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Ditch those Reading Logs: Try Flipgrid Instead

If you've read my posts or follow me on Twitter, you know how I feel about pointless projects and homework!  This year I made it official and ditched homework.  It's the best decision I've ever made as a teacher.  My students are loving it, I am loving it, and I think most of their parents are loving it! I have completely transformed the way I run my classroom and feel like my students are more engaged and excited than ever. 
        Student Example (Click to watch)

Like homework, I never felt quite right about assigning reading logs.  Whenever my own kids had to read a book on their own for school, they were initially excited. First, they were told they had to read twenty minutes each night. Then the dreaded reading logs began.  They had to write  down what pages they read, as well as a summary.  Urgh! I can only imagine lying on the beach with my own book and having to complete a reading log.  No thanks!  And I am not going to lie. I just might have signed one of my son's reading logs when he hadn't really read.  Put me in Bad Parent Jail.  Of course, as a teacher, I understand the reasoning behind reading logs; we want to hold students accountable for reading, and we want them to read.  However, requiring reading logs is a guarantee to make kids not like reading.  

I teach Read 180 (my own version of the class) and they advocate the use of reading logs. I haven't used them for years.  Nor have I used their horrible Reading Counts quizzes that require students to recall minute details from the book.  Think "What color shoes did Kelly wear to school?"  You get the idea!  If you teach this class, DITCH THOSE READING LOGS!  The kids HATE them.  

This year I am using Flipgrid as a way to "hold students accountable" for reading, but more importantly, I want them to share what they are reading with other students, practice their speaking skills, be creative, and integrate technology in a meaningful way. Flipgrid makes all of these things possible.  My students have been reading their current books for five weeks now.  Today I gave them the following template:

The book I am reading is_________________.  It is written by________________.  It is a __________________.  The main characters in the book are_____________________.  So far in the book, _________________________________________________________________.  What I like about the book so far is____________________________.  What I don’t like about the book is____________________________.

It's pretty simple, I know, but my students hadn't done anything like this before and were a little nervous about recording a video.  I wanted to give them some confidence. Some of them filled it out ahead of time, while others filmed on the fly.  Flipgrid allows students to use their Chromebooks to record themselves talking (video and audio). The teacher just posts a question to the grid and shares a link with her students.  My students needed NO instruction on how to use Flipgrid. It is extremely easy. If students mess up, they can redo their recording.  My students enjoyed this, but probably not as much as I enjoyed watching them record.  Suddenly, students became newscasters and actresses! They were total hams!  Although they used the template I provided, most of them chose to add their own adorable touches to their work.  I am SO excited about our upcoming Flipgrid Book Responses. I am going to give them much more creative prompts. I can't wait!

Flipgrid is a winner!


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