#EpicPals

⬆️ Click on the image above to access this month's Google Doc ⬆️

To use the Bitmoji Classroom link with your students, click on the picture above  ⬆️
Copy the url and paste it into a Seesaw activity/post, Google Classroom, or an email for your students.
** This link is also located on the bottom of this month's Google Doc  **


EpicPals is a monthly, collaborative reading project that utilizes Epic! Books for Kids and Padlet. (Both of these sites/apps are free for you to use).

Each month 6 books are chosen
 from Epic (both fiction and nonfiction) and a coordinating collection is created so you can easily assign the books to your students. The link to the collection can be found on the bottom of the each month's Google Doc. Padlet boards are also created for each book where students can respond to the stories and read other students' responses as well. These Padlet boards are easily accessed by students by scanning the QR codes or clicking on the links in the monthly Google Doc OR by clicking on the book covers on the monthly Bitmoji Classroom (link above and on the Google Doc). Simply print the Google Doc each month OR send a link to the Google Doc or Bitmoji Classroom to your students.

Each month's board will be posted here as well as on the main page of my blog. You can also find find information on Twitter using the hashtag, #EpicPals.

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** The current year's EpicPals Padlet boards and Google documents will remain active from the beginning of the month they are released and will remain accessible until the end of June of that school year. The share settings on the Google Docs will be turned off in July so I can update the boards for the upcoming school year.

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Brand new to the project? 

Here's what you need to know....

First, decide how you want to use the project with your class. Many have used this project as a way to challenge their higher level readers or as part of a guided reading group, or even as a weekly whole group read-aloud and then have students leave their own comments on the Padlet. 

Next, print the Google Doc with the book choices and QR codes. To access the current month's Google Doc click on the #EpicPals image at the top of this page. 

Then, locate the EpicPals collection link on the bottom of the month's Google Doc. This will take you to the coordinating Epic collection which you can copy and assign to your students in Epic. This makes finding the books super easy for your students!

Finally, model for your students how to access the collection in their Epic account and how to scan the coordinating QR code on their sheet to get to the Padlet board for the book they read. 
For this to be a meaningful activity please spend some time modeling how to leave a quality response. (Remind your students to leave their first names and what state you are from on their Padlet posts- it's always fun to see where everyone is from).

*The links on the Google Doc are clickable in case you want to share the doc out to your students through email, Seesaw, Google Classroom, etc, If you go this route, be sure to "Make a copy" of the doc before sending it out to your kiddos.


TIPS:
  • If using a mobile device, it's best to scan the QR codes with the embedded QR reader in the Padlet app. Students do NOT need to login to the app, simply click continue as a guest.
  • Please don't be overly concerned about spelling. EpicPals is meant to be a place where students can read and respond to text authentically. All posts are moderated and if there is any questionable phonetic spelling I will fix it if I'm able. 
  • Please know that all inappropriate posts, posts containing .gifs and/or links will be deleted.
  • Emoji use: Emojis are all the rage and while I don't mind emojis on the posts, please have a discussion with your students about using them sparingly and in context of their post not just for the sake of seeing how many they can use. Posts with poop emojis and any other inappropriate emojis will be deleted. 

FAQs

How should my students respond on the boards?
That's really up to you and what's best for your learners! Are you learning about text-to-self connections, character traits, retelling, summarizing or simply writing complete sentences to share your favorite part? Have your students respond in a way that matches your current learning objectives. Feel free to have your students include images, screenshots, or drawings if they'd like. Most important, have fun!  A question will be on each board for students to use but these are simply there as a springboard if needed. Students are are NOT required to respond to the specific question.

Do we have to use Epic Books to read the books?
If you have access to any of the books in another format, feel free to utilize it. Books do not have to be read on Epic although I will say my class is so completely engaged when using Epic now that they have the ability to also earn badges for reading (using iOs devices). Gamification is a wonderful motivator and engagement factor and being able to assign the collection to students makes it super easy!

Do students have to read all of the books?  Do they have to read them in a particular order?
No! Your class/students can do any, or all of the books and there is no particular order. Let your students' interests gauge where they start. 


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. 
You can email me at: sjmalchow@pulaskischools.org 
or catch me on Twitter: @smalchow


If you've not used Epic Kids Books, it is free for educators- so run, don't walk, to check it out!! 

