5 ways to build your classroom library cheaply and quickly

Posted on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 @ 13:08 PM

Little gives us more satisfaction than walking into a classroom and seeing a well-stocked library of books. While it can take years—not to mention a lot of money—to accumulate a collection, we’d like to share five places that will help you build your collection quickly and cheaply. 

5 ways to build your classroom library cheaply and quickly

classroom libraryBook Sale Finder
Using Book Sale Finder’s interactive map, you can find all the upcoming book sales in your area. Some sales take place at public libraries, other at churches or community centers. Prices often range from fifty cents to a dollar per book and it’s not uncommon for Sundays to be either half-off, or “fill-up-your-brown-bag-for-five-bucks” days.

Teacherwide allows users to browse by price and grade level, but we’re particularly fond of their bargain bundles. Pick up 100 books for $145 and have it shipped free of charge. Teachers with a flexible budget can even order book bundles of up to 500 books. Don’t forget to check out their Bonus Points Rewards program.

classroom libraryThrift Books
The books you’ll find on Thrift Books are cheaper than those you’ll find used on Amazon, but not by much. We still felt this website was worth mentioning because we know how important it is to stretch every dollar. We were looking for a copy of Jeff Kinney’s book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The cheapest hardcover version of the book (including shipping) was $4 on Amazon. At Thrift Books, we found the same book for $3.50. Call us penny pinchers if you will, but that’s fifty cents that could go towards another book.

classroom libraryFreecycle
Freecycle is sort of like Craigslist, but as the name suggests, everything you find listed is free. You’ll have to do a little footwork, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the generosity of Freecyclers who have responded to our requests for free books.

classroom libraryStop by the Friends Bookstore at your local library
Most libraries have a “Friends of the Library Bookstore.” Books, audiobooks and DVDs are plentiful and cheap. Keep an eye out for brown-bag days and be sure to inquire about an educator’s discount.




New Call-to-Action



Topics: Best Apps for Educators, reading assessment, reluctant readers, classroom library

5 of the Best Digital Storytelling Applications

Posted on Wed, Jul 03, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

In our experience, one of the best ways to reach our reluctant readers is with digital storytelling applications. Sure, digital storytelling still involves writing, but what makes it more engaging—and often less intimidating—than traditional writing is that it uses technology like audio, video and digital imagery. We’ve talked about Storybird and digital comic book generators before, but we want to share a few more of our favorite digital storytelling applications with you.

5 of the Best Digital Storytelling Applications

digital storytellingPeanut Gallery is a free web application that allows users to add inter-titles to silent films like Phantom of the Opera, Voyage to the Moon, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome and seven other films. What’s unique about this application is that the inter-titles are created by speaking into a computer microphone. Now for the bad news: Peanut Gallery can only be run in Google Chrome because it requires the Web Speech API to turn your audio into text.

digital storytellingBombay TV is one of the quirkiest digital storytelling sites we’ve come across. Select clips from old Bollywood movies and write or record your own subtitles. Once you’re done, enter an email address and send it off.

Pic Lits. We’vdigital storytellinge written about Flash Fiction before, but if you need a refresher, it’s basically prose of extreme brevity. Writers like H.P. Lovecraft, O. Henry and Kurt Vonnegut were fans of it, but we became acquainted with it after reading Earnest Hemingway’s six-word story.

Pic Lits is the perfect place to put the Flash Fiction into practice. Here you’ll find a gallery of photos and a collection of nouns, adjectives, adverbs and universals that you can drag and drop onto the photo. If you prefer not to limit your word choices, you can always freestyle and add your own. When you are done, you can either save, share, or email your work.

digital storytellingUsing Comic Master’s sleek and intuitive interface, users can design their own graphic novel. Browse characters, add backgrounds, props, dialogue, captions, special effects and simply drag and drop. When you’re happy with your graphic novel either save it to your hard drive or email it.

digital storytellingDigital Films gives users the ability to choose and customize background scenes, characters, animated actions, dialog as well as intro and ending credits to their digital movie. Registered users will be able to access more advanced features and save/edit the movies that they create.


New Call-to-Action



Topics: Technology in the Classroom, apps for educators, apps for teachers, reluctant writers, digital storytelling, reluctant readers

Subscribe via E-mail


Our Latest Guide

Most Popular Posts

On Demand Webinar

Latest Posts

Posts by category

Follow Me

New Programs