Monday, March 20, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for March 21, 2017

Bridging the Gap

Take a look at the recent window display in the Library. Adam Krauss's Government students offer suggestions for improving communication and collaboration in this polarizing political environment.

New Classroom Video on Demand Titles
118 New titles were added to Classroom Video on Demand (CVOD) last month. Below are a few of the highlights. CLICK HERE to see the whole list. As you may remember, sometimes the released videos are new (like the ABC Go videos) and sometimes they really old clips that have just been acquired by CVOD. Try sorting by date or by subject (subject options are on the right side of the page) to find the videos most relevant to you and your students.

And don't forget - you'll need to login. You can either login with Google or with the username and password- both of which are bluehawks.

Refugee Kids: One Small School Takes On the World
This program follows students at a New York City summer program for children seeking asylum from the world’s most volatile conflicts. It presents an intimate, emotionally gripping account of the students’ stories of escaping war and conflict and resettling in America, chronicling their triumphs and setbacks as their lives unfold over the course of one formative summer. The program humanizes complex geopolitics and depicts the challenges and urgency of immigration to America in an increasingly dangerous – and interconnected – world. (Documentary - 40 mins)

Finding the Next - (ABC Go Series)

Very short episodes (under 5 mins each) highlighting the latest cutting edge and disruptive technology. First five episodes include - Food Computer: How Caleb Harper Inspires Us To Be Future Farmers, 2) Treating PTSD With Virtual Reality Therapy 3) Self-Driving Trucks 4) The New Bionic Man, and 5) How Military Robots Can Save Lives,

Young & Gifted Series

This series of six short-form videos (no more than 5-10 minutes each) examines the lives of six remarkably talented kids from around the world. Each inspiring episode will shine a light on how they are pursuing their own dreams while at times facing mounting odds. Either it be in athletics or academics, these youngsters are using their talents to not only better themselves, but everyone else around them. 

What Would You Do?

Encourage students to explore biases and stereotypes with this sixth series of ABC News "What Would You Do?" segments. Each scenario puts actors into exchanges with unwitting bystanders, generating a wide range of responses—from overt hostility towards other races and cultures to acts of genuine compassion. Topics explored include race and ethnicity, gender, disability, homelessness, age, and more. (1hr. 48 mins)

Cyber War

Cyber War takes you deep into the world of cyber hacking, where the weapon of choice is computer code. The program takes a look at how a new generation of hackers are threatening everything from your bank account details to national secrets. (Documentary 43 mins)

Smell is our most ancient, but also our most underestimated sense. In a recent survey of young adults, just over half said they would rather lose their sense of smell than their access to technology, like laptops or smartphones. In this episode Anja Taylor investigates the hidden powers of smell, and how smell influences many aspects of our lives in ways we often overlook. (28 mins)

Free Digital New York Times Access

For those of you who may not have heard, we have been selected to receive FREE All-Digital access to for one full year. Students AND Staff.​

Directions for Access:
  • Go to
  • Create an account using your school email address.
  • They'll send you a link in your email to confirm and validate the address.
That's it!

Also -  you can download your free NYT smartphone apps at, including the NYT Now app for iPhone®.

Already have an account associated with your school email address? Visit and log in using your school email address. Check your email inbox and click on the link in your confirmation email to validate your email address

And you must visit the NYTimes Learning Network which offers student activities, lesson plans, quizzes, and other features for students and teachers. Read the review at Education World.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for March 14, 2017

New Books!
We just received a new batch of books and are in the process of cataloguing and processing them. Some new fiction as well as books about sports, art, race relations, and more. We also have a few that are just in time for Women's History Month.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LIST

Makerspace Update and Staff Meeting Info

Teacher and Staff Information and Brainstorming Meeting
Obviously and unfortunately  - the Faculty/Staff makerspace brainstorming session that we had hoped to hold from 12:30-1:30 today didn't happen. We'd like to re-schedule for next week.

The purpose of the meeting is twofold. First, for those of you who have questions about what a makerspace is and why we should have one in our school, we'd like to give you a basic overview and provide you with an opportunity to ask questions. Second, we hope to solicit ideas from all of you as we continue to try to decide what our EHS makerspace will look like.

The new date for the meeting will be next Wednesday, the 22nd after school from 2:30-3:15.  We'll have a couple of items out for you to "play with" (our Cricut machine and some Arduino boards) - and snacks! We will also have these "toys" set up and available during the day on Wednesday and Thursday in case you can't make the meeting but would like to come down during your planning period to see what we're talking about. We'll also be on hand to engage in conversations and solicit ideas.

3D Printer 
We're looking at an Ultimaker 2+ for a 3D printer. For more information on this printer visit the 3D Printing in Secondary Education page from the Ulimaker website.

Students Are Interested and Excited!
We had our second meeting last week with students. The students who attended are really getting excited. In fact, one of the students has offered to build a work table (or two) for our makerspace to fulfill his Eagle Scout Leadership Project requirement. It's quite a bit of work developing and planning the project and procuring the necessary permissions.

