Schoolnurse’s Weblog

Converting Ebooks to Kindle format
January 18, 2013, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

I love my kindle, but sometimes I have to convert ebooks into a format that will work on it. I have a Mac, and use the software Calibre.  It is a free, open source library management program available at .   Start by opening Caibre. Click on the little icon in the upper left hand corner that says “Add books” .  You will see a window pop up that says “select books”. FInd the book you want to convert, and click the button that says “open”.  A window should pop up that says “adding”. It takes a few seconds, but you should then see your book in the list of books in Calibre. Move the cursor to your book title and click just one to highlight it.  If you click twice that will open the book for reading, not what you want.  Go to the top toolbar and click on the icon that has gold arrow, it says “Convert ebooks”.  Another window will pop up.  You should see details about your book. In the upper right hand corner of this window you should seen the words “Output format” and a button with two little arrows pointing up and down. Click on the down arrow and when you see the word “mobi” click on it.  Go to the lower right hand corner and click on “ok”.  Your Calibre home screen will appear, and you will see the word “jobs” in the lower right hand corner with a picture of a star that will twirl around until your book is converted. 

     Nowbook that your book is converted, you can read it on your Kindle.  To move it to your kindle open your finder window and do a search for .mobi. Connect your kindle to your computer. Look for the title of your book in finder, and drag it to the kindle icon on the left. Open your kindle by double clicking on it.  Make sure your book is in the “documents” folder.  Next time you open your Kindle the new book should appear.


How to Get E-Books, Audio Books, and Other Media from the Westchester Public Library
April 22, 2012, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Technology is Your Friend

Kindle art by jbracken    I have a Kindle 2nd generation that I just love.  It meets my reading needs and it has fun games. I was thrilled when a few months ago when the Westchester Public System started offering Kindle format books for loan.  Before that I  used the library website to take out e-books to read on my laptop.  Everybody I know is trying to save money these days, and what better way than by utilizing your public library. I encourage everybody who has a phone, laptop, or reading device to get started.

  1. You need a valid library card; get the card out, you will need the number on your library card to log in.
  2. Your log in password will be either the last 4 digits of the phone number you gave when you signed up at the library, or four zeros
  3. Go to:
  4. Log in with your library card # and password
  5. Go to the “My account” section first.  Go to “Lending Periods” and choose the length of your loans.  I put “14 days” since I get busy and want the extra time to finish a book. You can always go back and change this. Click “done”.
  6. Books come in different formats, here are all sorts of e-books, audio books, and kindle books.  You want to have all the software you need on your device before you take out any books. The Disney Online Books do not require any special software. (These by the way are very cool. They are interactive and very entertaining.)
  7. Look on the left side of the page for “Digital Software” Click on  “Overdrive Media Console” This will take you to
  8. Follow the directions for downloading the correct software for your device
  9. Go back to the library page
  10. Go back to “Digital Software”  and click on  Adobe® Digital Editions which will take you to

11. Follow the directions for downloading the correct software for your device there.  You may need to give an email address to them, and register your device.

12. This step is optional. If you have an iPhone, iPad or iTouch, you may want to download a Kindle app so you can read kindle format books. To do that go here:

13. Go back to the library and start browsing for books, video, and music for loan. You can use the “search” feature to find a particular book or author.  Otherwise you can find books by just by using the links on the left side of the page that say things like “browse collections” or “audio books”.  You can also click on a featured book on the front page, but these are often not available. Just like a library, not everything is available all the time.  You will see a link next to the book that says “add to cart” if it is available.  If you want the book click on that and follow the directions. You can take out up to 10 items at a time. It is like shopping on the Internet, you check out when you are finished.

14. If an item is not available and you want to be put on a waiting list, click on “place a hold”. They email you when it is ready to take out.  You can put a hold on up to 10 books.  You then have 72 hours to take the book out, or you get taken off the list.

15. If you are browsing you can also add a book to a wish list by clicking on “add to wish list” .You can put an unlimited number of books on your wish list.

16. What I do not like about the site is the “Continue Browsing” tab that appears when you select a book to take out.  It does not take you back to the last page you were on; it will take you back to the home page.

17. There are all sorts of help and support features available if you have problems.  Just click on Digital Help on the upper left side of the page.

