Thursday, April 28, 2011

Announcement and Sale from Kindle

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE my Kindle (the e-reader from Amazon).  At first I was a little worried because I really enjoy physical books, I can't give up my subscription to the newspaper etc. but the Kindle is so light and small, the font so easy to read, it automatically bookmarks your spot, and whenever I get stuck on a metro delay I always have a few books to read.

So I was really excited to see this announcement from Amazon:

"We are excited to announce that a new feature, Kindle Library Lending, will be coming later this year. Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 public libraries in the United States.

Kindle Library Lending will provide the same unique features customers love about Kindle and Kindle books, including the ability to read on any Kindle or free Kindle app, Whispersync technology that synchronizes your notes, highlights and last page read, real page numbers, and more. After a library book expires, if you ever decide to check it out again or purchase it from Amazon, all of your annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.

We are partnering with OverDrive, the leading provider of digital solutions to libraries, to bring a seamless library borrowing experience to Kindle. We will announce more information on Kindle Library Lending later this year."

Hopefully, this will give libraries enough time to prepare themselves for the onslaught of e-book readers who will want to virtually borrow books!

And Amazon is offering a special deal on the Kindle 3G - if you purchase it between now and May 8th, you will receive a "free" $25 Amazon gift card! Just check the box that says "add a $25 gift card at no extra cost" before adding the Kindle to your cart.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finally a new digital camera!

After browsing digital cameras for a while, yesterday I finally gave in and bought the Canon PowerShot SD1300IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Blue).  This is a massive improvement from my Olympus camera that has served me quite well for probably ten years but is almost twice the size of my new camera.  Embarrassingly, I noticed that my old Olympus is 3MP and has a memory card of 128MB (and probably cost a lot more than my new camera). 

So if you thought the pictures on my blog were kind of fuzzy my picture taking skills were only partly to blame!  Hopefully I can add a real review once I have had a chance to play with my new toy some more, and you will get to see some better quality pictures very soon!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Please offer suggestions for my blog.....

I've had a blog for about a month and a half and really appreciate everyone who stopped by and read it. So far, I seem to be writing about a mixture of things that I enjoy - living in Washington D.C., trip reports, books I've read, and some education policy stuff.  Also, you may notice small design changes every once in a while as I tweak it.

So my questions whether you are an experienced blogger or someone who just stumbled upon my blog, please comment with any thoughts:
  • Any suggestions on design?
  • What topics do you enjoy reading about the most?
  • Are there other topics you would like me to cover?
  • Any lessons learned from when you first started blogging?
  • Anything else you'd like to say about my blog?
Thank you for helping me get better!

Donor's Choose Gift Card Giveaway!

I used a random number generator to select the two projects submitted that will receive a $25 gift card to Donor's Choose:

The first winner is...... Allison for one of her projects listed here
The second winner is ..... Mariam for "Glam up our Nook - Now we Need Books"

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!  I have emailed both of you the gift card codes to the e-mail address you listed in your comment.  I hope that it helps get you closer to your goal!

And I have more exciting news ......I really loved reading about the projects people took the time to submit, so I randomly selected 5 additional projects to which I will personally donate $10 each. I decided each person could only win once so more projects could be highlighted.  I just made these donations directly at Donor's Choose.  Those winners are:

1) Jennifer for "Literacy learning at our level"
"I am requesting hands on literacy based materials including alphabet manipulatives, "hot dot" activities, and skill based puzzles. These materials will make it so that my literacy centers will be accessible to my struggling learners as well as my stronger students."

2) Helen for "The King School Series for serious first grade readers" 
"While some classrooms receive parental donations, this is not the case with most high poverty neighborhoods. The public library is over a mile away, which is far for families without a car. My students need more reading practice! These 22 new and carefully selected book titles will definitely help my first graders develop of love of reading at a young age."

3) Mrs. M for "Never enough books! Part 2 - Character Building"
"I have a fairly large classroom library (mostly purchased with my own money) but I always find that I am lacking books on certain subjects, such as character education, manners, and accepting others' differences. So, I am requesting 7 different book sets to help fill these gaps in my classroom library."

This project was fully funded by the time I got to it!  So I donated to one of the teacher's other projects: "Never enough books! Part 4 - All about where we live".

4) Liz for "Challenging Students Everywhere 2"
"Gifted students need to be challenged, not only in the classroom, but also at recess. The variety this playground equipment presents will give them a lot of choices, allow them to be creative with their activities, and help keep them physically active."

5) Jerri Ann for "Elmo makes a huge difference"
"My students attend a Title I school, grades K-8 and are much like fourth grade students nationwide, curious, anxious and excited about learning. The students have the ability to work in small groups but currently the logistics behind providing them with proper equipment is difficult without wasting a great deal of time. I would like to have an ELMO in my classroom so that we could easily move about, work as a class or move the ELMO quickly and without wasted time so that we can work in small groups in various places in the room."

If anyone is reading this wondering how to use a gift card to donor's choose or want to try out the organization with a small donation, it is super easy.  Just go to and search for a project either in your area or in a subject that interests you OR if you see a project that sounds interesting in this post, just click on any of the links and it will take you directly to that project with more information and an opportunity to donate.  When the project is fully funded you will receive a thank you note from the teacher showing how you helped make a difference.

Thank you to everyone who came to my blog and took the time to enter, I hope this helped spread the word about Donor's Choose and will get some projects closer to being funded and into classrooms!