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Book Blogs. Matt Hardy Grade 3 Teacher Eden Prairie Schools [email protected] Interactive Online Journals for Literature Circles. My Background. BA, Computer Science, U of MN, Morris Web Development M. Ed, U of MN, Twin Cities 3rd Grade in Eden Prairie, 6 years.

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Book blogs

Book Blogs

Matt Hardy

Grade 3 Teacher

Eden Prairie Schools

[email protected]

Interactive Online Journals for Literature Circles

My background

My Background

  • BA, Computer Science, U of MN, Morris

  • Web Development

  • M. Ed, U of MN, Twin Cities

  • 3rd Grade in Eden Prairie, 6 years

Book blogs

Goals for This Session How To:

  • Implement student-centered, technology-driven small- or whole-group book clubs

  • Use blogs to maximize student responses/discussion around texts

  • Motivate your students using an authentic publishing context

  • Use technology in a transformative way

This session is not about

This Session is Not About:

  • Setting up a classroom webpage/teacher blog


    • Custom district solution

  • An introductory definition or full rationale for the benefits of blogging

Our class website

Our Class Website

Book clubs literature circles

Book Clubs/Literature Circles

  • Facilitate students’ in-depth exploration of a novel

  • Small group environment

  • Everyone has a voice and ideas can be freely discussed

  • Scaffolded by group leader (parent/ teacher)

Book clubs literature circles1

Book Clubs/Literature Circles

  • 4 - 5 Students per Group

  • Each member has their own “Job” for the week

    • Question Captain

    • Connection Maker

    • Excerpt Expert

    • Character Analyzer

    • Image Illustrator

Student blogs as a literature response and discussion tool

Student Blogs as a Literature Response and Discussion Tool

  • Read (View)

  • Write (Publish)

  • Comment (Discuss)

Benefits of blogs over traditional paper journals

Benefits of Blogs Over Traditional Paper Journals

  • Access from anywhere (no forgotten/lost assignments)

  • Monitor progress during the week

  • Maintain a record of work throughout year

  • Highly motivating and authentic

  • Practice/apply keyboarding skills

  • Incorporate different media (images, videos, links)


Benefits of blogs over traditional paper journals1

Benefits of Blogs Over Traditional Paper Journals

  • Asynchronous discussions

  • Discussion Priming(facilitate conversation during meeting time)

  • Join discussion remotely when a leader is unavailable or a student is out of school

  • Ownership

  • Accountability


Student blogging platforms

Student Blogging Platforms

  • choice)





Model on teacher blog

Model on Teacher Blog




Example blog discussions

Example Blog Discussions

  • Hannah (Image Illustrator)

  • Emily (Question Captain)

  • Jackson (Excerpt Expert)

  • Lauren (Connection Maker)

  • Nate (Character Analyzer)

Question captain

Question Captain

  • Write down 4-5 good questions that you think your group would want to talk about. Questions should be thought-provoking and open-ended (no simple, one-word answers).

  • Try these starters:

    • Why do you think…?

    • What will happen…?

    • If…?

    • Who…?

    • How…?

    • Compare…?

Connection maker

Connection Maker

  • Proficient readers make connections to the text as they read. Three main types of connections are

    • text-to-self,

    • text-to-text

    • text-to-world

  • In your post, write about 3 connections you made to the book. The connections can be about how the book reminds you of yourself or an event in your life (text-to-self), how the book reminds you of another book you’ve read (text-to-text), or how the book reminds you of something happening in the world today or in the past (text-to-world).

Excerpt expert

Excerpt Expert

  • Choose one or two important passages (1-3 sentences each) from the story. Copy them down in your blog.

  • These passages should help your group remember some interesting, powerful, puzzling, or important sections of the text. Justify your reasons for selecting these passages.

  • Some reasons for choosing passages to share might include: *Key events *Descriptive *Surprising *Scary *Funny *Controversial *Confusing

Character analyzer

Character Analyzer

  • Select 3 adjectives that describe the traits of some of the characters from the novel, and support your selection with examples taken from your reading assignment. Each time you write down an idea, be sure to include:

  • - Character’s name- Trait (Adjective)- Specific Example of Behavior/Action (with the page number where it happens in the book)

  • Possible Character Adjectives: adventurous, artistic, athletic, active, beautiful, belligerent, brave, bold, bossy, cheerful, curious, creative, courageous, considerate, daring, impulsive, dainty, dangerous, exciting, entertaining, energetic, funny, friendly, fun-loving, gentle, generous, happy, humble, hostile, honest, iconoclastic, intelligent, independent, inventive, a leader, lazy, loyal, loud, messy, mischievous, mean, melancholy, mellow, neat, nasty, nice, nosy, open, poor, proud, pretty, prudent, quiet, rich, respectful, sad, silly, sloppy, serious, successful, shy, short, smart, studious, selfish, simple, tall, trustworthy, thoughtful, unselfish, warm, witty, wild (or think of your own!)

Image illustrator

Image Illustrator

  • Create a graphical blog post! Do a Google image search for pictures that relate to events or characters in the novel. (Remember to use “Strict Safe Search.”)

  • Copy and paste these images in your blog. Be sure to cite your source!

  • Write a brief caption under each image that explains how it relates to your reading. Your images may be about a character, the setting, a problem, an exciting part, a surprise, or anything else about the chapters for this week.



  • Clubs Meet Wed/Thurs

  • Reading done by Tuesday.

  • Lab time (30-45 min) Tuesday afternoon

  • Respond to leader and do job

  • Meeting day:

    • Comments for each other

    • Discussion going in person

    • Start reading next section, new job

Job rotation

Job Rotation

Response model single post single response

Response Model: Single-Post, Single-Response


Response model mulit post multi response

Response Model: Mulit-Post, Multi-Response




Build confidence good habits

Build Confidence, Good Habits

  • Start with student comments on a teacher post

  • Students publish their own, structured posts

  • Student choice of topic, open-ended posts

Book blogs


  • Emphasize comments(the engine of dynamic blogs)

  • Look at posts/comments together

    • What did we do well?

    • Discuss ways to make better

    • Depth of thought, specificity, relevance

  • Don’t stress over spelling

  • OMG! No “text talk.” Thx.



  • Digital portfolio

  • Growth over time

  • Timestamps

  • Writing standards, traits

Thank you

Thank You!

Matt Hardy

Grade 3 Teacher

Eden Prairie Schools

[email protected]

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