Monday, August 23, 2010

Free Reading Book Blog Instructions

With so many demands on free time, many high school students often stop reading for pleasure when they enter high school. The cessation of reading can slow a student’s progress in both personal and educational development. Reading helps with the development of language skills, both by helping students become better readers, but also by becoming better writers. If a person does not read, then how can he or she be expected to know what good writing looks like? Reading also enriches a student’s life by exposing him or her to worlds or experiences outside of everyday life. Reading is an easy way to experience a new culture or idea, all from the comforts of home.
To encourage you to read and to increase your world view, I will be requiring you to select one book of your choice each quarter to read outside of class. For the first semester, you may select any book you would like on any topic in which you have an interest. I will give instructions on your second semester choices at the start of second semester. Please try to focus your selections on books that are appropriate to your reading level; I don’t want to see Cat and the Hat by Dr. Seuss as one of your choices.
After completing your reading selection, you will be required to post one primary blog entry each quarter on your book selection. The week you are to post will be determined in advance with a sign-up calendar in class. It is your responsibility to remember to post during your assigned time. If it is your week to post, you must also respond at least two times to the comments your classmates are making about your blog post. If it is not your week to create a primary blog posting, you are required to post at least two times EACH WEEK by making comments on any of the primary blogs. The comments need not be for the same primary posting. Under no circumstances are you to post two comments in a row on the same primary blog. The point is to have a discussion, not to fill up your two boxes with meaningless fluff.

When creating your primary blog, you must do several things:
1. Write a BRIEF summary of your book. Select only those elements that give blog readers a basic understanding of the book, and will allow them to understand the discussion questions you will pose. DO NOT give every detail of the book, especially the ending; someone may want to read your book the future.
2. Include at least two examples of textual evidence that aid in your presentation of the book and discussion questions. Be sure to properly format your quotes using MLA format.
3. Present at least one question for discussion. Be sure the question clearly links to the information you presented in the summary.
4. Follow all good writing conventions (i.e. proper spelling, punctuation, capitalization etc.) You are NOT texting with your friends; you are presenting an academic reading of book. This expectation applies to all posts on this blog. Also, your screen name should be capitalized. You learned that your name should be capitalized in Kindergarten. You are educated and know better; that’s just laziness (and super annoying).
5. Remember that this is a public forum. Anyone in the world can read what you write. Please behave in a mannered way and represent yourself with honor. Treat what others say with respect, as they will for you. The point of this is to discuss interesting ideas from books, not to attack and belittle each other. If you make any inappropriate entries, I will remove them and your grade will be penalized. This applies for all entries on the blog.

The week will be from Monday at 12:01 a.m. to Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

Please format your screen name using only your first name, the first initial of your last name, and your mods. Don’t try to put cutesy screen names in because I won’t know that it is you when I try to grade the posts. It should appear in the following manner:
Jim B. 5-6
Stacey F. 13-14

You may personalize your blog profile so that other people in the class can get to know you better; however, DO NOT put actual pictures of yourself on your profile. Find a cool picture of a celebrity or something you like to put in that place instead. Also, keep all personal identifying information off of the blog, like your address or last name. Keep the information you post to fun things like your favorite bands and books. Additionally, you may only post things that are school appropriate.