Teachingbooks.net Database

Instructions on how to use this literary tool

Hello, fellow educators!

Whether you are an English teacher, history teacher, math instructor, or a lab teacher, you have the opportunity to explore this literary database. Do you need to add new fictional literature or non-fiction to your lesson plans to better meet the common core standards? Do you need to include more supplemental information for your lessons? Do you feel like you need more scaffolding reading for differentiation? Are you intimated to do any of these tasks? Have no fear; this database can help you do all these things by building your curriculum tool options and--as the website itself says--bringing books "to life!"
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Helpful hints on the home page

As we consider if our school would like to purchase this tool, we will tour the site via this poster. This home page features several user-friendly aspects such as literal step-by-step directions and accompanying video. It also has built-in curriculum suggestions, author information, and other features to provide further background for your content area. And as far as the browsing itself (very important in a database), there are two initial options to search. The first is via the top white buttons (book, author, subject, and booklist). The second browsing option you can find in the more specific sections of the yellow bar just under the white buttons and search box. Also, if you ever need to start completely over, the main teachingbooks.net logo in the upper-left hand corner is the homepage navigation button.

Stronger databases have constant updates...

and this website has those written out so all users know exactly what has been happening on this interactive site. This database not only updates its information in on the homepage captions entitled "What's new" and "News from teachingbooks.net," it also continually adds to author involvement in the "new original meet-the-author materials" section.
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And the site is interactive!

At the bottom of the homepage is an entire area dedicated to how educators and fellow subscribers can add to the site with legitimate and timely supplemental materials. There are several bloggers (usually authors themselves), tweets, ways to follow the site, and even a newsletter to which participants can apply. Educational collaboration is definitely a plus in this school, and here is a curriculum-building collaboration tool.
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More about the browsing, since that is what a database is all about...

Many of the teachers in this school deal with civil rights literature, especially in the English and History departments. If we used this subject as an example by clicking the "subject" button and typing that phrase into the search box at the top of the page, we would discover several instant results (133 book matches, to be precise). If you would like to quickly narrow your search for an appropriate book, article, or even video or audio clip, you would simply click on the proper link on the left-hand side of the page under the heading "Narrow Your results." Educators can narrow their searches by grade level, format of the resource itself, types of resources, curricular area, and even genre. Also, once you find your desired material (or even possible fewer choices to further ponder), you can share your results with yourself or others through the many possible sharing tools found in the yellow box on the right side of the screen. Similarly structured results would occur, by the way, for other subjects as well. For example, if science instructors wanted to find text on "science," they can simply follow these instructions; only don't type in "civil rights." Use a science subject instead.
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and narrowing Your Results...

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Starting your search...

The nuts and bolts of the database potential

This database offers several features related to pieces of text and literature--some books more than others. A commonly taught work is Arthur Miller's The Crucible, and the entire English department here has to teach that play. If instructors wanted to add to lesson plans, connect to author background and intent via interviews and biographies, see a book trailer, find related booklists for additional connection material, enhance vocabulary, and discover the complexity of the text, all of those curriculum-building materials are located within the database. As soon as you search for this play and click the link, all of those options appear. In particular, the "About the Book" section in blue on the right-hand side of the screen displays the database criteria for the work searched. In this case, we see the grade level, curricular areas, genres, subjects involved, and text complexity (like lexile score when available). Also, the bottom of this results page--just like any specific results page--will offer opportunities to email the page or create a QR code to its link. Talk about a simple way for your students to explore focused research tested and approved by educators! The same sharing tools appear in the yellow share box on the extreme right side of the page. See the photos below for the discussed examples.

For your convenience, and to advance your searches...

This database should be very familiar because it works in conjunction with Google. And the advanced search options which will help you filter your literary choices are very specific and similar in look to the Google categories and style. Since we all have had experience "Googling," this site should be easy to navigate. And by utilizing the advanced search features here, we may be able to use this research aspect in Google--in all of our classes. Furthering consistent research skills in each classroom environment will help our students research better. Check out the Advanced Search screens below; it is the same page divided into two pictures for easier detail viewing.
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Although this is a potentially great site, be aware of a couple limitations!

First, when searching for a specific author, you need to search for the author using the "author" button. The same goes for search by subject. The database defaults to search by "book," and if you were to type in an author in the book category, only book titles that include the author's name in the title would appear. For example, all English students at one time or another discuss Edgar Allan Poe. If this name were typed into the search box using the author button, information would appear describing the 18 included books, 30 book guides and lesson plans, and 9 audio readings, among other resources. That is a bunch of helpful curriculum building material and common-core developers. However, if the same search were conducted in the books category, only 5 matching books would result because the database would be looking for titles of books with his name included. See the results below.

And a final caution about inclusiveness...

Teachingbooks.net is not fully inclusive. Some teachers in this building have spoken about incorporating the story The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl, as an enhancing supplemental to a Charles Dickens unit. Although modern historical fiction, the story incorporates information about Dickens, the historical period, and a multitude of crossover genres. The book was recently a national bestseller, but it is NOT included (yet) in this database. Again, not all materials are located on the site, but that could change for some of the missing materials very soon. Think back to the information about the updates and the educational sharing. As the site continuously updates and adds resources via participating instructors, new reading materials are sure to appear sooner or later--especially if it fits into the common core standards.

And in the mean time, if you need specific information and supplemental material for a literary piece that is not on the website, teachingbooks.net gives you hints on how to find what you are looking for. Since the database works in conjunction with Google, your search is not lost!

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So is this database worth the purchase?

You may not be able to answer this question until you actually visit the website, but hopefully the poster points you in the right direction when you do browse. You do need access via a site license or through application of a 14-day free trial period. Ask the librarian about this information if you need assistance. For your information, the pictures in this presentation are screen shots from the website itself, and those images have been manipulated in PowerPoint. Access to the site is via the following link to the needed URL address. Enjoy adding to your teaching and literary materials!