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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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Apprenticing students in the art of learning

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 31-10-2013

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I’m of the opinion that the apprenticeship model should be the basis for education.  This is one of the cornerstones of Anastasis philosophy, that we apprentice students in the art of learning.  The goal then, is to teach students how to be learners by modelling what it means to be a learner.  I’m not sure how one can be a teacher and not be a learner.

As a young child, I was apprenticed as a learner.  My parents were masters at encouraging curiosity.  They themselves are inquirers.  They showed me what it meant to passionately pursue understanding of the world around me.  It never felt like school.  As long as I can remember, my parents have owned their own businesses.  When I was growing up, they owned and operated a kitchen remodel business.  I spent summers “playing” at work.  This was my first interaction with using a computer.  I spent hours pretending to talk on the phone to a client and then designing their kitchen using the office Apple IIe.  It was really exciting when I got to use the blue print machine in the insanely scary basement of the office.  Later, my dad started a model rocket company.  He made model rocket kits completely out of wood.  This led to an excitement about physics, making, and entrepreneurship.  My parents involved my brother and I in each part of the process.  I spent many hours sewing bags for the rockets to be packaged in.  When my brother decided that skateboarding was life, my parents started a skateboard company.  This time I learned about screen printing, graphic design, and skate culture.  My families most recent pursuit of passion is at Koostik.  My dad started this company after discovering that he could amplify sound by putting his iPhone in a Styrofoam cup.  He immediately began to tinker in the garage, using his passion for woodworking to create speakers for the iPhone that worked 100% through acoustics.

This was learning at its absolute best.  It gave purpose to all of the things that I learned in school.  My parents taught me how to pursue curiosity, passion and crazy ideas.  They showed me that learning is a life long adventure.

I often get dropped-jaw stares when I tell people that I started a school.  The immediate follow-up questions begin: how did you do it, what classes did you take to prepare you, what professional development on starting a school did you get, where did you find the money?  My answer is always the same, I was raised to do this.  My parents taught me how to do this by demonstrating what it means to be a learner.  They taught me how to do this by showing me how passions and ideas are pursued.  Many that I talk to consider starting a school risky or scary.  For me the scarier thing would be to sit by and watch kids go through an education system that isn’t in their best interest.  The scarier thing is to do what every one else is doing.

I was raised to do this.

My hope for students everywhere: that they would have teachers in their lives who would apprentice them in the art of learning.

Thank you mom and dad for showing me what passionate learning looks like!

 

P.S.  If you haven’t seen the gorgeous work that my dad does, check out Koostik.  Each of the products is made by hand.  My dad is constantly sending me photos of new ideas he is tinkering with.  LOVE that!  Koostik has a contest that ends TONIGHT where you can enter to win product.  I saw the prize pack in person today.  The photos don’t do it justice.  Everything is gorgeous!  My dad is pretty much the master at choosing just the right piece of wood and working with the grain to really make each piece stand out as a masterpiece.  It is truly (functional) art.  Details for how to enter here.

Koostik prize package!

 

 

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