I recently posted about using #BookSnaps (thanks again, Tara Martin sharing your idea). I had been using these ‘snap’ reflections and reactions to reading with my AP classes as we are reading our Friday Book Club selection ‘Ciudad de las Bestias’ by Isabel Allende. To change things up a bit, I decided to give a different assignment - a brief paragraph as a reaction to what they read for this week’s chapter. There were so many disappointed faces and I was asked if they could include a #BookSnap along with their paragraph (of course I said yes). I have had fun using #BookSnaps, but I didn’t realize that my students would miss them if we skipped them.
Allowing students to use Snapchat might seem unconventional. And, while Snapchat is very popular among teenagers, not all students use it, so I needed some alternatives. My AP students had been creating their #BookSnaps via Snapchat at home. This worked well for my AP Book Club Friday's. After seeing how engaged they were and how seriously my students took creating their #BookSnaps, I looked for a way to bring it into the class novel I am reading with my ninth graders (Felipe Alou: Desde los valles a las montañas by Carol Gaab, published by Fluency Matters). I wanted to find a way to use #BookSnaps created in class, without my students being tempted/distracted by their cell phone. I had some reservations about allowing phones in class to use Snapchat. My thinking was that it could lead to some inappropriate use that would be difficult to monitor.
We are fortunate to be in a 1:1 school where everyone has a MacBook Air and the full features of the G Suite for Education. I decided to use a Google Slideshow shared on Google Classroom for collaboration. Alice Keeler has some great explanations for how to do this - Google Slides: Collaborate in 40 seconds and Google Classroom: Submitting Collaborative Google Slides. I assign each student a slide to create their own #BookSnap. My students are very familiar with emojis and were able to add them to their slide. Several also added the Bitmoji Chrome Extension, giving them access to a range of expressive cartoon avatars that they could personalize. (One caveat to the Bitmojis - a few are a bit "colorful", so I suggest reminding your students to only use things that would be appropriate in a school setting). Their slide also includes a quote or passage from the chapter of the book we are working on. They could type out the quote or use the camera on their MacBook to take a picture of a part that grabbed their attention or surprised them.
It turns out that they are quite competitive about their #BookSnaps. I have three classes currently reading the novel, so I made one Slideshow, separated by a slide designating each period. The day after reading chapter four and creating our #BookSnaps, we viewed the Slideshow as a class. To vote for their favorite in each class, I created a simple Google Form that I shared via Google Classroom. This saved me a lot of time, since I didn’t have to tally votes - Google Forms did the work. The Form was quick to prepare - just be sure adjust the settings so students can only submit the the form once. Google has some info on how to set up and use the results of Google Forms.
The overall ‘winner’ was this slide, which we have unofficially named ‘Hombre salado’ (salty man).
All of this #BookSnapping (I think I just made up that word and hashtag) has inspired me to share and I have decided to take the plunge and offer a virtual book club for other teachers in my district. The book we will be reading is ‘Start. Right. Now.: Teach and Lead for Excellence’ by Todd Whitaker , Jeff Zoul and Jimmy Casas published by Dave Burgess Consulting. The plan is to conduct the book club through Google Classroom and instead of weekly posted questions and answers, I am going to use collaborative Google Slides and hoping to get some #BookSnaps into our virtual discussion. This way, not only will we be sharing insights from the book, but participants will have a new tool to use when reading with their own classes. Hopefully, people sign up for the book club! #BookSnaps can be used in a variety of subject areas, with just a little creativity.
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!
High school Spanish teacher in NJ. Google for Education Certified Trainer. Always looking to try new things in my classes. Technology junkie.