When I went back to university 7 years ago to become a teacher, my end goal was to land a job teaching music. Had that fallen through, my back-up plan was to do an M.A. in Children’s Literature, my other passion. Now, as a music teacher, I try to combine my two passions as much as I can.
There are a LOT of great lesson plans out there that incorporate picture books: Mallet Madness has a bunch of great lessons, and many sellers on TPT also feature children’s literature. The curriculum I use for Kindergarten through Grade Two, GamePlan, also incorporates children’s literature.
When I need a particular book for a lesson, the first place I turn is my school library. Our librarian is AMAZING! I wanted the book “Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb” for a hand drum lesson, and she ordered it for me. A lot of the books I need are already in our library. Some, I already owned (from having raised three kids on great picture books, and my time as a classroom teacher). Sometimes, I’ll actually purchase books through Amazon… but that gets expensive rather quick.
The other day, I needed the book “Good Night Owl” by Pay Hutchins for a lesson. We don’t have it in our school library, and ordering it from Amazon would have taken too long (failure to plan ahead on my part! oops!) When I was looking online for the book, I noticed it was available as an eBook through Kindle. Seeing as I don’t have a Kindle, I thought I’d check out Google Books. Lo and behold, it was available through Google Books!
Here’s the best part:
I didn’t pay a single penny for it.
Yup. You read that correctly. It was FREE.
Ok, not really free (as in, if you go to the Google Books store, it isn’t listed for $0.) However, I happened to have some credits in the Google Play store through a neat (and free!) app called “Google Opinion Rewards.” With this app, surveys will randomly pop up for you to answer, and after answering a few questions, you will be rewarded with credits to be applied in the Google Play store. Usually, it’s somewhere between 10¢ and$1, depending on the survey length. And, when I say random, I mean random… I’ll go for days, sometimes weeks, without getting a survey at all, and then I’ll get a whole bunch of them. It isn’t a perfect system as it can take a while for the money to add up, and if you are concerned about someone knowing your opinions and shopping habits (as I find that’s mostly what the surveys are about), but, hey, free is free.
I had all these credits just sitting there, not knowing what to spend them on (and, they do expire after a year). You could use them to purchase apps or buy music, movies, or pay for things in that game on your phone that you’re absolutely addicted to… and you can use them for books! Yay!
In my next post, I’ll talk about using technology to show books to students!