Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book Review 2.0

I was approached by one of my eighth-grade language arts teachers at the beginning of the year about book reports. She requires her students to read 2 books per quarter and wanted to try some innovative ways to "track" their reading. So, I created a list of ideas for her (which I hope to blog about later), which she will pull from throughout the year.

For her first book project, she decided to go with Glogster book reviews. Glogster is a very teacher/student-friendly site with a separate education portal. So, we set her up with an account and created her student accounts as well . . . very simple!

In order to help her students write a quality book review to incorporate into their glog, I volunteered to do a 20-25 minute mini-lesson on writing book reviews. I did not feel like an expert on writing book reviews, but I found Steve Peha's ideas very helpful.

Here are the 3 resources I created to help the students learn: (all embedded below)
1. Google presentation - unfortunately the speaker notes do not embed along with the google presentation, so some slides at the end may not make complete sense

2. Handout

3. Example

I am really excited about the direction we are headed. Each quarter the students will have critically evaluated their books utilizing a variety of media. Gone are the days of the standard written book report/review!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Wordle is not a new application, but sometimes it's helpful to remember those little tools in our technology toolbox that don't get used on a regular basis, but are perfect for certain jobs. So, I went right over to Wordle to create a word map of President Obama's speech to students.

I sent this over to my history/social studies teachers to use as an additional resource when discussing the speech with their students.
I think it would be a cool project for students to create their own Wordles, even if just on paper, of the main ideas and messages that they took away from the speech or that inspired them.

Classroom Ideas
  • analyze historic documents (Gettysburg Address, Declaration of Independence, etc.)
  • analyze students' own writing - show words commonly used/overused and check to see if main idea or theme truly comes through
  • create a character description Wordle
  • create an autobiographical Wordle
  • DigiGogy's blog post on the Wonders of Wordle
  • Slideshare - Ways to use Wordle in the classroom