I've finished the first full week of Goodreads with my students. It is working out so well and they LOVE it. I have about 30 students who have decided to do their book reviews online and about 21 that prefer using the paper version.
The conversations have been wonderful. I asked them to create one post about their social studies book and one post about their science book. Oh boy......most studnets have in excess of 15 posts. They are posting about every book they are reading. They are trading ideas for the Next Book you should read. They are offering to lend each copies of books. They are having a blast.
My most rewarding moment this week came from a mom's comment. She told me that her child doesn't always have tons of friends. Through Goodreads the student has been busy chatting about the books they love and that others are reading. This student has been lending their personal copies and making new friends...face to face at school. And that, apparently, hasn't happened in a long time. I didn't anticipate this outcome and I couldn't be happier to hear about that result.
I make students setup their account from home. I want their parents to be involved in that process, so I refuse to help them at school. I would make an exception if someone parents asked me to help them and gave me permission in writing. Since my students are not 13 years old, I thought this was the safest way for them to get involved in this kind of social network writing. Hopefully their folks will stay involved and monitor their activity along with me.
The biggest thing that I've had to do is to make sure they remember the Internet safety lessons we've done in class. They demonstrate they "know" they should post their whole name and picture...and then they turn around and create their Goodreads account with all of that showing. So I try to intercept all that...send them a message and get them to switch. It isn't a big deal, but it just goes to show that you can teach all you want....but until you have them apply the learning, you never know.
Honestly, I still don't know that they will remember this in another setting. Or even a setting where an adult moderator is watching.
This action research endeavor is going pretty well. Next week I'm posting the requirements for their first end of the month book review. We'll see how it goes when I start getting those book reviews posted.