Free Professional Development
Big Universe is an engaging online reading and writing community that inspires students to read, write and learn.
The following are some ways that Big Universe can be used in schools:
- Grades – Pre-Kindergarten through 8th.
- Reading – Independent/guided/shared, research, assessment, summer/leisure ...
- Writing – Creative, reports, teacher created books, mentor text, balanced literacy ...
- Audience – Title 1, ELL, special needs, technology, reading specialists, gifted & talented ...
- Models – Independent, one-on-one, small/whole group, differentiated, RTI, blended learning ...
- Devices - Interactive whiteboards, desktops, laptops, tablets ...
- Settings – Classroom, media lab, library, home, after school program ...
- Overview Videos - Watch the 4-minute quick tour and/or the more comprehensive detailed overview videos, above
- Account Setup - Understand how accounts work on our site by reading the Adding/Managing Users section below
- Notify Users - Use the letters for schools/teachers/parents, located in the Manage section
- Signing In - Read the Signing In section below to understand how our sign in works (particularly the Group Username)
- And More - Review the various help sections below but most of all, begin using the site!
Welcome back! The following are some suggested help sections to review to get setup for a new school year:
- Overview video – Watch a 4-minute tour video.
- Delete students – Read how to delete students who are no longer at your school/district in the Deleting accounts section.
- Advance grades – Learn how to advance grades by reading the Advancing student grade levels section.
- Update multiple student records (bulk) – Learn how to use a CSV file to add new students and update existing ones (e.g. grade, teacher) by reading the Importing accounts section.
- Moving students and teachers – Understand how to reassign teachers and schools for students by reading the Moving students and teachers section.
- Assign teacher-student associations – Read about how teachers can select any students in a school in the Choose Students section. Also, Learn how administrators can assign teacher student associations with an import in the Importing accounts section.
- Letters for parents, teachers and schools - Check out the various letters available in the Manage section.
- Free professional development - Let teachers know about the 4-minute overview and 30-minute in-depth training videos.
This section provides information on how to add, update, import, delete, and move accounts; it also provides information on advancing student grade levels.
Big Universe uses a 4-level account hierarchy; depending on your subscription, you will end up working with some or all of the following account types:
- District Admin (typically shared by buyer and data manager)
- School Admin (typically shared by principal, technical person at school and/or help desk)
You may add/update accounts one at a time or add/update multiple accounts by uploading a CSV file with the account information (see below); For either option:
- You must first sign-in in order to manage sub-accounts.
- These features are only available to top-level account holders (e.g. teachers, school/district admins).
- Click the link.
- To add sub-accounts, click the link.
Adding a single account
- To add a single account, select the Add School/Teacher/Student link.
- Select whether you want to create a school, teacher or student account.
- Enter the information for the new account, then press the button.
To add/update multiple accounts, you need to have student, teacher and school information in separate files. The CSV file specifications and other details. To import a CSV file:link has more information about the
- Select the link.
- Select the correct account type ( , or ).
- Select the CSV file containing the accounts.
- Click the button.
- On the page, verify that the number of records found matches how many accounts you have in the file. Make sure that the box is checked only if your file has a header row.
- Select the that matches each data column, or select to ignore a column.
- Use the button to return to the page and make changes. Use the button to review the import accounts, and any errors, before saving them; or, use the button to queue the file for processing and view any errors later.
- On the page, verify the accounts that will be processed successfully and ones that will be skipped due to errors.
- Use the button to return to the page and make changes, or click the button to submit the import file for processing in the background.
- Once the file has been submitted for processing, you will be directed to a page where you can view the status of previously submitted imports. This page can also be accessed using the link from the Import Accounts page.
- After imports have been completed, you can view the number of accounts processed and errors found in the imports. In addition, if you specified an email address on the Map page, you will receive a notification when the import is completed.
- After the accounts have been imported, you can view/manage them from the link.
Using thelink, locate the accounts you wish to delete, select the checkboxes and click the button.
- Bulk advance using Find Accounts - Find and select student accounts using the link; click the button (see image above)
- Bulk advance via Import Accounts - see the section above
- Individual accounts - see the section above
To move student and teacher accounts from one school to another, follow these steps:
- Select from .
- Find and select a student/teacher account via the link.
- Change the Assigned To School and/or Teachers option (see image below).
To print a list of sub-accounts (e.g. schools, teachers, students), follow these steps:
- Select from .
