Who am I?

Sarah Allred is the Instructional Lead Teacher at Braxton Craven School, an all 6th grade middle school. She has 15 years of teaching experience at the middle school level. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education earned at the University of NC Greensboro, National Board Certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, and a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology earned at East Carolina University. She has taught language arts, social studies, science, and technology. She serves her school in many leadership roles. Her passion is searching for new ways to use technology to improve student learning. Additional roles she fills are mother of two amazing kids, and wife of a police officer. She enjoys reading, gardening, and digital photography.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Using eBooks in Your Classroom

EBooks are accessible with any internet capable device, so you could display in your classroom using the projector, have students access individually with laptops or using the Nooks.  With many of these eBooks, students can mark, highlight, and add notes to the text without having to use up your copies.  Best of all reading on a digital device can greatly increase student engagement!
ClassScape Benchmarks have already moved to online assessment, and soon EOG’s will too.  To fully prepare our students for being assessed this way, we need to have them practice reading this way frequently in our classrooms as well!

Tips for getting started with eBooks:

1- Before you put a student in front of a device, locate the reading material you want them to use, and try it out yourself on the device that you plan to have them use.  See below for a list of eBook sources.
2- Start by reading an eBook whole-class with your projector. Modeling of what you expect students to do is important!
3- Make sure you plan ahead, and test everything out before you hand it over to students – I’m repeating this because it is probably the most important thing to do to make sure this goes smoothly.  It never fails when you are trying out new technology, you run into glitches – don’t let that get you down, the benefits are worth any struggle.
4- Start with a relatively short text, and print out a hard copy to fall back on in case you have tech issues.
5- Check out these websites with more information about using eBooks in the classroom.
Technology and Reading eBooks in Education    http://www.drscavanaugh.org/ebooks/

Sources for FREE Online Books!
There are tons of sources out there, but these are good starting points that I have explored some.

Kids 4 Classics http://kids4classics.com
Access to multiple classic books in eReader and PDF format.

Lists of multiple sites to locate ebooks.

Wired for Books          http://www.wiredforbooks.org/
Poems, stories, plays, essays, lectures, and interviews for children and adults.

Book Pop         http://www.bookpop.com/index2.html
Picture books with read aloud.

Bartleby          http://www.bartleby.com/index.html
The Harvard Classics are among many free texts offered online at this award-winning site. There are also many classic reference works available here.

Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg     http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
Access many eBooks!  Can be opened as a web page file, Kindle, PDF.  This collection includes books that are out of copyright.

Using the Nook to Read a Downloaded PDF Book
“Golden Advice” – Before trying to use this with your students use it yourself a couple days to get the hang of how it works.

Opening the book . .  .
1.      Press the Ç button to open the menu.
2.      Choose “Library”, then “My Stuff,”  “Files, ” then “Downloads.”
3.      Tap on the book title to open.  (The first time a window will come up asking what you want to open it with. Tap in the box beside “do this every time” and then select using “Reader.”)

Once the book is open . . .
·         Swipe to turn the page.
·         Double tap or pinch out to zoom in
·         Single tap the page to bring up the menu.  This allows you to go to a certain page, bookmark, or note, look up something in the book, and adjust the screen brightness.
·         Touch and hold on a word to bring up the notes menu.  This allows you to highlight the word, add a note, look up the word, or find all of the other places it is used.  Any notes and highlights become searchable for locating later. To clear these, tap the “Clear All” button.

Usage Ideas . . .
·         Vocabulary Instruction: When presenting students with the list of vocabulary terms they will study, instead of making them look the words up in a dictionary, have them use the search feature.  This will bring up all the times the word is used in the text, so students can study the usage of the words and use context clues to come up with the word meaning. You might have them record a couple of the sentences the word is in, write their own definition, and then use the Look Up feature to see the dictionary definition. This will engage students in making meaning of the words rather than just receiving the info from you. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.)
·         Mark in Text: You can ask students to highlight certain things (vocabulary, evidence for an answer, parts of speech, punctuation usage, etc).  You can also ask them to stop and make notes on their thinking at certain points in the text (like our old Interactive Readers). The notes and highlights are saved in the book until you clear it – this will allow students to see what other students are thinking to learn from each other.  If you don’t want students to see what others mark, have them clear the marks before putting the Nooks up at the end of class. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.)

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