Last year, Owl Eyes brought you a simple—and mess-free—approach to annotating and collaborating on a classic, public domain texts with your students. If you’re not familiar with them, Owl Eyes is a digital library with an annotation platform. Teachers can painlessly create virtual classrooms, invite students, and assign reading and annotate homework from the free etext library.
This year, the Owl Eyes team has been busy supporting hard-working teachers like you by improving their site and expanding their library. Let’s take a look at several ways you can use Owl Eyes to help your students get the most out of these classic texts.
Answer students’ questions
Students will have questions as they read, but sometimes they are too shy to ask or they forget to write down their questions. Owl Eyes can help address these issues. Have your students use the annotation software to ask any questions they may have.
As the teacher, you can reply to these questions and contribute to the thread of comments attached to the annotation. Alternatively, you can have students reply to one another’s questions to foster collaboration on difficult passages.
Use Quiz Questions for Feedback
One of the options you have with the Owl Eyes annotation platform is to create multiple-choice quiz questions. By writing these into your classroom contexts, you can have your students check their knowledge of the text. You will be able to see students’ answers and, subsequently, areas where they seem to be struggling.
Alternatively, you can use the multiple-choice quiz questions as a way of pulling your classroom. Present students with feedback choices on parts of the text, and you’ll be able to see how your class relates to the information you want.
On your classroom page, you can view students’ profiles by clicking on their names. On those profile pages, you can view the annotations the students are making, the quiz questions they’ve answered, and the reading progress for each text they’re reading.
What’s more, you can also reply to student annotations on these profile pages without going into the reading view of the text. This distraction-free look at your students’ work will help you follow their thoughts, ideas, and identify troublesome spots.
Work with Google Classroom
Owl Eyes has recently added Google Classroom integration to the classroom functionality. You can share assignments, books, classrooms to your Google classroom from your Owl Eyes classroom page or within the reading view. So, if you prefer to do the majority of your planning, tracking, and organizing on Google Classroom, this integration will give you an easy way to use Owl Eyes but still stay on top of things the way you know best.
If you have any questions, this how-to video can help get you started. You can also reach the Owl Eyes team at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime or via live chat on their site—usually business hours in the Pacific Time Zone.
Wesley is Managing Editor at OwlEyes.org and an avid reader of whatever he can get his hands on. Formerly a long-serving English teacher, he now works with a great team of literature enthusiasts who seek to make reading the classics as enjoyable and informative as possible.