You’ve Got the Magic

This summer, when you (inevitably) participate in the myMAGICALsummer national reading contest, you’ll have the magic  in your hands. We have no doubt that you will find the magic in reading between May 12th and August 25th. But we are using our magic wand to ignite the spark of interest and make reading even more exciting for you this summer.

Sixteen of our third-party publishers’ content will be made available to you on myON this summer! We are thrilled to give you access to the content of the following publishers:

  • Saddleback
  • Jump!
  • Bellwether
  • Arbordale Publishing
  • Reference Point Press
  • Speakaboos
  • Flowerpot Press
  • Starbright Books
  • Orca Books
  • Sourcebooks
  • August House
  • Warner Bros.
  • Disney
  • Highlights
  • BrambleKids
  • Charlesbridge

Check out the great content for middle-schoolers from Sourcebooks and Saddleback, such as “You Don’t Have to Say Goodbye” or, for the classically-inclined, “A Tale of Two Cities,” respectively.

For the young ones? Check out Disney, Highlights and Jump! for fabulous and fun titles to spark a love of reading.

We hope you enjoy this special content from our publishers this summer as you participate in the myMAGICALsummer reading contest!

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A Very Scary Skype Session!

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Every day in the myON office is pretty exciting: we’ve got myriad candy buckets and cool red and purple walls. We’ve even got loud (er, exciting…) construction happening to expand our office.

But yesterday was particularly exciting–and especially spooky! Yesterday afternoon, Capstone author Michael Dahl held three different Skype sessions with the fifth grade classes at Komensky Elementary School in South Berwyn, Illinois. (You might remember from this post that Michael Dahl visited the Komensky Lions in March and spoke to the students about persuasive writing techniques.)

In the weeks between the school visit and the Skype session, Michael sent the students the beginning of a new story related to his Troll Hunters series. The prompt begins: “A pale moon sailed in a dark October sky. Wind howled through the trees and rattled windows. Two flashlights could be seen flickering in the woods outside a small town…” Michael’s prompt continues briefly and then stops with the line “The monster roared!”

And then it was the students’ turn. He asked them “What happens next?” The results were incredible. Every fifth grade student at Komensky wrote continuations of Michael’s story. Their teachers chose four stories from each class and sent these to Michael. And, yesterday, Michael skyped with each class to provide comments to those students about their stories and to discuss creative writing in general.

One student invented a new language for the trolls called “Roarish,” and another wrote a tricky plot that revealed the fact that the troll was merely a policeman in costume…

After providing each of these students with comments on their writing, Michael then shared some of his favorite tricks of the writing trade. One interesting trick was to use maps as inspiration for the names of characters. With a map of Nevada, we uncovered names such as Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lander, Churchill and Humboldt.

Overall, it was a fabulous thing to witness: students working with one of their favorite authors, whose work they know from myON, on a collaborative writing project. 21st-century learning probably doesn’t get much cooler.


myON Monday: An Anecdote from Oakland

Happy Monday, myON World! I wanted to share a brief, albeit powerful anecdote with you. This anecdote comes from Ms. Cindi Augsjoost of the Oakland Unified School District. Cindi teaches the adult ESL Family Literacy class at Fruitvale Elementary School. A more detailed Spotlight interview with Cindi about this program is forthcoming.

For now, Cindi shares with us a story about one of her adult students reading on myON:

“Some students, like Teresa, can’t come to ESL class very often because of work and family responsibilities. Teresa is a Mexican woman who is one of the more advanced students in the class. She has lived in the U.S. for many years, and speaks and reads English confidently at an intermediate-high level. Teresa uses the myON library at home to read for herself and with her kids. She enjoys books about society and science, and she recently read “Cyber-bullying”, and “How to Survive an Earthquake”. Teresa wrote a short book review in myON after finishing the cyber-bullying book: “I think this book is very interesting, my daughter needs to read this book. I want to she knows.” This is powerful because it means that not only is Teresa likely to recommend this book to her 12 year old daughter, but she will probably have an opportunity to talk about the issues of bullying and internet safety with her daughter as well.”

Thank you, Cindi, for sharing this powerful story from your class.

Meet myON: How to Find Your Regional Account Manager

Are you new to myON? Are you wondering how to find the Account Manager responsible for the territory in which you live?

Aren’t we all?

Here’s how: We have designed individual sites for every state as well as every Account Manager. To begin, visit this site. Then select your state from the drop-down menu. Because myON lives and breathes Minnesota air, go ahead and choose Minnesota for this tutorial. The state page will give a brief overview of how myON is succeeding in that particular state. You should look for any additional resources that have been posted about myON usage in that state, such as newspaper articles or case studies. These are a great way to learn how myON is being used in districts near you.

On the right hand side, you’ll notice your Account Manager’s name and photo. Click on the hyperlinked name above their photo (for this tutorial, the delightful Wendy Cox). This will bring you to a page with a brief biography and contact information.

These micro-sites are a great resource to help you connect personally with the Account Manager responsible for your region. Feel free to reach out to them to find out more about implementing myON in your school and district.

Here’s the link once again, for good measure.


News from the Northwest

Do you live in Idaho, Montana, Washington or Oregon? Are you looking for a way to jumpstart your reading this spring?

As an organization, NCCE “[advocates] for the effective use of technology in education” ( myON and NCCE–the Northwest Council for Computers in Education–have partnered to provide NCCE’s network of educators and their students and families with access to myON’s vast digital library. This partnership is based on a shared belief in assisting educators in integrating technology into literacy instruction.

Through June 30th, educators in these four states have unlimited access to myON’s library of more than 4,000 enhanced digital books. They can use the myON platform in their classrooms and they can encourage their students to login to myON from home, too.

Since this partnership began on March 5th, NCCE affiliates opened 4,280 books on myON and read 3,233 of those books for a total of 535 hours spent reading in just one month! We are excited to report the reading activity of our NCCE partners as it develops through the end of June.  Surely our friends in the Northwest will impress!

Please visit our landing page for more information on how to login to leverage this partnership!

Persuasive Writing: Hear us ROAR!

IMG_4049[1]Komensky Principal and District Literacy Director Jeremy Majeski with Michael Dahl

After our memorable Celebrate! Reading party at Norman Bridge Elementary School two weeks ago, we also visited South Berwyn School District 100’s Komensky Elementary School.

Like Bridge, Komensky was abuzz with tangible excitement. The 5th grade students came prepared with questions about the life and work of an accomplished author. Michael Dahl presented specifically on persuasive writing, which the Komensky 5th grade students will begin working on this week as they return from spring break.

Michael shared useful tips for becoming a successful writer, including continuing to read, read, read, and keeping a journal so that, when an idea strikes, you take action immediately and record the moment as you’ve just experienced it.

For persuasive writing, Michael suggests that beginning writers work on utilizing special adverbs to paint a more vivid picture for readers: not just to whisper, but to whisper tentatively; not just to walk, but to walk swiftly; and not just to read, but to read voraciously (like the students in South Berwyn have certainly done!).

At the end of this month, Michael will hold Skype conferences with the 5th grade classes at Komensky, during which he will review and discuss their specific projects in persuasive writing and offer more useful tips and tricks of the trade. This is truly 21st-century learning at its best: leveraging an author these students know from their digital library and utilizing technology to continue this supportive, academic relationship. I don’t know that learning has ever been more interactive and intuitive.

Surely, you’ll hear these Komensky Lions ROAR in their persuasive writing projects!