Ms. Nancy's Library & Technology Blog

Empowering students with books and technology

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“the sun will come out/ tomorrow!”

April 13th, 2015 · Comments Off · Art

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

It’s been pretty rainy here, but it could happen…

Have a great week, everyone.

– Mrs. R

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Sea lions!

February 6th, 2015 · Comments Off · Educational Web Sites, Science & Math

This is a great website, too, with a “sea lion cam.”

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Great way to learn state capitals

February 6th, 2015 · Comments Off · Art, Educational Web Sites

One of the 5th graders found this video (thank you, A!) and here you go.

Love the visuals and the song on this.

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this week in Technology…

February 2nd, 2015 · Comments Off · Art, Author! Author!, Education

…we’re working on reading, math, reading, keyboarding, math and Google Docs.

Because we really like to write, that’s why!

And now, how about a beautiful picture for you, before we jump into the lesson?

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

(That’s Willie Nelson, with his pretty daughter, Amy, singing back-up, and his amazing harp player, Mickey Raphael. They like to make music.)

Here are some tricks I teach the students, re: writing:

I’m a writer, before I am anything else. I love being a teacher, a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, all of that. But before I was anything else in the world, I was a writer.

I “wrote” my first book, an alphabet book, when I was two and a half or so? I still have it. I didn’t know how to write, exactly, or spell, exactly, so I told my mom what I was trying to say and she wrote the words.

“A” was for acrobat.

I never gave up, and I still love writing. (Let’s see how many times I say “I” here. Sorry.) My teachers encouraged me, and friends and family. I wrote for my high school paper (a little) and my college paper (a lot), and went to work as a clerk for The Oregonian newspaper after that, where I wrote, wrote, wrote my head off.


* Don’t freeze up when you see a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper. Write “gah gah gah gah.” Write, “no, no, yes, yes, yes.” Write anything. Write: “I don’t know exactly what Mrs. R. wants me to write here, so I’ll just keep writing until I dream up something.”

* Write letters — to friends, to family members, to yourself. Write to invisible friends. Write to your grandma. Use 14- or 16-point, and write in a typeface that isn’t impossible to read. Flourishes and fancy-fancy looks good, but can be difficult to decipher.

* Write notes on cards, write notes on postcards, grab some old-fashioned stationery and envelopes. Cover the envelopes with stickers. Mail them. Snail mail still exists; learn (or re-learn) how to use it.

* Keep a journal. Write in it. Make collages, save ticket stubs and cool paper and whatever else you want — tuck it into the journal. Use colored pencils, pens, stickers, whatever you feel like. It’s yours.

* Maybe writing isn’t your thing, but music is. Maybe you’re a songwriter, but not a singer. Maybe you’re a singer, not a songwriter. Maybe you’re good at playing guitar, writing, and singing, like my buddy Willie Nelson. Or maybe your gift is painting. Gardening, knitting, doing math. Maybe you’re good with older people, or little kids. Maybe you’re a healer, and will help people feel better. My daughter had heart surgery a couple of years ago, and her surgeon, an artist in his own right, really loves to play and coach basketball. And save kids’ lives on the side. My point is — you have a gift, and you will figure this out as you go along. Look for the people who will help you hone it.

Have a great week.

– Mrs. R

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pretty, pretty pictures

January 11th, 2015 · Comments Off · Art

That’s all I have for you at the moment :)

Have a great week.

– Mrs. R

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

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coming up on winter break…

December 6th, 2014 · Comments Off · Art, Educational Web Sites, Joke of the Day

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

…and you know what that means. Lots of time for the kiddos to get bored. Maybe a trip to the library or bookstore is in order. Or perhaps some websites where they can have fun and learn a little something along the way…

Here are a few of our favorite sites we’ve been exploring in computer lab:

* The ultimate virtual Rube Goldberg machine

* Speaking of Rube Goldberg, this video is always a hit.

* How about some math? (IXL)

* Maybe a little more math? (FunBrain)

* Or perhaps some reading? (Starfall)

* Or a story or two, read by actors? (StorylineOnline)

* Maybe some vocabulary would break up the regular routine? (Free Rice)

How about a joke of the day? (The principal told us this one.)

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?


If you have any other ideas for fun, educational websites, please leave me a note in comments. Have a good December, everyone, and a lovely winter holiday when we get there.

– Mrs. R

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Tech Class this week…

November 11th, 2014 · Comments Off · Computers, GeoQuest

We have a short week, but will be working on our IXL math program, keyboarding, and perhaps a little geography.