Bed Bugs 101
March 15, 2012, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Health, School Health | Tags: , , ,
Adult bedbugs with larvae and eggs

Thank you to the Center for Invasive Species Research on Flickr

Bed bugs are a huge problem in hotels, apartment buildings, houses and school in our area.  They do not discriminate, and can be found in the homes of the rich or poor. The Spanish word for bed bug is “chinche”. My friend Sharon gave a great presentation to a group of School Nurses yesterday.  Click here for Bed Bugs 101:bedbugsMarch2012

The Dangers of Using Magnets as a Fashion Statement
February 17, 2012, 1:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

The Dangers of Using Magnets as a Fashion Statement

by Alison Fricke Friday, February 03, 2012

Tiny, round, strong magnets known as Nanodots, Buckyballs, Desk Dots, and Zen Magnets are meant to be an educational toy, used to create geometric structures. Instead these magnets are being used by pre-teens and teens to simulate a lip, tongue, or cheek piercing. Sometimes this leads to kids swallowing or inhaling them. If a person of any age swallows more than one magnet, or a magnet and magnetic metal object this is a medical emergency. They need to seek immediate medical attention. The magnets and/or metal will attract each other inside the intestines, and may cause serious injury. Perforations (a hole in the intestines), blockage, internal bleeding and even death have been known to happen from swallowing these seemingly harmless magnets. These magnets should be kept away from children of all ages. For more information and video check out the Washington Post website:

Here is a warning from the Consumer Products Safety Commission about magnets:

Consumer Product Safety Commissionmagnet[1].pdf

Wii are Smart
April 28, 2010, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Health, Technology is Your Friend

Childhood obesity is an epidemic problem in the United States, and lack of exercise contributes to this issue.  One goal of Physical Education in schools is to promote a life-long physical activity for health and fitness. Physical Education and other school based exercise programs are ways to battle obesity, but any physical activity can put students at risk for injury.  In addition, not all children have full access to a PE program in school. Students with injuries or chronic disabilities are often prevented from fully participating in PE due to lack of appropriate adaptations.  An educator’s goal may be for students to have a safe and effective Physical Education program, but children are more concerned with enjoying physical activity.  If students are to develop enduring exercise habits, educators need to make sure that they use strategies that provide students with enjoyable learning activities.  This includes teaching motor skills and the value of exercise for health and fitness.  Is there technology that can be used to teach children to enjoy exercise?  The Nintendo Wii, a video game platform, gives users an alternative to sedentary video games by providing an opportunity for exergaming. Exergaming is a term used to describe the use of video games in an exercise activity.  The Nintendo Wii, has interactive exercise games including the  Wii Sport and Wii Fit programs.  The Wii has an interactive video game console that uses motion sensor controls to mimic sport activity such as tennis, boxing, bowling, baseball, and even hula hooping.  It requires little space, works on most televisions, is customizable, and has various difficulty levels.  The Wii can be used to encourage children, particularly those who are obese, sedentary, or disabled, to participate in exercise, if they find using it enjoyable.

In this study the Wii gaming device was investigated as a tool that can be used to promote engagement and enjoyment in physical activity for 4th and 5th grade students.  Findings from a questionnaire and focus group showed that the children enjoyed the Wii games.

Review of Literature

Any time children are engaged in physical activity there is a risk for injury, so it is important for designers of any exercise program to have safety in mind.  Injuries in Physical Education are on the rise; there has been a 150% increase in injuries during the period from 1997 to 2007. Elementary school-aged children (5-10 years old) had almost double the number of head injuries, compared with other injuries (Nelson, Alhajj, Yard, Comstock, & McKenzie, 2009).

Technology such as the Nintendo Wii is meant to entertain through interactive gaming, but can have unanticipated physical fitness benefits, and change attitudes toward exercise (Klein & Simmers, 2009). More than 83 percent of children in the U.S. have a video game console in their home, and those who have them play an average of 49 minutes a day (Roberts, Foeher, & Rideout, 2005). Integrating familiar technology into education, and using gaming in particular can engage students in (Prensky, 2002; Prensky, 2005). The Wii can capitalize on children’s motivation to play video games and provide a healthy alternative to regular video games, (Daley, 2009). Virtual simulation such as that provided by the Wii can be used to engage learners in new ways (Stewart, Ezell, DeMartino, Rifai, & Gatterson, 2006). The Wii can be used to motivate students in Physical Education and promote exercise enjoyment (Trout, & Christie, 2007). Playing active video games, such as the Wii, on a regular basis may have positive effects on children’s overall physical activity levels (Mhurchu,, 2008). Studies give conflicting results in terms of the quality and intensity of exercise obtained through video game such as the Wii. One study shows that while playing virtual sports using the Wii, users expended more energy than if they had played a sedentary game, but not as much as playing the sport itself (Graves, Stratton, Ridgers, Cable, 2007). Other studies show that the Wii can be effective in promoting moderate intensity exercise that is comparable to walking or jogging (Graf, 2009; Maddison,, 2007).  Daley (2009) states that some video exercise games do promote the recommended levels of exercise, but more quality research is needed to determine the effectiveness and clinical relevance of using videogames as exercise tools.

