So, a few months ago I stumbled upon Fakebook. Fakebook is a tool put out by classtools.net that allows students to create what looks a lot like a Facebook page.
I used this while the class read The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan. I assigned one of the three major characters to each student, and they were tasked with creating a Fakebook page for their assigned character. Their job was to write in first person, as if they were the character they were assigned. They were to make entries as the novel went on, detailing events from the novel from their character’s POV. The entire process took several weeks.
Some students really took to the idea, going above and beyond. Others were more hesitant. Overall, the activity went well, and served several purposes. I was able to assess their understanding of the events in the novel. I was able to assess their understanding of POV.
There were some lessons learned on my part. For example, students were supposed to have a firm understanding of point of view before getting to my grade. I did a quick review of it at the beginning of the activity. In hindsight, the vast majority of students were unprepared to do a meaningful job. I should have done a much more thorough job of ensuring that all students were up to the task.
Another area that I should have addressed is the purpose of Facebook. While I knew that many other forms of social media were out there for kids today, I did not realize that so many of our students no longer use Facebook. Be sure to understand what your kids actually use, and teach them the purpose of the assignment.
All in all, things went well. This was the first time using this tool, so I anticipate things going much more smoothly next time around. If you have not had a chance to check out some of the great tools at http://www.classtools.net take a minute and do so.