Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Book Review: The Water Dancer

The Water Dancer The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lyrical tale of slavery, hope, and history. Hiram Walker, the son of the white master and a slave mother, grows up with memories and the unique perspective of the slave "son" who is a companion to his half-brother and seer of everything that's happening around him. When he attempts to flee to the north, the world of the underground becomes his life. The mystical art of "conduction" (which did throw me off at first) becomes the bridge from past to present and between slavery and freedom.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

đŸ’»Tech Tip Tuesday | YouTube hack teachers will love!

I'll admit that I'm not a YouTube guru, but I've been learning some quick and easy hacks are game changers for teachers!!

Sharing YouTube videos with students can always be iffy. You never know what ads might show up, and those comments...ugh!! Well, with a little dash (-) in the right place, you can share a video that will open in full screen without ads or comments. 

  • First, make sure you grab the link from the omnibox (not from the share feature). 

    • Once you have the link, just add a dash (-) between the t and the u (yout-ube) and share that link. Yup, it's that easy! 

    Check out the short video below to see this little trick in action.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021

    đŸ’»Tech Tip Tuesday | My Favorite Audio Tools, Tips, and Hacks

    Finding ways to incorporate speaking and listening into the classroom on a regular basis can be tough. For many teachers, working with audio files can be daunting. Over the years, I've found a few favorite audio recording tools that are easy to use and have broad application for any classroom. 


      • web based
      • no login
      • super simple to record
      • multiple sharing options like sharing a link, QR code, or download MP3 file to insert into Google Slides
      • Chrome extension
      • once it's installed, it's always at your fingertips for quick use
      • easy to share with link
      • BONUS: add audio/voice to Google Forms
    SCREENCASTIFY also lets you export audio only for any video you record, and a bonus is that it saves directly to your Google Drive making it easier than ever to add to Google Slides!!


      • Add spoken instructions to lessons (great for students learning English, for Language classes, providing lessons for subs, etc.)
      • Provide audio feedback in comments
      • Add audio to Google Forms
      • Narrate ANYTHING!
      • Add background music
      • Explain learning
      • Add language translations
      • Narrate ANYTHING! (Children’s book, comic, presentation, etc.)

    Check out this tutorial that highlights each of these tools (and a bonus) in action!

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021

    đŸ’»Tech Tip Tuesday | Use remove.bg to quickly and easily remove backgrounds from images

    I absolutely love to create visual projects for students to showcase their learning, so finding a tool that's easy to use, is free, and lets us customize images to use in presentations and graphics was a must. Remove.bg has been the tool I've been missing from my toolbox!! I've been playing around with this simple and free website for about a year, and it just keeps getting better and better. Just drag/drop or upload an image to the site, and voilĂ  - the background is gone, and you can either copy the new image to your project or download to insert later.

    Cool for School | The ideas for school are pretty limitless, but below are a couple of simple uses.
    • Have students put themselves in their favorite place(s) and write about them (Google Drawings Idea)
    • Stop using "mug shot" photos for things like students of the month or honor roll awards. Remove the backgrounds and create presentations that are fun to look at (Google Slides Idea)

    Want to see just how easy remove.bg is to use? Check out the tutorial below for details as well as ideas for classroom use.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021

    Review: Chlorine Sky

    Chlorine Sky Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    In her debut YA novel in verse, Mahogany Browne tells the story of Skyy - a black teen who's always lived in the shadows of everyone around her. When you're a teenager, it's easy to believe that friendship will be forever, but Skyy soon realizes that maybe some differences are just too much. Skyy would spend all her days on the basketball court or floating in the local pool, while Lay Li lives for clothes, makeup and boys. Everything seems okay, until one day, it's not. For Skyy - losing a friend is heartbreaking, but it's also revealing, and maybe - just maybe - stepping out of Lay Li's shadow will allow her to find herself.

    An accessible and relevant coming-of-age story for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo.

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    Thursday, July 30, 2020

    Review: Grown

    Grown Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Tiffany Jackson has done it again, with a powerful story that blends mystery with a coming of age story that seems ripped from the headlines.

    Enchanted Jones is a 17-year old who dreams of becoming a singer, and when R&B artist, Korey Fields, takes notice of her and promises to help her reach her dreams, she thinks she's got it made. With the support of her parents, Enchanted set out to make her mark, but in doing so she's quickly exposed to the horrific secrets that hide behind the scenes and threaten to destroy her life and the lives of other young women like her who will do almost anything to achieve their dreams.

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    Tuesday, July 28, 2020

    Review: Furia

    Furia Furia by Yamile Saied MĂ©ndez
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    At home, in her barrio in Argentina, Camila Hassan is the dutiful daughter who follows the strict rules of her home, lives in the shadow of her brother the rising fĂștbol star, and avoids her abusive father's short fuse.

    But Camila lives a double-life, and on the fĂștbol field she is fierce, she is La Furia, she is a powerhouse that leads her women's team and has dreams of playing in North America.

    Living two lives is not easy. When her brother's friend and international fĂștbol star comes back to town, she can't deny the fire that's kindling between them, but she has to focus on her own dreams. As her world comes crashing down around her, Camila is forced to publicize her secret life, but at what cost?

    Furia is a great blend of Argentine culture, first love, and fĂștbol action on the pitch.

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