A questionnaire called the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) is an exercise specific measure of enjoyment developed by Kendzierski, & DeCarlo (1991).  The PACES questionnaire has been successfully used with children (Crocker, Bouffard, & Gessaroli, 1995) ,and modified to be more useful in children (Motl, et al., 2001).  Since then the PACES has been shown to be a reliable and valid tool available to measure activity enjoyment in children (Paxton et. al., 2008; Moore, et. al., 2009).

Methodology and Findings

The purpose of this study is to provide information on how 4th and 5th grade students will perceive using the Nintendo Wii for exercise, particularly if they find it enjoyable.  An after school program, the “Wii Club”, was formed and meet biweekly for three weeks.  Students were randomly chosen to participate from 4th and 5th graders who did not achieve results that were in the healthy zone on a reliable physical fitness test administered in physical education class called a fitnessgram.  The Cooper Institute fitnessgram has been shown to be a reliable measurement of student fitness. (Gehring, 2002; Mahar, 1998).

During the “Wii Club” students had the opportunity to use the Wii to exercise.  After having the opportunity to use the Wii, students attended a focus group, and also completed the PACES questionnaire regarding enjoyment of the activities they experienced.   Both the questionnaire and focus group showed that the Wii provided an enjoyable exercise experience.  Children enjoyed the non threatening approach to exercise.  One child stated, “The Wii does not judge you if you make a mistake.  You just move on and keep practicing”. The information from this study will be used to plan enjoyable and safe exercise programs for at risk students, the sedentary, the overweight, and disabled students.

References for my research can be found here:

Asthma in School
March 17, 2009, 9:31 pm
Filed under: 1

In the United States, 17.3 million people of all ages with have asthma, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One child in 13 (about 5 million) has been diagnosed with asthma, making it the most common chronic illness of childhood (Adams & Marano, 1994). Adams, P.F. & Marano, M.A. (1994). Current estimates from the National Health Interview Survey. Vital Health Statistics 1995, 10(193), 1094.

In the school district where I work Asthma is taken very seriously.  Our goal is to have a plan for each child with Asthma, and for the students to have access to their medications as well as a Registered Nurse available to assess their condition.  The School Nurses work very hard to educate teachers, staff, administrators, and parents on how to help students manage their Asthma in the school setting.

This school year I noticed a gap in the education we provide.  I found students that students were coming to the Health Office with breathing problems, and they were unable to describe their symptoms, and some were even unaware that they had Asthma.  It was time to educate students themselves on Asthma management.

I did not find Asthma education materials on the Internet that I thought would be appropriate for my students, so I made my own. It was made with software called ezedia, and requires the ezedia player. We decided to keep track of the students’ peak flow measurements, so important because the students could not always tell us if they were in distress.   The Cornell University has a great website with medical calculators, and we used their online peak flow calculator. You have to know the student’s height, and the calculator will tell you what the expected normal peak flow should be.  If you also input their current peak flow, it will tell what percentage of normal the meqasurement was.  That number should be more than 80%.  Since internet access is not always possible, I added formulas to a spreadsheet I found.

Dogs in School
October 23, 2008, 9:32 pm
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Digital Cameras Fun
Lulu just before the dog agility exhibition. She owns ten dogs, four of them are certified therapy dogs.

Last year some of our school administrators came up with the idea to have a program where a dog comes to school to help struggling students to read.   Supposedly it is research-based, and I did find an article in National Geographic about it.   A Librarian I know said she knew of another situation where children read to pigs.  The thinking is that the animals will not judge a child’s reading ability. I found out about the program when I saw this little white ball of fluff prancing through our carpeted library leaving a trail of dander behind it.  About two years ago a parent in another school insisted on bringing her family dog into a classroom to help her disabled son socialize.  In both of these situations nobody thought to take into account  the numerous children in our schools with asthma and allergies.  In the second situation there were two children exposed to the dog who became so ill that they were in the Emergency Room that evening.  When I mentioned this to my administrators, I was verbally attacked, “Whenever I try to do something good, there is somebody to ruin it”.

Our school has over 200 asthmatic children, and several others with severe dog allergies.  I tried to suggest a process where this could be set up, such as screening the participants.  I was met with resistance and labeled a dog hater.

I was able to work with my Medical Director, and she contacted my principal to come up with a plan.  First the School Nurse examined the list of participants to see if they had medical conditions that would be a problem if they were near a dog.  Students that were medically cleared had to have parental permission, and the parents had to state that their children did not have a problem being exposed to dogs.  Then administrators chose a somewhat segretated area of the school where the dogs and children could meet.   That area could not have a rug or cloth surfaces where dog hair and dander could linger. The custodians were in on the plan as well. They agreed to clean the reading area after the dog left.

When it came time to start the reading, things went off without incident.  I am not sure how much it helped the students, from what I understand they still have difficulty reading.  I am still trying to shake my reputation as a dog hater.   I have nothing against our canine friends,  but we have to care about the humans as well.