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A huge year for the Kindle Classroom Project!

Note: This post was originally published yesterday in this month’s newsletter. Consider subscribing!

favicon Happy December! Hope your holiday is going well so far! It has been a long time since my last update, and since then, there have been huge changes to the Kindle Classroom Project. Check out these highlights!

The KCP smashes the 1,000-Kindle barrier!
Kindle donations have been astounding this year. Back in February, there were 688 Kindles. Now there are 1,376. (Yep, that’s double the number.) How is this possible? Two ways:

1. Generous supporters have sent in Kindles at around 1 per day.
Donors since February include: Anne (Seattle, WA), Mark (Kensington, CA), Mark (Bethesda, MD), Paula (Brooklyn, NY), Stacey (Danville, CA), Michelle (San Francisco, CA), Barbara (Encinitas, CA), Jay (Odenton, MD), Brian (Leesburg, VA), Uketa (Columbus, GA), Thao (Daly City, CA), Cherie (Burlington, ON), Arran (Denver, CO), John (Schererville, IN), Tom & Rob (San Francisco, CA), Wendy (Nashville, TN), James (Willington, CT), Robert (Dix Hills, NY), Melisa (West Bend, WI), Anjum (Brooklyn, NY), Vicky (New York, NY), Raymond (Philadelphia, PA), Amy (Atlanta, GA), Sharath (Charlotte, NC), Sharon (Natchez, MS), Michael (Cupertino, CA), Kerry (Marina, CA), Paul (Berkeley, CA), Anna (Calgary, AB), Samantha (Beacon, NY), Darrell (Lodi, CA), Dezmond (Seattle, WA), Adams Brothers (Atlanta, GA), Angela (San Mateo, CA), Caren (Camp Springs, MD), Sarah (Austin, TX), Paul (Manakin-Sabot, VA), Mario (Alexandria, VA), Emily (San Francisco, CA), Michael (Patchogue, NY), Peter (Santa Clara, CA), Daniel (New York, NY), Wendy (Sandy, OR), Sandra (Houston, TX), Ann (Los Altos, CA), Elizabeth (Byron, MN), Kay (Ballston Lake, NY), Joanne (Indianapolis, IN), Diane (Sammamish, WA), Sarah (Lake Oswego, OR), John (Boulder, CO), Rob (Villanova, PA), Herb (Morehead City, NC), Terry (Etiwanda, CA), JonAngelo (Twain Harte, CA), Cathy (Lodi, CA), Janice (El Cerrito, CA), Patrick (Norwood, MA), Brad & Ellen (Okemos, MI), Britt (Philadelphia, PA), Russ (Lees Summit, MO), Christine (Lilburn GA), Pete (N. Olmsted, OH), Mark (Pompano Beach, FL), Sarah (Seattle, WA), Christina (Huntington Station, NY), Sarah (North Royalton, OH), Christine (Somerville, MA), Linda (Roseville, CA), Kate (Dayton, ME), Peter (San Francisco, CA), Eleanor (Bellevue, WA), Christine (Herndon, VA), Sandra (Dallas, TX), Rosalie (Melrose Park, IL), Mary (Blooming Grove, TX), Mark (La Jolla, CA), Gay (Flemington, NJ), Christine (Olympia, WA), Lynnette (Los Angeles, CA), Andy (St. Louis, MO), Cissy (Plymouth, MA), Nealy (San Francisco, CA), Reginald (Houston, TX), Patricia (Irving, TX), Elizabeth (Seattle, WA), Bonnie (Charleston, SC), Marcia (Englewood, CO), Cassandra (Balwyn, AUS), Karla (Sherman Oaks, CA), Juliana (Harrisburg, PA), John (San Mateo, CA), Alan (Encinitas, CA), Pam (Midland, TX), Darlene & Hugh (Woodcliff Lake, NJ), Allison (Jacksonville, FL), Yvonne (Kissimmee, FL), Kristin (Seattle, WA), Olimpia (Salem, SC), Robert (Sun City, AZ), Sharon (Algonac, MI), Teresa (W. Orange, NJ), Jennifer (Ackworth, GA), Elizabeth (Morro Bay, CA), Kerry (Marina Del Rey, CA), Marc (Brooklyn, NY), Andras (Concord, NC), Marie & Eddie (Bangor, ME), Kristin (Hayward, CA), Susan (Arlington, VA), Aaron (Albuquerque, NM), Diane (Calgary, AB), Kristi (Ramona, CA), Leigh (Seligman, MO), Sheila (Berkeley, CA), Allie (Orange, CA), Jacki (Edgewater, MD), Charlene (Englewood, CO), Shari (San Francisco, CA), Kate (Newburyport, MA), Sam (North Potomac, MD), Joey (Parkville, MD), Pam (Stamford, CT), Simona (Altamante Springs, FL), Chris (Montgomery Vlg, MD), The Pelletiers (N. Tonawanda, NY), Matt (Ladera RAnch, CA), Robert (Ossining, NY), Anthony (New York, NY), Jamie (Oakland, CA), Betsy (Seattle, WA), Susan (Mtn. View, CA), Nathaniel (Brooklyn, NY), Francis (San Francisco, CA), Heather (Bozeman, MT), Jodell (Skaneateles, NY), Robin (Bronx, NY), Alissa (Waterford, VA), Karen (Highland Vlg, TX), Jim (Buffalo, NY), Michele (San Francisco, CA), Christian (Kirkland, WA), Joe (Seattle, WA), Joe (Seattle, WA), YT (San Diego, CA), Robyn (Redmond, WA), Janet (San Jose, CA), Daniel (Ben Lomond, CA), Jay (Odenton, MD), Blaiz (Los Angeles, CA), Brad & Ellen (Okemos, MI), Matthew (San Francisco, CA), Jeff (Placentia, CA), Megan (Lincoln, CA), Jocelyn (San Francisco, CA), Greg (Irvine, CA), Amy (Brooklyn, NY), Miriam (Davis, CA), Shannon (Boise, ID), Carson (Newburyport, MA), Ma’Lanee (Bear, DE), David (Chevy Chase, MD), Oliver (Houston, TX), and Iris (Avon, CT). THANK YOU!

