Giving Students a Voice Online: Creating an Online Book Club – NVWP Summer Institute – Day 13 pt. 2

Next up is Heather Jung!

Giving Students a Voice Online: Creating an Online Book Club

Heather Cover

Heather wanted to make writing meaningful for her small group instruction. She talks to us about how our lower-SES students do have access to technology; they just don’t know what to do with it other than play games and buy stuff. So we need to teach them to use technology to help them work on higher order tasks.

Step One: Students to create their own avatar.


Step two: Create a web page! Heather does them through her own Google account.

Step three: Read! Read! Read!

Step four: Genre study! Heather found many examples of accessible book reports done by children similar to her own population. This is another example of the power of the inquiry model (again, think Katie Wood Ray and the power of immersing ourselves and students in examples of a particular genre. This is particularly useful in helping students identify and internalize specific genre characteristics.) Heather found these from the Spaghetti Book Club.

Heather hands out a stack of mentor texts for us to go through and identify. As we go through these genre mentors, we identify they have a…

the author
illustrated by
a representative image
first paragraph summary
second paragraph specifics about favorite character/important part
ending with a recommendation

Mentor text

Then, true to the inquiry model, we use these genre characteristics to write our own book review.

The Allure of Order
Written by Jal Mehta
Reviewed by Peter Anderson (age 33)

Jal Mehta’s ambitious book attempts to trace the rise of standardization and rationalization throughout the history of American education. He does this by focusing on three major education reform movements: the Progressive Era (1890-1920), the forgotten Standards movement (1960-1970), and the No Child Left Behind reforms (1980 – ). Jal’s book investigates the connections between politics, culture, and education to ultimately argue that the rise of rationalization has negatively impacted education.

I had never before considered the role rationalization and standardization play in our contemporary lives, much less one hundred years ago. Mehta traces this…

I ran out of time!

Heather then shows off some of her student’s work. There are some connections here with the value of illustration in the writing/reading classroom.

Student example

Now we create an illustration for ours! Here’s mine:

My cover

Step four: Read and comment on each other’s writing using Disqus, a website devoted to online discussions about pretty much anything. There are channels devoted to a variety of topics, as well. You can add a Disqus button to Google Sites as a gadget. This lets students use Disqus to comment and respond to each other’s posts. She shows us how her students would often “like” and respond to comments made by each other while passing over those from their teachers.

Heather tells us that parents loved the “open access” of her Google Sites page.

What an excellent morning! Now we’re off to lunch and writing groups. Enjoy!


One comment

  1. Pingback: Multimodal Literacy and Poetry with English Language Learners – NVWP Summer ISI – Day 3 | Mr. Anderson Reads & Writes

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