If you could not make it to the 2012 International Reading Association (IRA) Convention in Chicago, IL on April 29-May 2, you missed out on some great new products and ideas. Not to fear, I scoured the exhibitor hall and discovered some wonderful things to share with you. Check out my top five finds from IRA 2012* below.
- Library of Congress for Teachers
If you have not explored the Library of Congress’ wesbite for teachers, now is the time. They have launched an extensive (and growing!) section of their website that allows teachers to find free materials that correspond to state standards and use primary sources. There are teachers’ guides for most lessons and links to the PDFs that can be used in class. It is a great resource for original materials and for igniting your students’ passion about history through language arts, social studies, and technology.
- Ivy + Bean
If your students are fans of the Ivy + Bean series by Annie Barrows, Chronicle Books has a great section dedicated to all things Ivy + Bean. The “Teachers, Librarians, + Other Grownups” section has some fun lesson plans, printables, and ideas. The “Kids + Readers” section is equally as fun and filled with activities that appeal to all kids. At IRA there was a form to become a member of the Official Ivy + Bean Red Hot Reader Fan Club, but, at present, it is not available on the website.
I had the pleasure of talking with the founder of Subtext, a free downloadable app, and got a hands-on demonstration of the software. In a nutshell, it is an interactive book discussion program between middle and high school students and teachers. It allows students to interact with the text and one another while doing a class reading assignment. The term “community in a book” is a great description of how the app works. One of the best parts? The app uses free public domain books, in addition to Google books. Check out their website for a demonstration of how the program works and see if it is right for your iPad equipped classroom.
- Captain Write and the Super Writers
Getting students excited about writing, especially upper elementary age boys, is an uphill battle all the way to the end of the school year. Captain Write and Super Writers, however, may change that. Based on the idea of graphic novels, this writing program features characters like Couch Potato Man and his band of evil misfits who must be defeated by Captain Write and the Super Writers (your students). It is a fun, kid-humor oriented approach to the Common Core Standards and writing that seems to be an alternative to traditional, not-so-exciting writing programs.
- Vocabulary Cartoon
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher had us learn the state capitols by using the mnemonic principle of association. To this day I can still name all fifty and when I say them, I think about the association that I learned many, many years ago. I was excited to find Vocabulary Cartoons, because the program offers the same type of mnemonic tricks for helping students memorize and understand vocabulary. It is geared toward upper elementary grades, but it could also be introduced in the lower grades to help expand students’ vocabulary. They say that you can “learn a word a minute and never forget it” using the vocabulary cartoons, but even if it takes five minutes, it is a great way to introduce and teach vocabulary.
Were you at IRA? What were some of your favorite finds? Share with us below!
*Inclusion in the list does not indicate endorsement of a product or program by the author or Really Good Stuff Inc.