It is obvious that social media plays a huge role in the world we live in today, particularly for the younger generation, so educators are always looking for ways to incorporate these apps into their lessons. This was no different for Tara Martin (@TaraMartinEDU) when she realized that her son, like many students, was constantly on Snapchat. Part of her role as an administrator was to help teachers take things that their students love and bring them into the classroom to make learning more relatable. By creating #BookSnaps, Tara was able to do just that by bringing Snapchat into her middle school classrooms.
#BookSnaps allows students to annotate and reflect on passages they read. Students use Snapchat to snap a picture of part of a significant piece of text and then use words, Bitmojis, and emojis to annotate the picture to visually express their thoughts.
Tara was inspired by author Dave Burgess’s book, Teach Like a Pirate, to share this idea with her personal learning network. She created the hashtag #BookSnaps, shared her first snap, and began using her voice on various platforms to network and spread the word. #BookSnaps’ popularity grew and is now used in 18 countries and 16 languages. Tara Martin wants to make #BookSnaps available to all students and gave us some great insight on the Tackling Tech Podcast on how schools can benefit by adopting #BookSnaps into their own classrooms.
The Benefits of Using #BookSnaps
Tara created #BookSnaps to utilize a social media platform that students were already familiar with to enhance their lessons and increase engagement. On her blog, Be REAL, Tara outlined some of the top reasons teachers should be utilizing #BookSnaps in their classroom.
- Through connecting an idea with a visual representation, it solidifies the text context within the mind.
- It helps students to support the main idea or argument in the text.
- A focus on figurative language and imagery.
- It is an easy way to reflect and then share students’ thoughts on a reading.
#BookSnaps and Distance Learning
With the uncertainty of what the Fall may look like, #BookSnaps is a great strategy to incorporate whether you are in the classroom or conducting distance learning. #BookSnaps and distance learning are compatible as Snapchat is a tool that can be used outside the classroom and students can share their work with their teacher and classmates by saving their image.
Whether using #BookSnaps during in-class sessions or during distance learning, as Tara states on her website, to begin using #BookSnaps is as “easy as 1-2-3.”
1. Download Snapchat from the App Store
2. Add your book study pals by clicking the little ghost and “Add Friends by Username.”
3. Begin documenting your reflections as you read
Other Compatible Platforms for #BookSnaps
Although #BookSnaps was originally created to be used through Snapchat, many schools do not allow the use of Snapchat during school. Tara wanted to make sure that this strategy was adaptable to as many classrooms as possible, so to combat this she created guides for alternate ways to create #BookSnaps. We have listed some of the other programs students can use #BookSnaps to add annotations to their readings below.
- Seesaw App
- Google Slides
- Google Drawing
- Pic Collage Kids
Tara Martin created #BookSnaps with the idea of converting an everyday platform that students use into a tool that can be beneficial in the classroom. #BookSnaps allows students to express their creativity while also comprehending assigned readings. Regardless of what circumstances are thrown at your school district this upcoming semester, #BookSnaps is a great tool that can be used during distance learning and through many other compatible programs besides just Snapchat.
Listen to the full conversation with Tara Martin
This week Brett talks to Tara Martin, an educator, admin, coach, speaker, author, and founder of BookSnaps. Tara explains what being “R.E.A.L.” means and how to be REAL when using technology during remote learning. She wrote a book called “Cannonball In,” about her philosophy in life.
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