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It is finally starting to feel like fall in Colorado, our first day in quite some time that we haven’t reached summer time temperatures.  As always, here is a recap of what I have been up to this week when I wasn’t blogging here: The Obligation to Desert Mediocrity: Waiting for Robin Hood- a post on Dreams of Education where I suggest that maybe Superman isn’t who we should be waiting for, maybe we need to find the Robin Hood outlaw in us all to start making changes right now. Story Patch- a post on iPad Curriculum about a fun digital storytelling application for the iPad. Embrace the Mess- a great story of learning on my blog Stories of Learning. This is a story from @jorech about students at the center of learning as they interact with Lord of the Flies. Finally, I am asking for your help: In my Post “When Hunches Collide” I talked about Pandora, the free Internet radio station.  I posed the question, what if learning happened more like Pandora, more customized, individualized?  I started digging deeper into Pandora which is based on the Music Genome project.  The Music Genome Project is an effort to “capture the essence of music at the fundamental level”.  It uses almost 400 attributes to describe songs and a complex mathematical algorithm to organize them.  Each song is represented by a vector ( a list of attributes) containing approximately 400 “genes”.  Each gene corresponds to a characteristic of the music. This had me thinking, would it be possible to capture the essence of learning at the fundamental level?  Is learning too complex?  I want to ask for your input on this, if we were to come up with attributes to learning what would they be?  I have created a Google form to capture your input. The Google form only contains one place to input an answer but if you have more than one idea you can add them all to the text filed.   I’ll collect everyone’s answers and post the results here.  In the comment section of this post, you can give a guesstimate of how many attributes learning has…or at least how many we can come up with  Loading…

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Oxford Owl: free ebooks (with audio!)

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 23-07-2013

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Oxford Owl free ebooks: iLearn Technology

What it is: Oxford Owl is an incredible collection of free children’s ebooks for kids ages 3-11.  Each ebook has accompanying audio so that students can choose to read along, or read independently.  The books also have activities that focus on reading comprehension and story recall.  There are several options for filtering the ebooks so that students can find just the right story including by age, by book type, and by series.  In addition to the ebooks on the site, you can find fun activities and recommendations for each age group, games to print and play, and online games with characters from the books and site.

How to integrate Oxford Owl into your classroom:  I am a big fan of books.  Huge even.  It doesn’t matter where they reside, books make me happy.  It makes sense then, that Oxford Owl would be a squeal worthy site for me.  Free ebooks with audio you guys!  This site reminds me a little bit of Lookybook...I’m still lamenting its demise.

Oxford Owl is a great way to instantly expand your classroom library.  Books are leveled by age and include both fiction and non-fiction.  You will find biographies, dictionaries, fiction, myths and legends, non-fiction, phonics, picture books, poetry and books for struggling readers.   The stories that I went through were truly fun to read!  Use the books on Oxford Owl during reading time on classroom computers.  Students can choose a book to go through as a read along (SO very helpful when there are students who really need to read with a buddy, but the buddy situation is limited).   If you only have one or two computers in your classroom, get a headphone splitter and let students read together in small groups.  The related activities are a great way for students to self-monitor comprehension.  Students can also read these stories independently.  When I taught 2nd grade, I had a voracious reader who quickly read through all of the classroom books and was ready for more.  He was only allowed to check out from the library once a week (and usually those books went home) so I would have him use Lookybook.  Oxford Owl would open a whole other world of books for them to read!

We all have days where a few extra minutes to deal with a problem, set up for the next activity, etc.  Oxford Owl could be connected to your interactive whiteboard or projector for students to listen to a story while you get things sorted.  The whole class can enjoy the story together.  My students loved books on the IWB because they could all see the pictures and read along.  Oxford Owl is also ideal for that time of year when the germs settle in and the voice has gone on strike.

One of my favorite things to do in the classroom was reading with small groups of students.  It gave me the opportunity to give them the individual attention that they really deserved and let me get to know them as readers better.  But…what to do with the rest of the class?  I assigned tub work that students could complete independently.  The tubs were centers related to what we were learning during the week.  Each tub contained all the necessary materials that students would need.  This was independent learning they could work on while I was with the small groups.  Oxford Owl would make a great addition to the “tub” work.  Students could visit the computer center and choose some books to read and play the associated games.

Tips:  Now for the unfortunate news: Oxford Owl is flash-based.  BOO! Not ideal at all for a classroom full of iPads like we have at Anastasis.  Luckily, there is a solution.  There are several Flash Browsers that you can download for the iPad to view flash content.  My favorite is Rover (because it is filtered and created for kids!).  If your network is well filtered, I would also recommend iSwifter and Photon.

P.S. We Give Books is another outstanding place to find free ebooks!

P.S.S. Hat Tip to The Techie Classroom- an outstanding blog to add to your reader if it isn’t already there!

Comments (2)

[...] Tips: If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Oxford Owl Literacy site. [...]

What a great resource for classroom teachers. Finding FREE eBooks is hard to do, not to mention books related to technology topics! Oxford Owl looks to be pretty amazing, minus the flash part. Here’s a great eBook collection to add to those resources mentioned above. Also, these books are PDF so they work great on iPads!

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