Sunday, February 2, 2014

Retiring the Book Report

We need to retire the "Book Report" Common Core will ask student to "Analyze" not summarize. Add to this the emphasis on non-fiction reading, and those cute dioramas that creative mothers "help" their child produce and coat hanger mobiles will at last be retired.  If all of the students in a class have book reports that look alike, the teacher has asked them to mostly remember (the parts of a book) and understand to identify and describe. As an administrator I have long said, "Any time all of your students are doing the exact same thing to "create" you are preparing them for factory jobs that do not exist,"

By simply allowing students to respond to a book in a manner that is self chosen already rises the Depth of Knowledge to evaluation when students must make a decision based on the criteria of what they must share. Here's a little list of  non-digital ways to respond to literature: 50 ways to respond to literature 

Going Digital

Here are a few tools that can help step up a book response, fiction or non-fiction.  The teacher would set the expectations with a rubric of must haves, but students would drive the look and feel and vision of their analysis of the reading.

Create a Video Cast:

You don't need a fancy camera to do a video cast.  An IPad, computer with a camera, smart phone or a small camera with video option should do the trick.  The student would create the backdrop and they may either do a head shot of just show their images.

Besides IMovie here are some video presentations applications:

Explain Everything
Show Me

Create an Infograph

My favorite Web 2.0 tool of the moment is  consider the many ways students could use an interactive map like the one below to respond to literature.. Fiction or Non-fiction .. writing follows a path. The elements of this visual are easy to manipulate, copy, delete redesign into a personal reflection.

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Create a Wall

Padlet is a great Web 2.0 tool for creating a "wall"  This is essentially a visual rich web page that relates to a subject or theme. Here's an example of a Non-fiction collection on Caesar 
Fakebook I have not tried this tool myself, but a few friends have reported that they used it to have students create a "Fakebook Page" for a character in a book or a Historical Biographic piece. 

Goodwin, Bryan, and Kirsten Miller. "Research Says / Nonfiction Reading Promotes Student Success." Educational Leadership 70.4 (2012): 80-82. ASCD. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. <>.

1 comment:

  1. I love your new site, and especially the resources for quick tips on applications that teachers can use to inspire their students to go deeper in analyzing literature. Here's the Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrix which overlays the DOK and the updated Bloom to provide us with an excellent way to think about how we can design our lessons to meet the deeper thinking required for CCS.

    On the NCIEA website there are more resources from Karen Hess that help to explain the application of the matrix.

    I'll be following you Kathy, I enjoy the work you are doing in our ACSA Tech Academy too.

    Cheryl Jordan