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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!

Digital Book Talk: Book Trailers for K-12

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 20-08-2010

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What it is: There is a new trend in reading: book trailers.  It seems that lately book trailers are popping up on all of the video sharing sites.  Digital Book Talk is a collaborative effort from the University of Central Florida where Dr. Robert Kennedy and Dr. Glenda Gunter have completed research on what motivates reluctant and striving readers to select, read, and complete books.  “The student productions of DBT (Digital Book Talk) focus use the technological skills taught in the undergraduate Digital Media and graduate Educational Technology curricula that teach teachers how to create dynamic digital games, trailers, and Web sites. Many of these skills include research and writing, Flash animation, visual storytelling, video recording and editing, audio recording, graphic design, website development, programming, and database creation.”  On the Digital Book Talk site, you will find high quality book trailers that will whet your students appetite for a good book.  Students can search for books by content level, and interests.

How to integrate Digital Book Talk into your curriculum: The Digital Book Talk site is an excellent place for students to start their search for a book that will hold their interest.  Just like a movie trailer, the book trailers give students just enough information to leave them wanting more.  The Digital Book Talks will help your reluctant readers understand the adventures that await them in a good book.  Find a book trailer to introduce a novel that the whole class will be reading or set up classroom computers with a link to Digital Book Talk where students can be inspired to find their next read.  After students read, they can create their own Digital Book Talks using video cameras or tools like Xtranormal, ZimmerTwins, or Kerpoof movie.

A few years ago I had my students create bookcasts.  These were the same ideas as a book trailer but instead of being video, they were audio podcasts only.  I created a wiki where the students uploaded their bookcasts as they finished them.   The wiki was a place where students could recommend books to their peers, demonstrate their understanding of a book, and find the next book to read based on a classmates recommendation.

Tips: Be sure to check out the student work tab to see book trailers created by k-12 students around the country.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Digital Book Talk: Book Trailers for k-12 in your classroom!

Tar Heel Reader

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 17-04-2009

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What it is: Tar Heel Reader is an excellent website that is “a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces (i.e. switches, alternative keyboards, touch screens, and dedicated AAC devices). The books may be downloaded as slide shows in PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash format.”  There are hundreds of books on a variety of topics.  In addition to the ready-made books, you and your students can create your own Tar Heel Readers.  Students can add pictures to their readers from Flickr or by uploading their own images.  Each of the stories can be read silently, or read to students with a child, male, or female voice (computer).

How to integrate Tar Heel Reader into the classroom:  Tar Heel Reader is a great place for beginning or struggling readers and English language learners.  Each of the stories has the option to be read silently or read aloud.  Use Tar Heel Reader to create custom stories to motivate your struggling readers.  You can include pictures of people they know, subjects they love, and make them a character in the story.  The stories can be read online or downloaded in multiple formats.  Because the stories can be downloaded as PowerPoint presentations, they can be opened in Apple’s Keynote and put on an iPod (Nano, Classic, or Touch) for mobile reading.  Students will love searching the Flickr collection and creating their own stories on Tar Heel Reader.  Older students can create books for younger grades describing science concepts (think weather, food chain, plant cycle, etc.).  This is also a great site for students to use during National Poetry month (April) to create poetry.  Use Tar Heel Readers as a ‘big book’ that your class can read together using an interactive whiteboard or a projector.  Set up a reading listening center during silent reading time with Tar Heel Reader on your classroom computers.  

 

Tips: Create a favorites page for your students.  Although the site has been created for beginning readers, some books may be inappropriate for your students.  There is a section of books for teens that are beginning readers.  Note: to create a book of your own you will need to register for free.  You will need an invitation code.  I requested a code in the comment section and got a response within 10 minutes of my comment.  You can send me a request Tweet http://twitter.com/ktenkely and I will send you an invitation code.

 

I learned about this site from Larry Ferazzlo’s excellent blog.  Thanks for highlighting this great site Larry!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Tar Heel Reader in your classroom.

