December has been the busiest month in the history of The Kindle Classroom Project. Here are some updates from the last 10 days:
1. The Kindles keep rolling in!
Two more Kindles arrived in the past 10 days! Sarah from Petaluma donated Kindle #18, and just the other day, I received Kindle #19 from Jo in London. Yes, The Kindle Classroom Project has gone international!
Jo went above and beyond. Not only did she donate a Kindle 2, but she also donated an original Kindle and five cases, too! There’s part of her donation over to the right! I’m excited to offer the original Kindle over the summer to a particularly avid reader. The cases are also a substantial contribution; after all, they’re crucial to protect the Kindles, and they’re pricey. Thank you, Jo!
And that’s not all. There are also rumors of more Kindles coming in! I predict three more Kindles in the first week of the new year. Stay tuned.
(In case you know people who might want to donate their Kindle, send them to the easy-to-fill-out form!)
2. Donors are purchasing books directly from the Amazon Wishlist.
It has been great to see how many people want to donate their Kindles, but others are finding that contributing books is another way to get involved.
I’m pleased to report that people are beginning to use the classroom’s Amazon Wishlist to purchase individual books. Right now, there are 17 books on the list that students have requested, and contributors can read the descriptions and buy a title immediately. It’s quick and easy: You purchase the book, and I get it in my email inbox, ready to transfer to the Kindles. (The only problem: The automatic email doesn’t include your email address unless you type it into your note to me. Please do so I can thank you!)
Just last night, in fact, I received the generous donation of The Emperor of All Maladies from LeAnne in Fremont, California! This excellent book was requested by a student whose mother is battling breast cancer. Now he can read the book when he gets back from Winter Break.
LeAnne also followed Iserotope on Twitter and Facebook (another way to get the word out there) and may donate her original Kindle, too! That’s impressive. Welcome to the growing Kindle Classroom Project community, LeAnne!
3. I’m getting ready for the shipment of 10 Kindles!
You may have read last update that 29 generous donors teamed up to contribute 10 Kindles through a large DonorsChoose project. That shipment is coming in early January, so this week, I took time to find the best cases for them.
This turned out to be much harder than I anticipated — for two reasons. First, Kindle cases are very expensive (most of the time, for no reason). No, I’m not going to spend $30 for a case to protect a $69 Kindle. Second, there isn’t much of a selection of cases for the latest-generation Kindles. Maybe Amazon and the other companies feel there is more demand for Kindle Fires?
But after a little research, I found something promising: the mCover Leather Folio Cover Case from iPearl. (There they are over on the right.) No, there’s nothing leather about it, and I find it funny that iPearl calls it a cover and case at the same time, but this $7.99 case does the job. Using the generous $1,000 donation from DSW, which I’m finding invaluable to build the project’s infrastructure, I bought five of these cases this week and will buy five more tomorrow. That way, when they arrive, all 10 Kindles will immediately get into the hands of students.
4. The Kindle Library has moved past the 170-book mark.
Wasn’t it just a few months ago that the library included just 130 titles? Well, things have changed a lot. Getting a Kindle in the mail will always be exciting, but what’s perhaps more important is making sure that students have good books to read.
Here’s why having a good classroom e-book library is so crucial. Many of my students are reading books for the first time in years. They come to the end of a book. They’ve liked it. And they don’t want it to end because they fear they won’t find another book like it. Reluctant and emerging readers do not have “next lists” and “to be read piles,” and it’s up to the teacher to connect that reader to the next great book. I’m pretty good at it — but only if I have the books.
That’s why I’m so appreciative of LeAnne of Fremont and Imene of San Francisco and the others who have donated money for books (over on the Contribute page). The library now stands at 171. Here are a few of the new books, all requested by students, in the e-book library.
An aside: If you want good books to read, you might follow what my students are reading! They choose very well. (I liked Sold and Gone Girl. I can’t say that I’ve read much of Rick Riordan. They involve wizards, right? Wizards confuse me.)
Thank you for reading this update! There is a lot going on, and I’m hopeful that this momentum will continue into 2013. Please let me know your thoughts, concerns, and ideas.