Mar 29, 2016

Library Thing

Have you ever read a few pages of a book only to remember that you already read it?  Or how about a book series you like so much you want to make sure you read every one? And classroom teachers, would you like to easily catalog all of your classroom library books? 

Well, LibraryThing is a great tool for doing all of the above.  You can sign up for a free account and easily add the books that you read by searching the title, author, or ISBN of the book.  The LibraryThing search engine uses Amazon as its main source.  Your search results will more than likely show more than one result for your search.  If you find the book you've read, just click on it, and it is automatically added to your library and catalogued in many ways.  From there, you can add your own tags, give the book your own personal rating, and add a review. You can see book reviews and ratings written by other readers, you can view the author's page, and you can see other works by the same authors.  If the book is part of a series, you can also view the series page, and every book that you have read in the series will automatically have a checkmark placed next to it.  Additionally, LibraryThing will also give you a list of other suggested books to read.  According to LibraryThing, they describe this tool as a "Book Geekery."

There is also a free app that enables you to add books to your library in the same way, but it also allows you to scan the bar codes on books and have them automatically added and catalogued into your library.  Cool, isn't it?

LibraryThing is free to catalogue your first 200 books.  After that, it is $10 a year or $25 for a lifetime membership.  I was introduced to LibraryThing by another teacher, and she uses LibraryThing to catalogue her extensive classroom library.  I use LibraryThing for keeping track of the books I read, and I especially like keeping track of the books in a series I have read.  I also like to use LibraryThing to see what other books my favorite authors have written. Within LibraryThing, you can join online book groups for some social networking if you'd like to do that too. 

I have been a member since the summer of 2011, and so far I have read and catalogued almost 300 books! There are many other ways people use LibraryThing, and you can read about those ways on the site. You are probably thinking about the different ways you can use LibraryThing right now as you are reading this!

Mar 28, 2016


Canva is a great graphic design tech tool that anyone can use. Use Canva for creating presentations, posters, infographics, and social media posts.  Canva is easy to use, free, and lots of fun!  Choose your template, add designs, icons, shapes, and/or charts and change their colors and formats.  Add your own photos or those already loaded into Canva - there are many free photos, or choose one for $1 - then publish and share your work!

Here is a quick You Tube Video Tutorial on Canva. Have fun being creative!  Just think of the many ways you can use Canva for your classroom!

Mar 25, 2016

Dirt Devil Racing

On April 16, 2016, I will be participating in the Foxy Trail 5K at Lake Hodges, and this will be my first race since my two knee surgeries. On April 20, 2015, I had my first arthroscopic surgery on my left knee, and then I had my second arthroscopic surgery on the same knee on July 20, 2015.  This has been a trying ordeal for me because I had to put my favorite hobby aside and rehab and heal. My last race was in the fall of 2015, and I am really looking forward to running again even though it is only a trail 5K.  I highly recommend participating in any of the Dirt Devil Races.  They are small races with incredible trails, and athletes of all abilities can participate, finish, and feel proud and accomplished. I can't wait to get out there!

Fun and Easy Reading for Spring Break
When I get some time off, I like to relax and read something fun and something that's easy to read.  If you haven't heard of the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich, you should give this series a try.  This series is very entertaining! Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey.  She works for her cousin Vinnie at Vincent Plum Bail Bonds.  Stephanie's side kick is Lula, who had quite the unspeakable career before she got into the bail bonds business. Of course, there's two men in Stephanie's life, Morelli, who is a cop, and Ranger, who is very secretive.  Book One is called One for the Money, and it was made into a movie, but the book is much funnier and better than the movie.  The latest installment in the series is Tricky Twenty-Two, and I plan on enjoying a morning or an afternoon during spring break to read and laugh!

A College Visit to ASU

Last month, in February, we took a college visit trip to ASU in Tempe, Arizona. We stopped along the way so I could take some photographs for my photography class, and here are three of my favorites.

This is a long-exposure photograph of the train bridge over the Tempe Town Lake.  I really enjoy taking long-exposure shots and experimenting with the length of time to leave the shutter open.  It is exciting to see the results.

We visited the Polytechnic Campus, and while we were on the tour, I noticed how this blue beach cruiser bike had such a nice contrasting color with the green background.  The sunlight and shadows really added to the soft tone of the scene.

Lastly, on the drive to Tempe, we came across the fields of windmills, and I took many photos, but I like this one the best because of how the windmills look so clean and white against the big blue sky.

Mar 9, 2016

Pi Day

Monday, March 14th, is Pi Day, 3.14.  March 14th is also Albert Einstein's birthday! It just doesn't get mathematically better than that!

What is Pi (π)? "Pi is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159."  Here is a website dedicated solely to Pi (π) -  This website contains videos and activities you and your class can participate in on Pi Day. Here is a webquest on Pi Day, and here is one more resource from Education World

An idea that I came up with that students could engage in on Pi Day is having them learn and practice Google Drawings. Here is a simple drawing I made.  I inserted a circle shape and labeled the circumference and diameter.  Using the special characters, you can also add the π symbol.

I hope these resources are helpful to you, and that you have a fun time participating in Pi Day on Monday!