Have another Kindle to donate? Or a friend who might like to donate one? Here’s how.

2. Worldreader made a huge donation of 458 Kindles to the KCP. (Wow.)
Worldreader is a wonderful non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate illiteracy, “to create a world where everyone is a reader.” Last month, I got a message from Zev Lowe, senior director at Worldreader. Could the KCP use some Kindles? And would you like to come by to speak to the team? Sure!

It was wonderful to meet the Worldreader staff, get a tour of operations (thank you, Ryan Lew), meet founder David Risher, and answer questions about the KCP. (Here are some neat slides!) Everyone was kind, smart, and like-minded. Their commitment to promoting reading among young people in the developing world is unparalleled, and they were impressed with the KCP community of students, teachers, and supporters.

Zev’s promise of “some” Kindles ended up becoming this behemoth donation (458 Kindles, 400+ cases, 400+ chargers, and more). Take a look!

This donation from Worldreader is the largest in KCP history. It allows the program to serve more students and teachers in more schools. In addition, I look forward to keeping in touch with Worldreader to find ways that both projects can deepen our impact.

The KCP now serves a whole school!
It was always a dream of mine to see the Kindle Classroom Project grow to serve an entire school. That dream is now a reality! Since August, all 425 students at Envision Academy in Oakland have been reading on Kindles. They have 25 minutes of independent reading time every day, plus nearly all students take their Kindles home. This means students read at night, on weekends, and over vacation breaks.

Every Friday, I get to visit Envision Academy, and inevitably, students stop me in the halls and staircases, asking me for new books, telling me about their favorites, and thanking me for their Kindles. Sometimes they call me Mr. Mark, and other times, they refer to me as The Kindle Guy, and either way, it is heartwarming.

The KCP Library is booming
Because of generous donors and student enthusiasm, the KCP Library now stands at 925 books (up from 669 in February). The library keeps growing and growing! One motto of the program is that students may read what they like, when they like, however much they like. As a result, students get to request new titles that interest them, and students choose well.

