Posts Tagged ‘Big Universe’
Big Universe can help save your school money with our online library of more than 5,500 Lexile®, AR ATOS™, Fountas & Pinnell, and DRA leveled books, as well as our online writing and book creating tools. Find out how today by joining one of our weekly webinars.
Educators are facing the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards and the expectation to use technology to engage and motivate students to learn these standards.
Big Universe has been proven to meet these diverse needs of educators, students, and parents by serving as a highly engaging online literacy community. It continues to provide strong support of the Common Core State Standards while maintaining a student-driven, online presence. Big Universe supports the new Common Core State Standards Initiative through its alignment to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards in the areas of reading, writing, language, speaking, and listening.
Learn more about the comprehensive literacy program from Big Universe in our Overview Webinar. You can sign up for any of our informational webinars directly through our Webinar Page. Pre-registration is required.
Join Us on Wednesday, April 24th from 3:30-4:30 EDT for a webinar that will overview the comprehensive learning platform from Big Universe.
Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
Please join us for a general overview of Big Universe. We will go over the basic features in our Read, Write, Share, and Manage sections. Also, benefits and common classroom uses will be discussed. Learn more about Big Universe in this 45 minute demo.
Title: Big Universe Overview Webinar
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
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Posted on November 15, 2012 by Terry Doherty in Reviews.
Tags: Autumn, Big Universe, book review, Charlesbridge, Children's Books for Fall, common core, family literacy, Harvest, nonfiction, nonfiction picture books, Online Children's Books
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I am in a cinnamon-spice-peak-of-autumn kind of mood. When I get in one of those moods, I want a “just so” book to go along with it. In this case, something tasty … smooth like a warm custard pie right out of the oven. So glad I found Pumpkins by Jacqueline Farmer (Charlesbridge Publishing).
In a word: YUM!
Yum because Phyllis Limbacher Tildes’ illustrations are perfect.
Yum because this looks like a picture book but it is pure nonfiction.
And yum because there are great-sounding recipes in the back.
Farmer has packed this slim volume with SO much information. Now I knew that pumpkin is a fruit not a vegetable, but I had no idea that people have found pumpkin seeds that are more than 11,000 years old. Did you know that pumpkin family is one of the Three Sisters of Native American culture? There are lots of cool facts like that (dare I say) scattered throughout the book.
I read a lot of nonfiction and what stood out for me is that the text is informational, just like you’d expect, but the illustrations are more like a picture book. There are no insets to sidetrack distractable readers or listeners; the imagery tell pieces of the story not put into words. For example, the spread on pages 12 and 13 cite the fact that nine out of ten pumpkins are used to make jack o’lanterns. Now look at the illustration.
There are nine carved pumpkins on the right-hand page and one pumpkin pie on the left. Ten pumpkins. Your reader can explore their faces and shapes while you read, and when you’re done you can count them together to do the math. What a great way to help kids see what ‘nine out of ten’ pumpkins looks like.
On page 11, two young students are reading a report about the Pilgrims of Plimouth (sic). Yes, we all know it is “plymouth” but a young reader could probably use the help of the “i” in decoding the word. Massachusetts might LOOK harder, but it is easy to parse. Ply-mouth … not so much. Last but not least, the illustration in the back is a glossary with a translation of “pumpkin” in 12 languages. What a great way to show kids in one image that pumpkin is a universal / global product.
This is a book that covers lots of ground. It can be shared as a picture book, but there is a LOT more
- Social Studies – use the material about Native American and European cultures to talk about traditions (turnip carving anyone?);
- Language Arts / Social Studies – take the jack o’lantern story to talk about folklore and traditions;
- Science / Health – grab a pumpkin and try one (or all) of the activities: carving, roasting seeds, baking and cooking.
This is a book you can get out in the spring when the planting season begins and then pull out in the fall when its time for harvesting.
Before I go though, I do have one lingering question. Why are so many pumpkin-related records in Ohio? The world’s heaviest pumpkin (1,725 pounds) grew in Jackson Township, OH; The world’s largest pumpkin pie (2,020 pounds) was made in New Bremen, OH; and Jerry Ayers of Baltimore, OH carved 2,000 pounds of pumpkins “with detailed designs” in seven hours and 11 minutes.
Hmmm. Think I’ll need a piece of pie to figure that one out. You?
You can read and enjoy Pumpkins by Jacqueline Farmer on BigUniverse.com.
The other day, while up in our Computer Clubhouse, after taking an online test, my students excitedly went on to Big Universe. They love spending their free time there: browsing books, creating images and finding friends. That’s what their focus seemed to be that particular 15 minutes. By the time everyone was done with the test, the whole room was buzzing with happy kids. I actually had wished later that I had recorded the sounds in the room.
“Look at all my friends!”
“Look at this friend. He has over 300 books on his shelf!”
