Teachers Network
Translate Translate English to Chinese Translate English to French
  Translate English to German Translate English to Italian Translate English to Japan
  Translate English to Korean Russian Translate English to Spanish
Lesson Plan Search
Our Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Popular Teacher Designed Activities
TeachNet NYC Directory of Lesson Plans TeachNet NYC Dirctory of Lesson Plans

Teachers Network Leadership Institute
How-To Articles
Videos About Teaching
Effective Teachers Website
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Teacher Research
For NYC Teachers
For New Teachers

TeachNet Grant:
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
Other Grant Winners
Math and Science Learning
Impact II
Grant Resources
Grant How-To's
Free Resources for Teachers
Our Mission
   Press Releases
   Silver Reel
   2002 Educational Publishers Award


TeachNet Grant: Virtual Book Club
Rosario Miano

CSI High School of International Studies
100 Essex Drive
Staten Island, NY 10314

Grade/Subject: English Language Arts, high school
About the Grant:

The Virtual Book Club Unit is a way to have 10th grade students collaborate, create and publish their projects, experiences and thoughts on a book that they have chosen as part of independent reading. Students utilize a variety of online technologies to reflect the work they cover in independent reading books. Students will participate in conversational blogging, create a book/author website, publish a digital storyboard, and collaborate with each other using online peer editing tools.

Students will need access to the Internet and create a Google Docs account. During the course of the unit, we will primarily utilize applications though Google. Students will learn how to build an information website, a blog site,utilize the characteristics of quality blog posts & feedback, utilizing presentation software, and collaborative peer work through Google Docs.

As 9th graders in CSI High School, students create electronic portfolios using Google Sites. This is an online portfolio of who they are as learners, what they are learning in each classes, and sections showing student work. Because of this, students already have a knowledge of using the Application Suite in Google Docs. It is not a requirement for this unit, but if we were to start with this work, it may be beneficial to do an introduction lesson on using Google Applications.

How This Grant was Adapted:

Independent reading is the end result of an instructional approach to reading. At our school, we attempt to scaffold learning with a comprehensive reading program centered on backwards learning. Our approach builds on learning strategies and skills that has occurred during classroom read-alouds, shared reading, and guided reading lessons. During the independent reading lesson, the teacher(s) should provide minimal support to readers: The goal is to have students be able to be independent readers.

This unit is stage one of the process. This stage sets up independent reading groups. These are small (4-5 students) groups of students reading the same book. In these groups, students will rotate the responsibilities every independent reader will have during the reading process - word finder, summarizer, question generator, prior-knowledge & connection finder, etc. The goal of this unit is to introduce students to what it takes to be an effective independent reader, while still receiving assistance from the teacher and peers, prior to setting out on their own.

With the use of technology, this unit also allows students to effectively share their learning more easily with their peers, receive a plethora of collaborative feedback, and enhance their skills in a 21st century learning/literacy mode.

  • Students will learn the essential responsibilities of being an effective independent reader
  • Students will collaborate with peers to form a literature circle or "virtual book club"
  • Students will use 21st Century technology to become efficient users of multimedia technology
Websites Used
  • http://google.com- Students create a Google Docs account, and use a variety of free Google applications such as GoogleReaderiGoogle

  • docs.google.com – Google Docs is an online storage for digital artifacts. Students can also create Office documents for free.

  • www.blogger.com - free blog site hosting application

  • help.blogger.com - help page for Blogger application

  • http://sites.google.com- Once registered with Google, students can create and publish a free website

  • http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php - Rubric Generator
Standards Addressed:

Standard 1
Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.

Standard 2
Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.

Standard 3
Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.

Standard 4
Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.

Lesson 1:


Students will define "Independent Reading" & Choose their Essential Question Category


Teacher laptop/Workstation with Internet access and LCD projector

Independent Reading Syllabus - Link to Handout

Copies of Independent Reading Choices

Index Cards


  • Teacher has Independent Reading Choices broken up into the three Essential Question (EQ) themes on syllabus.

  • Students answer check-in question: "What does it mean to be an Independent Reader? Explain."

  • Review student responses to open discussion

  • Teacher projects image and asks "how does this picture connect to the idea of being an independent reader?" - LINK TO IMAGE

  • Students will "Think-Pair-Share" at their tables to discuss their responses to the question & image

  • Review Independent Reading Syllabus  - essential questions, expectations, objectives, etc

  • Review Essential Question Categories: 1)Power, Society and Revolution, 2)Power, Politics and the Individual, 3)Power, Oppression and War

  • Students will round robin each table to review the reading choices, taking notes & generating ideas as they review novels.