Here are some of the books students have requested over the past few weeks:

         

Students choose good books. They request their books on the program website, any time day and night, and I buy them within a few hours. There is a trust building among students that the KCP community cares deeply about their reading interests and will honor student book requests.

I’d like to thank the following people for donating to build the KCP Library in 2016: Lori (Oceanside, CA), Jamie (Oakland, CA), Brian (Leesburg, VA), Becky (Woodside, NY), Stuart (New York, NY), Iris (San Diego, CA), DSW (Saratoga, CA), Chris (Montgomery Village, MD), Toni (Apex, NC), Ma’Lanee (Bear, DE), Sharon (Naperville, IL), Elder Family Foundation (Berkeley, CA), Sherril (Pacifica, CA), Dina (Saratoga, CA), Patrick (Garfield, NJ), Barbara (Oakland, CA), Pat (Santa Rosa, CA), Michelle (Alameda, CA), Tom & Rob (San Francisco, CA), Karl & Phoebe (Santa Cruz, CA), Allie (Orange, CA), Bob (New York, NY), and Kati (Newark, CA). Thank you! (Hope I didn’t miss anyone!)

Want to help build the KCP Library? Here’s how!

Sustaining donors ensure the KCP’s long-term health
Whenever I get nervous that I won’t be able to honor a student’s book request, another KCP supporter chooses to donate again, or to make a sustaining donation. It is a testament to the power of the KCP community that so many people continue to give and give. KCP supporters believe in young people and their reading lives.

Here are the KCP’s sustaining donors of 2016: Brian (Leesburg, VA), DSW (Saratoga, CA), Iris (San Diego, CA), Sherril (Pacifica, CA), Barbara (Oakland, CA), Pat (Garfield, NJ), Dina (Saratoga, CA), Stuart (New York, NY), Toni (Apex, NC), Lori (Oceanside, CA), Sam (North Potomac, MD), Matthew (San Francisco, CA), Irene (Los Altos, CA), Cathy (Lodi, CA), Susan (Mtn. View, CA), Emily (San Francisco, CA), Kati (Newark, CA), Amy (Brooklyn, NY), Kate (Dayton, ME), Bob (New York, NY), Jamie (Oakland, CA), Pat (Santa Rosa, CA), Elder Family Foundation (Berkeley, CA), Laura (San Francisco, CA), Chris (Montgomery Vlg, MD). Thank you! (Hope I didn’t miss anyone!)

In all, $9,148 has been donated so far in 2016, 22% more than the $7,525 donated last year. Thank you! Want to become a sustaining supporter of the KCP? Here’s how!

Next steps for the KCP
So much, so many things! I’m excited about a number of projects, including:

Finding another school that would like to go all-KCP. There are a few excellent candidates, including ARISE High School, Oakland High School, Elmhurst Community Prep (all in Oakland), Leadership High School, and City Arts and Technology High School (both in San Francisco). We would pilot in the Spring semester and then launch whole-school next August.

– Maybe expanding to middle schools. Research says that independent reading declines beginning in fifth grade, especially for boys. If the KCP can encourage young people to read beginning in middle school, they’ll never have to reclaim their love of reading; it’ll always be there! One challenge: Introducing middle schools would require starting a new KCP library from scratch to accommodate what’s appropriate for younger readers.

– Nonprofit 501c3? It’s always in the back (or front!) of my mind to quit my day job, take a risk, and make the Kindle Classroom Project a nonprofit organization. But legal and financial considerations (particularly with book distribution) make it challenging. My hope is to build a pilot program in 2017 that will test whether a 501c3 is viable. This “test KCP classroom” might be one that I lead myself! (More to come about that.)

Thank you again for all your support. We have built a very strong community. If you’d like to help out some more, please let me know! favicon

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Kindle Classroom Project update, Sept 2015: This will be the biggest year yet — by far!

favicon There’s so much that has happened, and so much going on, that it’s sort of impossible to figure out where to begin. But let me try!

