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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

6000+ Children's Books Available for Free

The University of Florida's Digital Collections offers a huge library of digitized children's books. Thanks to Open Culture I discovered this collection this afternoon and immediately started to browse through it. The books that you will find in the collection consist of works that are in the public domain. You can search for books according to topic, language, publisher, genre, and publication date.

All of the children's books in the collection can be read online. Reading the books online could be a bit difficult for some as there is a border with menus surrounding each page of the books. To avoid that, you can print all of the books for free. The printed version does not display anything but the book as it was scanned.

Applications for Education
The children's book available through the UFDC aren't books that your students or their parents are likely to see on bookstore shelves. The value of this collection is that it could introduce parents and students to books that they might enjoy reading together and wouldn't have otherwise found.

CNN Student News Is Back for 2016-17

For many years CNN Student News has been my go-to resource for current events lessons for middle school and high school students. Every summer CNN Student News goes on hiatus and comes back in late August. This year, for the first time that I've noticed, CNN Students News is available on iTunes as well as on the CNN website.

The video format for this school year is the same as it has been for years. The roughly ten minute episodes feature U.S. news stories, a world news stories, "shout out" to a classroom, and a quick quiz. Transcripts for each show are available for download. Unfortunately, it appears that CNN has stopped adding discussion question suggestions to the transcripts.

Two Ways to Visually Show Classroom Noise

Bouncy Balls is a free online noise meter that shows students the volume of the noise in your classroom. Bouncy Balls does this by displaying a set of colorful bouncing balls on your screen. The louder your students are, the higher and more frequently the balls on the screen bounce. To use Bouncy Balls simply go to the website, click "begin bouncing," and then click the microphone icon to allow the site to access your computer's microphone.

Calmness Counter is similar to Bouncy Balls. The difference is that Calmness Counter displays a dial meter to display the decibel level in your classroom. You can adjust the microphone input sensitivity directly on the Calmness Counter screen.

Applications for Education
Projecting either of these meters for all of your students to see could be a good way to help them understand the appropriate volume for conversations while working on group activities in your classroom.