Awesome Stories

Posted by admin | Posted in History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 11-02-2009

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What it is:   Awesome Stories is a neat website that looks to me like it could be the future of text books.  Awesome Stories has great primary source materials separated by categories such as biographies, disasters, trials, flicks, history, inspiration, religion and sports.  Throughout the text there are hyperlinks to additional content.  The links are separated by color so you know that when you see a certain color it will open a primary source  image, video, narration, slide shows, artifact, manuscript, document, etc.  You can become a member of Awesome Stories for free, when you do you will gain access to additional features like an extensive image data base, narrated stories, lesson plans, and a free newsletter from Awesome Stories.  This is essentially an interactive textbook.  I love that the site hits different learning styles in its presentation of information.

How to integrate Awesome Stories into the classroom:    Awesome Stories would be a great supplement to traditional text books.  It makes finding primary source materials easy!  With the audio clips, narration, video, and slide shows linked right within the reading material, students are going to get a much richer understanding of a topic or material being studied.  I love that struggling readers can have all the text narrated to read along with.  Many of the videos, audio, and slide shows would be excellent to share with the whole class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  

 

Tips:  Sign up for free to see the full scope of Awesome Stories, you will be amazed at the amount of content here!  The lesson plans to use with the site are wonderful!

 Leave a comment and share how you are using Awesome Stories in your classroom.

Lit2Go

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 22-01-2009

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What it is: Lit2Go is a FREE online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format from Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse.  With Lit2Go teachers and students can download files to an iPod or Mp3 player, listen to the Mp3 files on the computer, view the text on a webpage and read along with the audio, and print out the stories and poems to create a customized book.  Lit2Go can be searched by author, tiltle, or searched via the database (by authro, keywords, title, or reading level).  Each reading passage can be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or supplemental reading material for your classroom.  Many of the selections can be downloaded directly to your iTuens library making it a simple transfer to one or many iPods.  

 

How to integrate Lit2Go into the classroom:  Lit2Go is a fabulous resource for all readers, but is especially valuable for struggling readers.  Set up a Lit2Go listening center in your classroom.  You can either download the audio to a Mp3 player or let the students listen from the computer.  Each audio file has a PDF text version that can be downloaded and printed out as a read along.  If students are listening from the computer they can also view the text online.  Lit2Go would be a great help for a reading buddy program.  Send your struggling readers home with a Mp3 player loaded with level appropriate stories or poems and the PDF print out.  Students can practice reading anywhere, even if a parent or sibling isn’t available to read with them.  Reading levels range from .10 to 53.  You are sure to find something for every student!  This is an easy way to help differentiate instruction.

 

Tips: Search Lit2Go in the iTunes store or visit the Lit2Go website to get started.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Lit2Go in your classroom.

Wordly Wise 3000

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 15-01-2009

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What it is:   Wordly Wise 3000 is a vocabulary curriculum that can be purchased, any time I see a website mentioned as part of curriculum, I always take a look.  While the Wordly Wise 3000 curriculum costs, the website activities are free!  Students are told to choose their vocabulary book (I just choose the appropriate grade level).  Students can go through a word list that says each word, gives a picture, the part of speech, the definition, and a sentence using the word.  They can read this information or have it read to them.  Then they review the word with a mini quiz review.  The audio from the website can be downloaded and saved on a CD to be used in class without computers.   After students have learned the words, they can play games that reinforce the vocabulary learned.  Games include concentration, flashcards, hangman, matching synonyms, and word searches.  Wordly Wise 3000 has vocabulary units for second through twelfth grade.

 

How to integrate Wordly Wise 3000 into the classroom:  Wordly Wise 3000 is a great site for your auditory learners to learn vocabulary.  It is also a great addition to ESL and ELL classrooms, the written and auditory output is a nice feature.  The site combines auditory, visual, pictures, and hands on games making differentiated instruction for vocabulary easy.  Wordly Wise 3000 can be used individually by students, as a vocabulary reading center, or for whole class instruction with a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Wordly Wise 3000 can help build a vocabulary base for your struggling readers.  This would be a great site to use for learning a new word or two each day as a class.  Studies show that students who have a solid vocabulary base to pull from are better readers.  

 

Tips: I have not seen the actual Wordly Wise 3000 curriculum but based on their web activities, it looks like it may be a good one to check out.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Wordly Wise 3000 in your classroom.