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Kids Interactive-Whales

What it is: The stories in our 3rd grade reading curriculum are all about whales this week.  I found this great interactive about Whales put together by the Australian Government Department of the Environment for the students to explore.  In the Kids Interactive-Whales, students board the Discovery...

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The Spotlit Collection- 50 of the best books for every grade level

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 18-11-2013

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Scholastic Spotlit Collection- 50 of the best books for every grade level

What it is: Scholastic Reading Club Spotlit Collection is a fantastic place to find outstanding books for preschool through middle school students.  Teachers, librarians, and book professionals came together and considered thousands of books to create a diverse list of award-winners, classics, and dynamite contemporaries.  Each grade level includes the 50 top favorites selected for that age group.  The result is a great place to start when you are searching for books to introduce students to!

How to integrate Spotlit Collection into your classroom: Scholastic’s Spotlit Collection has a wonderful selection of 50 books for each grade level in preschool through middle school.  This would be a great place to determine what you would like in your classroom library, which books to help your students hunt for in the library, and which books to introduce for classroom book groups.  If you have students reading above grade level (or several levels above/below) the Spotlight Collection can help you guide students towards appropriate books.

Challenge your students to read 10-20 of the books in the Spotlit Collection before the end of the school year.  Keep the collection handy by bookmarking it on a classroom computer.  When a student laments that they, “don’t know what to read,” they can quickly pull up the collection for some great new recommendations.

Tips: While you are visiting the collection, sign up for the Scholastic Reading Club!

What do you think?  How are you using the Spotlit Collection in your classroom?

ePub Bud: ePublish Yourself

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 22-04-2010

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What it is: ePub Bud is the YouTube of Children’s eBooks.  The site is YouTube-like in that anyone can create and share their own children’s ebooks.  The goal of this not-for-profit website is to provide an easy way to find, share, and self-publish children’s ebooks.  ePub Bud lets you create an ebook for a small audience, or for the whole world, digitize a real book by mailing in a physical children’s book and having it “digitized” for the iPad, upload an ebook file that you can read on the iPad, or download an eBook (classics and books others have shared).  Best of all, everything you do on ePub Bud is completely free!

How to integrate ePub Bud into the classroom: ePublishing is quickly becoming popular and more eReader devices are showing up in the classroom.  While there is nothing like holding a paper back book in your hand, their is also nothing like holding a good ebook in your hands.  Whatever we can do as teachers to get students reading, I say use it!  Use ePub Bud in your classroom to “publish” student stories.  The books can be shared with other students, parents, and schools.  Publishing an eBook of their own is highly motivating, and will have your students eager to write.  With ePub Bud, your students could construct their own text books.  Have them create ebooks about what they are learning to share with others.

If you have access to the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, consider sending in some of the books from your classroom libary to be digitized.  Many sites have free ebooks for kids, make them iPad, iPod, or iPhone friendly by uploading them to ePub Bud.  You can also search the extensive collection of classic children’s eBooks that are on ePub Bud and download those for students to read.  You will find children’s favorites from Beatrix Potter, Lewis Carrol, A.A. Milne, Frances Margaret Fox, Milton Goldsmith, and many, many more.

This is such a neat website and it is really and truly free.  You won’t even find advertisements on this site!

Tips: If you send in a book to be digitized, ePub Bud cannot send the original back for copyright purposes.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ePub Bud in your classroom.

The World of Peter Rabbit

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, inspiration, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 02-04-2010

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What it is: Beatrix Potter has captured the imaginations of countless children with her classic Peter Rabbit tales.  The World of Peter Rabbit is as enchanting as the stories, bringing Beatrix Potter’s incredible artistry to life.  The whole site is fashioned into a virtual popup book where students can meet the characters, watch videos of the stories, play games, and find fun things to make and do offline.  Students can play a game of find Peter (before Mr. McGregor does!), take part in an Easter egg hunt, collect snowflakes to earn special downloads, help Peter find his way through a maze, and play a vegetable picking game.  Students can read character descriptions of each of Beatrix Potter’s characters and even watch video clips of Peter Rabbit.  Students can also create their very own interactive Peter Rabbit puppet show.  They can star in the puppet show by uploading a picture of themselves or a favorite pet.  