Kevin Kindle
Kevin (SF, CA) was one of the program’s first students. (Yes, he read in the hallway.)

#1: The growth is amazing (and a little bit crazy). This will be the fifth year of the Kindle Classroom Project. I remember when there were just six Kindles in September 2011. When we started up school last year, there were 161. Now there are 592.

Each Kindle comes with total access to the KCP Library, which now includes 513 books.

#2: The KCP now serves nearly 600 students and 10 teachers in seven schools in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Hayward. Kindles keep arriving every day (20-30 a month, on average), and there is a waiting list of interested teachers.

#3: I’m super excited to announce that the KCP is partnering with the Oakland Unified School District on a project to research the effects of the program on student reading. Three teachers and 340 students at Oakland High School will receive Kindles. We’ll track what the students are reading, if they read more e-books than physical books, how their viewpoints on reading change, and whether their reading skills improve at a faster rate.

kindleclassroomproject.org

#4: The KCP now has its own website! This website will be a hub for students, teachers, and KCP supporters to follow the project. Students will keep track of all the books they’ve finished, read reviews and recommendations from their friends, and be able to request books they want to read. Teachers will get to view their students’ reading progress at a glance to help with book recommendations. Supporters will get to see the impact of their generous donations and connect more closely with the program. I’d like to thank friend and former colleague Brandon (San Francisco, CA) for all his hard work on this website. It’s live now, so feel free to register as a supporter! (There’s much more to come.)

#5: Then there was the first-annual Kindle Registration Party! Thirty-plus friends, family, former students, and KCP supporters came over to my house, ate pizza and my mom’s cookies, drank Sprite (and sometimes water), and helped register 210 new Kindles.

There’s no way that I could have processed all of these Kindles on my own. In fact, I predict that it would have easily taken me 50-80 hours. Despite a few tech challenges (my home WiFi network couldn’t handle all the simultaneous devices), the team finished everything up in six!

Take a look at this huge list of participants: Peter (San Francisco, CA), Michele (San Francisco, CA), Nancy (Oakland, CA), Joel (Oakland, CA), Emma (San Francisco, CA), Lara (Oakland, CA), Michael (Oakland, CA), Vanessa (San Francisco, CA), Jacqueline (San Mateo, CA), Brandon (San Francisco, CA), Millie (San Francisco, CA), Brent (San Francisco, CA), Julia (San Francisco, CA), Linda (Hayward, CA), Tim (San Francisco, CA), Brian (Leesburg, VA), Beth (San Francisco, CA), Barbara (Oakland, CA), Melissa (Oakland, CA), Talya (San Francisco, CA), Jessica (San Francisco, CA), Jenn (Oakland, CA), Judy (Asheville, NC), Abby (Berkeley, CA), Carla (San Francisco, CA), Lisa (San Francisco, CA), Danny (San Francisco, CA), Irene (Los Altos, CA), Jacob (San Francisco, CA), and an anonymous supporter from Mountain View. (I hope I didn’t miss anyone!)

Also: Thanks to Gail (Greenbrae, CA) for coming over days after the event to continue the registration process, including getting the Kindles on the website and boxing them up for delivery! Also, I appreciate the videography of Wenner (San Francisco, CA), who filmed all my how-to videos (which had a big yet fleeting following on YouTube).

New Social

#6: It’s now easier to follow the KCP. In addition to registering on the website, you can follow the Kindle Classroom Project on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All the names are the same now (@kindleclassroom), so it’s less confusing. If you’re interested, please take the time to follow the KCP on at least one, and get the word out.

Screenshot 2015-09-01 13.18.12

#7: I need your help to keep the program growing. By far, this year will be the KCP’s biggest. Compared to last year, there will be more than triple the number of students reading books, recording books, and reviewing books.

Most important, I make a promise to students that they can read whatever books they like, however much they like, whenever they like. This means that students get to take their Kindles home. This also means that students may request that new books be added to the Kindle Library. And it means that students may request additional copies of books when a license limit is reached (i.e., more than six students are reading the same title simultaneously).

I’ve estimated that the cost is $20 to support one KCP student’s reading for one year. This includes the Kindle case and charger as well as enough funds to cover the student’s book requests.

