Tagged: goodreads

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What happens when a student finishes a book at the Kindle Classroom Project

favicon If you want to kill your students’ love of reading, there’s no better method than requiring a book report (or other assignment) after they complete a book.

Author and former middle school teacher Kylene Beers tweets it best:

Although I don’t like to disrupt the flow of reading, or to intervene between the end of one book and the beginning of another, I do think it’s important that students record their completed books.

That’s where the KCP Finished Books Form comes along. A draft:

It’s a work in progress, but my goals are to (a) help students keep track of the books they’ve read, (b) help teachers keep track of what their students have read, (c) give me data about which titles are most popular, (d) let donors peek into what students are reading.

Ideally, and eventually, I’d like to build a dedicated website for students — sort of like a student-friendly version of Goodreads, which is too texty and adult-centered — where they can record completed books, make recommendations, and build relationships with other members of the KCP community.

Maybe that will happen in 2015? favicon

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Next up for the Kindle Classroom Project: Building the Kindle Library to 500 titles

favicon It’s been a whirlwind of a Winter Break for the Kindle Classroom Project. Some highlights:

– I counted Kindles (226 on Christmas, now 233),
– I tracked where the Kindles have come from (including 29 states),
– Teacher Kathleen Large and I prepped 60 Kindles for her students in SF,
– The KCP has a new online business card,
– There’s a new book request form and a new books completed form for students,
– The KCP received a $2,000 donation from DSW (Saratoga, CA),
– There’s a new, super super easy and safe way to donate to the KCP,
– The Kindle Library is now updated and on Goodreads,
– The KCP was featured in an Edutopia interview,
– There’s a new application for prospective KCP teachers.

If I do say so myself, that’s not bad! So, what’s next up?

It’s pretty clear: 2015 will be the year of the Kindle Library.

The KCP is as good as its books. The Kindles are wonderful, and they’re obviously necessary, but unless the Kindles have good books, there’s no reading. There’s no magic. (Magic is good.)

I am very proud of the current Kindle Library. Thanks to generous donors, it includes 380 high-quality titles that are accessible to all 233 students. The library has books that students want to read. Like these:

My Bloody Life   Divergent   Buck

But I’m confident that the Kindle Library can get bigger and better. In 2015, I want to build the library to 500 titles. There will be two ways:

Continue honoring my promise to students: If they want to read a book that is currently not in the Kindle Library, I’ll buy it for them.

Introduce new high-quality books that students may not know about yet.

I would like to invite you to help build the Kindle Library in 2015. A $10 donation means a student gets a new book he or she wants to read.

Even better: The book never gets lost or worn, and it automatically becomes available to all 233 students in the KCP.

Donating takes less than a minute. (You can even be advanced and become a monthly supporter.) There’s an enormous button right here for you to click. Do you see it? It’s right here, ready for clicking.

Donate Now

(If you’d like other ways to donate, please visit the Contribute page.)

With your help, raising the $1,200 in 2015 to push the Kindle Library up to 500 titles will not be an insurmountable challenge.

As always, I want to thank all the generous donors to the Kindle Classroom Project. It’s simply unfathomable to think how much growth there has been the past two years. Thank you again, and Happy New Year! favicon

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At long last: The online Kindle Library is correct and updated

George-peabody-libraryfavicon This Winter Break has been a busy time for the Kindle Classroom Project.

I’m happy to announce that the Kindle Library is now entirely updated and accurate. The books you see in the library are exactly the same books students find on their Kindles. (You can get a sneak preview below or on Iserotope’s Kindle Library page.)

I’m finding out a lot about what librarians call “book discovery.” How do students choose their next book? While most students listen to recommendations from their teachers and students, others like looking at physical book covers and reading the backs of books.

On e-Ink Kindles, this isn’t ideal. The archives list titles of books in alphabetical order. This isn’t enough information for a student to make a decision.

The online Kindle Library over at Goodreads is much more pleasing. There are books and book covers. If you hover over a book, you get a synopsis and even a chance to read a sample.

My hope is that the online Kindle Library will help students branch out and try new genres, support teachers in encouraging students to read widely, and offer donors a sense of what students are reading.

