Sunday, February 14, 2016

Share the Love of a Good Book!

Last week, my class focused on the important skill of summarizing a text. A few of my students were struggling with this and I wanted to find a way for them to gain extra practice without making them feel like I was just giving them extra work. Since I couldn't find anything that seemed to fit on TeachersPayTeachers, I decided to create it myself.

I have written off and on in journals for years, but have found that I am much more engaged and consistent now that I have a blog. Having an audience makes all the difference. Of course, at this point the audience of my blog may only consist of my co-teacher and my best friend. I think even my husband only skims it.  Still it is an audience. My students needed an audience for their summaries.

My students have been fired up about reading since we returned to school in January. They share books and recommend books to each other from our classroom library. With the book fair at our school this week, everyone was talking about books and I needed to capitalize on that. I could have had them write simple book reports and read these out loud to the class, but I knew our week didn't allow enough time for that. What gives information about a book, but is far shorter than a book report? A book review!

Using the format of Somebody, Wanted, But, Then, So, I created a form for students to fill out about a book they had recently read from our classroom library. I added a second form to include more information about the book. The students needed a little help filling out these forms. I sat at my kidney shaped table with six students and provided support as they each chose a book and completed the forms. Once the forms were completed, the students simply filled in the blanks to write a book review. It was necessary to read back over their writing and add a few words here and there, but for the most part I was impressed with their results.

It was time for an authentic audience. Potential readers typically read book reviews, so my students visited, typed in their review, and downloaded a qr code link. They added this qr code to a Google Doc along with the title and their name. Once it was printed, I taped the qr code to the back of the book from our classroom library. Now anyone considering reading each book, can scan the qr code and read the student's review.

Although I initially created this for my students that needed extra summarizing practice, by the second day every student in my class was asking to write one. I found my stronger readers needed very little help with the format. We use Google Classroom, so many of them were surprised how easy it was to create the qr code and insert it into the Google Doc. Students have asked if they may write one every time they read a book from our classroom library. Students asking to write more? Nothing warms my heart more! As a Valentine's gift to my dear readers, I've put my QR Code Book Review product on TpT on sale from February 14th to February 17th. Show your students how much you care by giving them an opportunity to write for an authentic audience.