SOL 8.7 – Punctuating Dialogue

Here is the presentation from which you took notes during class – in case you missed anything:

Punctuating Dialogue

SOL 8.4 – Root Words, Prefixes and Suffixes

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Root Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes

Library Thing

Have you visited Library Thing? Well, if you love to read, you might want to click that link back there in the previous sentence. On the Library Thing site, you can catalog the books you’ve read, review them, add tags, and read what others have said about the books they’ve read (which is one good way to find new books to read). 

Library thing is like a social site for book lovers. There is a forum for book discussions (you can join an existing group or create your own) and, as with any other social networking site, you can have “friends” on Library Thing. You may even find people with (as the website puts it) “eerily similar” tastes. It is completely free to join. Adding books to your personal catalog is easy – just search the author’s name or the title of the book. There is even a section (see the “Local” tab) where you can find information in your locality about bookstores, author readings/signings, libraries and book festivals.

If you have a blog, you can easily add Library Thing’s blog widget to your site (I did – see it on my sidebar? Scroll down a little. There it is.). Oh – did I fail to mention that sometimes members can get free books? Bonus! There is an Early Reviewer program and a Member Giveaway program that you should definitely check out…happy reading!

To Tweet, or Not to Tweet

I decided at some point last school year to try Twitter. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to hate it or become completely addicted to it. I’d have to say, after many months of using Twitter (mainly for sharing with other educators), I may not have become so addicted to it that I am losing sleep tweeting, but I have decided that it’s pretty cool and can be a great tool. You can use Twitter as a quick way to touch base with your friends, but you can also follow other educators to share information. It’s true that if you are using Twitter for work and as a social “Hey, how are you doing…this is what I am up to right now” kind of application, you do sometimes have to dig through your tweets…err messages (depending on who you follow and how often they tweet) to find the ones that apply to education. However, I’ve gotten some really good ideas, links, and resources from other teachers in the “Twitterverse” that I may not have found otherwise. 

Navigating the Twitterverse is simple. To “tweet” (post a message), you simply type in a brief (140 characters or less) message under “What’s happening?” and click the “Tweet” button. That’s it. You can include links in your tweets. I recommend using some URL shortener like, , or (I use and it’s worked for me so far.) You can also share links to pictures by uploading your images to a site like , , or and posting the link to your image on Twitter. (I use twitpic – no problems there.)

What’s that? You have something fantastic to share, but you just can’t share it within the Twitter message limit? Well, then head on over to – when 140 characters just isn’t enough.

Who should you follow and why? Well, of course, that’s up to you, but when you follow someone, his or her tweets will show up on your home page whenever you log into Twitter – and this is how we share information. You can also send direct messages (nobody else will see these) to people who follow you. You can follow people you know (if they give you their twitter URL) by going to their page and clicking the “Follow” button. You can also check out the folks your twitter pals are following – you might want to follow them, too. You can search for people by entering their names in the “find people” area,  and you can browse interests – or tweeter categories – within Twitter to look for people to follow, too.

One site I found to be very helpful in locating people to follow is It is an index for tweeters. You can search for people who have categorized their tweets as, say, “education,” “educationaltechnology,” or “teaching.” Also, if you see something someone else has tweeted that you think the people following you might be interested in, you can retweet this message yourself by clicking “Retweet” next to their message – how easy is that?

You can make your tweets private by checking “Protect my tweets” under settings – in which case people can’t follow you unless you approve their request to follow you. Also, you will receive emails whenever someone follows you or sends you a direct message by default. If you don’t want those emails (or the Twitter email newsletter), uncheck these options under “Notices” in your settings. Managing your profile and design (also under settings) is pretty straightforward.

The bottom line is this…if you are not a tweeter, I definitely recommend at least checking it out! You never know what great resources or ideas you might stumble upon by way of a fellow tweeter! Follow me on Twitter, and I’ll follow you…then we can quickly share ideas and resources. Deal? 

