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The Stacks

What it is: Scholastic has so many fantastic resources for the classroom.  There is a new addition to the Scholastic website called The Stacks.  The Stacks is currently in BETA but is already packed full of goodies that will have your students excited about reading.  The Stacks is a place for students and their friends to connect around reading.  The site is geared toward 9 to 15 year old students. Students can check out and discuss the various books that they are reading.  This is a great place for students to discover new books that they may enjoy, or to connect over books that they have already read.  Most of the books featured in The Stacks have an accompanying website where students can read what other students thought about the book, play related games, and take quizzes.  These mini sites are very well done and so engaging.  When I was in elementary and middle school, I often wished that my favorite books wouldn’t end.  I remember getting toward the last pages of the book and feeling disappointment over having to say goodbye to the characters I had come to love.  I would have been ecstatic over the mini websites that kept my favorite characters alive, making the book last and last.  Students can also learn more about the authors of their favorite books in The Stacks.  Students can play games that are related to the books they are reading.  They can choose from arcade games, quizzes and polls, puzzle games, make your own games (including choose your own adventure virtual stories), writing games, ecards, and downloads that can be printed for offline play.  Students can create their own profile on The Stacks, allowing them to customize their profile and background.   How to integrate The Stacks into the classroom: The Stacks will have your good readers excited to read more, and your reluctant readers enthusiastic about reading.  Allow your students to use The Stacks to find new reading material, and to interact with other students about the books they are reading.  Many of the activities would make nice extensions to your curriculum. The choose your own adventure game would be fun to play as a whole class on the interactive whiteboard.  If you have clickers (student response systems) have your students vote on the choices throughout the story.  The writing games will lead your students through a variety of writing exercises teaching them how to build a story, write a report, write journal entries, and create their own comics.  The Stacks has some great offline activities for your classroom.  Print out crosswords, connect the dots, coloring pages, word searches, calendars, trading cards, and more.  All of the printables tie in directly to the books students are reading.  This is a FUN social media site centered around reading and books.  The books are familiar and popular reads for students and should create a reading buzz in your classroom. Tips: The Stacks does not require a login unless students want to create a profile.  When students register for The Stacks, they are not asked for any personal information or email, making it appropriate for even elementary students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Stacks in your classroom.

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News-O-Matic: New non-fiction delivered to your classroom every day!

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, Government, History, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 14-07-2014

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News-O-Matic: New non-fiction delivered to your class every day!

What it is: Press 4 Kids, News-O-Matic is both a subscription-based app and a free daily email delivered in pdf format. News-O-Matic is a fantastic current event, news source for elementary students. It is a great resource for fresh, non-fiction material for your classroom. Recall, discussion, and comprehension questions are included in each News-O-Matic. You can purchase an app subscription for your class in the 1:1 iDevice setting, or you can subscribe for the FREE daily school edition which is delivered by email. The PDF can be printed out to share with your students, or to keep your class paperless, you can share it on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.

How to integrate News-O-Matic in your classroom: News-O-Matic delivers a daily newspaper written especially for elementary-age students. Each edition comes with 5 current-event, news stories that cover the latest news, science, sports, and wacky kids stories. Students get a chance to not only read the news, but also rate articles, submit questions, and submit their drawings. News-O-Matic is  a great way to keep your students reading regularly. Each day they will get engaging non-fiction reading that helps build a global perspective. Use News-O-Matic daily, as a class discussion starter. Challenge your students to make connections between the current events they are reading about, and the learning they are doing in class. Integrate geography study with reading each day. If you have a classroom map, put a place marker on it each time you read an article that is location specific. This could also be done virtually with Google Earth. This practice will help students visualize where each event takes place, while at the same time building geography skills.

Tips: All publications are ad free, so you never have to worry about inappropriate content.

The school app edition of News-O-Matic is $9.99 and can be found here.

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