As stated previously, I wanted my students to get a feel for the era we were studying, so I chose The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. We were studying The Progressive Era and I wanted them to have a feel for some of the issues of that time.

I have not yet chosen a book for this current school year, but I am working on it. I am brainstorming ideas with the English teacher who along with me works with all of our 10th graders.

How I ran my Book Study

Prep Work

As I read through the book on my own I kept an overabundance of notes for my reference. I used a free online version of The Jungle and compared it to the hard copy we had for student use in the school. I prefer the online versions, I can take notes right in the eReader app as I go along.

I wrote my questions into a Google Doc as I come up with them, I mark pages for answers as I read so I can track info easier. I organize the questions into logical sections, this helps students keep themselves organized.

I currently use Evernote for my notetaking, this does add a step in creating Study Guides for my students.

I searched Google for information; both for myself and to see what the students could find while searching. I believe there is no reason to reinvent the wheel AND I wanted to make sure my students could not easily find the answers to the assignments without reading the book.

Rolling out the Project to Students

I start out with an Edmodo Group or small group specifically for the Book Study. This keeps clutter out of the main class group and helps cut down on possible confusion for students.

I posted online flashcards for student access using both Study Stack and Quizlet.

I created a sample Book Trailer using Touchcast for my students to view.

Once it is up and running

Discussion groups were held during class periods and I offered after school sessions for students who felt they needed extra help.

The focus of the projects was on the general concepts or themes of the book, I didn't want them just Googling for details...

To ease the pressure for our first book study and because I encourage students to learn how to appropriately collaborate, I encourage them to work collaboratively on their projects.

I was able to successfully use Zoom to video conference into my class while I was out on an unscheduled doctor's appointment/test. Contact your local Intermediate Unit for Special Educational pricing.

Student Projects: Creating

My students already have blogs through Edublogs.org so we incorporated those for the writing component. My students have iPads as their classroom computing platform, so podcasts using Garageband and videos created with iMovie were easy to integrate. Students were also shown TouchCast, a free app on iPads to create videos. It is easy to use and share videos.

Student Projects: Collecting

I use Edmodo as my classroom platform, so that was the home base of collecting work. We are a GAFE District, Google Apps for Education, so I encouraged students to upload their video and audio files to their Google Drive space and share the link to the media with me.

Once students submitted their projects, I posted them to a Blendspace project and embedded the Blendspace into a wiki. I group projects by Themes and Student Period.

Videos were uploaded to my school YouTube Channel for storage, from their I copied the link to the videos and embedded them into Blendspace. Audio files were uploaded directly into Blendspace as an mp3 file.


Time consuming.
Pulling Students Along
-----Some students still prefer worksheet work.

Next year, I will be rolling out the Summer Reading Project without having previously taught the students.


Break up tasks into smaller manageable pieces, monitor heavily, students can easily fall through the cracks if you don't.
-----Set benchmark dates ahead of time for students to show work in progress.

-----Understand who may need extra help, who can be a mentor, which students may need "encouraged" to keep on task.

Links to My Students Book Studies

You can access my students' projects from the Spring of 2016 here, they read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

Other Links