Resources to Engage Students and Enhance Learning

It can be difficult to find the right website to use in lesson planning, specifically one that contain videos, activities, games or other engaging material. I am highlighting three that stand out: two because of their high-quality content & their alignment w/the Common Core (BrainPop & PBS LearningMedia), & one that specializes in hard-to-find educational videos (Kanopy Streaming Video).

These media resources are helpful to use while creating lesson plans for your classes and for use with students in the classroom. In addition to containing subject and topic specific videos, they are also rich in lesson planning and activity ideas, many aligned to the common core.

BrainPOP creates animated, curriculum-based content. Resources include: movies, quizzes, games, mobile apps, experiments, activity pages, and much more covering hundreds of topics within Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, and Health. All content is aligned to and searchable by state standards including Common Core.

PBS LearningMedia provides access to thousands of classroom-ready, curriculum-targeted digital resources. Resources are aligned to Common Core and national standards and include videos and interactives, as well as audio, documents, and in-depth lesson plans. You can browse by standards, grade level, subject area, and special collections.  You must be a SOE faculty member or student to access this resource. Please contact me if you have issues accessing the site.

Kanopy Streaming Video is an on-demand streaming video service for educational institutions that provides access to more than 26,000 films. Over 80 subject areas range from Global Studies & Languages to the Arts, to Education (K-12); Technical Training to Career Development to LGBT.

For more media resource ideas, visit the Education Lesson Planning guide, or contact me directly at

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Halloween Story Time Celebration

halloween1Milne Library will host a Halloween Story Time Celebration for children and their caregivers! This event open to the entire community and is sponsored by the Young Children’s Council and students from the School of Education. All ages are welcome, though these stories are geared toward the under-10 age group (appropriate for preschoolers).

Friday, October 30th
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Teacher Education Resource Center
(located on the lower-level of Milne Library)

Story Time is performed by members of the Young Children’s Council and refreshments, songs and crafts will be provided.

Milne Library’s address is 1 College Circle, Geneseo, NY 14454.  Parking is available on Main Street; park by Ward Place, walk down the hill, and you will arrive at Milne Library! Look for signage to direct you into the library entrance.

For more information or to RSVP (walk-ins are welcome!) send an email to Dan Staton – or Michelle Costello –

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Need Help! Imaginarium Curator to Assist SOE Students

The Imaginarium is a place of creativity. It is an open area that contains materials, ideas, and tools that can be used to enhance learning. School of Education students can use the space to meet for projects, use the material to create bulletin boards, complete assessment pieces, and use a variety of resources, models, and manipulates available in TERC to enhance lessons.

imaginarium-collageTeachers can send students to the Imaginarium as a resource of ideas for lesson plans, projects, and unit plans.

The area is also open to the community. We would love to encourage members to explore the fiction and nonfiction novels available for variety of grade levels. In addition, there are many games and resources available for students to practice skills.

Office hours are available on Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6-8pm. Please stop by and meet with the Imaginarium curator for help with your projects.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.” So visit the Imaginarium and allow your imagination to flow.

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The Power of Video in Teaching and Learning!

I’m happy to announce a new resources available to SUNY Geneseo School of Education (SOE) students and faculty – PBS LearningMedia.  The link to the site is included in this blog and can also be found on my Education Lesson Planning library guide.

android-161184_640PBS LearningMedia
PBS LearningMedia provides direct access to thousands of classroom-ready, curriculum-targeted digital resources. Resources are aligned to Common Core and national standards and include videos and interactives, as well as audio, documents, and in-depth lesson plans. The site contains free as well as *subscription-based content.

A sample from their new collection – Engaging Math Resources for Grades 5-8 – contains over 400 digital resources aligned with grades 5-8 Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and focused on critical middle school math concepts. Collection includes videos, interactives, animations, and infographics and addresses topics such as; Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number & Operations—Fractions, The Number System, Number & Operations in Base Ten.

*You must have a SOE email address to access the subscription-based content. (2013). Android. Retrieved from
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Changes to NOVELNY subscription databases

NOVELNY has replaced the databases Primary Search, Searchasaurus, and Kids’ Search with Kids InfoBits, and eLibrary Elementary.

infobitsKids InfoBits is a database created for students in Kindergarten through Grade 5. “It features a developmentally appropriate, visually graphic interface, a subject-based topic tree search and full-text, age-appropriate, curriculum-related magazine, newspaper and reference content for information on current events, the arts, science, health, people, government, history, sports and more” (Kids InfoBits, 2013).

For information on how to use this site visit the following tutorials:


eLibELE_AnimWIDEeLibrary Elementary is “the ultimate elementary full-text reference resource — tailors all the media types and search functionality of eLibrary for the young reader and researcher. It’s an easy-to-use general reference database designed specifically to engage and guide younger students” (eLibrary Elementary, 2013).

