Literature circles have ALWAYS been one of my favorite things to do. The students love being given a book and told to take charge of their learning in their group. So how do we make it even more engaging and keep up with the times? We teach our blogging skills to our students!
I decided to take literature circles to the next level by having my students create their own blogs! Let me tell you, it has been a HUGE hit! I have students who haven't consistently done homework all year and spend most class time distracted, who are now engaged, enthusiastic about learning, and producing quality work! It certainly makes a teacher heart happy. <3
You may be asking, why choose technology-centered lit circles? Here's a little note from my product about that:
Are you convinced? Let me share a little more about what we did.
I chose to use Kidblog as our blogging platform. I love that it offers the teacher complete control over what is being posted, has many security features, and is completely private (only students in the class can view, and parents if you give them an access code.) I love that it is easy to use for the students, they get to choose from fun themes, and it puts all of the blogs in your class in a "live blog feed" right on the homepage when they log in. And best of all, it's FREE! :)
After creating a classroom blog, I added each of my students to our class.
Next, I assigned students literature circle groups based on their reading levels, and chose a book for each group. My fourth grade groups are reading the following books:
- Tuck Everlasting
- Among the Hidden
- James and the Giant Peach
- The One and Only Ivan
- The Chocolate Touch
My groups have 7-9 students in them (large class sizes) and it works! I would recommend group sizes of 5-8 students.
After assigning their groups, we created our blogs! I spent about 2 days with my students going over how to login and design our blogs. I taught them how to do all of the "fun" things so they would be excited and ready!
Next, we outline our first post, which was an "All About Me Post" and spent time publishing them on our blogs and commenting! By this time they were giddy with excitement over this new adventure.
I then gave each group a month reading calendar for their novels. For my higher group, I had them work as a group to plan out their reading each night. For my other groups, I made the schedule ahead of time.
Then, it was time to choose blogging jobs. I passed out the descriptions of the 9 jobs, and let students meet with their group and discuss who would be assigned each job. *I chose to let my students take charge of this, with some guidance from me. You could choose to assign the roles if you'd like.
Lastly, we went over the "Weekly Blogging Schedule" and they were off! I gave them outlines for each daily post that they complete during our writing time, and then they have class time to complete publish their blog posts.
I have chosen not to require any blogging as homework, because about 20% of my student population do not have computers at home. This is up to you! You know your students best and can choose what works best for them!
After the first night we blogged, I came in the next day to find 419 new comments to approve! Remember, that wasn't required homework! I LOVE how motivated they are!
Here are some examples of the AMAZING posts and comments they've done:
I hope you will take this amazing journey with your students, too!
Our winners are…. Carmen and Dana!! Thank you so much for participating, everyone! Carmen I will be emailing you, Dana please contact me so I can email you, too! :)
This will also be on sale in my store for 48 hours! Click here to download :)
I am linking this post up with my lovely BBB, Holly, for her Tried it Tuesday linky; since this is definitely a new and FUN thing I've tried!