In January we started a google classroom that focused on sharing the books we are reading with each other. Students post weekly about what they are reading. Most recently they posted on the character traits of the main character, using evidence from the text, and writing about how they are similar or dissimilar to the character. The words they used to describe their characters include adventurous, determined, confident, calm, secretive, ruthless, power-hungry, clever, loving, loyal, stubborn, unselfish, impatient, underwhelmed, mischievous and brave. Through their posts, we learn about each other as readers and thinkers as well as each other as human beings.
Book commercials, which students now record, are also posted to the classroom. In their commercial, students are working on summarizing, determining importance, and, of course, learning not to give spoilers! For those who haven’t read the book, these book commercials give students book recommendations from trusted sources and allow them to learn more about a book they are interested in. It is especially interesting to have two commercials for the same book side by side to see how people think and talk about the same book differently!
The third component of our books blog is the comment feature. Students have been asked to read each others work and comment on something specific that they like and something specific that could be improved. They have also taken it upon themselves to ask and answer questions and share their own opinions on a book. The comments are where we can see both an informal dialogue happening as well as connections forming between students who may not be close friends but who have shared the experience of reading the same book and living life through the same character’s eyes.