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10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports

Traditional book reports can kill the love of reading, keep your students motivated and still assess their understanding with these 10 technology enhanced alternatives that I wrote for http://theapple.com.   Kelly Tenkely | TheApple.com The most dreaded word in school reading for students: book reports. Teachers assign them, viewing them as a necessary component of assessing reading comprehension. Book reports can be a contributing factor to ‘readicide’. “Read-i-cide n: The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.” http://stenhouse.com/html/readicide.htm. So, how can we as teachers continue to monitor our students understanding of reading material without killing the love of reading? Enter technology. Technology can help bring some excitement and creativity to the traditional book report while still displaying students understanding of reading. 1. Let students create a cartoon version of the book they have just finished. Use a tool like Creaza http://creaza.com, Piki Kids http://pikikids.com, or Kerpoof http://kerpoof.com to inject a little fun into the book report. Students can create a short cartoon or comic strip summarizing the book they just read. Encourage students to include key characters from the book as well as the problem and solution. If there are no appropriate background templates to fit the book they have just finished, students can tell the story in the form of an interview between two characters or choose a cartoon character to review the book. This alternative to book reports is particularly appealing to boys who are already excited about graphic novels. 2. Let students create a short video clip about the book. Creaza http://creaza.com, Kerpoof http://kerpoof.com, and Xtra normal text to movie http://xtranormal.com are all great online tools that allow students to create short movie clips. Students can create an interview type show where they interview characters in the book, create a short movie trailer for the book, or actually have characters act out portions of the book. 3. Create a virtual poster advertising the book. Think about movie posters, they give just enough information to give you a taste of what the movie will be about. They also contain information such as the title of the movie, the major actors, and a rating. Students can use Glogster http://glogster.edu to create an online book poster that acts as an advertisement for the book they just read. Students should include the title and author of the book, key characters, use pictures that support the story line, and create a tag line that will make others want to read the book. 4. Encourage students to create their own virtual bookshelves with Shelfari http://shelfari.com. Shelfari is not only a great alternative to book reports, it is also a nice alternative to reading logs. Shelfari allows students to display books that they have read on a virtual bookshelf. This site enables students to connect with other students and teachers, sharing book recommendations and reading reviews. Shelfari provides the ability to create online book clubs and discussions. Inspire students with similar interests to start a book club where they read and discuss together. When students finish reading a book they can add it to their bookshelf, rate the book, and write a short review of the book for others to read. The collaborative component makes it easy to keep up with what students are reading and to measure understanding. It also allows teachers to recommend books to students based on what they are currently reading. This is a great way to keep your students engaged in their reading and ensures they will always have great suggestions for new books to keep them reading. 5. Book Adventure http://bookadventure.org is an online reading motivation program. Teachers create student accounts on Book Adventure. In the student account students can research books based on their reading level, age, and interests. They get a convenient printable list of books that match their level and interests. The list includes the ISBN, Title, and author. This makes it easy for students to head to the library and hunt down new reading material. After students have read a book, they can log onto their Book Adventure account and take a 10 question multiple choice quiz based on the book they read. Students can take each quiz multiple times and must get 8 or more questions correct to earn points to purchase prizes from the Book Adventure store. Each students score is automatically sent to the Book Adventure teacher gradebook along with the number of times the quiz was taken. Students earn and save up quiz points to purchase fun goodies from the Book Adventure store. Students can get everything from a 6 month subscription to Highlights magazine to a chocolate bar from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. This is a completely FREE program for students and schools to participate in. Book Adventure has a great teacher area with ideas for encouraging reading as well as certificates to print out to recognize good readers and notes for parents with the students latest reading progress. 6. Bookcasting is a recorded audio podcast about a book. A bookcast is a movie trailer-like audio review of a book that students can create and share with one another. Free online tools such as Audacity http://audacity.com, G Cast http://gcast.com, or Pod Bean http://podbean.com make recording audio and sharing simple. Bookcasts let students be creative and provide them with a great sense of audience. It has the added benefit of acting as a book review to excite other students about reading. Before students create their own bookcast, find some radio movie trailers of current kids movies online for students to listen to as an example. 7. Allow students to create a timeline of events in the story they just read in an online timeline. Capzles http://capzles.com is an interactive timeline creator. Students can add photos, video, audio and text to their timeline to support telling the story sequentially. Themes, colors, backgrounds, and background music can be added to further personalize the timeline. Timelines have the ability to be shared with other students and teachers. 8. Wikis are an excellent place for students to share book reviews. Wetpaint http://wetpaint.com, PBWorks http://pbworks.com, and Zoho Wiki http://zoho.com/wiki are outstanding online wikis where students can write reviews about books they have read and share them with other students. Create a classroom book review wiki where all students can logon and add books that they are reading with reviews. The wiki could act like a classroom review column for books. Students can both contribute and read book reviews. By the end of the school year you will have a wiki full of great book reviews! Before students contribute to the book review wiki, read some movie reviews from the local newspaper. Encourage students to point out key elements of a good review. 9. Excite and motivate students to read with Book Wink http://bookwink.com. This incredible website motivates students in 3rd to 8th grade to read using fun podcasts and web videos. The video book talks range from 3-4 min. in length and introduce students to a topic or genre and the books that exhibit the topic well. Students can watch a video and then search books by grade, subject, author, or title. After students read a book, they can create their own book talk using a web cam or video camera. The student book talks could be shared on websites like Viddler http://viddler.com or Fliggo http://fliggo.com so that other students can watch and comment on the book or topic. 10. Voice Thread http://voicethread.com is an amazing site that allows students to create web 2.0 slide shows that become interactive and collaborative. This is a great place for students to discuss common genres and books online. Students can create a slideshow summary of their book with pictures, audio, and text. Other students can leave text, audio, or drawn comments on the book reviews. Voice Thread would be a great place to begin online classroom book clubs. Technology brings interest back into reading and helps students continue to find reading that they enjoy while providing the teacher with feedback about student reading comprehension. These are great alternatives to book reports that will keep your students from ‘readicide’. Most of the above tools have the added benefit of being able to be embedded into a classroom blog, website, or wiki. All student projects can be collected, organized, and viewed in one place. It doesn’t get better than this!

