How I Use It
I taught this site to students in grades 2-5 in different ways. First, I spoke to all students about putting books on their bookshelf. I recommend making a 'Student' site for yourself in addition to an administrator site. Then you can demonstrate from the sample student version as it has some different tabs then the teacher version. I set up my whole school and then linked each classroom teacher to each class. They do limit the amount of accounts for one teacher so putting an entire grade in one class is not an option for large schools. The second step was demonstrating how students make recommendations. This is the second step because you are not able to make a recommendation without putting a book on a bookshelf first. Last, I demonstrate 'Reading Logs' to the students. MY TEACHERS WENT BERSERK OVER THIS FEATURE! The idea that students could submit reading logs online and that they could either e-mail them right to the teacher or the teacher could look up their standings was a huge hit. I even have one teacher that uses the minutes/pages feature (which calculates for you) as an incentive program.
When time permits I also show the students the recommendations that come from the site. Usually the students find the other options on their own once they get the hang of it.
Some students get confused and think that they can link right to reading the books off the site so I have to be clear as to what the goal is for the site. Book sharing NOT book reading. Sometimes I teach this lesson over a couple of days showing so that the site can 'sink in.' Usually I demonstrate: 1. Adding books to bookshelf 2. Making and receiving recommendations 3. Reading Logs The fun stuff like 'Avatars' generally gets answered along the way. My second graders were not shown the reading log option as that grade would prefer the students to practice the written version.
There are videos on youtube but they are longer then I preferred to show the students. I'm thinking about making my own for next year.
What I liked was that although I thought it would be an incentive for our lower readers it was also very popular to make recommendations to our readers that like a challenge because they can track popular books. Our librarian also loved being able to track the popular books for future purposes.
Note: If your library uses Destiny/Destiny Quest there are some similar items however I preferred the visuals and extra options on this site.