Friday, March 13, 2015

Budding Young Author

Despite late starts to the school day or missing school altogether due to bizarre wintery weather (bizarre for Alabama), Elkmont High School and the Read Across American team pulled off another great week of celebrations and contests to get students excited about reading.

Evan, a 3rd grade student in Ms. Tina McMunn's class, won 1st place for his original story.  We are so proud of Evan!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

It's a Reading Wonderland!

My grandson loves the EPIC! App

Looking for ways to encourage and improve reading?  Here are some of my favorite apps and websites I have used with my students and with my grandson.

The sites below range for kids from PreK to Seniors.

Endless Alphabet

While Endless Alphabet is not really a "reading" app, it does help teach toddlers their letters in the context of words.  Each letter has it's own unique monster look and sound.  A word appears on the screen then monsters run through the word scattering letters everywhere.  Your child must put the letters back in their proper place to form the word again. The letters make the sound associated with the letter when they are touched.  Once the word has been spelled the definition is provided and acted out by the monsters.  It is an app that kept my grandson occupied enough for us to eat at a restaurant which is quite an endorsement!

Endless Reader

Endless Reader builds on what kids have learned via Endless Alphabet although it is not necessary to have used Endless Alphabet.  Rather than just spelling the words, kids are using the words within sentences.  The engaging monsters continue to make learning to read fun!

Unite For Literacy

Unite for Literacy provides a large, free, online library for kids to help eliminate "book deserts".  My ELL teachers LOVE Unite for Literacy as it provides the option of having a book read to the student in English AND in their native language.  It also includes an option to have the book read in American Sign Language, something very rare in online books.

Epic! Books For Kids

EPIC! is a type of "Netflix" for books.  Parents pay a monthly fee and have access to an amazing array of quality, popular books online.  The good news is that educators can use their school email and get the service FREE.  My grandson (just turned 4 years old) absolutely love this app.  In just a little over two months he has read over 100 books through EPIC!  He know how to search for books he wants to read. Once he asked me, "Grandma, how do you spell kittens?" because he wanted to read a book about kittens.  Kids can also give the books they read a star ranking and add books to their "favorites" list.

Books That Grow

"Books That Grow is a differentiated reading platform that can be accessed as a website application, and as a Ipad and Chromebook app. Within our application, students, parents and teachers can access a growing library of adaptable books that can be read at multiple levels of text complexity. Our library contains classic fiction pieces, biographies, social studies texts, myths and folktales, and popular science pieces. Teachers can create virtual classrooms within our app, and afterward, assign books to their students, monitor their progress, and adjust their reading levels as they see fit. Students can create personalized libraries that reflect their own interests, in addition to the books assigned to them by their teachers. With Books That Grow, teachers can easily assign the same reading assignment to an entire class of mixed ability students, while also permitting these students to learn at their own level, so they can keep up with the class, progress measurably in their reading skills, andof courseenjoy reading."

Moby Max

"Moby Reading pairs literature and informational texts with similar topics to encourage deep reading and facilitate learning. Informational texts draw in students with interesting topics, and all students love stories. The pairing of both creates a fertile ground for critical thinking."


Common Core emphasizes reading non fiction text but finding these materials can be difficult. Newsela makes this task easy and monitoring student comprehension and progress even easier. 
"Newsela is an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that's always relevant: daily news. It's easy and amazing."

Actively Learn

"Let Students Find Joy and Purpose In Reading.  More than 200,000 K-12 students use Actively Learn to read together as a class or for fun on their own. Students think more, write more, and collaborate more with their peers when they read."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

NCCE 2015: Teacher-Librarian Summit


This school year has been a whirlwind of exciting change and opportunities.  I got married, started a new job in a brand new position (from Librarian to Instructional Technology Facilitator), got PRK (similar to LASIK), and will fly out to Portland, Oregon for the largest Educational Technology Conference in the NorthWest next week!

I am already "fangirling" the keynote speakers:

as well as the star filled lineup of featured speakers:
  • Tom Daccord is Director and Co-Founder of EdTechTeacher

The Teacher-Librarian Summit at NCCE2015 Wednesday, March 18, 2015 is all about: Finding Your Voice! It's an honor to join Richard Snyder and Morgen Larsen as Alaka'i (leaders) for the Teacher- Librarian Summit as participants take a deeper dive into roles of reading advocacy, program management, information literacy and staff development. This empowering summit will include hands-on opportunities focused on Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, creating a flipped/rewindable library and technology trends. There will be plenty of opportunities to network and strengthen your PLN, so come prepared for a full day of learning and collaborating. 

Plan on attending? Connect with me before the Teacher-Librarian Summit  on Twitter.  

My eyes will not be completely healed after my PRK surgery and I won't be able to see clearly so please come up to me and introduce yourself! I want to meet you!

Find out more about NCCE 2015 and registration HERE.

Keynote: Voice Is Power 


Twitter: Empowering YOUR VOICE with Twitter 
           Have your Twitter account set up and be ready to join in this 
           fun filled, interactive session! 


SMACKDOWN: YOU sharing the best apps, websites, tips, tricks & hints!
                                 Attending NCCE2015? Add YOUR VOICE to one or two of    
                                 the SmackDown slides HERE. 


My Two Hour Sessions:

My 5o Minute Sessions