By Keke Powell, 2nd Grade Teacher & Epic Educator Ambassador
I am a teacher spreading my aloha in Texas. I taught 6 years in Hawaii and this is my second year teaching in Texas. I became a teacher because I love the joy my students get when they enter the classroom. Many of my students are very excited and eager to be in school each day. Their smiles fill my heart with joy and always remind me of my ‘why’ for teaching.
I have been using Epic for seven years and one of the reasons I enjoy Epic is how convenient it is for students to get lost in a good book. I love the excitement it brings to my students in the classroom! I was introduced to Epic by a colleague during my first year teaching. We were eating lunch together and they mentioned this reading program. Ever since that moment, my teaching career has changed for the good! I am super excited to be an Epic Educator Ambassador and I can’t wait to share how I use it in my classroom.
Morning Reading Block
When my students enter the class, they greet me with a foot shake. Since COVID is still a concern, we stopped doing handshakes with many of my students still getting sick. I open my door at 7:20 am and start my morning announcements at 7:40 am. Certain days, they have the option to choose a program of their choice. This gives them 20 minutes of self-directed learning and Epic is always a huge pick. My students always beg me to play the videos, so this is their time to explore. I love that there is a wide variety of any subject that the students can choose. Student choice is big in my classroom because I want them to take ownership in their studies.
After my announcements end, my reading block begins at 8:00 am. We have a large reading block, which I absolutely love! I am able to get a lot of teaching time in. I try to assign books for my students that align with the standard that I am teaching for that week. We just finished informational texts, so the students had a blast doing a scavenger hunt with text features on Epic. Later, they will share their findings with the class.
One of my favorite things to do is integrate different subjects with the books on Epic. “If Picasso Painted a Snowman” is a great read aloud to integrate with Art for the winter. My students enjoyed seeing all the different illustrations from famous artists and created their own version. This allows my students the freedom of expression. Epic has such a wide variety of books to align with any subject.
When we worked on informational text, the students researched about the different animals on Epic. This was much easier than going to our school library and finding books. We only get to visit the Library every six days, so this was easier for students to do their research.
I asked my students what some of their favorite go-to books are and here are their choices:
- “Furry Ferrets”
- “Play Like the Pros: Play Football Like Patrick Mahomes”
- “Kitty Dragon”
- “DIY Diaries”
- “Mr. Ball and Eggcellent Adventure”
- “Super Cute! Baby Dogs”
- “Super Cars”
- “Cat Ninja”
- “Once Before Time: Cinderella Rex”
- “The Snow Queen”
- “Doggie Dreams”
My class has a plethora of book selections that they choose to read. I love how they choose what they want to read each day. This makes learning more authentic because they are choosing what to read. Many of my students are avid readers and would choose to read a book all day if they could! We are continuously updating our Epic Readerpillar by showcasing how many books we have read! They make sure that I update it each week!