Ebooks on Demand
Terri Soutor, former vice president of marketing and digital products at Lerner Publishing Group, a sister company to Brain Hive, and a key player in the formation of the company, has been named Brain Hive’s president. “I am delighted to lead Brain Hive and to deliver the solutions schools need to transform the digital teaching and reading experience for children,” said Soutor. “We will continue investing in the technology, content, tools, and program support that schools need to take ebook reading in a whole new direction. Brain Hive will be the ebook partner of choice to help schools affordably and successfully navigate the dynamic education landscape into the future.”
Brain Hive, an on-demand ebook service, has added several new features to its eReading platform and has expanded its collection with titles from Highlights for Children and Toon Books. A new single sign-on capability facilitates the management of individual user names/passwords so students can create, save, and export citations. Students can also export saved notes. A new one-click dictionary provides definitions for any word in an ebook. There’s also a program in place that will support Brain Hive members through an implementation and launch of the program in their schools.
K–12 school libraries that use Brain Hive pay $1 each time a title is checked out from their online ebook collection from children’s publishers. Brain Hive includes thousands of titles from children’s publishers such as Random House Children’s Books; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Charlesbridge Publishing; Lee & Low Books; Lerner Publishing Group; The Kane Press; Orca Book Publishers; Rourke Educational Media; and many others.
Art and Writing Awards for Students
Attention young writers and artists in grades 7 to 12! The annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is accepting original works in 28 art and writing categories. As the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers, the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers annually awards 15 high school seniors with the Portfolio Gold Medal, which is accompanied by a $10,000 scholarship. In 2014, a 16th Portfolio Gold will be awarded.
Students in the U.S., Canada or in American schools abroad may submit original work that will be evaluated based on “originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal vision or voice, first regionally through more than 100 affiliates of the Alliance and then nationally by an impressive panel of industry experts.” Among the art categories are comic art, digital art, photography, and painting. Writing categories include humor, persuasive writing, sci-fi and fantasy, short story, and more.
Deadlines for art and writing submissions vary by region, occurring throughout the winter months. National Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners will be announced March 2014. Check out the entry requirements and deadlines for your region. Go to scholarship website and click “login” to access the Scholastic Awards Online Registration System.
Storybots, founded by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis, known for their 2004 This Land parody featuring President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, creates safe education content for kids and tools for teachers and parent. The brothers recently were featured partners with the launch of Educade, created by GameDesk, a portal designed to meet “the needs of teachers and parents everywhere by providing the largest online library of free, ready to use lesson plans paired with engaging and innovative learning tools, enabling teachers to maximize their impact on student learning.”
Currently, StoryBots is offering more than a dozen free apps for teachers, parents and children, with new content released on a rolling basis. The StoryBots “Happy Kids” product line includes “Starring You Videos,” “Starring You StoryBooks,” “ABC Videos,” “Learning Videos” activity sheets, and more. The “Happy Parents” line includes “Share Timer” (an app that makes taking turns fun), “Coin Flip,” “Kids’ Radio”(an app for kids’ music), “Beep and Boop” (a good behavior game)—all for free.
Save the Date: Literacy Conference
The International Reading Association has announced some of the renowned authors who will address attendees at its 59th Annual Conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans on May 10–12, 2014. Jeff Kinney (“Wimpy Kid” series) will kick off the conference at the opening General Session. Later that day, Megan McDonald (“Judy Moody” and “Stink” series) will speak at the Primary Literature Author Luncheon. Dav Pilkey (“Captain Underpants” series) will speak at Sunday’s General Session. Sunday’s Young Adult Literature Author Luncheon speaker is young adult novelist Matt de la Peña (Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis). The Book and Author Luncheon on May 12 will feature Mary Pope Osborne (“Magic Tree House” series).
“The 2014 IRA Conference will offer literacy educators an unparalleled opportunities to gain valuable new insights on literacy instruction, including the latest in research-based instruction, classroom-ready teaching ideas, and practical, ready to use ways to implement the Common Core State Standards in K-12 classrooms,” noted IRA President Maureen McLaughlin. Registration opens December 2013.
School Kitchen Makeover
Is your school’s kitchen or break room in need of an update. Krups, a leading kitchen appliance manufacturer, has announced its “Krups Appreciates…” contest recognizing teachers nationwide. To enter, teachers must “like” the Krups Facebook page by November 22 and upload a photo of the break room or kitchen area in a school of any type, along with a caption stating why the teachers and educators using the space deserve to have it made over. The winner will receive new Krups appliances worth about $3,000, including coffee and espresso machines, a blender, a panini maker, and more. Three runners-up will be randomly selected to win a KRUPS Coffee Machine. Also, during the contest, Krups will be offering promotions and product giveaways to all Facebook fans.