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Blog Book Reviews: Lesson Plans and Notes

October 23, 2007

We are starting to write book reviews in several classes and the library. The basic process and step-by-step breakdowns of the technical aspects follow.

If you have your students write book reviews on their blog, please post your notes on classroom experiences under this blog post as “comments”.


See this “RSS FEED” that is pulling any recent posts on several school blogs around the country that are in the category “Book Review” into this one web page.  Or Check out the following Book Review Categories on the different blogs we’re collaborating with:

Before you start: Prep work

Introduction to computers and the Internet (1 class period):

If you haven’t used the computers in your class yet this year, you should allow for 1 class period to introduce the laptops and/or desktops you’ll be using, and go over basic computer use (power on, log in, find the Internet browser, type an address, log out, shut down). During this period you will get a handle on any issues that arise with the computers and/or student proficiency.

Prep the Blog and Computers
Before class, publish a blog post in the “Book Review” category of your class blog, or the library blog with the assignment for students. Example:

Title: Read anything good lately?: Fall Book Reviews

Post: I am in the middle of a great book right now, called “What is the What?” by Dave Eggars.
Click on the title of this blog post, and leave a “Comment” that shares the title of your book and the name of the author.

Then decide how you will teach the lesson, options:

  1. Set up students on desktop and/or laptops, model the process using a laptop and LCD projector, then assist students as they go through the process
  2. Model the process on a laptop and LCD projector, then send groups of students to the computers to complete the assignment while the rest of the class works on a separate assignment. You will then assist both groups.

However you are planning to have the students work, make sure all of the computers are working and connect to the Internet before you start.

Book Review Lesson 1 : Learn to leave a comment

(1 class period)

  1. Go to the blog: Find the blog by typing in the URL (address)
  2. Get to know the blog: Review the layout of the blog, and different parts and links (make sure they know how to identify links)
  3. Wordpress Log In Screen

  4. Log in:
    • Find LOG IN HERE in the right/left column and click the “Login” link
    • Enter username: ps124student, password: 124stud (have them check the box next to “Remember me”)
    • (See the image on the right)
  5. Select and read your post: click the title of your blog post and read it aloud
  6. Type comments: scroll to the bottom of the page, type in the title of their book and the author’s name, followed by their FIRST name (only) and class number in the “Leave a comment” box. Example of simple student comment:

    What is the What?
    by Dave Eggars
    Rhys, 4-302

  7. Publish comments:: click the button under the comment box that says “Submit Comment”

Book Review Lesson 2 : Publishing Book Review Comments

(1 class period, or independent student work)
Have students follow the steps from Lesson 1, and write a full book review (10 sentences or less) on paper, then transfer it to the blog as a comment. You can have them add it under your original blog post, or create a new post for this assignment (I’d suggest the latter).

Book Review Lesson 3 : Publishing Book Review Blog Posts

(1 class period, or independent student work)
Have students polish their 10 sentence review comments and publish them to the blog as their own Posts. Students can optionally search the web for an image of their book’s cover and add it to their post through the following steps:

  1. Open your blog, log in, start a new post, type your post then click “Save and Continue Editing”
  2. Open a new Internet window by going to the “File” menu at the top of the scren and selecting “New Window”
  3. Search for an image you like in your new window, then “right click” (on a Dell) or “apple key/click” (on a Mac) and select “View Image” — you should see only the image now with no page around it
  4. Highlight the URL (web address), by dragging the mouse over the URL or clicking on the URL 3 times, then “Copy” the address by clicking the “Edit” menu at the top of the screen and selecting “Copy”
  5. Click on your original window with your blog post in it, and click on the button Wordpress “Add Image” buttonwith the little green tree on it above the Post window (see right
  6. A box like the one on the right will pop up for you to Paste the URL Wordpress “Add Image” window(address) you Copied for your image into the box that says “Image URL:” by putting your cursur into that box and clicking the “Edit” menu, then selecting “Paste”. Select “Right” from the “Alignment” dropdown, then click “Insert”. Your photo should appear within your post now.
  7. Adjust the size of the image by clicking on any corner, holding down the “Shift” key and dragging the corner inward or outward to make the photo the appropriate size.
  8. Click “Publish” beneath the Post box where you typed your post, then click “View Site” at the top of the page to see your post on the blog.
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