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Audible Kids

What it is:  Audible Kids was a really exciting find for me today because I am writing an article for the upcoming issue of iLearn magazine about iPods in education.  Audible Kids is a website that engages kids in storytelling through audiobooks.  Kids can download books, read and post reviews for each book, and share their favorites with others.  Kids can discover books searching by keyword, age group, category, award winners, and more.  Students can listen to samples of the stories before they download them with a handy in-browser play feature.  While Audible Kids is not a totally free site, they do have some excellent audiobooks that are free to download.  Roscoe Orman (of Sesame Street) is one of the cheif storytellers on Audible Kids.  Enhanced Audible Kids audiobooks have pictures with the story, perfect for the iPod Touch or a computer center.  For free downloads click here.  Other books range in price from about $0.99 to $20.00.    How to integrate Audible Kids into the classroom:  Because free products for the classroom excited me the most, I will focus on how you can use the free downloads in your classroom.  Use Audible Kids downloads for an iPod listening center, or classroom computer listening center.  Students can register for free Audible Kids accounts and discuss the stories in an online environment with their own classmates as well as children around the world.  Use the stories as a place for students to discover rich storytelling.  Encourage them to listen for voice, emphasis, tone, rhythm as the story is read to them.  Students who learn to listen for these and are exposed to excellent storytellers, will become more expressive readers themselves.  Students could listen to the audiobooks and use a computer drawing program (or just paper and crayon) to draw their own pictures to go along with the story.  This is a great way for kids to learn visualization reading strategies.  If you want to take it a step further, pictures could be gathered into iPhoto or a slideshow accompanied by the audio.  Students will be the illustrator for the audiobooks!     Tips:  If you are in a Mac environment, download Skitch.  Your sudents can draw their pictures on the computer as they listen and they can easily be uploaded to the Skitch website or into iPhoto, Keynote, or Garage Band to create their own illustrated audiobook.  So neat!  Audible Kids has the option of giving the gift of audiobooks.  If this is something you are serious about making a part of your classroom, consider asking parents to donate audiobooks to your classroom library.    Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Audible Kids in your classroom.

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Sign Up Genius

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Grade Level, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 04-12-2012

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What it is: Sign Up Genius is an easy-to-use site that makes it a snap to organize all of your classroom helpers and volunteers, parent teacher conferences, fundraisers, etc.  Quickly build custom sign up forms, invite the group, people sign up online and Sign Up Genius automatically sends email reminders.  Sign Up Genius has professionally designed graphical templates, tools for bulk email, email reminders for those who have signed up, email privacy settings, and even the ability to view statistics for sign up pages.  Sign Up Genius also has great Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest making sharing SO easy!

How to integrate Sign Up Genius into the classroom: Sign Up Genius is your one stop shop for organizing groups.  Use this handy tool to create Sign Ups for classroom volunteers, parent teacher conferences, fundraisers, class snacks, classroom parties, office hours, student presentations, special room use, etc.  Sign Up Genius could also be really useful for creating sign ups for coordinating online projects with other classes around the world.  My favorite feature: email or text reminders get automatically sent out so there is no need to keep track of everyone’s schedules…it is hard enough keeping track of your own anyway!

For older students, Sign Up Genius could be a useful tool for allowing them to sign up for class project/presentations, meeting hours with you, or coordinating their own clubs or group projects.

Tips: There are all kinds of great themes built in-all customizable to fit your needs!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Sign Up Genius in your classroom.

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