For information on how to use this database visit the following tutorial

eLibrary Elementary [online image]. (2013). Retrieved August 22, 2013,
eLibrary Elementary (2013). Retrieved from
Kids InfoBits [online image]. (2013). Retrieved August 22, 2013,
Kids InfoBits (2013). Retrieved from
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ERIC ( has a new look

The public access version of ERIERICC (Education Resources Information Center) has a new website and a new logo.

The website’s new interface is much more “google-like” where users can search for keywords, author, and title at the same time in the search box or they can use single terms.

The streamlined approach means the advanced search screen is no longer available, however, users will still be able to limit to peer reviewed or full-text available content at the start of their search. In addition, the results page allows for further refinement by letting users narrow their search to publication date, descriptor, source, author, publication type, education level or audience.

Additional features and content will be added on an ongoing basis, hopefully based upon browser feedback.

For more information visit ERIC or click on the note from the Commissioner.

ERIC [online image]. (2013). Retrieved August 22, 2013, from:
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Navigating the Common Core


Does hearing the phrase “common core” make you want to scream and run away! Does it make you scratch your head in confusion?

If these two simple words conjure up feelings of anxiety, mistrust or bewilderment, rest assured that there are resources available to help you navigate the path to understanding and implementing the Common Core State Standards.

What are the Common Core Standards?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). According to the CCSSO, the purpose of the standards is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them” (2012).

Forty-five states have adopted the new standards (including New York State) in hopes that students in every state will be held to the same level of expectations and that students will be college/career ready at commencement.


One of the many challenges or concerns about the common core is that it focuses on the knowledge and skills students should learn (the whys and whats) but not on the how to teach these skills. Instead of seeing it a challenge though, having the autonomy to teach in a creative and innovative manner can make owning the how a benefit.  There is help for teachers (and future teachers) in creating lessons that support the Common Core and on how to deliver those lessons.

Resources available to help in teaching the Common Core

In response to concerns over the Common Core, a plethora of resources have been created to help ease the transition, including; websites, books, articles, tutorials, & workshops (to name a few). Listed below are just a sampling of what is available.

Books (those owned by Milne Library include a call number)

  • Understanding Common Core State Standards by John Kendall (ISBN-13: 978-1416613312).
  • Pathways to the common core: Accelerating achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, & Christopher Lehman – LB3060.83 .C36 2012
  • The core six: Essential strategies for achieving excellence with the common core by Harvey F. Silver, R. Thomas Dewing, & Matthew J. Perini – LB3060.83 .S576 2012
  • Common core mathematics in a PLC at work. Grades K-2 by Matthew R. Larson – QA13 .C5656 2012
  • Building number sense through the common core by Bradley S. Witzel, Paul J. Riccomini, & Marla L. Herlong – QA141 .W58 2013
  • Close reading of informational texts: Assessment-Driven instruction in grades 3-8 – Electronic resource
  • Common Core curriculum maps in English Language Arts, grades K-5 – curr CC 372.6 C657 2012
  • Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts: Grades 6-8 – Electronic resource
  • Supporting students in a time of core standards : English Language Arts, grades 9-12 by Sarah Brown Wessling, with Danielle Lillge, & Crystal VanKooten -LB1631 .W358 2011


  • – Common Core-aligned educational resources, instructional content, performance tasks, and assessment guidelines and materials developed by NYSED.
  • – New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy and Core Curriculum.
  • – The Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project provides educators with high-quality, low-cost curriculum tools based on the Common Core State Standards for ELA.
  • – Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics and Core Curriculum.
  • – Core Math Tools is a suite of interactive software tools and are appropriate for use with any HS mathematics curriculum and compatible with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
  • School Library Journal – Common Core blog, chock-full of wonderful articles and resources to help in lesson planning.



  • Teaching Channel – Contains videos on implementing the Common Core.
  • EngageNY – Common Core Video Series.
  • The Hunt Institute – a series of video vignettes that explain the Standards in far greater depth.
  • – bringing the Common Core to Life videos.


April 10, 2013, 2:30pm-4:00pm, Newton 209
Why School Librarians can be a teachers best ally: Common Core support from the library (Jim Belair, Kathleen Jaccarino, Ann Fox & Howard Enis)

In this panel presentation school librarians will share their knowledge about the Common Core and the resources and collaboration services they can provide to help teachers understand and implement the standards. Librarians will be represented from an elementary school, middle school, high school and BOCES.  For more information about how School Librarians can help educators with the Common Core Standards, take a look at this article.

To register for the presentation click here.

For questions or concerns about any of these resources, please contact Michelle Costello (

CCSSO & NGA Center. (2012). Mission Statement. Retreived from
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