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Save the Date: Reform Symposium Conference #RSCon3

I’m pouting a little bit today.  You see, this is the time of year when Twitter springs to life with plans for the ISTE conference.  I won’t be there this year because I’m a little busy what with starting a school and all.  I’ll be stalking those of you who are going to be at ISTE and living vicariously through you.  I am bummed to be missing out on the ISTE fun but I am looking forward to connecting and learning with everyone at the Reform Symposium virtual conference.   If you aren’t familiar with the Reform Symposium, it is time you get familiar with it.  Honestly, what could be better than 3 days of professional development with all of your edu best buddies from around the world in your jammies?  That’s right, not much.  RSCon3 will be held from Friday July 29th to Sunday July 31st.  We are on our way to being the biggest global online conference in education.  With more than 65 presenters and 12 keynotes and thousands of conversations, it is sure to be a fantastic weekend!  This conference is organized by educators (yours truly included) for educators.  Best of all, the conference is completely and totally FREE!!  You really can’t beat that! So, go ahead and pull up that calendar right now and save the date so you don’t forget.  Want to tell another educator how much you appreciate them?  Go ahead and invite them to the conference as well.  They will be thrilled that they have such a kind and thoughtful friend that thought to include them. If  you are an administrator, please send the Reform Symposium flyer to your staff.  Did I mention this is FREE professional development?! If you happen to think of it in the next month, take a minute to check out the organizer page and THANK those people profusely; pulling off a conference like this takes a lot of organization and planning.  I am honored to be working with such inspiring people!

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Extreme Speed Booking:Using Technology to help kids love reading

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Evaluate, Fun & Games, inspiration, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 23-01-2012

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What it is:  What makes technology SO great is the way that it can make life (and teaching) more productive and fun.  Over the years, I have found so many ways that technology can make reading more rewarding for both kids who love to read, and kids who dread reading.  Today, I created an “Extreme Speed Booking” website for @michellek107′s class at Anastasis.  I created the site quickly using Weebly, an awesome WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website editor.  Drag and drop website building is where it is at!  The idea behind the site is to introduce students to a variety of books and form classroom book groups.  How does Extreme Speed Booking work?  A whole lot like speed dating.  :)   Students spend a little time with each book and then rate them accordingly with “I want to read more”,  “Interesting”, “Not for me”, or “I’ve already read”.  Students can also make a note of how interested they are in reading the book (maybe a 1-10 scale)?  This process introduces students to a variety of books, genres and authors.  Students may come across titles and authors they wouldn’t otherwise find.  It also helps teachers form classroom book groups that are of high-interest and investment to students because they had input.
How to integrate Extreme Speed Booking into the classroom: Extreme Speed Booking is a fun way to build book groups/literature circles.  I love this method of exposure to a variety of books, authors, and genres.
For our purposes at Anastasis, I created the Weebly website with a link to the “look inside” on Amazon.  Because all of our students have an iPad, this was the simplest way to get the book preview into the hands of the students.  Don’t have technology?  No problem!  Just make sure that you have enough copies of books so that each student can sit with the physical book during the Extreme Speed Booking sessions.  If you have classroom computers, you can do a blend of both.
Explain to your students that they will have 2 minutes with each book.  During that time, they can choose to read the introduction or first chapter, read the book jacket, or flip through and look at chapter titles and pictures.  The goal during this time is to discover whether this is a book that they would like to read.  It is okay if it isn’t a book they would want to read…the goal is to find out which book they are most excited about.  After the two minutes is up, sound a bell that signifies it is time to switch.  Before they switch, students can quickly make a note of the Title and rate the book.  Continue on until students have had 2 minutes with each book.  Collect the notes students have made and formulate book groups based on interest in the book.
I’ve added a few extra pages to our Extreme Speed Booking website including places where students can explore other books that they may like to read (Shelfari and Book Wink).  I’ve also added a form that book groups can fill out as they are reading.  The form gets emailed directly to the teacher.  Our students will probably be blogging quite a bit of reflection about their reading.  I thought it might also be useful to have a place for groups to answer questions, make comments, or update their teacher with their progress as a group.
@michellek107 created a Google form for her students to fill out while they are speed booking.  Great idea!  She is so smart.  This will make it easy to collect all of the responses in one place to form groups.
Suggestions for books:
  • Choose books from a variety of levels, make sure you have a few book options for each reading level in your classroom.
  • Choose a variety of authors and genres, this is a great way to expose students to authors and genres they don’t normally seek out on their own.
  • Set up classroom computers with some book trailer videos from a site like Book Wink…this is a great “introduction” to a book or genre and acts much like a movie trailer.
  • Choose a variety of books from ONE author.  After students have completed reading in their smaller groups, they can come back together and do an author study as a whole class; each group contributing something a little different.
  • Choose a variety of books from ONE genre.  Students can read books in the smaller groups but discuss common features of the genre as a class.
  • Choose a variety of books on a similar topic.  Students can read books in the smaller groups and then discuss the different character perspectives, author approaches, etc.  This would be really neat to do with historical fiction, Holocaust fiction, etc.
  • Use non-fiction books that reinforce topics and themes that you are using in other academic areas.
  • Use biographies of presidents, change makers, authors, etc.   Students can learn about a specific person in the smaller reading group and share what they have learned with the larger group later.
Tips:   Extreme Speed Booking is a lot of fun with tech, but equally doable without tech!  If you have access to a 1-1 tech environment, or can reserve the computer lab for a round of speed booking, you can use my technique above.  Weebly makes it very easy to do this!
If you haven’t already, check out Shelfari and create a virtual bookshelf of book recommendations for your class or school.  You can see our Shelfari shelf for Anastasis below.  If you teach 3rd-12th grade it is worth checking out Book Wink!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Extreme Speed Booking in  your classroom!

