Classroom Blogs: Online Book Clubs

January 21st, 2010

We’ve been following the progress of Amanda Villagomez during her first year of using a classroom blog in her middle school language arts classes. In her prior posts, Amanda talked about setting up the blog and her initial experiments with it in the classroom . Now, midway through the year, Amanda continues to be excited about the possibilities created by the blog. In this post, she reports on the successful integration of online book clubs and talks about her plans for the remainder of the year:

Another quarter has flown by, and I am officially half way through my first year of integrating a classroom blog. Throughout the quarter I was able to continue posting Author Tip Tuesdays on the weeks that I was teaching in English (I teach half of the time in Spanish). My students seem to look forward to them. They especially enjoyed a week integrating a YouTube video that Mary Amato created about her revision process , as well as a Q&A with S. Terrell French after a group of 7th graders read her book as a book club.

The most exciting part of the blog this quarter was a successful integration of an on-line book club. I originally thought of it as a new way for my students to interact for their book club discussion. However, before I started the club, I realized that it opened up many more possibilities, including being able to facilitate multi-grade level discussions. Students also enjoyed that other staff members, parents, and relatives left comments of encouragement. I recently blogged about more of my reflections on this first book club.

Next quarter students will participate in more book club discussions via the blog. Collaboration with people outside of the classroom will be an exciting component. One group will be reading Pride and Prejudice, and I requested some suggestions from Kelly Fineman to provide support for my students, as I had appreciated her previous chapter by chapter notes about Northanger Abbey earlier in the summer. Some of my students had mentioned an interest in Austen, but they quickly lost their motivation when they were not able to understand it well enough attempting to read it on their own. Fineman was gracious enough to send me detailed suggestions to guide my students through the reading. Actively blogging on my own has been very beneficial in networking with different authors and bloggers to further engage students. Other future possibilities may include having university students in children’s/YA literature classes comment on discussions, having parent and staff members participate in book clubs, and having book discussions with students in other classrooms.

For third quarter my biggest new blogging venture will be having my 7th graders set up their own blogs. Within the next few steps I will be guiding them through the process. They will begin blogging by creating posts such as book reviews, slice of life stories, and facilitating their own book club disscussions. I would also like to incorporate podcasting eventually, but it may not be until 4th quarter. I am still debating whether or not to have my 6th graders begin their own blogs this year, depending on how smoothly it goes with 7th grade, but they will be able to view 7th graders’ blogs as mentor texts and will be encouraged to leave comments and participate in book clubs that they facilitate. Moving into the second half of the year I am still very enthusiastic and excited about the amazing opportunities that blogging has created in order to enhance my language arts instruction.

Entry Filed under: Classroom practice

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Classroom blogs: The expe&hellip  |  April 7th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    […] with blogs in the classroom. The last time we heard from her in January, she was experimenting with online book clubs. Today she says that despite some bumps in the road, she is more and more excited about using […]

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