Reading Game Changer--Blogging Literature Circles!

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!






















Two years ago, 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


The best part about this pack now is it is also completely editable!!

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
  • Hoot
  • Holes
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Loser
  • 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.



At the end of the week, my students evaluate their group and blogging work with a quick self evaluation! This helps them see what they did well and need to work on, and gives me a quick formative assessment!


I keep track of their blog posts with this quick tracking sheet that's also in my pack!



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:




This has been a game changer for a lot of my students, and I love seeing the enthusiasm and passion for reading through their blogs! I hope you decide to take this journey with your students, too! :) 

You can purchase this product here! And don't forget, it's now completely editable so you can customize for your students' needs!


8 comments

  1. Blogging about books has been one of my students FAVORITE things to do since I purchased this from you last year! Could you just share a couple of things... How long do you give them to outline and post their blog? How do you allow those who never finish to keep up? I have those few who it takes forever for them to finish one post. The they are behind each day because they are trying to finish the day before.
    Also, do you have to encourage a lot to get meaningful, thoughtful posts?
    Thank you for all you do and being so inspiring!

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    1. Hi! I am SO glad you have enjoyed blogging so much in your classroom! I usually give them a short 5-10 mins to outline their blog. For most of my kiddos, this is what they do when they come in my class in the morning, or right after we switch (I have 2 groups in a day.) My kiddos have 25 minutes to complete their posts each day during stations. I do allow them to get on at home to finish if they want, and some of mine do. Since Friday is Free Day Friday, I always tell them that this is their day to catch up and finish any posts they didn't finish before. I don't let them work on a previous post unless they've finished that day's blogging duty, so they don't get too far behind. Does that make sense?

      Especially during the first week, I am pretty on them about their blog posts. I obviously have different expectations for certain students, and I try and hold them to them! I will comment on each student's posts that first week and if I tell them in a comment to add more detail or change something, they have to do it before they can move on blogging. Also, I have deleted poorly written posts before and made students start from scratch. I always pull up at least 2 blog posts a day during the first week to give "kudos" to the bloggers and give them a "Writer's Award". This always encourages good posts, too!

      I hope that all helps! :)

      Amelia

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  2. I love this idea! And definitely want to try this with my 4th graders! Thank you for laying it all out so it helps me visualize how you plan for it. What a great resource and wonderful way to incorporate technology and spark student motivation for reading!

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    1. Hi! Thank you for your sweet words and stopping by and reading. I am so glad you are going to take this journey with your students!! :)

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  3. Are all their discussions done online or do they meet and discuss the book in person as well?

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    1. The majority of their discussions are done online, however I move seats during blogging time and they sit at a team with their Book Club. So I find my kiddos having a lot of casual discussions about the book throughout the day during downtime. :)

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  4. I would love to try this next year! But looking into Kidblog, it now says it costs money! Am I missing the free piece or did they change it? Are there any other sites you would recommend for blogging?

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