Comments (10)

What an awesome idea! A couple of questions…are you a paid subscriber to Webly? How did you embed the amazon books onto the site? And how did you set up Shelfari to just be recommended books?

Thanks!

This is an absolutely fabulous idea! I love it so much! Thank you for sharing!

I’m a school librarian and I do this (the non-tech version) with my 8th grade students to get them more excited about classic literature. They love it and teachers request it year after year.

love this idea! It would be great for helping to fire up a love of reading in kids by giving them tools to choose what they want to read.

Hello my name is Sarah Webb and I am in the spring EDM 310 class. I love the speed reading idea. I really want to teach elementary age children and think this idea would help the children to be more engaged in books and help with vocabulary. I know when I was in elementary school reading was a war between teacher and student. This idea, however, will let the students choose their own books and learn to not judge a book by the cover. I hope that when I start teaching I will be able to use this in my classroom and know I will be able to see improvement in children’s reading levels.

I will be summarizing my visits to your blog by posting on my blog. You can go to my blog or the class blogto read the summary if you would like on February 12, 2012

Deanne- I am not a paid subscriber to Weebly- I just use the free education version. I didn’t embed the books…I faked it. I took a screen shot of each book and linked it to the “look inside” page.
I had to go through and build a shelf of my own to recommend the books. It was not a quick process as I gave each book a summary and grade level appropriateness. Then I just embedded the bookshelf as HTML in Weebly.

Hope that helps!

Hi, as a school librarian I too have been doing th elow tech version for years. We are just entering the one-to-one device arena so I would love to see a working version of your weebly website to get some ideas. Can you give me the URL?

Also check out my Senior School Blog. Loads of good reading and research links throughout.

Cheers

SB
http://cabraseniorlibrary.wordpress.com/

A wondeful idea! And it’s so important to interest kids in reading books: it’s not something they normally do, and won’t unless you get them excited about it.

If you’re going to use their feedback to pick a book to read with them (I’m thinking class readers), Google Docs Forms (as mentioned) is a fantastic way to do so.

Think that might also be a way to get them to take it more seriously: what they say MATTERS!

Link is in the post :)

For children learning the basics of reading, there are a lot of good apps that read along with the child. A Jazzy Day app is perfect for learning and recognizing words at an early age, as it has a storybook within the app. In addition, it will teach a young child about jazz music; there is a game within the app in which the child must recognize certain instruments by their sight and sound. Here is the website:
http://www.themelodybook.com/a-jazzy-day

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