Book Report Alternative: Getting Acquainted with Farcebook
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Facebook-like pages used as book reports provide students a unique format to review several elements of fiction typically found in a traditional book report. Through the sharing of their Facebook-like pages in class, students will have suggestions for future reading.
- The Novel via Farcebook: Students use this sheet to take notes for their Facebook-like page.
- Farcebook: Students will use this online site to create their Facebook-like page for their novel choices.
From Theory to Practice
Cope discovered in his study of 272 Georgia high school seniors that most participants described unenthusiastically their reading experience in school. Because the traditional book report ranked third in the students’ list of negative reading practices, Cope suggests that alternative assignments are needed. Eight years later Voukon questions why we are still assigning students, “the tried and true one-size-fits-all conflictaction-climax book report” that did not create enthusiasm for reading.
In this lesson students are given the opportunity to break away from the traditional book report form by creating Facebook-like pages for the main characters of fiction books. This alternative form will appeal to students because according to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly three quarters of the teens communicate through social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace (Lenhart).
Lenhart, Amanda, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, and Kathyrn Zickuhr. "Social Media and Young Adults." PewInternet. Pew Research Center, 2012. Web. 18 March. 2012. <http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx>.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
- Computers with Internet capabilities
- Classroom with LCD projector and whiteboard/interactive whiteboard
- Novels for the students to read (or one that they have just completed)
Offered by Teacher’s Discovery for a yearly subscription of $49.95 for an unlimited amount of log-ins, this online tool allows students to create Facebook-like pages in a safe online environment.
If computers are not available or if the paid subscription to Farcebook is cost prohibited, Facebook-like pages could be made on large sheets of paper and students could use these to present.
Another possibility is to use the PowerPoint Facebook-like Template available in the lesson What Did George Post Today: Learning about People of the American Revolution Through Facebook.
- Sign up for an account at Farcebook and familiarize yourself with the website.
- Complete The Novel via Farcebook for a piece of fiction literature that the class has recently read. Using this printout, create a Farcebook page that will be shared with the class.
- Make one copy for each student of the printouts The Novel via Farcebook, What Will I Read Next?, Farcebook Instructions, and the Rubric.
- Review literary terms used in the Farcebook profile: characterization, setting, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, inference, theme.
- Using stories that the students have already read, apply the literary terms so that students will be ready to analyze their new novels independently.
- Reserve time in your school’s computer lab or library for a total of three sessions.
- If possible, have Farcebook website bookmarked on the computers. If that is not feasible, you can sign up for a wiki at Wikispaces where you can create a class page for the link or you can simply tell the students the address of the website.
- identify elements of fictions.
- independently analyze a fiction book.
- trace the plot of a fiction book through characters’ postings.
- create a Farcebook page for the protagonist of a fiction book.
- Project the Farcebook page you have created. Explain to the students that they will be creating similar pages for books they will read independently. Alternately, this activity could be completed with a book that students have recently finished.
- Project the completed The Novel via Farcebook you created and discuss with the students where information from this form goes on the Farcebook page. Point out the some of the information is readily found in the book while other details can be inferred. For example, discuss the following:
- The information in Physical Appearance box determined the image used for the profile picture. Instruct students to explain the appearance of friends and relatives for the same reasons.
- For students who might not have seen a Facebook page, explain choices for Relationship Status.
- Explain that students will use the When box along with the Age box to create birth dates for their characters. For example, Delphine, the protagonist of One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, is eleven in 1968, so a student could choose any date in 1957 as her birthday.
- As students read their novels, instruct them to look for quotations that show the theme of the story. Discuss that such quotations can be taken from the narrative part of the book as well as what the characters say.
- Encourage the students to be creative. For example, if a student is creating a profile page for the dog Cookie in Gary Paulsen’s Woodsong, Cookie’s Favorite Song could be “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
- Likewise, if the protagonist does not mention a book in the novel, students can use other titles by the author as their protagonist’s Favorite Book.
- Explain that items or places will be featured in the Photo Albums. For example, in 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass, Tara is looking for a cane with the head of a duck, a string of pearls with a gold clasp, and a wicker basket with heart-shaped handles, so images of these would be found for the Photo Albums.
- While encouraging students to complete the form as much as they can, explain that some boxes, such as Political Views or College, might be empty because nothing in their books discusses the topic. This is acceptable and the rubric reflects this in the grading of the Farcebook page.
