Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some possibilities for Goodreads with High School Book Groups

Working in my friend Jenn Henderson's class at Rangeview High School yesterday, I watched her students post responses to their independent reading on Goodreads, the social network for bibliophiles. Her students respond to Jenn in a private group she's created for her class of freshmen. One of Jenn's goals is to have her students to write for a variety of audiences on the web. In our discussion after class, she and I talked about the range of possibilities for Goodreads. "There's just so much that we could ask them to look at and so many things we could ask them to do," she commented.

For my part, I suggested asking students to read discussions in the public book groups, looking for groups that seem to be helping each other think more deeply about the books they're discussing. Maybe students can identify which users are mostly socializing and which ones are "geeking out," writing expansively about their books. Since I had clicked through the public book group discussion pages on Goodreads during class, I offered to send Jenn some ways I might introduce students to Goodreads, with the ultimate goal of having students identify their own purposes and interests. Here are the ideas I shared with her on the Google Doc we share to keep track of our coaching work, our conversations, and Jenn's goals for our work together.

Some Goodreads possibilities:

Have the class read this group introduction for a group called "The Page Turners." Ask them to read in order to answer the question, “How does this group work?”

This group, Nothing But Reading Challenges (NBRC) has an interesting format, including daily discussion questions for members to respond to. Right now there are three books going with daily discuss questions. “Which book and group has the best group participation? Which reader has the most thoughtful answers?” (Alternately, is anyone here not reading the book but just socializing in the discussion?)

After students look at both, ask them, "Which group appeals to you more as a reader and a writer? Why?"

Finally, I threw in this a random idea for on-demand writing.

Ask all students to write the “10 things you need to know about Goodreads” guide to Goodreads, then post them on Goodreads.  


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