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Five years ago, incorporating technology into our lesson plans was icing on the cake–a nice “extra” to add…if you had time. Today, however, we’re all realizing that technology is vital. We can’t merely give an occasional nod, anymore. Rather, in order to truly prepare our students for their technologically-ingrained futures, we need to be incorporating technology on a regular basis. Here’s a super-easy, authentic way to assign a classic book report with a modern, technical twist: do an online book review.
How it Works:
- Write a Summary. Read a book (or books) as a class, and after your study, have the students write a book summary. But here’s the catch: they can’t include the ending (it’s called a “spoiler” if they do). So, show them how to write a catchy beginning and a sound middle…and then end their summaries with a cliff-hanger!
- Gain Consent. Send home an online book review consent form, just to make sure that their parents are alright with them posting their paragraphs (anonymously, of course) on www.amazon.com. Click here for a printable consent form!
- Create an Account on Amazon.com. Students will need to sign in, in order to write their reviews. The easiest and safest way to do this is for you to create an account (e-mail and password) beforehand, and then prompt the students to enter your e-mail address and password when prompted to do so on http://www.amazon.com. (You can always delete the account later.)
- Visit the Lab. As a class, go to the computer lab or use your school’s laptops–whatever works for your classroom. Students should take their finished summaries with them.
- Post the Review. Here’s how to post the review on amazon.com:
- First, search for the book title. (Ex: Frindle)
- Then, scroll down to ‘Customer Reviews’. You will see a button on the right of the screen that says, “Create your own review.” Click that.
- Sign in, if you are prompted to do so at this point.
- Click the age button: Over 13 or Under 13.
- Rate the item by clicking the stars: 1-5 (Discuss what this rating system means with your students).
- Title review (Discuss how to write a catchy title that encompasses the review’s main idea).
- Students type the review in the space given.
- They add tags. The tag should be the author’s name (i.e. Andrew Clements), the genre (i.e. “mystery” or “adventure”), or a summary word (“funny”). Again, another opportunity to discuss main idea with your students.
- When finished, click “Preview your review”.
- Instruct students to PRINT the preview screen. This is what you can grade.
- Hit Publish after printing. Reviews will show up within a few days. And then students can send the link to grandma across the country, showing off that they have been officially published online!