Please make a donation to support one (or more!) students this year! The easiest and fastest way is through PayPal. (PayPal just made it super fast.)

1 student | 2 students | 5 students | 10 students | 1 classother

If you don’t like PayPal, you can also donate an Amazon gift card via the KCP’s Amazon Wishlist. (I also need tons of chargers, cases, and other accessories.)

Welcome to the KCP
This is the letter the students receive when they first open up their Kindle.

Most important, thank you very much for all your support. This little humble program is growing up! It’s because there are hundreds of people from all across the country — friends, family, and total strangers — who care deeply about young people and their reading lives.

You believe, as do I, that offering aggressive access to books, alongside a caring and dedicated teacher, supports urban students of color to learn more about who they are and who they want to become.

Thank you again for all your support, and please feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments! favicon

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3 months, 92 Kindles

favicon More Kindles have been donated in the last three months than in any other similar stretch in the history of the Kindle Classroom Project.

Since Nov. 1, 92 Kindles have arrived at the KCP. That’s one a day!

Please take a look at this chart:chart_1

 

It’s normal to have a holiday jump. Amazon usually comes out with a new Kindle model before Thanksgiving, which people buy for themselves or their loved ones. This means that generous people look for good homes for their used devices. Last year, 56 Kindles were donated between from November through January. But 92 is most the KCP has ever received by far.

Getting so many Kindles has been really fun, and I’m getting better at processing them quickly and getting them ready for students. Because the volume is so high, I hope to open another Kindle classroom in the next few weeks.

Again, I’d like to thank all the generous people who donate their Kindles, contribute money for books, and leave kind messages of support for the Kindle Classroom Project. Although the program is still small, it’s becoming something, and I’m hopeful to see it grow. favicon

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End of 2014: The KCP is 226 Kindles strong

Kindle Deckfavicon There has been a bit of Bush v. Gore in my house the past few days.

I’ve been getting 61 Kindles ready for a new Kindle classroom in San Francisco (more about that in an upcoming post). During this process, I’ve done a full accounting of the Kindles — and I’ve discovered that the flurry of December donations has put the total number of Kindles at higher than I believed.

The recount is finished. No more hanging chads.

The Kindle Classroom Project is ending 2014 at 226 Kindles.

Here are some quick numbers:
– Kindles donated, December 2014 — 26
– Kindles donated, November 2014 — 34

– Total Kindles donated, 2014 — 111
– Total Kindles donated, 2013 — 95

chart_1

This is all very impressive. Thank you, Generous Donors, for promoting reading and for believing in the project!

Here are a few more numbers for you. Which Kindle has been donated the most? Please take a look at the current Kindle fleet:

Kindle 2: 35
Kindle Keyboard: 58
Kindle 4-5: 64
Kindle Touch: 24
Kindle Paperwhite: 11
Kindle Fire: 18
Kindle Fire HD: 2
Kindle 7: 14

I’m extremely excited about the new year. When will the KCP hit 300 Kindles? Is 400 a possible goal for 2015? Please keep the Kindles coming! favicon

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Kindle Classroom Project, news and updates: July 2014

This is a lot of what happens during the summer at the Kindle Classroom Project.
This is a lot of what happens during the summer at the Kindle Classroom Project.

favicon Hi there, loyal readers and supporters of the Kindle Classroom Project! It’s summer, which means that I’m resting and relaxing, but I wanted to share with you some quick updates about the Kindle Classroom Project.

After a donation slump that lasted several months, I’m happy to report that Kindles are again arriving. Even though there are more than 150 Kindles now in the collection, it’s still a wonderful feeling to receive an email (from the Donate Kindle page’s form) that someone wants to donate their Kindle to students in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m always very appreciative of people’s generosity, and it makes me especially happy when total and complete strangers find Iserotope on the Internet, decide that the KCP is a worthy cause, and ship their Kindle to me. It’s pretty great.