Here is a post I wrote last year about my favorite app, MindSnacks. (No, they don’t give me a kickback for the promo.) (But they should!)

See everyone tomorrow…

– Mrs. R

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

October 16th, 2014 · Comments Off · Recipes, Thank yous

(Photo by Food Librarian)

This recipe courtesy of our own lovely and helpful Ms. Kmetz-Gonzalez. Try this out with help from your parents or a grown-up, kids.

Happy Halloween!!

– Mrs. R.

Pumpkin Cookies

Preheat oven to 350.

Add each ingredient in each column as given. Then add column 2 to column 1.

Column 1:
1 cup Crisco shortening
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin (15 oz can)
2 tsp. vanilla

Column 2:
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon

Add 2 cups chocolate chips (preferably milk chocolate ones).

(If you prefer, you can substitute 2 cups of nuts or 2 cups of golden raisins.)

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (not mandatory, but they come out great this way) or spray with nonstick spray. Drop a heaping tablespoon of dough per cookie onto the sheet… you can get around 15 cookies on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 – 12 minutes (in my oven, 8 minutes was plenty… adjust for your own oven).

Makes around 6-7 dozen cookies.​

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“OK, enough questions for now.”

October 7th, 2014 · Comments Off · Education

That’s what I often say to my students, and no, I’m not proud of it. I wish we could answer every question, for hours on end. But sometimes we need to get to work and the questions (comments, shout-outs) are derailing us.

Then I read this quote, from NBA player Jason Collins:

“…I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

Sometimes when you ask a question, there are three or four other people in the class wondering the same thing, wanting to share something identical, or similar, but they are maybe too shy to raise their hands. So you’re asking it on behalf of the group. Other times, you’re the only one who has that particular question, and that’s fine, too.

Kids, keep asking questions, and I will keep answering (or doing my best at attempting to answer) them.

What are we working on in computer lab this week? I’m working them so hard. Seriously. Even the littles! We’re keyboarding (Typing Agent and DanceMat Typing), we’re working a bit in Google Docs, we’re playing Wild Kratts on PBS Kids, we’re doing the practice questions in IXL, my favorite math program. (You can log in as a guest and do a fast 20 questions or so before it boots you out.)

Short week this week — students have Friday, Oct. 10th, off (staff development day).

Be well, learn a lot, play hard, have fun…

– Mrs. R

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Safety at the ocean & whatever happened to Pixieland? Plus Google Docs & some very pretty pictures

September 22nd, 2014 · Comments Off · Art, Education, Misc., Writing

This week’s lessons:

This time of year, and again in the spring, I talk with the students about sneaker waves on the Oregon coast. (Warning: That video may be a little intense for the younger kids; you might want to preview it first.) My family loves the beach, and in spite of safety warnings, knowing about sneaker waves, and being, by nature, pretty cautious people, we were almost taken down by a sneaker wave last spring. So sharing this video, which aired last fall, is a sort of community service from our family to yours. Fall and spring are when the coast is the most unpredictable, so let’s be careful out there.

Now on to something a little less serious.

Pixieland was a fun amusement park, near the town of Otis, just outside of Lincoln City, where we went when I was a kid. It was open for a few years, then disappeared. What happened behind the scenes? I always imagined it was like a story from the vaudeville theater that was at the park. “You must pay the rent!” “I can’t pay the rent!” or something like that. My sister and I were always trying to pick out the exact location when we drove by. This video (which is from 2011) answered all of our questions.

Here is a new clip from Oregon Field Guide about the gray whales we see occasionally. Be prepared — the captain really loves whales.

More, more, more: We’re also spending a lot of time in lab on Google Docs, learning how to put together presentations (similar to PowerPoint), create documents (for stories, poems, letters and songs) and build our own websites! Kind of awesome, really, to see the kids use this amazing learning tool. They’re memorizing their usernames and passwords, so please ask them to share those with you and show your their files. They will need Google Docs for middle school and high school, too. As long as they are with our school district, this will be their cloud storage. I do encourage the students to create a second personal Google Docs account. They can share/send their files to that account and have a back-up, in case they change districts or just want to have an extra parking spot, so to speak.

Enjoy your week! And here, have a few photos ;)

– Mrs. R

Pelican squadron (that’s what a flock of pelicans is called, for real), heading back to Depoe Bay.

Purple & green!

Yaquina Head Light

Can you see him?

(Photos by Steve Rawley)

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