How to integrate The World of Peter Rabbit into the classroom: I can’t remember the last time I was so utterly captivated by a website.  The site is absolutely beautiful and true to Beatrix Potter’s classic characters.  If Beatrix was still alive, I imagine this is the site she, herself, would have built.  Introduce your students to the classic Peter Rabbit tales with this site.  My students fell in love with the characters and were eager to hunt down the books in our library.  Invite your students to star in their own puppet show, each show will be unique as students make decisions about what will happen to their characters.  Allow students to view each other’s puppet shows.  After reading through character descriptions, students can write their own Peter Rabbit tale, staying true to the character traits they read about on the site.

Tips: Students can learn more about Beatrix Potter by visiting “The World of Beatrix Potter“, they can even explore her home in the Lake District with an interactive map.  Beatrix Potter would make an excellent subject for an author’s study.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using The World of Peter Rabbit in your classroom.

Stories of Learning: Story #2

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 15-03-2010

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Megan Palevich (@mrspal) was nice enough to share a Story of Learning with me yesterday.  Her story is entitled “To Kill a Mockingbird Meets the 21st Century”.  This is learning her students will remember for years to come.  I have a feeling that they will always have a special place in their hearts for the characters that they met on this social networking journey.  Thank you for sharing with me Megan!

Read the story here.

Megan has an excellent blog called Middle School 101, a great addition to your RSS reader!

Online Audio Stories

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, iPod, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 24-02-2010

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What it is: Online Audio Stories is an impressive collection of free audio stories online.  The audio books are all free and downloadable.  The online version of the story includes accompanying text for students to follow along with.  The short stories will transport students on a fun adventure of listening to fairy tales and classics.  The extensive collection includes stories by Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Brothers Grimm, Tales of Time, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Bronte, Aesop, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Joseph Jacobs, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Blake, Oscar Wilde, Louisa May Alcott, Hans Christian Andersen, William Shakespeare, and many more.  The stories are read with excellent voice, inflection, and timing, making them a joy to listen to.  

How to integrate Online Audio Stories into the classroom: These Online Audio Stories will transport your students to new magical worlds and adventures, they will allow struggling readers to enjoy stories that may be just out of reach otherwise.  Online Audio Stories will help increase student vocabulary and improve listening comprehension skills.  Students may not choose to pick up these classics in the library, but they will enjoy listening to the stories online.  This is great exposure to the classics!   If you have computers in your classroom, set them up as a reading/listening center that students can visit during silent reading time.  Because the Online Audio Stories are free to download, these are also perfect for downloading to an iPod or MP3 player.

Tips: Let parents know about these free online stories, they make great bedtime stories, listening enjoyment for long car rides, or for a fun listening experience any time.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Online Audio Stories in your classroom.

Picturing America Bookshelf

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, History, inspiration, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 19-11-2008

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What it is:  I have written a few posts about Picturing America but I have to do another one!  Picturing America is now offering a free Bookshelf to k-12 libraries.  The Picturing America Bookshelf is a set of classic books for readers in kindergarten through twelfth grade.  Applications for the Picturing America Bookshelf are being accepted online now through Jan. 30, 2009.  All that is required of your school is that you would encourage young readers to explore the Picturing America books.  The great literature included in the Bookshelf can provide students with a window into our nation’s character, ideals, and goals.  The books will give students the chance to experience some of the most iconic times, people, places, and stories in American history.  The Bookshelf comes with the following titles:

 

Kindergarten to Grade 3: Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley; Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull; Cosechando esperenza: La historia de César Chávaz by Kathleen Krull (translated by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy); The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Sweet Music in Harlem by Debbie Taylor.

Grades 4 to 6: The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich; American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne; On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck; Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule by Harriette Gillem Robinet; The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith.

Grades 7 to 8: The Life and Death of Crazy Horse by Russell Freedman; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving; La leyanda de Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (translated by Manual Broncano); Across America on an Emigrant Train by Jim Murphy; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

Grades 9 to 12: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis; Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange by Elizabeth Partridge; Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck; Viajes Con Charley – En Busca de América by John Steinbeck (translated by José Manuel Alvarez Flórez); Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.
Bonus: Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out by The National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance; 1776: The Illustrated Edition by David McCullough.

 

These books would be excellent companions to the Picturing America art and curriculum!  Be sure to apply today, if the Picturing America art is any indication of the quality of the bookshelf, it will be amazing!

 


 

Tips:   Be sure to visit National Endowment for the Humanities site EDSITEment for sample lesson plans and resources to enhance the use of the  Bookshelf in your classroom or library.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Picturing America Bookshelf in your school.