While I’m a little bummed I’m not attending NCTE in Baltimore this year, NCTE 2018 in Houston was awesome–I’m still going through my notes nearly a year later! Not only did I get to meet a handful of Three Teachers Talk contributors in person, snag new books, fangirl favorite authors, and catch up with former colleagues from Lousiville and Houston, I headed home challenged by new ideas and armed with new activities to implement in my workshop. NCTE is truly a magical event for educators–enjoy if you’re heading to Baltimore next month!
Like many of us, I am always seeking different, engaging ways students can interact with and analyze a text. One such activity from Charles Youngs (@Charles_Youngs), an educator and instructional coach in Pennsylvania, was Book Snaps. Students are tasked with finding a significant page in a text, then creating an analytical “snap” via Snapchat. While we work on annotating and sketchnotes throughout the year, Snapchat opens the arsenal of analysis tools students can access to create meaning. There are stickers, filters, animated gifs, color tools, stamps, and other features I don’t even know about which students can use to digitally annotate. Last year, I used the activity to study the minor characters and themes in The Bluest Eye in small groups. This past week, my students created a snap about their independent reading book as the quarter comes to a close.
As students spent time finding the page that would “sell” their book, the discussion surrounding gifs and stickers turned analytical. Students asked one another for advice on the features and, in the process, discussed the characters, conflicts, and themes with one another. I didn’t expect to hear such thoughtful commentary while students were creating.
If students did not have Snapchat, I offered the opportunity to take a picture of the page then edit it on Google Slides. Once students completed and downloaded their Snap, we compiled them on one Google Slide deck. Don’t worry if you’re not Snapchat savvy–your students definitely are!
Maggie Lopez only sends snaps of her dog Bounder to her husband and is currently reading The Spy and the Traitor by Ben MacIntyre. You can find her on Twitter @meglopez0.