Monthly Archives: August 2012

Gale Databases – Direct Access

You can access our databases directly here.  Please contact me for passwords.



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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Resources


PLCs: What They Are & Where They’ll Take Us

Over the next few days, there will certainly be a lot of discuss and questions generated about PLCs–what they are and where they’ll take us.   Here are a few resources that you can reference throughout the year.

Inspirational Stories
All Things PLC: A Definitive Guide, maintained by Solution Tree;
“What Teachers and Leaders Do to Ensure That All Students Learn in a PLC”, presentation by Jack Baldermann;

Google Scholar search of all pdf files related to “Professional Learning Communities.”

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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Resources


WHS Teachers, Expect Quality Research From Your Students With Gale

I am incredibly excited to announce our new Gale database suite.   After careful consideration and evaluation, we’ve elected to subscribe to six Gale databases.   Students will now have access to Gale’s award-winning reference materials anytime, anywhere.   Click on any database below to learn more about the amazing resources that are available to you (links open in a new window).



You will receive login and password information directly via email within the next few days.

At the end of last school school year, we performed an extensive weeding of our 1985 (avg.) non-fiction collection, during which we discarded approximately 900+ outdated titles.   While weeding improved the currency of our collection, it did not provide improved access to the resources that we need to support Common Core Standards and High Quality Teaching, specifically we lacked those resources that improve literacy and provide students with the opportunity to build the information literacy skills (e.g., critical thinking, inquiry, and synthesis) that they need to be successful in school and beyond.

Going forward our students will have access to an extensive array of reference resources and alternative texts.  Having access to Gale databases will provide opportunities for our students to understand the changing nature of information and how it is created, stored, and disseminated, as well as provide them with the gain the information literacy skills to access, evaluate, and synthesis the information they find electronically.   These are basic high school literacy skills for the 21st Century that should be mastered by all students by senior year–we now have the resources to make this a regular part of our curriculum.

Look for additional information and professional development opportunities on how you can integrate these databases into your curriculum.  In the interim, please take the time to review these amazing materials and become familiar with the databases so you may share them with your students.

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Resources



Nancy Bartosz: A Window To The World!

Guatemala City by Nancy Bartosz

Greetings WHS colleagues! I’m sure you’ve all received news of Nancy BT’s travel blog; maybe you’ve even had some time to follow her posts. Either way, I just wanted to share with you what a wonderful resource her memoirs can be in supporting your curriculum.See >  If you’re not much for reading blogs, you can also follow Nancy on Twitter > or Facebook >

Aside from sharing in the thrill of Nancy’s adventures, Nancy is quite the travel writer.  Travel writing is a skill that can be integrated in many subject areas, e.g., English as a genre of writing; Social Studies to study geography, religion, and politics; Science to study environmental and global issues; and, the Arts to study photography, culinary art, and music.

What might you do to integrate Nancy’s travels into your teaching?

Projects that involve real people and authentic experiences are fabulous assignment that lead to inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving.  Please let me know you’d like to learn more about what we have planned and if you’d like to collaborate with us on this project.

Antigua Guatemala by Nancy Bartosz

I’m planning a special geotagging project titled, Where in the World is Nancy Bartosz, and I’d like to invite students to participate, hopefully for extra credit.  We will kick off the project by scheduling several Skype sessions with Nancy in the media center over the next few weeks.   We will then continue by geotagging Nancy’s travels with pictures, video, and links that she will share with me, like the ones posted here.  You might already recognize these photos above from Nancy’s blog.  I’m also planning a special display in the media center. Hopefully, the project will grow from there to include projects you create in your classroom.

In the interim, I look forward to hearing about how you plan to connect Nancy’s adventures with what your students are learning in the classroom.

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Collaboration



Who Grades The Teacher?

Just wanted to share this very relevant and timely article from The Christian Science Monitor Weekly about the impact of new teacher evaluation practices.  See > “Back to school: How to measure a good teacher.”

“Back to school: Perhaps the most controversial education reform is how to measure a good teacher. As the trend to overhaul teacher evaluations catches fire, some teachers find that new feedback and mentoring programs can lead to ‘incredible’ results with their students.”



Making Learning Relevant: Election 2012

I originally shared a few relevant resources for teaching media literacy with our social studies team in How Do We Know What We Know, (20 Aug 2012).   While teaching media literacy and politics falls nicely within the social studies curriculum, there are many ways to use Election 2012 as a relevant and timely teaching tool across the curriculum.  The New York Times did an incredible job of compiling a comprehensive list of curriculum resources for every subject area.

See > Election 2012: Teaching Ideas and Resources by Sarah Kavanagh, Holly Epstein Ojalvo and Katherine Schulten (28 Feb 2012).

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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Resources




Greetings and Welcome Back, SS Team!

I just wanted to share with you this very relevant professional development opportunity offered by Facing History, and Ourselves that focuses on the very common core skills that are central to the social studies curriculum, e.g., “enabling students to become more news literate and separate news from noise?”

How Do We Know What We Know? – Truth and the News, September 27, 2012, 9:00 – 4:00.  Click here to register! 

On a related note…. this year’s election promises to be filled with many authentic opportunities for teaching media literacy skills, so I thought I’d pass along some additional resources you might find of value to engage students in thinking critically about the advertisements they see on television:

Using YouTube to Teach Presidential Election Propaganda: 12 Representative Videos

“Analyzing Presidential Campaign Propaganda” by D. Cochran (University of Wisconsin)

The Living Room Candidate database of political commercials going back to 1952.

Get students involved by asking them to research and create their own 30 second political advertisement.  Or, if a longer project is not possible, consider creating some shorter activities by asking students to do some “fact checking” on campaign ads they see on TV, via the following websites:

See >

See also >

See also >

The Political Ad Analysis Worksheet created by Frank Baker can also be used to help students focus on multiple elements of the ads.   See >

Finally, if you are looking for some grade level  alternative texts or other resources to use in the classroom, please feel free to stop by or drop me a note.  I’d be happy to do some research based on your needs.

How Do We Know What We Know?


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