Creating a reading portfolio for the library

How can we better motivate students to read what they get from the library? I often feel like students are only taking out books because they are being forced to by their teachers and librarians. After a discovery discussion with one of the wonderful librarians I work with, I came up with a short list of requirements for a tool.

  1. iPad friendly
  2. Creates an individual folder to store student reading projects
  3. Randomly assign short reading projects.
  4. Provide a method for recommending books and allow students to choose their own books.

The first working prototype of these requirements can be seen here:

The Library Portfolio!

Let me take you through a quick tour of what it does, and how you can use it.

Portfolio

When you first visit the portfolio, you will arrive at a screen similar to above. You will have a missing avatar, your email address will display, and you will get a list of all of the projects in your portfolio folder. This folder is linked directly to your Google drive.

You can see that there was a drawing created in this directory. That can become the student avatar that will show up on the portfolio page. Change the filename to whatever you want, and it will become the name that is displayed also.

Once you have edited this file, you need to ‘Publish to the web..’ before it will display correctly on the portfolio page.

Students have the ability to search the Goodreads database for books of their own choosing. My students can select a book from the library on our campus, then find the book using search and add it to their portfolio using ‘Start Project’.

The real strength of this tool is in recommending books for students who don’t already know what they want. There is a short quiz designed by the elementary librarian that results in 5 suggestions being plucked from a list generated directly by the librarian using Google Forms.

Once you have a recommendation, you can start a new project in the same way that you did with the search feature. Each of these projects generates a separate document in the student’s folder on drive. They contain short activities that can be done with any book that the student selects (we hope!)

This is just the beginning of the project. We have a bunch of other great ideas (and a bunch of bugs to fix in the code!) Please let me know what you think on twitter!

Caption Creator for Google Drive

Creating captions for videos is a great way to create accessibility in your classroom. YouTube has a system that works very well for their videos. However, in Google Drive you don’t have this option. Melissa Oliver wanted a way for her students to write captions as they watched a video. We worked together to come up with this prototype.

Create subtitles for videos in your Drive and save the output into Google Docs to make shared videos more accessible to students.

bit.ly/captioncreatorforgoogledrive (Shout out to Melissa Oliver for the project idea!)

Email Summarizer

Create document summaries from Gmail labels. This is an apps script that I deployed as a web app. It allows you to create a daily trigger that will create a document based on labels in your Gmail. You just need to create a filter that applies a label to incoming emails. bit.ly/emailsummarizer (Thanks to Educator Alexander for the idea in our Google Innovator group!)

Import Data from Achieve3000 into a Google Sheet

I wanted to create a sidebar that would allow me to take one of the CSV files from Achieve 3000 and import the data that I need right into a Google Sheet. I am also going to be using this as part of the #GoogleEduOnAir event on Saturday, December 3rd.

What else do you want to track from A3K? There is a huge range of possibilities I can think of, but I would like to hear how others track data!

How do you track reading logs in your classes?

This is a joint effort between myself and the librarian at my school. She wanted a way to more easily recommend books to students, and this is the first result of our ideas. How can we improve upon the idea? What other tools can we incorporate to make it a more effective tool for engaging young readers?

In the interest of being completely open source, I am posting the code below. However, it is already out of date! The code will change significantly in the next few weeks as we try and get this project built in time to start the second term. Please feel free to give me a show on twitter for help/ideas/feedback.