Saturday, November 25, 2006

21st Century Book Reports

I’ve been getting a feed for the tag “literacy” for that last few days to see what sites are being tagged by others. Interestingly, this afternoon there’s a site that someone tagged and titled as, “More Ideas Than You'll Ever Use for Book Reports.” This leads to three pages of ideas submitted to describing alternatives to the traditional book report. I was immediately struck by how web 2.0 tools and certain pieces of software could be enlisted in carrying out these ideas and would provide even more enrichment to reading particular pieces of literature. Here are a few adapted to web 2.0 – any other ideas?

1. Interview a character from your book. Write at least ten questions that will give the character the opportunity to discuss his/her thoughts and feelings about his/her role in the story. However you choose to present your interview is up to you.
WEB 2.0>> Students post these questions on their blog and other students can answer the questions as if they were the character. This could also be a podcast.

2. Prepare an oral report of 5 minutes. Give a brief summary of the plot and describe the personality of one of the main characters. Be prepared for questions from the class.
WEB 2.0>>The oral report could be recorded as a podcast or this oral report, if recorded, could become a conversation between an interviewer and a character or between two characters in the story.

3. Build a miniature stage setting of a scene in the book. Include a written explanation of the scene. OR Make several sketches of some of the scenes in the book and label them.
WEB 2.0>> Create the stage then take a digital picture and put it into your class Flickr account. If many students in the classroom create several scenes from the book, the scenes could be put into chronological order then annotated.

4. • Write a book review as it would be done for a newspaper.
• Write a feature article (with a headline) that tells the story of the book as it might be found on the front page of a newspaper in the town where the story takes place.
WEB 2.0>>As you study literature throughout the year, a class wiki with pages devoted to each piece of literature would be useful here. Now the wiki can contain these book reviews. I’m sure that, over time, it would be a great way to watch students progress writing in this genre.

5. After reading a book of history or historical fiction, make an illustrated timeline showing events of the story and draw a map showing the location(s) where the story took place.
WEB 2.0 >>Draw pictures then scan them, or create dioramas or other 3 dimensional representations of events and take digital pictures. Upload your photos to Flickr then geotag them with the locations of the events from the story.

6. • Write and perform an original song that tells the story of the book.
•Be a TV or radio reporter, and give a report of a scene from the book as if it is happening "live".
WEB 2.0>>Sounds like some great podcasting to me!

7. Create a newspaper for your book. Summarize the plot in one article, cover the weather in another, do a feature story on one of the more interesting characters in another. Include an editorial and a collection of ads that would be pertinent to the story.
WEB 2.0>>Sounds like a great way to use wiki pages! Front page, business, local news, comics, weather, etc.

8. Draw a comic strip of your favorite scene.
Macs with OS X have a piece of software called “Comic Life” that would really entice students to do this assignment.

9. • Make a mini-book about the story
•Make a flow chart of all the events in the book.
• Make a time line of all the events in the book.
WEB 2.0>>If each of these were created so that they could become individual slides (use PowerPoint and save the slides as TIFF files or use a drawing program such as KidPix where the drawings can be saved as .jpg or .gif), they could be uploaded to Bubbleshare then placed in a student blog or a class wiki.

10. Make a chart of interesting words as a whole class activity. Categorize by parts of speech, colorful language, etc.
WEB 2.0>>Have students illustrate the words using any drawing software that you have available (such as KidPix), save the pictures as .jpg or .gif, upload them to Bubbleshare or some similar service then place the resulting “dictionary” on your class blog or wiki.

No comments: