Project Update – Part One!

It’s been some time since I have added any updates regarding my major project… I did talk about it in this post, which I categorized as a weekly blog, but I need to get my butt in gear and share some more details! I am feeling quite behind, but in truth I think I am farther along than I feel. I have done a lot of the in class leg work to get started and am in the process of executing some of my ideas. This has been a work in progress which has evolved a bit from my first post but to give some quick insight, my project is mostly about me trying to incorporate some ‘new to me’ technology into my classes, sharing the process, and reviewing how it turned out in the end. Because it has been so long since I have posted about the project and I don’t want this to be so long no one reads it, I’m just going to share one part of it now and I will come back later this week and update on the rest.

A BookTok Inspired Novel Study

I have been looking to spice up my grade 10 ELA novel study for about a year or so now – specifically, students weren’t really engaged with the class/group novel study sets that we had available in our school library and I wanted to get them excited about reading right from the start rather than having it feel like a chore. Enter BookTok! This TikTok hashtag inspired me to shake up my traditional novel study to make it independent and gave me the inspiration to use video feedback from students along the way. The first thing we did was actually choose our novels. My original plan was to have them peruse BookTok (with some guidance), but I did open it up a bit more and gave them a Goodreads Teen Book List as an option as well. I spent quite a bit of time walking them through the process, showing them a few of the BookTok videos, and explaining how they worked, but I also provided them with some specific links that would take them down school appropriate paths. You can see a little snippet of the document they had access to beside this.

Overall I found students to be engaged in the process. They enjoyed that I was incorporating social media (although there were a few good natured eye rolls) and that they had some freedom in researching and choosing their own novels provided they fit our theme of “challenges”. I don’t usually teach very many ELA classes, but this was the first time in awhile that I felt some really positive energy around starting our novel study and I found it energizing for me as well since I had become a bit ho-hum about it in the last few semesters. One difficulty we had in this process however, was that although my class now had our entire school library available to them to choose from, there were still some limitations on what was actually available. This was a bit of a snag because some students found books they really wanted to read and I was unable to provide them. I did have a few students who went to the public library themselves to get the book they wanted, and one student who actually bought their own book online. When it was all said and done, I think that most students felt satisfied with their choices – or at least it seems that way, because there is significantly less groaning when it’s reading time than there usually is!

So where am I going with this now? Well originally I had planned to have them complete their own BookTok (using FlipGrid or Canva Video rather than TikTok… I still haven’t decided!) but after thinking about it a bit further, BookToks are too short, so I’m just tweaking it a bit to have them do more of an expanded book review instead. Unfortunately since the novel study is ongoing while we are working on other things as well, I am starting to think more and more that they are not going to be done their novels in time to create these videos before EC&I 832 is done. I am still going to have them complete their final book review at the end, but have decided to do a “half-way through review” where they will make predictions about the second half of their novel using either Flipgrid or Canva (I really need to pick one soon!). Their main focus will be learning the platform and playing around with it so that the final book review runs smoothly.

So there it is – the first part of my project! There is still lots for me to update on, so stay tuned!

8 Replies to “Project Update – Part One!”

  1. ELA isn’t my area of expertise, Holly, but this is a great project. Love the student driven aspect. Students will definitely be more engaged by choosing something they are interested in. Using a digital platform to demonstrate their learning will probably be more of interest than traditional writing projects as well. Nice work!

    1. Holly Alexander says: Reply

      I agree, Chris – ELA has so much writing, but there are outcomes focussed on using other modes of delivery as well so I think students will appreciate the break from traditional writing as well!

  2. Brenda Frederiksen says: Reply

    I am not a high school teacher but I do thing your BookToks will engage your students so much more than just a regular novel study. I think it is great that you opened up the possibilities of letting the students choose their own novel to do this project. I am looking forward to hearing more about whether you use Flipgrid or Canva with your students! Great work, so far, Holly!

    1. Brenda Frederiksen says: Reply

      think not thing!!

      1. Holly Alexander says: Reply

        Thanks, Brenda! They are mostly enjoying their own chosen novels, and even better, I don’t have to take the blame for the few who don’t like what they picked, haha

  3. Kola Mckenzie says: Reply

    Hi Holly, I am a primary teacher and implementing some lessons on digital citizenship slowly but surely. However, I loved reading your ideas on your BookToks for your students. I am curious how you decide to roll everything out. I have been playing around on canva and it is very user-friendly. I heard that Canva video is a great tool. I liked your suggestion for teen books from Goodreads. Sounds like a great way to engage the students. Thanks so much for helping me expand my knowledge into the older grades. Take care!

    1. Holly Alexander says: Reply

      I’m leaning towards Canva Video – I think I want to use that for my Summary of Learning, so this will be a good opportunity to learn more about it before then!

  4. Kelly Ziegler says: Reply

    Canva video is my favourite! I am not super literate in the world of making videos or editing them for that matter, and I find that the Canva video is easy to use and there are so many options. I also like how they have some premade templates to get you started or you can make your own from scratch! I also like how there are so many built-in ways to save your project and share it too. I would highly recommend trying it out, and applying for the educator account if you haven’t yet.

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