- Groups means organizations that the protagonist belongs to, such as Amanda, the main character of Shutout by Brendan Halpin, is a member of her school’s junior varsity soccer team.
- Causes refers to the beliefs the main character has, and this section illustrates the literary term characterization. For example, in Patti Sherlock’s novel Letters from Wolfie, thirteen year old Mark donates his dog Wolfie to be trained as a scout dog to help the troops through the jungles of Vietnam. From this action, we can infer Mark believes in supporting the troops.
- Explain that the messages relate the plot of the story through the conversations between the protagonist and his friends.
- Hand out the Farcebook Rubric and check the profile using the rubric.
- Hand out The Novel via Farcebook and assign students to complete this form as they read their fiction books.
- Using the classroom library or the school library, allow time for students choose their novels. Assign students to read at least one-third of these books before the second session. (This step can be skipped if studetns are doing this project with a book they have already completed.)
- Model for the students how to search for images on the web and where to save these images.
- Allow time for students find profile images of their protagonists, their friends’ images, images of their novels, and images of the authors.
- Using the Farcebook Instructions, model how to log-in to Farcebook and use the site. Cover the following areas (many are covered in the Farcebook Instructions printout):
- The name of the book is typed in Profile Heading.
- The name of the protagonist is in Profile Name.
- Show students how to upload their images.
- Under Banner show students how to upload their author’s image and the book’s image. Model how to link the author’s image to his homepage, if one is available.
- The choice to link to other websites is given with every section, but this is not a requirement.
- Remind students how to determine birthdays as you discussed in session one.
- Mini-feed is for the last event of the plot summary of their novel. Advise students to not reveal the resolution to the conflict so that others will want to read their novels.
- Status is for the next to the last event in the plot summary.
- Remind students to click Save and Proceed at the end of the each window.
- Show how students can preview their Farcebook pages.
- Note time on task, as that is a category for the Farcebook Rubric.
- Because this is Internet based software, remind students they can also work on their Farcebook pages from any Internet connected computer.
- Assign students to read the next third of their books before the next session.
- Model for students how to log-in and edit their Farcebook pages.
- Instruct students to add to their profile page.
- As students work on their pages, work with students who have uncompleted sections on the worksheet The Novel via Farcebook to see if the students can infer any of the information.
- Note time on task, as that is a category on the Farcebook Rubric.
- Assign students to complete their novels before the next session.
- Instruct students to log-in and complete their Farcebook pages.
- Using your sample Farcebook page, model for the students how to present. Explain that students will add information to the presentation, for example, describing what the setting looks like or telling what the protagonist and his friends enjoy doing together.
- Have students practice presenting using their Farcebook pages.
- Using the Farcebook Rubric with a partner, have students evaluate each other’s profile pages. Allow students to make corrections as they deem necessary from the evaluation.
- Give the students each a copy of the printout What Will I Read Next?. Explain to the students that as they listen, they will complete this form so that they will have suggestions of what novels they might enjoy reading.
- Have each student share his/her Farcebook page. Project each page and have the students walk through the parts of the pages. For example, the students first discuss the protagonists by explaining the sections Information, Education and Work, Groups, and Causes. Then the students describe Friends and We’re Related. Using the Messages, Mini-Feed, and Status, the students trace the plot of the story.
- Allow students time to use the classroom library or school library to check out their next book(s). Use an additional session to finish presentations/library time, if necessary.
- If computers are not available to the students or if the paid subscription to Farcebook is cost prohibited, Facebook like pages could be made on large sheets of paper and students could use these to present. They could be displayed in the school hallways, so that entire school community can view the students’ work.
- Facebook-like pages could also be created using the PowerPoint Template in the lesson What Did George Post Today: Learning about People of the American Revolution Through Facebook.
- To delve further into point of view, have each student create a second Farcebook page for a different character in the book. For example, have the students use the antagonist’s point of view.
- Have students try out other alternative book reports.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Review each student’s printouts of The Novel via Farcebook and What Will I Read Next?.
- During the class periods, observe and note the students’ time on task, as this is one of the categories on the rubric.
- Using the Farcebook Rubric, evaluate each student’s Farcebook page and presentation.
- As students are working on their Farcebook page, question them about their choices of quotes and images.
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