- Search for accounts via the link.
- Choose your web browser's print option (typically the File|Print menu item).
NOTE: We currently do not support printing of passwords for security purposes.
- Click the link in the menu bar
- Enter your and .
- Enter your Adding/Managing Users below for information on our account hierarchy. if you are using a sub-account (e.g. school, teacher, student, or family member). The Group Username is always the username of the top level account (e.g. District admin, school admin, teacher); see
- Click if you want Big Universe to remember you for future visits.
- For lost usernames or passwords, click on or
You can find books by, .
- Start by clicking the button in the menu bar
- Click on a tab to browse by subject (social studies, science, etc.)
- ...or use the links on the right side of the page. Click on any link to see more sub-categories.
- When you see a book you want, click on the cover to see more information about the book on the book detail page and to start reading the book.
- You must first sign-in in order to search using the "autocomplete" feature.
- Enter the book search terms in the search box in the upper right corner
- As you type, a list of books may appear. You may click on any of the suggested books or click to see a list of all search results.
- If you clicked on , a list of all matching publisher books will be shown. You may also see any matching member-created books by clicking on the tab.
- Click on any book image to see more information and start reading the book.
- You must first sign-in in order to search using the advanced search feature.
- Select at the top right corner or via the READ section's right sidebar.
- Specify the search criteria using the drop down lists, checkboxes and/or the keywords field. Once you click on
- When you see a book you want anywhere on the Big Universe site, click on the cover to learn more about the book on the book detail page and start reading.
- The detail page shows information about the book and provides you with options to assign it to students, add it to your bookshelf and take a quiz.
- To read the book, click on the book cover or the button.
- You can zoom in/out and even view it full screen mode
- Use the sound icon to turn on page flipping sounds
- Use thumbnail button to view all pages of a book
- Jump to specific pages using the page number drop down.
- After reading a book, you can:
- Rate it
- Assign it
- Add to your bookshelf
- Take a quiz to test comprehension
- Books you read are automatically logged in your Reading Log (located under Manage)
Assigning books enables
You must first sign-in in order to create or publish a book.
- Click the button in the menu bar at the top.
- Click the button, or click the link to work with books that you have created previously.
- Inside the authoring tool, you can:
- Create, edit, save, and print your books
- Create books from scratch or using existing templates
- Print books to your printer or publish them online (see below)
- Use our pictures or upload your own
Click here to watch on the authoring tool.
- Once a student has created a book, it can be privately published to a teacher account.
- A teacher can decide to share and submit a privately published book in the following ways:
- Share a privately published book with other students belonging to the same teacher
- Share a privately published book with all students in the school (SCHOOL/DISRICT subsriptions only)
- Submit the book for award recognition on Big Universe
- You must first sign-in in order to organize and share your books.
- After reading a book, you can add it to your bookshelf.
- To access your bookshelf, click on the button in the menu bar, then click on the tab.
- To remove books, go to your bookshelf and delete using the "X" icon below each book.
- You must first sign-in in order to take or review quizzes.
- Find books with quizzes, then click the button
- You can see your quiz scores and questions/answers in by clicking the link.
- Teachers can view student quiz results via the option under .
- A teacher can drill all the way down to an individual student's quiz report or even view results of a specific quiz.
- You must first sign-in in order to manage your account.
- Click the link.
- To personalize your account, use the links.
- To view/manage your activity, use the links.
- To control your premium subscription, use the links.
- To view or manage sub-accounts, use the links.
Once students accounts have been created within your Big Universe school account, teachers can begin choosing their own students. This feature also enables multiple teachers (e.g. homeroom teacher, reading specialist) to work with the same students. To get started:
- using a teacher account.
- Select the option from .
- Select your students then click
- Select from .
- Find and select a teacher via the link.
- Click on the link.
You can view student, teacher and school level usage data such as books read, books created, number of assignments, and more.
- as a teacher, school admin or district admin.
- Select the option from .
- Teachers can only view data for students they have chosen. School admins can view teacher and student data. District admins can view school, teacher and student data.
- Hover the mouse pointer over each icon to see what it means.
- Modern operating system (e.g. Windows, Apple, iOS, Android, Linux)
- Web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera)
- High-speed Internet (bandwidth requirements vary based on number of users and usage)
- Adobe Flash support in browser for full functionality (see below)
- Writing tool and member published books
- Read aloud books
- Quiz taker