It’s also becoming clear — now that the online Kindle Library is accurate and updated — that 2015 is going to be the year to expand the catalog. I did some aggressive “weeding” (curating) of the library, and it’s time to make the collection more robust. As students make book requests, I’ll purchase those titles, thanks to generous donors.

Take a look below for a randomized sample of the books in the library, and please leave comments and questions below!

One last thing: I’d like to thank Telvin (Fremont, CA), a student at Irvington High School in Fremont, where I worked for three years, for doing the bulk of this project. It took a lot of attention to detail. Now I have to make sure to keep things updated and organized!

And one last thing: Now that you know exactly which books are in the Kindle Library, you may be inspired to donate $10 to add a title to the collection. The quickest way to donate is herefavicon

Click here to browse the entire Kindle Library.

Fallen in Love: A Fallen Novel in Stories
Looking for Alaska
Into Thin Air
The Cocaine Kids: The Inside Story of a Teenage Drug Ring
Autobiography of My Dead Brother
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Along for the Ride
Thirteen Reasons Why
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive
Shadow of the Hegemon
Summer Ball
The Outsiders
Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
In the Huddle with... John Elway
Madame Bovary

Kindle Classroom Project’s favorite books »

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I guess I read a lot of non-fiction, too

favicon Some years I read between 70 and 80 books. Other years, like this one, I read much less — more like 30 to 40. There’s always some guilt when I have an “off” year. After all, there’s tons of great stuff to read, and especially now that I’m not a classroom teacher, there really isn’t a great excuse.

There’s a pattern, though, to my off years: I tend to read more nonfiction, especially online. It’s not the same, of course. No matter how much I read articles from Longform, my favorite curator of long-form articles, there’s nothing that replaces a book. But most of it is still good reading.

The other day, I received this email from Pocket, my favorite phone app of all time.

Screenshot 2013-12-15 16.20.10

You see? I get an A!

Apparently, I read nearly 3 million words this year on Pocket. How does it know? Is this number based on the articles I opened? Or is it based on the articles that I’ve saved? Or does Pocket actually scan my eyes as I read or determine whether my brain comprehends what I’ve read? It’s a mystery.

At least I’m reading, though, and many of the articles I’ve read have made their way to Iserotope Extras or been saved to my Evernote.

That’s good, but what I really want is a way to talk about these articles — in the same way that I like talking to people about books. Pocket doesn’t do this (yet), and comments on the bottom of articles are never very good. Maybe someone in 2014 will be the year that social reading takes off. favicon

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The Goodreads community knows its books

favicon Many serious readers like Goodreads, a social networking site geared toward people who love to read. I like it, too. You can keep track of books you’ve read, write reviews, recommend books to others, and follow your friends.

One of my favorite things about Goodreads is that its members know books. I often choose books after looking at their reviews on Goodreads. My students like the site, too. If a book gets four or more stars (out of five), it’s pretty much going to be a good one.

Just today, Goodreads announced the results of its Choice Awards for 2013. I like its description: “the only major book awards decided by readers.” Here are a few of the winners:

Screenshot 2013-12-03 20.39.19

In these four categories, I don’t dispute the winners at all. The Goodreads community chose excellent titles.

I am also happy to report that all four books are on my students’ Kindles, and several students are reading them right now! favicon

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Today’s project: Organizing all my books

favicon Today I’m organizing all my books using Goodreads.

The first thing I decided, after much thought, was to create two Goodreads accounts to split the books I’ve read from those in my classroom library.

So I’m both iseroma and markisero on Goodreads.

Then I worked a little (but not too much) on organization and cataloging. Goodreads calls categories “shelves.”  It’s important that I know where all my books are, so I made shelves to track whether books are in my home library, on my Kindle, or back at the library. To make sure I maintained sanity, I decided (at least for today) not to organize my books by genre. That would likely spell doom.

Now I’m adding books! Goodreads has an excellent phone app that lets you scan books that automatically get shelved. The scanner doesn’t work every time, but it’s pretty reliable and saves a lot of time. The only problem is that Goodreads merges identical items, so it might be hard to keep track of multiple copies of books.

Will I be able to finish this project today? Unlikely, but I’m hoping. Once everything is accounted for in Goodreads, I can proceed with my next step: figuring out which teacher(s)  I want to partner with this year to share my classroom library and to promote independent reading. favicon