Also great is that the Kindle library is beginning to grow again. My goal has never been to accumulate tons of titles; after all, anyone can go on Project Gutenberg and download out-of-print classics that no students will read (even though we might want them to). Besides, you don’t want too many books: It’s confusing to students, plus you don’t want to go over the Kindle’s capacity (~1,000 books for some models). But Kindles themselves don’t do anything until there are good books on them. That’s why I’m grateful for all the donors who have purchased books, either via the Contribute page or by checking out my students’ Amazon wishlist.

The past few months, several people have contacted me to ask why I’m focusing more of my attention on physical books. “Isn’t that taking away your energy from Kindles?” I definitely don’t think so. My goal has always been to spread reading among students; I’m not really partial to any specific medium. That said, I do believe strongly in what I call “classroom library mirroring,” where students can see physical books in the classroom and then access them on their Kindle. Without library mirroring, there’s no good way for students to browse and to discover new titles they might want to try out. Therefore, I’ve been working with teachers (via DonorsChoose, mainly) to build physical classroom libraries. If you’re pro-physical book and would like to make a contribution, please let me know!

Coming Up: This Summer’s Projects

Summer is a great time to get ready for the next year and to work on big ways to make the Kindle Classroom Project better.

I’m happy to report that the KCP will be in five schools in August — two in San Francisco, one in Berkeley, one in Oakland, and one in Hayward.

One challenge I’ve had is to build a robust data-gathering system I can study (with some scientific accuracy) the effects of the Kindles on students. Last year, I tried, but it was not too successful for a number of reasons.

So this summer, I’m creating an easy way (via Google Forms) for students to track the books they’ve completed. That data, when compared to their online reading achievement scores, will help me answer more clearly whether students who use Kindles read more and whether they become better readers as a result.

I’ll need teacher collaboration and support, of course, to ensure that students are reporting their reading. No one, after all, likes to fill out a reading log. (The Form won’t be a reading log, promise.) The good news is that I’m working with teachers (and one school librarian!) who are wonderful and incredible and understand the importance of the project. I’ll be introducing them to you beginning in August.

What else? Oh, another big project is to — finally — publish the Kindle library online, categorized by genre. I have procrastinated on this project for too long (for some good and not-so-good reasons), and it’s time to move. It’s not going to be perfect — no cataloging system is — but I’m going to do my best (and maybe ask my librarian-y friends for help).

There are tons of benefits to this cataloging project. First, it’ll be easier for students (and parents) to browse books if the classroom library is not yet mirrored. One copy of the Kindle library will be on Goodreads, so students can check out the book’s summaries and reviews to determine whether to give a book a try.

Second, it’ll make it much easier to organize the books on the Kindles. Students have access to nearly 500 titles (as long as no more than six students are reading the book simultaneously, per Amazon’s policy), and my feeling is that students will more quickly find books they want to read if they’re organized by genre. (This is very similar to why school libraries over the past two decades have moved toward cataloging by genre vs. by author for fiction and by Dewey decimal number for nonfiction.

OK, wow, this is a long post, and I can go on for longer, but I’ll stop for now. Again, I appreciate the support and the enthusiasm that you all have for young people and their reading lives, and I’m hopeful that 2014-15 will be a strong one for the Kindle Classroom Project. Thank you! favicon

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Huge January for the Kindle Classroom Project

favicon After an impressive month of donations, the Kindle Classroom Project is growing at a rapid rate. Contributions in January brought the overall Kindle total to 139.

With 24 Kindles donated, January was the second-best month in KCP’s history. It finished just behind December 2013, which had 28.

Here’s a great graph that I think you’ll enjoy:

Kindle Growth

I’m not a Math whiz, but something is happening with that graph, don’t you think? Kindle contributions seem fairly linear from November 2012 to November 2013. The last two months, on the other hand, tell a very different story.

It may be impossible to keep up this near-exponential pace, but the fact remains that 52 Kindles have been donated in the last 60 days. Amazing!

Another way to assess growth is to compare recent months to the same month last year. For example, January 2014 added 24 Kindles, while January 2013 netted 10. December 2013 added 28 Kindles, while December 2012 netted 6. That’s a big difference.

