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Blast the Boring out of Book Reports with Spaces Edu!

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Melody McAllister

Capture learning in the classroom and  even at home with Spaces.
Spaces is FREE for Teachers!

Are book reports so thirty years ago? Is anyone still doing them? They must be because I watched Holly Clark champion them from her Instagram with a new twist. Who says book reports have to be written? With the right app, your students can share about the books they are reading in a way they choose and feels right for them.  I use Spaces with my students because it allows for voice and choice, I can tag curriculum standards to artifacts, and we can build their digital portfolio without leaving the platform. 

Student Voice & Choice

Spaces is a platform that allows students and teachers to create and share learning in three different spaces: class, individual, and groups. One teacher said it reminds them of “Facebook meets Seesaw.” The Class Space is great for discussion and teaching digital citizenship. The Group Space is excellent for facilitating project-based-learning or any type of collaboration. The Individual Space is where students can have the one-on-one with teachers and build their portfolios.

With Spaces you can assign book reports through the “Activity” option and the students can record a video (or use any of the creation tools to upload their projects) right there in the app. When I did this with my first grader, we recorded it in her Individual Space, which I am using as a digital portfolio. We use the Individual Space as a way to share artifacts of learning with the facilitating teacher and school we do our homeschooling through. She is using her Chromebook while logged into Spaces when we began recording. I was also able to download her recording so I could share her video with other educators who might find this helpful. (In full disclosure, my first grader gave me permission to share this with other teachers.)

Practice Makes Progress

It might not surprise you that is Lizzie’s first book report. We had a great conversation after reading children’s book, Gurple and Preen. I was a little surprised she was so shy, but I also know the more we do this, the more comfortable she’ll feel talking about the books we read together. Spaces allows us to see growth over time in this aspect, and we use the Individual Space as a digital portofilo where both Lizzie and myself upload learning artifacts. Everyone involved with Lizzie’s schooling (including Lizzie), myself, a co-teacher, and her father will be able to see how she grows in confidence in reading and talking about what she’s learning. 

Practice makes progresss! It's okay if students don't get it one hundred percent right on the first try!
This is just the beginning of the journey in book reports and book chats!

Maybe recording a video isn’t how a student wants to express themselves.  There are creation tools and the ability to upload media in this platform for whatever awesome idea a student has to share! 

Students don't have to leave the platform to create!
Give students choice and voice with these creation tools! The audio is a feature teachers & students can use especially when not being able to read might normally hinder the ability to participate. Audio is a great way to convey feedback, as well.

Tag Curriculum Standards or Learning Goals 

Another really cool feature with Spaces is the ability to upload and tag curriculum goals or standards to the lessons. I tagged CASEL standards: self-efficacy, recognizing strengths, and identifying emotions. I could also tag Alaskan State Language Art standards. Teachers can search and upload standards and learning goals in the platform. 

Uploading state curriculum easily and quickly in Spaces.
You can upload state and SEL standards from CASEL!

We know when we give students autonomy to choose and create, they will surpass our expectations. We also know the more our students practice a skill, the likelihood of mastery grows over time. Another benefit with Spaces is you can connect parents to students’ Individual Spaces. Each stakeholder, including the student, can track progress. That’s definitely worth exploring and celebrating! 

Melody McAllister is a wife, mother of five, educator, and author.

Melody McAllister is a wife, mother of five, educator, and author. She and her family relocated to Alaska from the Dallas area in 2019.  McAllister is 2017 Garland NAACP Educator of the Year and author of the I’m Sorry Story.  She is also the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing and Alice Keeler, LLC.  McAllister has spoken at ISTE and ASTE about equity issues in education, and writes about her journey in her blog, HeGaveMeAMelody.com.  If you would like to schedule an author read with your class, please contact her on Twitter or email her at melody@mjmcalliwrites.com.

Join Melody’s BookChat every Wednesday at 8pm EST at YouTube.com/melodymcallister

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