Skip to main content

Collecting Classroom Book Reviews

If students struggle to choose free reading books, try creating a card catalog.

Today at lunch while talking with a reading teacher, she mentioned that several students struggle to choose a free reading book. It's not for lack of choices, instead they are having difficulty discerning if the book is worth their time.

"Photo" by David Fulmer under CC 4.0
Why not create a way to share book recommendations between students?

While the tech side of me thinks Microsoft Access would be a fun way to do this, I recognize most teachers wouldn't know where to begin in creating a digital database. But it wasn't that long ago when libraries used a simple card catalog system for tracking books. A simple tweak of the system can help a teacher collect book recommendations.

Using 3x5 index cards, have students write the name of the book at the top, then the author underneath. The first student should write a short description of the book without spoilers! The finish the card with their name and a 1-5 star rating.

If another student has also read the same book, they can write their name on the back of the card with their star rating. Keep all the cards alphabetized in an index card file. With a little practice and maintenance, a teacher can offer students a wide selection of reading recommendations.

Popular posts from this blog

Classcraft Interactive Notebook Page

Finished crafting interactive notebook pages for Classcraft, an engaging classroom management tool.

This fall I plan to add interactive notebooks to my classroom procedures. The goal is to provide students with something tangible to take home at the end of the semester. So that means creating or borrowing resources to guide students in developing their notebook.

Classcraft is a classroom management tool, an elaborate punishments and reward system designed like an epic role play game. Students create avatars and can upgrade pets and outfits based on experience and gold points earned. They can also lose points and suffer minor penalties. Everything is done in a fun, game like environment.

The computer lab is already divided into five or six stations, which lends itself easily to guilds or teams of students who work together in the game. I want students to develop their own backstory and choose their characters for the good of the group. I also need students to keep their login info some…

Exploring Science and Math through Music and Messes

If you have ever seen a music video by the music group OK Go, you know that they enjoy experimentation and quirky effects. Now all that energy is available for teachers in the classroom, with maybe slightly less mess.

In cooperation with Google and Morton Salt, they have produced a set of three STEM related lesson plans complete with tie-ins to their most popular videos. You can get your hands dirty in this wonderful playground at the OK Go Sandbox.

Lego Mindstorm Maze Runner

Students were tasked with writing a program for their robot to successfully navigate a preset maze. This used only directional command blocks (no sensors). The goal was to recognize sequencing, patterns and to become comfortable with testing and making modifications based on test results.