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  What it is:  Some websites are so impressive that I immediately spam all teachers in my address book with them.  Speakaboos is one of these sites for me.  I learned about the site from the Free Technology for Teachers blog (I highly recommend it for middle and high school teachers).  Speakaboos is a collection of online children stories read by celebrities (although this is not what impresses me).  Each story is read aloud with flash illustrations and the words on each page for read-along.  The stories are captivating and include popular titles like Arthur and Curious George.  This highly engaging website has some other features that make this one of my favorite website finds of the year.  When you sign up for a free membership, Speakaboos offers a free story download.  The download is a swf (flash) file but can be converted with a site like Zamzar to make it iPod ready (aka mobile learning!).  They plan to add more free downloads throughout the year.  Parents can also purchase individual stories iTunes style for $0.99.  Speakaboos  has a feature coming for parents, students, grandparents, teachers, etc. to record their own stories!  Speakaboos offers several activities for students including a diary to write in, a place to create their own story, games, ecards, and printable coloring pages from their favorite stories.  Speakaboos is in beta version right now so some of the above features are not yet  active.     How to integrate Speakaboos into the classroom:   Speakaboos stories and activities are a fun and engaging way to develop students reading, writing, and speaking abilities while learning basic computer skills.  The Record your own Story feature is a wonderful way for students to practice fluency, it is also a great feature for struggling readers who can listen for mistakes that they make during reading.  Older students could make recordings for their younger reading buddies to enjoy.  The ability to download select stories for free is amazing for an iPod reading lab.  Speakaboos is a great reading or writing center for students to visit in the one or two computer classroom.  It would also make a nice whole class read along using a projector.  Speakaboos offers free story guides for teachers to help lead discussions on each story.  The guides come complete with themes to help reinforce the story message and offer questions to check general comprehension, discussion, and personal extension.  There are also printables that you can use with your class in conjunction with the Speakaboos site.   Tips:   Membership on Speakaboos is free and provides access to the free downloads.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Speakaboos in your classroom.

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Book Writer: create books on the iPad

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, Interactive book, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 21-10-2013

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Book Writer app- iLearn TechnologyBook Writer




What it is:  Book Writer is a great app for the iPad (and iPhone or iPod Touch).  This app makes it a snap for kids to create books that can be read directly in iBooks.  With Book Writer, students can create their own ebooks with photos, video, audio and links.  Images and video can be annotated over in the book.  Finished books can be shared using iTunes and E-mail.  One of the best features of Book Writer is the huge number of applications that books can be shared through including: iBooks, Nook, Instashare, Bump, Evernote, Dropbox, and Send Anywhere.  This makes Book Writer wonderfully flexible no matter what apps your school uses regularly.

Book Writer- iLearn Technology

How to integrate Book Writer into the classroom: Book Writer is a great app for students to “publish” their writing in.  Students can compile research, notes, images and videos to create their own textbooks.  Why passively read through a text when students can be a part of creating their own?  This makes the learning so much more valuable and gives students the opportunity to “own” their learning.  Each student’s finished book will be just a little different.  Students can compile class notes, images of work and examples from class, and videos (either their own or other videos they’ve downloaded), reflections on learning, etc. into a book that can be shared.  This would be a fantastic way for students to share what they’ve learned at the end of a unit.  Because of the variety of content that can be included in Book Writer, it would make for a great science journal.  Students can take photos  of a scientific experiment or process, label the images, and reflect on observations, hypothesis, etc.

Students could also use Book Writer as a place to keep all of their creative writing based on visual writing prompts.  Students can include the picture prompt on one page and their writing on the facing page.  Students can add to this book throughout the year and share their “published” writings at the end of the year.

Younger students will find Book Writer easy to use.  These students could create their own word bank picture dictionary.  Ask students to create a new page for each letter.  Every time a word gets added to the class word wall, students can add it to their dictionary.  Students can also add pictures to accompany the words, or audio of themselves saying the word.

Book Writer can be used for a class yearbook and then shared with all students digitally.  The extra fun part are the videos that can be included!

Tips: Book Writer has a clean, easy to use interface.  If you are using with young students, you may want to walk them through where to find tools for the first time.

Compatibility: Requires iOS5.0 or later

Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Price: $3.99 (iTunes link)

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