I love this site. Every day, Anita Silvey’s Book-a-Day Almanac features wonderful commentary on some beloved children’s books, as well as information on what happened on this day in children’s book history. It’s a wonderful place to get inspiration for read-alouds, or just a place to learn something new every day. You can also search the archives to see if she’s talked about a book you’re teaching. The almanac is also available in print.
Sometimes, I just can’t top what another librarian or ed tech blogger has done. This is one of those times. The fantastic blog Technology Rocks. Seriously. puts together the most comprehensive lists of holiday-themed games and activities for kids. Her post on Christmas games is here. She’s also found enough gingerbread-themed games to create a whole other post here. Enjoy!
The fantastic Library Girl has put together a stellar list of digital tools you can use in your classroom to measure the learning being done in your class. She includes exit tickets, graphic organizers, and polls. If you’re looking for new and interesting ways to check in with your students, this is a perfect place to start. Take a look here.
This is awesome: educational hip-hip! Flocabulary is a subscription service (with some free content) that uses hip-hip to teach current events, vocabulary, math, and even bullying prevention, for kids in grades K-12. Take a look at their video for this past week’s Week In Rap, an overview of current events making the news. In addition to music and videos, Flocabulary has activities and lesson plans to help students delve deeper into subject matter once their interest has been sparked by the music.
What’s especially exciting about Flocabulary is that it’s not some cheesy attempt to pander to kids; it’s really fun, factual raps that don’t feel forced or silly. Plus, the content is aligned with common core standards. It’s also affordable; a teacher subscription to both Flocabulary plus the Week in Rap videos is only $7/month. There’s also a free 30-day trial, if you’re interested in seeing what you think first.
BiblioNasium is a reading community for students and their teachers. If you’ve ever used Goodreads or Shelfari, you know how great it is to keep track of books you’ve read, books you want to read, and keep up with what others are reading. BiblioNasium offers the same experience, only in a safe community just for you and your students. It’s pretty simple to use: you create an account for yourself, and then you can create a class, complete with accounts for each student.
Teachers can create lists of recommended and required books, and they can recommend books to a specific student. Students can, in turn, keep track of what they’re reading using a reading log, and recommend books to their friends. There is even a place where parents can log in and view what their kids are reading. The best part is that, while this is a social community, students can only communicate with their teacher, and (with parental permission) with other students in their class.
I love the idea of allowing students to review and recommend books to each other; my own Goodreads and Shelfari accounts have helped me find some great books that I might not have otherwise read. The site is in beta, however, which means it’s still in a testing phase. Sometimes, the pages hang and take a while to load. Some of the functionality is not intuitive, and it may take time to figure out how to do certain things. However, it’s a work in progress, and will only get better. Signing up is free, and they don’t spam you with emails, so make yourself (and your class!) an account and see what you think!