“Mrs. Peterson, you NEED to be my friend!”
The SHARE part of Big Universe is a great feature and I like to encourage the students to use it. First of all, it is a very safe environment. Many of the kids’ names are in code, the social network is confined to Big Universe users and the comments students can make are limited. In fact, they choose a comment to leave for a friend from a drop box.
I find that the students are showing some nice camaraderie online that can sometimes can be lost in person. Everyone wants to be everyone’s friend. It’s nice to see!
Another great thing about the SHARE tab is that you get to see what other readers are up to. The boy who became friends with one who read over 300 books was so excited. So, I told him to check out the books he was reading. My student happily went back to his computer and started to read one of the books on the boy’s shelf. He took the recommendation as an exciting adventure: to read what someone across the country thought was a great book.
It was fun to see my students get excited about social media in the classroom in a very safe and educational environment. My hope is that this healthy interaction with other people online will help them see the possibilities of online collaboration in the future.
Posted on October 31, 2011 by Suzan Woodard in Personal Experiences, Reading Lists, Reviews, Uncategorized.
Tags: Big Universe, Electricity, Electromagnetism, Inventions, Inventor, Light bulb, Saddleback Publishing, Teacher Created Materials, Thomas Edison, Thomas Edison Time Line
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BigUniverse.com book touts the inventions of Thomas Edison.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Thomas Edison this year – not because I am a great history buff, but because I like my comfort. We live in a rural setting, but have all the urban amenities – that is, until the wind picks up, the rain pours …or a butterfly goes by and the power goes out!
We live amid the trees. Apparently trees and power lines don’t mix. The boom of an exploding transformer is something that shakes a house – even a home on a solid foundation. The sound of a wailing woman shakes the house too, especially when there are writing deadlines on the line!
I don’t need fancy clothes, or TiVo, or even fine jewelry. Just give me one working power outlet for my computer modem and I’ll muddle through the rest. I’ve learned to find my toothbrush in the dark, locate matching shoes by feel, and light a kerosene lamp with one hand tied behind my back, but…been there, done that. Sixteen times this year, in fact!
I like the convenience of electrical lighting. In-home power is truly remarkable. It’s made my life quite comfortable, and it and the Internet have made my work as a freelance writer possible. So thank you, Thomas Edison.
It’s been more than 130 years since Edison filed Patent No. 223,898 for his incandescent light bulb on that day in early November. Never one to sit on his laurels, he and his inventive cohorts forged ahead, designing generators, fuses, batteries, a prototype of today’s power grid and hundreds of other inventions like the phonograph and the motion picture camera. Edison was an incredible thinker – the “Genius of Menlo Park” – with 1093 patents to his name.
You can read more about this remarkable man and his peers on BigUniverse.com, which features “Thomas Edison and the Pioneers of Electromagnetism,” a picture book by Elizabeth R.C. Cregan and published by Teacher Created Materials Publishing. (F&P GR: Q Lexile: 690 Grade Level: 3-4. Interest Age: 6-12).
Mr. Edison was not only scientifically minded, but was also a wise man that knew his way around language. To read a collection of his pithy quotes, visit the BrainyQuote.com website.
Thomas Edison said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” My WASP upbringing has me nodding my head in agreement. And so, Duke Energy, I implore you to keep searching for the bug-a-boo in the power lines that is making it hard to write, but easy to wail (and rail). There are no more trees for your workers to trim, so perhaps it’s time to put on your thinking caps and channel your forefather, Edison, who said: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Thomas Edison Links for Kids:
*NOTE: To read more about the great thinkers, who invented the modern conveniences that are part of our everyday lives, read Saddleback Publishing’s “Machines and Inventions,” a book in the “Science” section on Big Universe.
Or, in Spanish read:
Just to find out what might be out there about Big Universe, I did a search on the internet. I was lucky enough to find these pages with lots of pictures, links, and great information. Please click on these links to find out even more (I have given some of the highlights under the links, but there is so much more.)
What they’re saying about Big Universe
- We’re honored to receive such high marks from our members and the press
Affordable Student-Centered Learning for PK-8
- Learn more about how this great resource can be used
- Take a tour
- Ways to encourage reading and writing using Big Universe
- Benefits of using Big Universe
How Big Universe Learning System is used in schools
Content and Features of Big Universe Learning System
- Large Library of Books Online
- Reading Books Online
- Writing and Publishing Books
- Safe Sharing Community
- Account Management
- Reading Logs
image from Big Universe
Did you know on Big Universe users can look for books by …
- Lexile level?
- Fountas and Pinnell rating?
- DRA level?
- Accelerated Reading (AR) reading levels?
- Grade Level?
Did you know you could combine some of the above searches by using various search combinations in the Advanced Search area?
Did you know on Big Universe there are books for all the main subjects (Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science)?
Did you know users can find picture books, read-aloud books, chapter books, and many other types of books on Big Universe?
