Thursday, May 12, 2011

Google Reader in the Classroom

As mentioned in the last post, Google Reader can bring class-specific content right to you. Here are some ideas that I have used in my own teaching:

Require Student Sign-Up
  • Google Reader SSR Time: If you have lab time available, consider getting your students signed up and subscribing to sites that appeal to their interests. All sorts of sites have readily accessible RSS feeds, so whether they're interested in sports, fashion, gadgets, comics, movies, cooking, or any other topics, students will be able to find something that suits them. This can provide content for a variety of writing activities.
  • Current Events Sharing: Share relevant news stories with all students for class discussion. Teachers can share stories themselves or ask students to share then have all students write about the discussions that follow.
  • Resource Sharing for Research: Students can share items among themselves when working on research projects.
This video explains how to start sharing via Google Reader:

Require Teacher-Only Sign-Up
  • Student Blog Following: If students write their own blogs for completing class assignments, subscribe to those blogs for easy access and evaluation. You'll be updated each time they post something new.
  • Google Reader Center: Computer access for all students may not always be possible. If only one computer is available, consider using Google Reader as part of a computer center. Teachers can select subscriptions relevant to class content or students' interests, and students can read the stories in recently updated feeds during center time. These readings can lead to writing activities.
  • Worldwide Blog Access: Teachers can subscribe to other classroom blogs from around the world and share what's going on in those classrooms with their own students. This might even be the jumping-off point for collaborating with a classroom in another country.
Google Reader can also be one of the best tools for professional development, as it allows teachers to see what their peers around the country and throughout the world are thinking about best practices and the tools that make classroom instruction better.

If you have an idea for using Google Reader in the classroom or know of a great site to follow, please post a comment to share!

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