Fluency - What is it? Sound familiar?

Ask, Acquire, Analyze, Apply, Assess

This video presents the 5 As of Information Fluency, taken from the "fluency21" website. The creators see the various fluencies as a common language for educators and learners to share. The five elements of Information Fluency are the same skills that teacher-librarians seek to build into their work with students.


BC Provincial General Election Resources

Election Resources for Students and Teachers

"Dr. Charles Best Secondary School Library" has a number of resources to spark discussion about the upcoming BC provincial election. You will also find links to IRP outcomes and lesson ideas.



Teaching with iTUnes U - Webcast Series

Get to know iTunes U - 3 part series

"A three-part webcast series that explains how to bring the power of iPad to your classroom. Watch as educators show you how to build customized courses full of dynamic, interactive content you can share with your students."


20 Fun Dr. Seuss Themed Writing Prompts!

Dr. Seuss as a writing springboard

Are you reading "The Cat in the Hat"? Do your students know "Green Eggs and Ham"? Here are some writing prompts you can use as a follow-up to reading some of these delightful books.


Just in Time Professional Learning - from iTunes U

Busy teachers need just-in-time learning materials

An intro to : iTunes U, iBooks, Twitter, RSS and Youtube.

Abundant materials are available online and through iOS devices for just-in-time, self-directed professional development.  However, not all teachers are benefitting from that material. They are busy professionals who often lack the time, habits, and skills to confidently seek their own solutions and learning opportunities in a moment of curiosity or need. This course will help to transform these busy teachers into just-in-time learners.


Response: Many Ways English Teachers Can Improve Their Craft

Be a better English teacher - here's how

Larry Ferlazzo offers a number of previous posts on ways to be a better Reading and Writing teacher. He also shares some tips from readers of his blog. There are lots of great suggests here to ponder!


Numberphile - Videos about numbers

For lovers of numbers

Prime numbers, Pi, encryption, Zero, Avrogado's number and more.


The Nucleus: Crash Course Chemistry #1

The amazing and beautiful science of stuff
"Hank does his best to convince us that chemistry is not torture, but is instead the amazing and beautiful science of stuff. Chemistry can tell us how three tiny particles - the proton, neutron and electron - come together in trillions of combinations to form ... everything. In this inaugural episode of Crash Course Chemistry, we start out with one of the biggest ideas in chemistry ever - stuff is made from atoms. More specifically, we learn about the properties of the nucleus and why they are important to defining what an atom actually is."


A colourful tip for building student vocabulary

Vocabulary Paint Chips

Ms Wessling, a high school English teacher builds vocabulary with her students by examining related words. Her strategy? Use large "paint chip" cards available at home decorating stores. Colourful and engaging.


Pre-Reading Strategies: Students Make Predictions From Short Book Quotes

Close-reading a challenging text

Ms. Fulco, a high school English teacher, asks students to make predictions from quotes to prepare for a challenging text in this short activity.

Questions to Consider
  • How do the quotes and questionnaire help students prepare for a challenging text?
  • What evidence must students provide to support their questionnaire answers?
  • How does Ms. Fulco ensure students understand the 'big ideas' during the whole class discussion?

Native vs Immigrant - is this metaphor getting old?

The 'digital native' and 'digital immigrant': a dangerous opposition

A post on the BCTLA Forum (thanks Judith) pointed me to an interesting critique of the digital native/immigrant characterization. While it may have spurred some rethinking in its day about how we approach students in the classroom, maybe we need to drop the labels and see all participants as simply "learners."

Judith Comfort adds her own observations here in "Digital natives and old fogey teacher immigrants - divisive, destructive & a lie."


Why Word Order Matters in Google Searches

Reversing word order can affect the outcome

"Google's Search Anthropologist Daniel Russell recently shared a short video demonstrating why word order matters when formulating your search terms. In the two minute video we learn how and why reversing word order can affect the outcome of your search."


Using The Power Of The Pair To Enhance Active Learning

Students working together to help each other learn.

"I remember when I first figured out the "power of the pair". I had walked onto our school library and the noise was way above what I would expect. I asked our librarian how it could be like that and she told me it wasn't 'noise' – that if I listened closely it was 'learning'. As I looked around the room it was evident. Students were working together to help each other in learn. For me the 'pair' is now one of my most powerful tools. I use it in all my foreign language classes and see it increasingly used in other disciplines. Here's a few reasons why..."


Books Recognized for Social-Emotional Lessons

25 books that connect children to social & emotional learning

"The Open Circle Program (at Wellesley Centers for Women) list books that stand out as being especially authentic and memorable and are geared toward children in kindergarten through 5th grades. They deal with self-awareness, self-management, empathy, dealing with conflict, and problem-solving."

Link to PDF in article


Comprehending Graphic Novels: A Primer for Teachers

Graphic novels are an important tool for engagement

"Graphic novels are an important tool for engaging reluctant and less-able readers. The pictures provide a powerful support for readers who struggle with text. Struggling students are able to read books that are popular, interesting, and motivating, which is often not true when those struggling readers are working with text-only books. Graphic novels are primarily produced in series, which allows a struggling reader to stay with familiar characters and plot lines. Finally, readers who struggle with text can still use all of the comprehension strategies with which we are familiar."

Article lists a number of of authors and titles.


What's Up with Those Word Walls?

Considerations when doing a Word Wall

"Using a word wall in literacy instruction requires thought and planning. There are considerations that should go into the placement of the word wall, the words selected to be posted on it, the number of words to have on it at a given time, the number of words to be presented each week, and the instructional goals of the word wall."


Reaching The Reluctant Reader

One Dad's Journey by Jeff Gunhus

Read what one dad did to light a "reading fire" in his kids...

" son was squarely in the "reluctant reader" group as recently as April of last year. He was smart, had great grades, was outgoing, was liked by his friends and teachers, but reading to him was a chore that was right up there walking behind our two yellow labs on clean-up duty. He was way more interested in movies, TV, video games…basically anything that had a power cord or a battery. At first, I wasn't too worried. But over time I noticed that his vocabulary and his writing skills began to slip...[so]...I decided to do something about it as opposed to just worry..."