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Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Blooms Taxonomy, Create, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0 | Posted on 30-08-2010

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Tomorrow I am doing a training on the Treasures Supplement that I created over the summer.  Most of the supplemental suggestions fall into the bottom two tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Remember and Understand).  I want to show teachers that just because these activities help students practice basic skills and remember and understand, there are SO many more options that will reach the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy!  I created the Bloomin’ Peacock to show teachers the Blooms Taxonomy break down and the Bloomin’ digital Peacock that shows how the digital tools in the supplement break down.

Below are the tools listed in my Bloomin’ Digital Peacock

Bloomin' Digital Peacock


BBC Skillwise- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/

Spelling City- http://spellingcity.com

Starfall- http://starfall.com

Discovery Streaming- http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com

Lexipedia- http://lexipedia.com

YouTube- http://youtube.com

Gamegoo- http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

PBS Kids- http://pbskids.org


Into the Book- http://reading.ecb.org

Skype- http://skype.com

Treasures- http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/

Book Adventure- http://bookadventure.org

Twitter- http://twitter.com


Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

PhotoBooth- Software

Scholastic- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Fotobabble- http://fotobabble.com

Google Earth- http://google.com/earth


Read Write Think- http://readwritethink.org

Cool Iris- http://cooliris.com

Wordle- http://wordle.net

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Mindomo- http://mindomo.com


Shelfari- http://shelfari.com

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.com

Think.com- http://think.com

Nota- http://notaland.com


Pic-Lits- http://piclits.com

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

ZimmerTwins- http://zimmertwins.com

Wiki Spaces- http://wikispaces.com

DomoNation- http://domonation.com

Glogster- http://edu.glogster.com

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Voicethread- http://voicethread.com

Kidblog- http://kidblog.org

Wetpaint- http://www.wetpaint.com

edublogs- http://edublogs.org

Stage’d- http://stagedproject.com/

Garageband- Software

iMovie- Software

I have received a lot of requests and DM’s for the Bloomin’ Peacock on posters (I’m still working on these), mugs, etc.  For those of you who asked, here it is:

Comments (83)

[…] have just learned of the work by Kelly Tenkely (http://ilearntechnology.com/ ) and her Bloomin’ Digital Peacock. This is a fabulous resource for teachers, both novice and expert. Any discussion around web 2.0 […]

[…] Bloom’s taxonomy is instrumental in helping us to develop guidelines for the creation of appropriate objectives and their supporting instructional strategies. Not all objectives are the same. Different objectives focus on different performances and outcomes. Different types of objectives require different types of strategies. Instructional design is made easier by assigning learning objectives to different categories. Each category leads to a different class of human performance and also requires a different set of instructional conditions for effective learning. By correctly identifying the learning level of an objective, strategies can then be developed to ensure that the content is presented clearly and appropriately for E-learning, and that the instruction will be effective. […]

I am in LOVE of your site and JEALOUS we don’t have you on staff for training and ideas!!