Here’s another way to explain the growth: Before December, there had never been a month in which more than 20 Kindles were donated. The closest was June 2013, when we gained 12 Kindles.

The question now is whether the surge will continue. Last February, 11 Kindles were donated. How many will come in this year? While my gut says that this kind of growth can’t possibly continue, I also say, Why not?

What would be the problem, say, if the Kindle Classroom Project had 160 Kindles before March and 200 before June? My students would have no problem with that.

Thank you to everyone who donated in January: David and Linda (Cannon Falls, MN), Matthew (Chicago, IL), Julia (Ann Arbor, MI), Amy (West Chester, PA), Kristzian (San Jose, CA), Rich (via email), Hoai (New York, NY), Jeffrey (via Facebook), Ben (Oakland, CA), Cathy (Iron Station, NC), Kim (Polk City, IA), Jenn (Brockway, PA), Anna (Fort Smith, AR), Emily (St. Louis, MO), Donna (Denver, CO), K.C. (Palo Alto, CA), Jeannette (via email), Roger (West Jordan, UT), Pat (Garfield, NJ), and Cathy (Benton, PA).

I love that Kindles are coming in from all over the country. Is it just me, or is Pennsylvania a particularly Kindle-donating-generous state? favicon

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Kindle Classroom Project Update, November 2013

favicon Well, it’s already the middle of November, so I’m a bit late with this update, but I’d like to report that October was a strong one for the Kindle Classroom Project! Here are some highlights:

1. There were tons of books donated.
We broke a record! A total of 54 books were donated in October, smashing the previous mark of 35 set in March. That’s nearly two books a day! (Now there are 363 books in the library!)

The books came from everywhere — from sustaining donors and new donors. But most of all, half of the books came from former students. And that makes me very happy.

Here’s a neat little chart to show the growth of our Kindle library:

2. Kindle batteries faltered, but donors came to the rescue.
I have to be honest: I was bummed when I learned that 10 to 15 of the Kindles, mostly Kindle 2s, had faulty batteries. Though it’s normal for electronic products to become obsolete after a few years, I did not like the prospect of retiring a large portion of the Kindle collection.

So as usual, I put out a call for batteries, which Amazon does not want us to buy but proudly sells on its website, and generous donors answered. Thank you to Laura (San Francisco, CA), Wil (New York, NY), Erin (San Jose, CA), and Mary (Parkersburg, IA) for the nifty batteries.

And then I surprised myself by fixing seven of the Kindles, including one that had a cracked screen. This took minor handyman skills! It gives me the confidence that I will be able to repair Kindles in the future. That said, batteries are cheap, whereas screens are not. That’s why I’m hopeful that the students will continue to take care of their Kindles instead of smooshing them in backpacks.

3. The Kindles are in five classrooms now.
My move to New York this summer and back in September meant that the Kindles got to experience the country in the back of a van. The movers did an excellent job taking care of the devices. My thinking is that only one was damaged as result of the 6,000-mile trek.

The move-and-move-back also meant that it was impossible to get the Kindles into students’ hands immediately at the beginning of the school year. It took a while, especially with so many new books to load on the Kindles, but I’m happy to announce that now all is well.

It’s also an honor to work with Natalia and Tess, two excellent teachers who care deeply about their students and their reading lives. If they let me, maybe I’ll feature them here on Iserotope!

4. The Kindle Classroom Project is getting more and more donors.
Some are sustaining donors, who have given repeatedly. Others are new. Some like my students’ Amazon Wishlist. Others find the project on Facebook. However folks find Iserotope or the Kindle Classroom Project, I am grateful.

In October, 35 people donated. (A few donated twice in the same month!) Isn’t that wonderfully insane?

