Thursday, January 28, 2010

JD Salinger Resources

J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, passed away today at the age of 91. The AP released a short video about his life. The BBC also has a good piece about his life and work. If you're looking for more detailed resources for teaching about Salinger, Shmoop has a student accessible biography.

Google Books Adds Shelving Options

Google recently announced two new enhancement to Google Books. You can now browse through many of the Google Books categories using a horizontally scrolling interface. This same horizontally scrolling interface is also applied to the collections of books that you build within your Google Books account. Now you can create your own public and private "bookshelves" in your Google Books account. Users of Shelfari will probably note some similarities in the two interfaces.

Building your virtual bookshelves in Google Books is a simple process that I've outlined below.

Step 1: After logging into your Google Books account click create new shelf.

Step 2: Name your new shelf and select private or public view. Public view shelves can be seen by anyone. You can have a mix of private and public shelves within your library.

Step 3: Locate a book and select "add to bookshelves."

Step 4: Select the shelf you wish to add a book to.

Applications for Education
Creating public bookshelves could be a great way for teachers to organize collections of book titles to share with students and parents. For example if I taught reading I might organize a shelf of books that appeals to young male readers and a shelf that appeals to young female readers. I might also organize shelves by reading levels. Then when students need to search for a book they will have a good place to start their searches.

Win a Free Video Capture System from Simple K12

Simple K12 is holding a blog contest to give away two of their video capture and presentation systems. The systems, known as Simple Workshop, are valued at $4000 a piece. To enter the contest all you need to do is comment on this video post made by Simple K12. Watch the following video to learn about the Simple Workshop system.

Welcome to Simple. SimpleWorkshop from InfoSource Learning on Vimeo.

State of the Union - Video, Transcript, and Wordle

Last night President Obama gave his State of the Union Address. (Did you submit your questions to him?) For those of you who would like to show it to your students, have them analyze the transcript, or have them analyze the Republican response, I have posted resources for doing those things.

Here is the video.

The Republican response.

The transcript of President Obama's speech.

Below is an image of a Wordle generated from the transcript of President Obama's State of the Union Address. (Click to enlarge)

Applications for Education
CNN Student News has a short overview of President Obama's speech and the Republican response. I did not post that segment in the list above because I think it is important for students to learn how to interpret and fact check the speeches of both parties. To get started on this process students can use Wordle to figure out which words or phrases appear most frequently in the transcript of President Obama's speech. They can then explore why those words were so frequently used.

Howard Zinn Resources

Noted author and historian Howard Zinn passed away yesterday. Democracy Now has produced a tribute video about Zinn. One of my students suggested this morning that we should watch "that" video again. The video my student was referrring to is A People's History of American Empire which I had shown to one of my classes at the beginning of the year to introduce the idea that there is more to history than what they find in their textbooks. For those who have not seen the video, I've embedded it below.

Here are a couple of other educational resources related to the work produced by Howard Zinn:
Teaching US History With Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn's A People's History in a Free Digital Form