We are trying to put together an online document for Multiple Intelligences and we have been brainstorming several different ideas. I found your bloomin’ peacock and loved it. Do you have a printable version or an interactive version of the web 2.0 tools one with live links? If so, are you willing to share?

😀 Thanks Stacy!
I do have a printable version of my peacocks, you can purchase a printable version from my store http://ilearntechnology.com/?page_id=2875 , all 8 posters are bundled for $0.99. If you want to use them school wide it is $20.99. The interactive version is online only in the form of this post.

[…] http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← ALTERNATIVES TO YOUTUBE […]

[…] Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] Bloomin’ Peacock, Bloomin’ Pinwheel, Un-bloom-ra, Bloomin’ Tree (these are Web 2.0 tools that have been divided into Bloom’s Taxonomy… but the idea is great!!!!) All Shakespeare info compiled from Wikipedia, Blurtit, Brandon Powell, & Yahoo Answers.  Consider extending the Shakespeare activity by asking the question, “How has Shakespeare influenced modern day society?”. Students can extend the web with more topics and descriptions: […]

[…] Bloomin’ Peacock, Bloomin’ Pinwheel, Un-bloom-ra, Bloomin’ Tree (these are Web 2.0 tools that have been divided into Bloom’s Taxonomy… but the idea is great!!!!). These could be used in conjunction with many of the iPad lessons listed. […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock Kelly Tenkeley published the Bloomin' Digital Pacock on the iLearn Technology blog Source: ilearntechnology.com […]

[…] http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← WORDLE!!!! […]

[…] Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock Source: ilearntechnology.com […]

[…] Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

I have found this resource the day before I am supposed to give a PD day on HOTS and SMART. I absolutely love your resources and will be sharing with my colleagues-I need to spend more time here!
Thank you for sharing-you rock.

So glad you found it in time to be helpful!

[…] Next up, a visually pleasing peacock. I like the peacock concept a lot, though in some cases some of the tools are hard to read on the graphic, the original author has links to all of the tools she mentioned on her site. […]

[…] Next up, a visually pleasing peacock. I like the peacock concept a lot, though in some cases some of the tools are hard to read on the graphic, the original author has links to all of the tools she mentioned on her site. […]

[…] Blooming Peacock […]

[…] and also on Kelly Tenkely’s iLearn Technology blog at  http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 The traditional version also has six levels – Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis […]

[…] Next up, a visually pleasing peacock. I like the peacock concept a lot, though in some cases some of the tools are hard to read on the graphic, the original author has links to all of the tools she mentioned on her site. […]

[…] website http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 also has many great examples of web applications to fit each tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy in our […]

Do you still have the posters of the peacock? I would love to buy a set but can’t seem to find where.

Thank you!!

[…] instruction. There is much here about the actual processes of learning including a recent link “iLearn Technology” (http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973) and a blog with a wonderful visual representation of […]

Hi Amanda,
Yes, instead of hosting the files and selling directly myself, you can find them on Teachers Pay Teachers.

I love your blooming peacock. As you know, research shows that a learner is more likely to remember and use what they have learned if they have a visual representation and have experienced or played with the material. I think your peacock has some great tools for students to expand their thinking.

[…] Kelly Tenkely has produced a Livebinder of resources about the Digital Bloom’s Taxonomy. In addition to links to sites which explain and elaborate on Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy for Higher Order Thinking in the classroom, there are also pages of further links for each level – with suggested activities and online tools or resources which can be used in schools. This includes her graphic visual “Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock.” […]

[…] of inquiry and problem solving. Andrew Churches from Educational Origami and Kelly Tenkely from iLearn Technology have adapted Bloom’s Taxonomy to digital technology. Their ideas will help you determine how you […]

Where can our district purchase Blooms Posters???

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