Not a 1:1 Classroom? Four Ways to Still Use Owl Eyes

Working with technology in the classroom has many benefits, but it can be problematic depending on factors outside of our control. We’ve all had those days where the computer decides to indefinitely snooze or the Internet prefers to inscrutably do its own thing. Or maybe we’ve worked in schools or locations where we have limited (or no!) access to such technology. Whatever the reasons may be, Owl Eyes can still help you and your students get the most out of the literary classics. Let’s examine a few ways Owl Eyes can be useful outside of the classroom. Continue reading

Marginalia in the 21st Century

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Before the internet and the advent of digital books, people did all of their reading in print, buying novels in hardcover, sending letters in the mail, and getting their news from actual newspapers. These days, you’re more likely to see someone reading on their phones than in print; but there’s something to be said for cracking open a good paperback. One of the great joys of having a
physical text in front of you is the ability to write in it, to take notes, underline phrases, and, like David Foster Wallace, draw a mustache and glasses on Cormac McCarthy’s author photo.  Continue reading

Owl Eyes Teacher Resources: An Annotation Lesson Plan

Owl Eyes Blog Headers (7)As Owl Eyes continues to grow and develop, I want to make sure we keep teacher support at the forefront of our efforts. One of the new things I’ve been working on with one of our excellent academic contributors is a set of lesson plans that specifically cater to the classroom functions on Owl Eyes. I am very much looking forward to releasing these for your use, and in the meantime, I thought this post would be a good place to share one of my own lesson plans for introducing students to annotating texts. Continue reading

Getting Creative: Playlist Activity

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As a teacher, I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to engage my students. Their attention is constantly divided between school, home, and social media, and to keep them interested I try to balance the denser, more analytical work of writing essays with creative activities that both force them to think outside the box and remind them how fun learning can be. Here at Owl Eyes, we pride ourselves on providing teachers with simple tools that they can use in the classroom in any number of creative ways, whether it be to track students’ reading progress digitally or assign activities where students create original annotations for timeless classics.

To give you a sense of what Owl Eyes can really do, I’ve suggested a creative activity that appeals to students and asks them to engage with literature in a new, dynamic way. Continue reading

Carousel Reading: Reading as a Collaborative Experience

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I had a hard time annotating texts as high school student (and I’ve since taught high schoolers).

At the time, I couldn’t see any measurable benefits, and I also didn’t want to “dirty” my book by writing all over it. I’m sure there were likely a host of other reasons, but I think the main issue was that high-school-me didn’t get why annotating was necessary.

I think my lack of understanding at the time represents a common perception: Texts are static, and they never change. Whatever the author had to say has already been said, and nobody is going to change that. My attitude didn’t change much until I got into college and earned my teaching degree. During that time, I learned what we educators all know: Texts are not static, and they change. They build on each other, and they create conversations. Continue reading