Sunday, July 22, 2012

Digital Read Aloud

Have you ever thought of using digital read alouds in a reading center? The other night I was lost in You Tube land and started searching for some of my favorite books I use while teaching. I was pleasantly surprised at all the videos that have been created of books being read aloud. Some of them have even been animated! Love it! You could use them easily on an interactive board or an iPad to read to your students or have them use a mobile device or computer in a reading center to read or reread books. You could even take it a little farther with older kiddos and have them video themselves reading a book aloud. Create a classroom You Tube account and you will have an audio book library to call your own. Older students could also animate picture books using Movie Maker or Photo Story.

Here are a few of my favorites that I ran across:

Who doesn't love the pigeon? I use these books to teach persuasive writing.

I use this one to teach point of view.

Another great website for digital books is There are tons of both fiction and nonfiction books on this site and they are FREE! The books are not read aloud, but I have projected them on the board or had students read them at our classroom computers. There are a lot of nonfiction books about animals that could be used for research projects. You could also project the nonfiction ones on the board to discuss text features. One more could use a screen recorder to record yourself reading one of the books from the website. Then, students could listen and read along. If you have Promethean ActivInspire, just use the video recorder to do this (see a tutorial on how to do this here). 

So...the next time you want to spice up your read aloud, check You Tube or WeGiveBooks to see if a video has been made. Or...make your own to share with your kiddos. OR...have your kiddos make one to share!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tagxedo Roster Tutorial

Hello friends! Over the last couple of days, I have received multiple email messages about creating the classroom roster using Tagxedo that I blogged about here. So...I thought I would do a step by step tutorial for creating a roster like mine if you would like to try it for yourself.

Here is the one I created:

I have listed some common problems and the fixes below so everyone can easily replicate what I have done here.

How do I get my name to be bigger than my students' names?
Type your name in multiple times. The more times you type in a word, the bigger it appears in the word cloud.

How do I keep my name from separating into two words?
Do not space between Mrs. and your last name. Tagxedo does not read spaces. You will also need to go to click word/layout options (see below) and change punctuation to yes.

How do I get my name to be horizontal and the students' names to be vertical?
Click on Shape and then choose Classic Cloud (V) at the bottom of the screen. To get it to look the way you want, you may need to change the font, layout, and orientation. This part takes a bit of playing around.

How do I get every word to post only once?
Click on word/layout options. Then, click layout and make sure "Allow Replication" is on "No". This will allow your students' names to only show once.

These were the most common questions that I have received. If you still have trouble getting it to work the way you want, just email me or leave a comment and I will be more than happy to help!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Classroom Library Organizer

If you have a smartphone or an iPad, I have a great app for you! Have you ever wanted to know exactly what books you have in your classroom library? Do you want to check books out to your students and know who has them and for how long? Well, now you can do just that with Classroom Organizer.


You can sign up for a free membership and start organizing your classroom library. There is an app for iPhone and iPad you can use to scan the books right into the program. Students can check out books and check books back in just like a regular library! Can you say, “Awesomesauce”? I sure can.

Even though I won’t have a classroom of kiddos this year, I am going to organize my professional library to check out books to teachers in my school. I can’t wait to use this tool. I hope you can find some use for it as well.