Students are starting to use the Cricut Machine to cut out decals and cardstock and more. Most are using the pre-made Blue Hawk pattern (as shown on my phone case below) but students are free to create their own designs - as illustrated below!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for March 5, 2017

Makerspace Meeting Reminder
Just a reminder that on Tuesday March 14th, the early release day, we plan to have a makerspace brainstorming session with any interested staff members from 12:30-1:30. Please stop by and share your thoughts and ideas. If you want to provide input and you can't make the meeting, please add any comments to this Google Doc . We provided this link to students as well and they have begun to add their thoughts and ideas. Also, to get a sense of items we'd like to be able to have in the makerspace, check out our wishlist (which we will continue to revise).

Winter Carnival in the Library

We hosted a variety of games in the library during the winter carnival activity periods (including cribbage, poker, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, etc. We also had a vinyl cutting machine set up for students to use and a 3D printer demonstration.
3D Printer - Courtesy of EHS Junior Tyler Silverman

But, the most crowded tables? These two. 
Look closely to see if you can identify the activity.


The Wayback Machine (Internet Archive) is a digital archive of the web with the purpose of archiving digital artifacts and create an Internet library for researchers, historians, and scholars. The Archive collaborates with institutions including the Library of Congress and the SmithsonianIt's been around for a long time (since 1996) so you may have already seen it. It's pretty cool. You enter the website you're looking for and you can view archived versions of web pages across time.

Check out these screenshots below. How interesting is is to see and in 2004 (all news - little to no ads) and then in 2016. The Wayback Machine also has a new feature which allows you to capture a page now and have it saved so you can access it at any time in the future.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for February 21, 2017

Makerspace Update

We had a great meeting with students last week to get their input on our future makerspace. The students were excited and offered a lot of ideas about the setup of the space, items that we should purchase, and projects they would like to work on. We talked about 3D printers, coding, soldering, tinkering, die cutting, and laser engraving. One of the students has his own 3D printer and he offered to bring it in to demonstrate during winter carnival activity periods this week! We'll also have a Cricut die cutting machine up and running so students can cut vinyl Blue Hawk decals.

We didn't have any students at the meeting who were interested in the more craft-like creative hands-on activities, but we hope to get them involved. If you know any students who enjoy hands on technology, creating, ​exploring, or tinkering pass the word that we'll have another brainstorming meeting with students on March 7th after school.

We need your input as well! On Tuesday March 14th, the early release day, we plan to have a brainstorming session with any interested staff members from 12:30-1:30. As I mentioned previously, we'd love to hear your ideas so if you get a chance, please stop by! If you want to provide input and you can't make the meeting, please add any comments to this Google Doc . We provided this link to students as well and they have begun to add their thoughts and ideas. Also, to get a sense of items we'd like to be able to have in the makerspace, check out our wishlist (which we will continue to revise).

Also, check this out!

One of the students who was at the planning meeting brought in his 3D printer today and printed out this "bluehawk!"  

NYTimes Learning Network -15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest for Students

The New York Times Learning Network hosts several contests throughout the year. I just found out about this so unfortunately there are only a few more days to enter, but maybe some students will be able get submissions in before the deadline. They have until Feb. 28 at 7 a.m. Eastern time to enter.
This contest invites students to create a short 15-second video that defines or teaches any of the words in their collection. They can act the word out, animate it, use puppets, draw, sing a song, create a dance, incorporate photographs, create a Claymation, or anything else that will help viewers understand and learn the word.

Here is the link to page with the contest information and rules.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for February 14, 2017

New Classroom Video on Demand Titles

Below are some of the highlights from the new list of videos from the Classroom Video on Demand (CVOD) database. Click here for COMPLETE LIST of new titles added. Don't forget that you'll need the username and password (bluehawks for both). 

Van Gogh Painted With Words Based on years of painstaking research, with every single word of dialogue sourced from Van Gogh's original writings, this docudrama, starring Benjamin Cumberbatch as Van Gogh, weaves together the Van Gogh's recorded experiences into a complex portrait of a sophisticated, civilized, and yet tormented man.

Counter Histories - Rock Hill  - This documentary tells the story of the Friendship 9, the men who were beaten, threatened, and sentenced to 30 days of hard labor at the York County Prison Camp. because they sat down at a "white's only" lunch counter on January 31st, 1961, in Rock Hill SC.

Could a Robot Do My Job?
Machines and artificial intelligence are beginning to replace jobs like never before. This program looks at the workplaces already using this new technology and asks whether we should feel threatened by it, or whether it will benefit all of us. A BBC Production.
Shedding Light On Motion 

  • Graphing Motion  - A look at how graphs can help us better understand the motion of athletes and of cars and other things.
  • Graphing Free Fall  - A look at how graphs help us to understand the motion of objects that are either falling straight down or which have been launched vertically upwards into the air.
(Other videos in this series -Speed, Acceleration, and Relative Motion)

Great War Stories - A collection of previously untold personal stories which show how the unfolding conflict of the First World War affected ordinary people caught up on the front line and on the home front. A 2016 BBC Production.