I am sure (well, almost sure) that I have those types of books in my classroom library. However, I can’t search through all my books according to the levels listed above (I do have some of them marked AR but that is about it). I know that I don’t have many books in my library for math and science. I really enjoy reading books aloud. I have my own special books that I read aloud from. I try to keep these away from students, but students often want to read their own copy of book after the book has been read aloud to the class. If I used books from BigUniverse to read aloud, I would not have to worry about students losing or tearing up my books when they want to read the story on their own …
Even though I asked many questions to start this post, I think I have found a possible answer for expanding … and possibly replacing my classroom library collection.
Have you heard of graphic novels? I will be honest and admit that I do not know very much about them.
Here is what I have found:
Graphic novels are expressed through many frames of pictures and words. They are similar to comic books in appearance but have the depth of novels. Graphic novels are important to introduce students to for many reasons. Students are given opportunities to analyze many forms of literature. Some of these are poetry, fiction, and non fiction. Graphic novels are often not taught at all by teachers. They can be an excellent resource though. Students who may not respond well to some literature might love graphic novels.
I recently found a LiveBinder (online 3 ring binder) dealing with Graphic Novels which helped me understand and appreciate this type of story a bit more: Graphic Novel Webliography.
Here are a few things I learned from the Graphic Novel Webliography:
- Graphic novels appeal to both experienced readers and reluctant readers
- Graphic novels can be used with students of all ages (elementary through adult)
- Graphic novels can be used to build vocabulary
The webliography also provides links for parents and educators to learn more about Graphic Novels in general and recommends specific ones. I really like the “No Flying, No Tights: Super Hero Soup” tab. I know my classroom library tended to have more options for the girls to choose (I did not plan it that way … it just happened). I can see Graphic Novels appealing to both girls and boys.
I was also pleased to find that when you do an Advanced Search in Big Universe, one of the categories is Graphic Novels. When you do a search for Graphic Novels on Big Universe, you can find illustrated classics, biographies, history, nonfiction, and just really good stories!
image from Franklin Park Library and found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/88488351@N00/2624664037/
According to the Crayola.com Calendar, April is Poetry Month! From the Crayola.com Calendar page, you can find coloring pages, crafts, and lesson plans to use to Celebrate Poetry. On Big Universe, you can find books to use to Celebrate Poetry!
In the classroom, I enjoyed sharing poems and poets with students that were not very familiar to them. One year, we had a Poetry Party. Everybody had to find a poem to share. Those 4th graders thought the sillier the poem, the better it was ( I know that a poem doesn’t have to be silly but if that was what got them interested in poetry …).
We moved the desks and put our chairs in a big circle so we could all see each other. Everybody in the circle shared a poem. Towards the end of our Poetry Party, I heard students asking each other where they found the poem they shared. Just by listening to others share, students became interested in discovering other types of poems and various poets.
One year, I had students pick a poem or poet they liked and try to compose poetry imitating the features they enjoyed. We were connecting reading poetry and writing poetry to Celebrate Poetry.
Here are a few of the Poetry Books I found on Big Universe that you can use to Celebrate Poetry (if you do an advanced search, you can search for poetry and even pick the reading level, grade level, interest age to find more specific resources):
So … go Celebrate Poetry! And you know what … you don’t have to only Celebrate Poetry in April … you can do it all year long!
image from: Atkins, Sue. inspiration.jpg. May 30, 2004. Pics4Learning.
23 Mar 2011 <http://pics.tech4learning.com>
While sitting in a school library one afternoon, I looked around and saw a poster: “Turn the pages of your imagination. READ!!” That would be a great writing topic for students. I can imagine inviting children to brainstorm about what they think that message means. Here are a few guiding questions that came to mind:
- How might your imagination have pages?
- How does reading help jumpstart your imagination?
- Why do you think writers want the readers to imagine when they read?
- How do the things you imagine help you understand what you are reading?
- How might the things you imagine cause you to not understand what you are reading?
- If reading helps you turn the pages of your imagination, what could you do next?
That brainstorming or journal idea could be used as a pre-reading activity to get students thinking about or imagining what could happen in a certain story. That activity could be used to activate prior knowledge and/or generate a purpose for reading.
Another way that brainstorming or journal idea could be used is as a post-reading activity for students to reflect on what they read and how they used imagination in the story.
Students could also provide illustrations of what they imagine. Those illustrations could be connected with the before reading activity and/or the post reading activity.
So while the idea mentioned above could be used before or after reading, students could keep track of the things they imagine while they read. A small notebook, a piece of paper, or even a program like bubbl.us could be used to help student notice things in the story that cause imagination to take place.
Imagination plays a role in reading … before … during … and after
Why don’t you pick a book from Big Universe and see how it turns the pages of your imagination?
image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/24113168@N03/3803641352/