Book Blogging.....sort of

I am always on the look out for new and different ways for my students to respond to their reading.   The same old, "write a paragraph about this book" gets tedious and boring book after book.  So I have done quite a few things in my room to try and combat the boredom, while still engaging the students in meaningful book reflection.

teachinginroom6.blogspot.com
One thing I have instituted this year came into my room thanks to Educational Insights.  They send me this really awesome Book Blog Writing Center and my students are hooked! 

The idea of them "blogging" about books has really peaked their interest.  Though they are not on the computer, it is set up in a very similar way.  There is a section for a post, comments, and "tabs" for book recommendations and author recommendations.  It really is sort of neat!


upper grade, reading, language arts, reading response
I  have this set up as part of my Reading Response options during LAR time. The students who are at this station have the option to respond to their books in a variety of ways.  The main way is to write an actual "blog post".  Here, the students answer a question posed on the blog board.  This week's question is "If you could be friends with any character in your book, who would it be and why?"  My students respond to this with the title of the book they are reading and some reasons why.  It is still in its infancy, but we are working on pulling evidence from the book to add to the posts.  It hasn't *quite* made it in yet, but it will :)

teaching in room 6, blog, reading response
Then, once something is "posted" the students can then comment on the post.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this part of the blog.  The new students are responding not about their own book, but about what their peer wrote.  It is so amazing to read how thoughtful some of the kids get in response to what other children wrote.  I just absolutely love how critical and thinking they are being while responding.

If you look closely at these comments, which are in response to the book "There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom" by Louis Sachar, you can see that the kids are responding to each other.  It isn't just their own opinion, but they are taking into account other's ideas as well.   

5th grade blog,  upper grades, columbian exchange.
There is also a great part where kids get to "blog" about their favorite books and make recommendations to the students about why they should read the book.  (sorry, no pictures of that!)

About every three days or so, I go in and remove the "top post" and a new post gets shown.  Then the students who are in the Reading Response station during LAR can post new comments and it all starts over.

I am so happy to have this in my room.  It is providing a real, authentic way for my students to respond to their reading, as well as to interact in some way with other readers in my classroom.

And guess what???  Educational Insights is going to give one of my lucky readers a Book Blog Writing Center to have in their own classroom!  All you have to do is enter on the rafflecopter below.  I would love to hear how you plan to use this in your room!

This giveaway will close on Friday morning, 12:01am EST, so be sure to get your entry in!  Good luck. a Rafflecopter giveaway

51 comments

  1. I would love to use this with my class read aloud so that all of the kids could respond. (They do Reader's Workshop, so they are reading different books). What an awesome idea!

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    1. What a great idea to have them respond to the read aloud! I just may have to add that in!

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  2. This looks like a great way to keep kids involved in reflections without boring old book report! My4th and 5th graders would love it.
    Christie
    christiecupit@yahoo.com

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  3. Looks like a fun activity for reading response. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I think this is great. We are reading common core books as a class and I think my shy students would totally dig this!

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  5. How cool is this??!! Your right, doing the same sort of writing a paragraph about a book can become boring. This would such a great addition.

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  6. I would love a more creative way to respond to reading and this would be awesome!

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  7. This would go well with our "faux" Twitter board! :)

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  8. My students do a response to literature for their homework, but I would like to see them respond to our weekly story (more than just the normal summary that I make them do.) Great idea!

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  9. I am an instructional coach on my campus and I can already think of some teachers who would definitely use this as a way for students to respond to their independent reading as an alternative to writing in notebooks! Love it!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

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  10. Getting kids to write can be a trying task by times. Something like this is so doable though - writing a small chunk, linked to technology which they thrive on. I think my kids would really buy into this!

    Krystal
    www.lessonsfromthemiddle.com

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  11. Excellent idea! I have a "Tweet Reads" board where students can recommend books they've read in a "twitter" format (140 characters or less). I would love to incorporate the Book Blogging as well. I especially like how the students can comment on a classmate's post, building rapport, enhancing critical thinking, and encouraging frequent communication about books and authors.

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    1. I love that Twitter idea Jessica. Can you tell me more about it? How do you have it set up? What do the kids do to respond? Can they "retweet"?

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  12. I love the idea of providing new ways for Reading Response.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack
    Ideabackpack@gmail.com

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  13. What a great idea! I have been trying to get approval for a student blog for my fifth graders (not sure what is taking so long). I never thought about taking the blogging concept away from the computer and applying it to reading. Thanks so much for giving me a new idea to use!

    Joy :)

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  14. This is a fun idea! Great way to get kids writing and thinking about their reading!
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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  15. I would use this in addition to their Reader's Notebook. Great idea!!

    Aimee
    aimee@vanmiddlesworth.org
    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

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  16. This would be an excellent resource for students to respond about the novel we are reading in class.

