Monday, March 28, 2011

Goodreads in the Classroom

*See also my updated post about Goodreads in my classroom after using it for a year with students.

 Last week when I had to take my class to see their counselors in shifts I needed an engaging activity they could do without much help. I asked them to sign up for Goodreads accounts, send me a friend request and rate some books.

The results are fabulous. On my Goodreads home screen I have a list of all their activity. If I click on a particular student I can see a list of all the books he or she has rated and reviewed. I can comment on their ratings and reviews. If I click on a book cover I can see the ratings all my "friends" (students) gave that book. Once a week I even get an e-mail update of all the activity my friends have had on the site.

Today I noticed that two of my students gave five stars to a book I have been meaning to read, but neither reviewed it. I commented back to them and just asked why they liked it. One of them, a very at risk kind of kid, just replied, DURING LUNCH, from her PHONE to tell me more about the book.

Several students are sending each other friend requests and discussing the books they have both rated. Some students who were absent Friday signed up over the weekend and others did it in class today as soon as they heard about it.

Tips:
If you don't have 1:1 laptops it's worth taking your class to a computer lab to get them started on this. Even better if the lab is in the library and they can check out books too.
If you (or your students) have smart phones there is an app for Goodreads.
If you already use Goodreads a lot with your own friends you might consider setting up a separate account to use with students.