Here they are: Nicole (Quincy, MA; sustaining donor), LeAnne (Fremont, CA; sustaining donor), Iris (San Diego, CA; sustaining donor), Laura (San Francisco, CA; sustaining donor), Elaine (Stanford, CA), Deanna (New York, NY), Collins (Kentfield, CA), Michael (San Francisco, CA), Amanda (San Jose, CA), Henry (San Francisco, CA), Rasheel (Mission Viejo, CA), Cindy (San Francisco, CA), Melva (San Francisco, CA), Eric (London, UK), Camila (Berkeley, CA), Ian (Mountain View, CA), Dave (Oakland, CA; sustaining donor), Stella (Hialeah, FL), May (Oakland, CA), Susan (Tacoma, WA), Kimberlynn (Boston, MA), Joey (Fremont, CA), Kyle (Sacramento, CA), Jillian (Livermore, CA), Pedrito (San Francisco, CA), Laura (Santa Cruz, CA), Katherine (New York, NY), Kati (Newark, CA), Stephanie (Daly City, CA), Matt (Fremont, CA), Fred (Albany, CA), Dawn (Newark, CA), Sam (North Potomac, VA), Mary (Parkersburg, IA; sustaining donor), and Wil (New York, NY; sustaining donor).

It’s all very great. As I’ve said before, donations come in waves. September was the month of Kindles. It seemed like one came every other day. And October was the month of books. November is almost halfway done, and so far, things are fairly quiet on the donations front. They’re certainly not quiet in the schools, where students are reading avidly on their Kindles, requesting books, and getting interested in reading again.

Stay tuned for some stories from the classrooms! favicon

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Kindle Classroom Project Update, September 2013

favicon I am happy to report that September was a big month for the Kindle Classroom Project. Here are some highlights:

1. Ten Kindles were donated.
We’re now up to 80 total Kindles! September was our third-busiest Kindle donation month of all time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll hit 100 Kindles by the New Year. Do you think it’s possible?

2. Twenty-two books were donated.
We’re now up to 296 total titles! September was our second-busiest ebook donation month of all time. Folks are telling me that they like checking out my students’ Amazon wishlist to see the latest requests. It’s also helpful that donors can view the current Kindle library.

3. Classroom Library Mirroring is really happening.
My vision is that students can shop for books in the classroom’s physical library but read them on their Kindles. I call it classroom library mirroring.

Mirroring brings the best of both worlds: You get to touch the physical book, but it never leaves the classroom. It stays nice and colorful and in good condition on the library shelf. Meanwhile, you can enjoy reading the book on your Kindle, where the digital copy never gets lost or worn.

Just last week, I began tracking how many titles are mirrored. We’re up to 102. Not bad!

4. I updated some pages.
New to Iserotope: “Our Kindle Library” and “Gallery.” Check them out! Also, I updated the Contribute page and the About page.

5. As always, KCP donors are great.
Thanks so much to all the September donors: Wil (New York, NY), Wes (San Francisco, CA), Katherine (New York, NY), Mary (Princeton Junction, NJ), Mary (Parkersburg, IA), Shelly (Alameda, CA), Jenna (Fremont, CA), Doug (San Francisco, CA), Ruth (Palo Alto, CA), Sarah (Logan, UT), and Maria (still unknown!).

Let’s keep things going! Keep getting the word out. Students want to read and are patiently awaiting Kindles and good books! favicon

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The 70-Kindle barrier gets broken!

favicon One of my favorite things is receiving an email from a stranger across the country who is interested in donating a Kindle to the Kindle Classroom Project.

It’s heartwarming that people care deeply about young people and their reading lives. It’s wonderful that they’re willing to ship their Kindle to someone they don’t know. It’s fantastic that they have faith that I’ll put their Kindle to good use.

Those feelings are even stronger when someone says she’s going to donate TWO Kindles!

I would like to thank Mary from Princeton Junction, New Jersey, for donating a Kindle 2 and a Kindle Touch to the Kindle Classroom Project collection.

Here they are! (Mary also included a kind note.)

Mary - Kindles 70 71

Mary’s generous donation puts us at 71 Kindles in all. That also means that the Kindle Classroom Project will expand to its THIRD classroom in a few weeks!

The word is getting out that if we tell students that we care about them, and if we show them that we care by letting them borrow a Kindle, and if we challenge them to read more, and if we give them interesting books, then really good things will happen.

I look forward to seeing where the KCP goes this year. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, and feel free to tell your family and friends! favicon