Say It Out Loud - Talking Dictionaries

megaphone picHave you ever come across a word while reading a book, newspaper, etc., that you simply were not sure how to pronounce?  Did you look it up in the dictionary only to find the pronunciation designated by a bunch of strange lines, squiggles and other symbols?  Sure, we all learned how to decipher the symbols back in junior high, but does anyone really remember it all?  I think not!  Ok, now all you English teachers out there take a deep breath and calm down, but sometimes we just need some extra help.  Well, just in time, I give you "Talking Dictionaries".  These great online dictionaries provide an actual audio playback of the word.  There are several websites that offer this service, but the two I like the best are and

Guatemala Sinkhole

photo of sinkholeI know what you're thinking, "this can't be real".  The first time I saw the images I thought they were photoshopped, but I was wrong.  The Guatamala Sinkhole in downtown Guatemala City is about 60 feet wide and about 300 feet deep.  Scientist believe that Tropical Storm Agatha played a part in the sinkhole formation.  Guatemala City is built on a "pumice fill", ash and rock debris from ancient volcanic eruptions. Water saturated the ash filled soil and when it bacame too heavy it collapsed.  A three-story building is said to have fallen into the hole.

Online WishList

gift boxGrandma still buying you cute, puppy sweaters even though you stopped wearing them a few lifetimes ago?  Well never fear, WishList is here.  Shop the web and save all the items you've been hoping or dreaming about in a convenient online wishlist.  Make multiple wishlists: Birthday, Holidays, Want, Need, If I Win the Lotters (hey, we can all dream).  Make each list private (only you can see it) or public (send friends and family a link to your list).

Internet Search Mashup with

keyboard picture is a hidden gem.  It looks quite plain with the date and a rather large clock in the middle of the page and not much else.  It's the type of website page you would normally skip right over because not much seems to be goiing on, but you would be wrong to dismiss it.  Behind it's simple exterior beats the heart of a mega-mashup internet search engine.  Start typing your search terms and as each letter is typed the search engine automatically starts giving you detailed results divided into sections, including Google, Google Blogs, Google images, Wikipedia, and YouTube. 

Learning with FunBrain

Parents and teachers, are you looking for new ways to entertain and educate children? I recently came across FunBrain, a sister site of FactMonster and InfoPlease, that offers a variety of fun activities for grade levels K-8. Children can choose from a variety of interactive games, MadLibs (yay, MadLibs are still around!), web books and web comics, and other resources to improve reading and math skills. Not only is there a wealth of tools for children, FunBrain has teacher resources as well.Teachers can find games that best match a desired grade level or subject to make teaching fun!

You can find other useful sources on our Kids' Page too. Happy hunting & learning this new school year!

Horror Online (Plus One Scary Book)

The library has a lot of great horror novels, but books are not the only place you can find a great horror story! I was poking around through my bookmarks last night when I came across a few online horror sites I hadn't looked at in a while. The first one I came across was The Dionaea House. This is a piece of online fiction that incorporates several blogs to tell a frightening story of a house that has the ability to appear in multiple cities, change its interior, and make its inhabitants disappear. I made the mistake of reading this late at night some years ago--you were warned.

Color Photos of the Great Depression

The Denver Post Photo Blog has an amazing set of photos - Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 - from the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.  They are reproductions from color slides taken by the US Farm Security Administration from 1939-1943.  The photos are from all over the country, including some from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.  I think my favorite photo from the set is a real life "Rosie the Riviter," I love how her face is mirrored in the side of the "Vengeance" dive bomber.

Rosie the Riviter

StumbleUpon Fantastic New Websites

Searching the web has gotten a lot more creative with StumbleUpon.  Create a free account and as you search the web rating different sites, StumbleUpon delivers back you to you the websites it thinks are mostly closely related to your needs and wants.  The more you rate websites that you visit, the better results StubleUpon can devliver back to you.  Go ahead, try it! 

Nifty Website: Ransom Note Generator

Thanks to a favorite blog of mine, Man Made DIY, I learned about Ransom Note Generator. This generator is a basic site that allows you to enter in a phrase and will generate your phrase with random letters! So if you're ever interested in making a ransom note or send a creative note to show off your techy skills, use this site!

Your Pathway to Knowledge

Also, Man Made DIY is an interesting site to follow for tutorials on neat and unique crafts. They also post about inspirational sources, neat videos, and products. Some tutorials are simple, others are complex; but this site has never ceased to entertain (and educate) me!


Be Creative with BeFunky

A major perk of the internet is the wealth of sites that offer tools that you can use at no cost! For folks who have photographs that are a bit on the drab side or would like to play with, consider BeFunky, a website that allows you to add artistic elements to your photographs.

If making your photos cool(er) isn't enough, BeFunky recently added editing tools! Here are a couple samples I used with BeFunky's Photo Effects on a black & white photo I took in Denton, TX.

Here is the original: 

Denton BW

Pinhole Effect:

Syndicate content