Double-Dog Dare – Read 10 Books and Get 1 Free!

BordersIf you are 12 or under, and you like to read, here is an opportunity to get a free book from Borders, Borders Express, or Walden’s Books!

All you have to do is read 10 books – your choice – download and print out the Double-Dog Dare Form, list the titles of the 10 books you read, have a parent or guardian sign the form, then bring the completed form to Borders, Borders Express, or Walden’s Books and select your free book!

This offer is valid for in-store only (sorry, no online ordering) and the deadline isn’t until August 26, 2010 – so you have practically all summer to read your 10 books! You can choose your free book from the following titles:

  • Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary
  • Miss Daisy is Crazy! by Dan Gutman
  • Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
  • The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare 
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • The River by Gary Paulsen
  • Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

For more information, visit the Borders site here.

Read on!

End of the Year – Activities/Projects – Part Three of Three

This is part three of the End of the Year – Activities/Projects post. Read part two here.

Virtual Vacation – with Google Maps, you can let your students take a virtual vacation! Students can research a location they would like to visit and with the satellite image view and street view features on Google Maps, they can virtually explore these locations. For example, here is a satellite image of the Eiffel Tower. You can access the street view, zoom in and out, and pan the camera to explore the location and surrounding area by following the instructions on this Screencast.

Glogster EDU – with Glogster EDU, teachers can set up a free virtual classroom and register up to 100 student accounts. Read more…

End of the Year – Activities/Projects – Part Two of Three

Here is Part Two of the End of the Year Activities and Projects post (click here for Part One):

Class Awards – these are probably more suited to younger rather than older students, but some could be funny for older students as well. Have your class vote on end of the year awards. For example:

  • Most Freckles
  • Neatest Desk (and/or Messiest Desk)
  • Most Improved Handwriting
  • Awesome Artist
  • Ravenous Reader
  • Miss/Mister Manners
  • Super Style
  • Problem Solver
  • Always Cheerful
  • Prince Charming
  • Curious George

Here are some award templates in Word that you can customize: Read more…

End of the Year – Activities/Projects – Part One of Three

It’s that time of year – time for assessments, reflection, and making plans for next school year summer break! Before we start dreaming of sand and surf – and sleeping in – we have to make it to the last day of school, right? To do? Well…

Here are some ideas for end of the year projects/activities you can use – with laptops, in the computer lab, with a couple of workstations, with an LCD projector, or without using technology at all – as things wind down to summer break: Read more…

Writing and Illustration Contests

The Young Voices Foundation is sponsoring a short story contest for K-12 students:  “Young Voices of America Tell a Story” – you pick the subject. Entries must not exceed 10,000 words. Multiple submissions are allowed. Please follow submission guidelines. There is no entry fee and submissions may be emailed. Unfortunately, I only just now saw this contest and the submission deadline is May 31, 2010 – which is short notice, I know, but there is still some time!

Writer’s and Illustrators of the Future is sponsoring their quarterly Science Fiction/Fantasy Short Story (or Novelette) contest and their Science Fiction/Fantasy Illustration contest. The submission deadline for this quarter is June 30, 2010. Next quarter’s deadline is September 30, 2010 – which is also the end of the contest year. No entry fee is required and entrants retain all rights to their work. Entries must be mailed in to the address listed on the Rules page – where you can also learn about the cash prizes awarded for the quarterly contests as well as the annual grand prize.

Good luck and happy writing!!

High School Essay Contest

Shmoop has announced an essay contest, in celebration of National Poetry Month, for an Apple iPad! Essays must be a discussion in response to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” – see this link for more specific details about the required elements.

Essays must be 500 words or less and the deadline for submission (via the email address posted on their site)  is Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time (yes, that is 2:59 a.m., Saturday, May 29, 2010 Eastern Daylight Time).

So, head on over to the Shmoop site to get all the details and the fine print. Happy writing – and good luck!