E-cigarettes - Miracle or Menace? - Are e-cigarettes one of the greatest breakthroughs of the modern age? Or just another way to keep us addicted to nicotine? This BBC Horizon program investigates this new phenomenon with a unique experiment on a group of heavy smokers who are desperate to quit. A 2016 BBC Production.

The End of the Solar System - Astronomers are searching the skies for spectacular cosmic events that mirror our own distant future. As a result they can predict how the Sun and its planets will end in remarkable detail. It’s an apocalyptic vision where galaxies collide, planets melt and life is wiped out. This 2016 BBC Horizon program visits these modern day prophets and recreates the hellish conditions our world may face in its last moments.
Project Greenglow and the Quest for Gravity Control - For the last 200 years, we have been fascinated with the idea of controlling gravity. But in the mid-1990s British aerospace manufacturer BAE Systems began a ground-breaking project code-named "Greenglow" which set about turning what many regarded as science fiction into reality. On the other side of the Atlantic, NASA was simultaneously running its own Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project. It was concerned with potential space applications of new physics, including concepts like "faster than light travel and "warp drives." Looking at these past projects and into the future, this BBC Horizon program explores science’s obsession with the idea of gravity control. Are flying cars and journeys to the stars still the stuff of dreams? A 2016 BBC Production.

NEWSELA -Teaching Empathy 

Remember Newsela? It's that cool website that provides news articles that are scaled in five different Lexile levels. I provided an overview on this blog a couple of weeks ago

Newsela has a new program called A Mile In Our Shoes which is a reading initiative in partnership with Teaching Tolerance and Donors Choose and which promotes empathy through reading. "Through a collection of hand-picked Text Sets, students can read about different perspectives and lived experiences: rural communities and refugees, Native Americans and immigrants, veterans and Muslims, groundbreaking women and courageous people with disabilities, and much more." (from the site)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for February 7, 2017


Come in and check out the "Blind Date with a Book" display. The books are wrapped so the students can't see the titles and they have to rely on the pick-up-lines and profiles to pick the right "date!"

"Award winning book seeks adventure reader not afraid of ghosts."

"Does perfection scare you? Check me out."

"A supernatural page turner seeks reader who understands family loyalty."

We're challenging the students to choose a book that sounds interesting and asking them to pledge to read at least 30 pages.

Proquest SIRS Issues Researcher
(user name and password are both bluehawks)

This is a great database for students who are looking for information for research assignments. It is particularly useful for information on controversial topics.

Why should you introduce this resource to your students?
  • It's a great pro/con database.
  • Students can link to their Google accounts and save articles directly to Google Drive
  • Do you have students who can't decide on a topic? Have them browse the hundreds of Leading Issues. 
  • That's Debatable feature - Every month on its homepage, SIRS highlights a hot topic through an interactive poll and related articles. This month's debatable topic is "Fake News."

  • Sort results by date, relevance, Lexile measure and source type (magazine, newspaper,      reference, government documents, multimedia statistics, and websites).
  • Timelines available on dozens of leading issues.
  • Summaries and related subjects provided at the bottom of the articles.
  • "Listen" feature allows students to listen to an audio of the content (although the voice is quite robotic).
  • Proquest updated the interface last year and the changes have made it very user friendly for students. 

White Nationalist Sites

Many of the English students are doing research and several of them have been interested in getting more information on current political issues. Some of them have come across a site called National Policy Institute. Did you know that this site is actually a white nationalist, white supremacist think tank based in Arlington, Virginia? Doesn't it look like a legitimate site? 

And have you seen The "news" articles are written by Richard Spencer who is the president of the National Policy Institute and who owns the Radix Journal. FYI - because of hateful content - Twitter suspended the accounts of Spencer, NPI, @_altright_, and the Radix Journal. 

Each year I use the website with the Freshmen to illustrate the importance of evaluating websites. Historically, when students realized that the site is hosted by a white supremacist group, they were shocked and appalled. Over the last year or two these types of hate sites have become more common and it's becoming more difficult for students to recognize them. When your students use websites for sources for their research, it is imperative that they are able to identify the person or organization who posted the information. As I've mentioned previously, the  C.R.A.A.P. test worksheet is a great tool for prompting students to evaluate the sites.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits for January 31, 2017

I know some of you have Newsela accounts and are familiar with the site, but for those of you who haven’t visited the site yet, here are some reasons why you should.
  • Newsela provides over 1,000 current event articles from daily news sources (such as AP, The Washington Post, The Guardian, National Geographic, Scientific American, Al Jazeera,, PBS, and more)
  • Articles are scaled in five different Lexile levels.
    • Quizzes are embedded alongside the articles and are aligned with the Common Core. 
    • Teachers can sign up for “articles of the day”, assign articles to students, create annotations and  view class-wide dashboards. The Pro (paid) version has some additional features such as allowing teachers to view and track student progress and allowing students and teachers to see each others annotations.
    • Newsela offers dozens of Text Sets which are curated collection of articles centered around content, themes, or standards.
    • Articles are organized by subjects such as Arts & Culture, Science & Math, Religion & Philosophy, Government & Economics, Geography, World History, and U.S. History.