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  17. This would be fantastic resource for all my students- I teach in a rural district where many students come from homes without computers. This would be a great addition to get my kids excited!

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  18. I absolutely love this idea! What a great way to revamp student responses to reading. I love the idea of incorporating it with stations and I think it would be a great opportunity for students to engage in book talks.

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  19. I would love to add this to the blogging my kiddos do. So neat!

    The Science Penguin

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  20. I think this would be awesome to use in my 5th grade class during daily 5! What a great way to reflect on their reading!

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  21. Oh I love this!!!!! Didn't see it when I looked through their website. My kiddos would totally use this during Daily 5 in their Work on Writing center:)

    4th Grade Frolics

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  22. I would love this center as a way to differentiate for my higher-level students. It looks like so much fun!

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  23. I love this!! I would use this as an option when I implement something similar to what you do for LAR. :) THANKS!

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  24. How amazing it is!!!! I would totally use this for my Work on Writing during Daily 3. I love the differentiation it has. I hope I win!!

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  25. This idea is so cute! I would love to use it with my older students as they finish reading a book. Then I would also use it as a book recommendation wall (if I could find the space; maybe a binder would be better) near my library!

    Don't Let The Teacher Stay Up Late

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  26. This is a perfect way to still get kids thinking and writing about their thinking in a fun and different way. I would use it during our Reading Power Hour, and I know exactly where it would go in our room by our classroom library!

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  27. This would go great with reading workshop. I think the kids would love having a different way to respond to their reading.

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  28. What amazing ideas and tools you present to your blog readers. This will be making its way into my classroom whether I win or not. But I still want to win. Thanks.

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  29. My kiddos don't share about their books, so I am excited to add this. I think I might use the Twitter idea, to limit what they say about their book. I plan to put it on my classroom door, so others can see it as well.

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  30. What a fantastic idea. I would love something like this. I would use it this week while we are reading Holes... I would love to get going with this interactive strategy that connects reading and writing.

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  31. This is SO cute Stephanie!! I love it!! You always have the BEST ideas for your kids!

    I tend to group my kids throughout the year into groups based on interest, ability, needs, etc. I would rotate this through each group so that the individual group could blog about the book they are reading at that time. Then the other groups could be "guest bloggers" if they have read the book in the past that is currently being blogged about. I would definitely have the other groups comment on blog posts though, even if they weren't reading that book at that time. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!

    YoungTeacherLove 5th Grade Blog

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  32. I have some students who do not like to read or write and this just might be the thing to get them motivated. I love this! Thanks for blogging about it.

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  33. I have challenged my students to read 40 books this year. (idea from the Book Whisperer) I think I am going to try this. Could you post more pictures of what this looks like?

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  34. We currently complete literature response to book in our classroom. I just post them around our class library and the students love reading their classmates suggestions. I am a big advocate for technology in the classroom, so in the second half of the year I teach my students to have online discussions about their books. I think this Book Blog Writing Center would be a great way to get them ready for the real thing. Great find!!

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  35. What a great idea!!! I've been seeking a better way to respond to books in my classroom and this looks fabulous!

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  36. I love this!! I would use it as a choice on my choice board activity each week. The kids would love this!

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  37. I like this idea because it makes the kids think work is fun! We tweet everyweek outside our classroom door and this week's topic is cyberbullying. The kids look forward to reading the tweets. (sentence strips on the wall)

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    1. And you, Jen, are the winner!!!!!!!! Whoo hooo!!!

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    2. YAY me! How do I send you the contact info to send it to me???

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  38. This would be a great start to actually having the students create their own blogs.

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  39. I love this! One year when I was teaching fourth grade we actually published blog posts through my school webpage. Authentic authoring made them care about the quality and ask their parents to go to our classroom page!

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  40. This is a great idea! I love the interactive feel of this with students responding to each other!

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  41. As a Literacy Coach, I would love to use this with my teachers!

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  42. This is simply amazing. I've been doing reading response in my classroom but looking for a way to make it more "fun" for the students. I know they will love this! The response you are getting are amazing too, how students are responding to each other. LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing!

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  43. Stephanie, you are awesome for sharing these great ideas. I LOVE your spiral math and everything I get my hands on from you. I'll try a version of this tomorrow. THANK YOU!

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  44. This is awesome!! I am planning on moving down to the elementary level next year and will keep this in my bag of goodies for teaching language arts!

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  45. Wow, thanks for sharing your great ideas! This has inspired me to have a section where students can blog on my class website. We're starting literature groups in 2 weeks, which gives me enough time to set up the "blogging feature" on my website. Thanks!

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  46. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  47. Wow! I was so impressed by this writing center that I never even scrolled down to see that there was a giveaway. :) I already ordered mine. Thanks for the great tip!

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