Classroom Strategies, Tools and Resources

Engaging Students with #BookSnaps

Reinventing how your students discuss text within the classroom

Edmund Burke once said “Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” As a teacher, I am always looking for ways to reinvent how students interact with the text they are reading as well as new ways to facilitate discussion within the classroom. I want students to develop a deep love for reading but also foster the ability to engage in conversations based on their reading. While on my constant search for new tools and strategies to accomplish this goal, I stumbled across BookSnaps, an idea created by Tara Martin (http://www.tarammartin.com/booksnaps/).

BookSnaps are a creative way to allow annotation and sharing of excerpts from books and articles while making personal connections with the content. The students are able to record their own personal reflections while using bitmojis to express emotions that the text provoked in them and highlight text evidence to support their reflections. This strategy allows students to focus on specific aspects of text in a creative approach. BookSnaps are not only changing the way I have seen students share their thought processes but also how I am able to make connections with their reasoning!Booksnaps are a quick and easy way to share a visual of personal connections to text. Students can create them using many different platforms. Some of the most commonly used platforms include Seesaw, Google Drawings, Google Slides, Snapchat, and Pic Collage. They can be created by taking a picture of a book page or section of an article and uploading the image  to a chosen platform. Once the image is uploaded, additional images, emojis, and Bitmojis can be added along with text, drawings, and other annotations. Once the BookSnap is created, students can share out!

In the classroom I have seen BookSnaps allow students to share connections with the text along with evidence to support a central idea or theme. In addition, it has allowed students to use Bitmojis to display emotions the text generates which often facilitates discussion among the readers when the text draws multiple emotions. Through the use of the BookSnaps, students are able to react to others’ reflections and create dialogue around a common text. Often, after creating BookSnaps, students complete a gallery walk to view other students’ thinking while asking questions based on the evidence provided within the BookSnap. They can also be used within small groups to help foster discussion around a common text.

Not only have I found value in students using BookSnaps in their literary discussion, but also I have discovered the benefit in my own professional learning conversations. BookSnaps have allowed me to connect with other educators through the use of the hashtag #booksnaps and create a space for online discussion. Through sharing out BookSnaps of my current reads I am able to reflect and often view the text through a different lens based on the conversation with other educators. The online community has allowed me to share my own learning digitally and connect beyond the walls of my district.

As educators, we are often looking for new ways to engage and connect with our students as well as other colleagues. BookSnaps have provided me this exact opportunity and has allowed me and my students to reflect on our text in new ways!

Want to learn more about BookSnaps? View my 30-minute webinar!

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About the Author: Andrea Raines began her career in New Hanover County as a third grade teacher. After several years she transitioned into the role of instructional coach at the elementary school where she taught. For the last two years, Andrea has implemented professional development and on-site support working with her system’s Beginning Teachers. New Hanover County is located in Wilmington, North Carolina, and serves approximately 25,000 students at its 45 public schools.