24 comments:

  1. Great questions. The books are not officially leveled. I started this project to challenge my higher readers in 1st grade. I try to find books in what I consider to be the K-N range for the primary version. Books on the list are not all at the same level so you will need to use your teacher discretion and/or have your students decide what is most appropriate for them. My students became very good judges of what they knew were "Good fit books" for them.
    I will also say that the Sept-Nov books are a bit easier so students/teachers can focus on learning how to use Epic and Padlet independently.

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  2. Wow! This is such a great resource! I am so glad I found you! I teach first grade in Colorado and can't wait to use this with my students!

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  3. How do we get the previous months of Epic Pal links?

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    1. Your best bet would be to click on the EpicPals in the Oodles of Tags area to the right. You'll then see all of the posts with the EpicPals boards and can scroll through and click on the ones you want. Only the current school year's posts from Sept to current will be open as we update over the summer months and open each month as it comes. Hope that helps you out. If you need additional assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out again.

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  4. I feel like I'm missing something with the Padlet. I haven't done this with my students yet. When I log in, I don't see any posts. Should I be able to see posts from other people? Or will I just be able to see my students' posts?

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    1. HI there!
      Yes, you will be able to see other people's posts as well. If you're not right now, it is very likely that others haven't begun to post yet. September boards are typically a bit slower to get going as so many of us are just starting school and getting routines established. I do know that the Spider board on the primary EpicPals has posts as I did it with one of my 2nd grade groups. Take a peek if you'd like to see what it will look like. :-)

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  5. Hmm, there's no EpicPals collection coming up on EPIC. I can find September 2017, but that's it.

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    1. I did contact Epic to let them know that some people are able to see it and others are not. Please try again if you haven't yet and also know that Epic is looking into it. You can also create your own collection to go along with the boards and "assign" it to your students that way if you can't find it. Sorry for the inconvenience. Fingers crossed Epic gets the glitch figured out sooner than later. :-)

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  6. This is such an awesome project, Sara! I'm a little late to the party but I am meeting with 18 individual classrooms in the schools I serve this week to get them going on Epic Pals for the month of February! I put together this quick video to show them how to access and post using their iPads. https://youtu.be/7OISKg4iyDk Anyone is welcome to use it. Keep being amazing!

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    1. This is awesome! Thank you! I plan to include it in my weekly Tech Bytes newsletter this week!

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  7. Hey Sara! Will you be posting anymore EpicPals for this school year? It has become one of my students' favorite activities...and perfect for Digital Learning! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Susan! So glad to hear this has become a favorite with your students!! You'll be happy to know that, YES, we will be continuing EpicPals throughout the remainder of the school year. SO sorry that it was not out on schedule this month. It has been a little hectic, as I'm sure you can relate to, getting things up and organized for remote learning in my own district that EpicPals had to take a back seat for a little bit. Happy to say, we are up and rolling again though!!!

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  8. Good Afternoon!! I wanted to see if you would be continuing Epic Pals this school year? I love this resource for my digital choice boards.

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    1. You bet I am! Sorry for the delay in getting things up and running this year! The October board was posted on October 4th and is accessible on this page or on the main blog page. Here's to a great year of reading!

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  9. I was just introduced to EpicPals and it looks great! Where do I locate the Google docs you mentioned with the books and QR codes? Thank you for putting this together.

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    1. Hi there! Glad you found us and hope you and your students will enjoy participating. To access the month's Google Doc, simply click on the EpicPals image at the top of this page and it will open up for you. :-)

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  10. Sara do you happen to have November's Epic Pals ready to go yet? I love these and can't wait to use with my students. Thank you for all your hard work!

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    1. Glad that you are enjoying them!! I just finished getting November's Padlet boards made and books picked out. I will be posting them them this evening!! :-)

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  11. I can't get the November collection to show up. Is it available yet?

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  12. Yes, if you click the image at the top of the page, it will open up to the November Google Doc. :-)

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  13. My students and I aren't seeing any posts on the November Padlets? Wondering if we're missing a step?
    Thanks

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    1. Thanks so much for reaching out. Due to some issues with inappropriate posts last year, I have started moderating the Padlet boards. I typically approve every 2-3 days, however, this is our conference week so I was behind a bit. I did go on last night and approved all appropriate posts. Have a great week!

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  14. Hi there. Thank you so much for this very helpful and fun resource. I'd love to get started asap with my 2nd graders but I don't see the link to the collection at the bottom of the google doc. I do see the books and QR codes. Thank you.

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for reaching out! I have a feeling the information which was in the footer was falling off the page. I tweaked the document a bit so the info should now be visible. Please let me know if you continue to have issues. There's an "email me" button on my About Me page. :-)

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