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Reading Blog Log

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Keywords: writing, blogs, blogging, socratic ceminar via internet, Englihs, Reading, assessment ideas,
Subject(s): Writing, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 12
School: Cranston Sr High School West, Cranston, RI
Planned By: Diane Feole
Original Author: Diane Feole, Cranston
Blog Log – Student-created literature blogs

• Acquire skills which enable them to successfully use internet technology through computers and blogging and podcasting.
• Develop the skills and knowledge necessary to develop and create a blog and podcast.
• Further develop their reading and writing skills.
• Further develop their abilities to analyze literature.
• Further develop their communication skills, both written and oral.
• Develop voice and conversation in their writing.

Students often enter our classrooms on the day that an outside reading of a novel is due, anticipating a test. They expect to sit down quietly and write down the theme of the novel, in an essay format – BORING – making reading the book boring, making reading in general boring, making school in general boring – well- you get the picture. Well, instead of a test or an essay – how about a student-centered activity like a Socratic Seminar. That’s better. Students will sit in a circle and talk about the novel through a prompt the teacher gives that begins discussion. But how about a real student-centered activity, that extends the learning beyond the classroom into students own homes, fostering not only good reading skills, but also 21st century literacy and communications skills?

Student created reading blogs are the answer.
Students can create individual or group blogs. The group blogs work well because they give post access to several group members who in turn can invite many more commenters. It also offers a variety of opinions to comment on verses just one. Upon completing a reading in school, students will be required to post ideas that they have about the book. These can be teacher-inspired, or better yet, students who are used to coming up with discussion questions for class, can post their own ideas. Then- other students or groups will be required to comment on their blogs. This could even be adapted to create discussion groups by mixing bloggers from one blog with another.

As a class, students we will be taught the basics of blog creation through the free Blogger.com site created by Google. It is a simple format and students can chose from a variety of templates. These blogs can be created in pairs or groups, or as individual blogs.

This lesson will begin with a Socratic question about a novel we have read or are in the process of reading. Students will work in pars or groups, to blog on the topic and will be required to respond to another classroom blog for homework.

Students will be required to create a “survey” in their blog – a question about the book. They will also be required to research and find “reliable information” that is relevant to a theme or the setting of the story and post it for reading on the blog. There will be an ongoing nightly homework assignment to post on their blogs and visit classmates’ blogs to read new material and comment.

Students will work in groups to create informational reports on an aspect of the novel – setting, social problems, beliefs, traditions, etc… They will be required to post the report in written format with a correct works cited. You might have to
sneak a summary writing skills lesson in here, and how not to plagiarize. This should take several class periods and internet research. It will require a lesson on “academic research,” and how to search the internet for “reliable sources.” The
library-media specialist can help.

In this lesson the students will begin using Tool Factory Podcasting software, to publish oral presentations of their written reports – on their blogs. The students will use digital cameras and video cameras to take pictures and video of themselves and any props they would like to use. The blogs will be presented to the school library media center during READING WEEK, and open to school-wide access. . Furthermore, the reading blogs will be available to the larger community through our library media center webpage.

Tool Factory Podcasting Software and Accessories
Digital Camera
Word-processing Program

•Students will have a deeper understanding and appreciation of literary texts and their global connections.
•Students will improve of their self-expression skills, both written and orally.
•Students will understand how to implement technology into their learning.
•Students will feel validation from expressing their personal beliefs.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This unit of study can be applied to Science, History and English classrooms.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This could be combined with Science, History, Health, etc... informational report writing,
On-going blogging on readings, writings, etc.. throughout the year as a means of assessment.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Video Cameras, Digital Cameras, Batteries, Flash/USB Drives, Podcasting