  • After book review, students look over their notes and narrow their choice of book to top 3

  • Exit Pass - Students will rank which books & category they prefer to read and why - answer must tie into the EQ Category.


Students will post their responses to the exit pass and notes on sample blogs to our class blog site


Review index card responses to ensure that students understand the EQ category they are choosing.

Teacher will break students into groups based on their choice of novel & EQ category

Lesson 2:


Students will join Literature Circle Groups & select novel based on understanding of Essential Questions


Teacher laptop/Workstation with Internet access and LCD projector

Independent Reading Syllabus - Link to Handout

Copies of Independent Reading Choices

Literature Circle Rubric - Link to Handout

Book Interview Handout - Link to Handout

Poster Paper & Markers


  • Teacher will have student desks broken up into groups of 4-5 as students enter

  • Teacher will assign students into Literary Circle Groups of 4-5.

  • Hand out Literary Circle Rubric

    • Students enter title of book assigned

    • Students fill in names & email addresses of group members

    • Students write in date for all assignments due

    • Review Assessment & Assignment section  - have students actively read

    • Review Literary Group Roles - have students actively read

  • Students will complete a Book Interview

  • Students will share their responses in the group

  • Groups will collaborate and condense responses onto Poster Paper
  • Groups will present their interviews
  • Teacher will assign due date for first reading assignment
  • Students will determine their roles for the first reading assignment and the number of pages they are to read


  1. Read assigned pages

  2. Complete your Group Roles assignments (handwritten in journals & logs first and typed after completing teacher conference)

  3. Last chance to create a Google Docs account


As the lesson continues over time, teacher should check on progress periodically - reading signatures, reading logs, journals, etc.

Teacher will hold conferences with students periodically. Upon completion of conferences, students are asked to type their group assignments and save onto a flash drive or online storage (google docs)

Lesson 3:


Students will present their completed assignments in Literary Circles


Literature Circle Rubric - Link to Handout


  • Students will answer the check-in question, "What are your thoughts so far on the book you are reading? What lingering questions, comments do you have?"

  • Students will Think-Pair-Share with their group. Lingering questions can be answered among group or presented in class.

  • Each group will "Round Robin" their work. Teacher will provide 5+ minutes for each portion. Students will then pass work to next student.
  • Within each portion, students will write comments, make changes, insert additions, etc.
  • Teacher monitors room and illustrates examples of quality work, and edits when possible.
  • Bring groups back to whole-class and review procedures & expectations of computer lab
  • Summary
  • Exit Pass - Thoughts, Questions, Concerns about peer review


Students will complete typing their role assignments needed for next lesson in computer lab.


Review Exit Passes and manage student questions, concerns, etc.

As the week passes, teacher should check on progress periodically - reading signatures, reading logs, journals, etc.

Teacher will hold conferences with students periodically. Upon completion of conferences, students are asked to type their group assignments and save onto a flash drive or online storage (google docs)

Lesson 4


Students will create, collaborate, and publish literary circle assignments online

Students will create a website for their literary circle project


Computer lab with computer stations/laptops with Internet access

Sample student work


  • Students log into their Google Docs Document 

  • Students will either upload their homework from Microsoft Word into Google Docs if necessary (Google Docs is also available in an offline mode, which makes it much more useful as an word processing application).

    • Check that title of document matches assignment (i.e, "Discussion Director", BOOK TITLE, Pages _-_)
  • Students are instructed to add external resources to their assignment through hyperlinks, images, etc

  • Students are to share their work with group members

    • Save Document, Click “Share” and enter email address to ‘invite as collaborator’

    • Click "Share", "publish as web page", and select "automatically re-publish"
    • Use student GMail account

  • Students will create their project website using Google Sites

  • Log into Google Sites - sites.google.com 

    • Select "Create New Site"

    • Site Name should be ACADEMICALLY APPROPRIATE 

      • Choose a Template 

      • Publish

      • Home Page should be a description of the Independent Reading Unit, Book Chosen and may include group member names

      • The following pages should be created: 1) Group Role Assignments, 2) About the Author, 3) Final Project, 4) Links

      • Subscribe to group members website ("subscribe to changes" on a Google Site)

  • Students will decide on pages to be read for assignment #2 and change roles in group


  • Students are to revise/comment on shared assignments. *Revisions and comments MUST be in blue or red and begin with student name - e.g., Miano : I agree that this passage is important because....

  • Students must comment on each group member shared assignment

  • Students will post links to each shared document on "Group Role Assignments" page on their website - Choice of inserting Google Doc or adding hyperlink

  • Students read selected pages and complete assignment #2 for new role.


As the week passes, teacher should check on progress periodically - reading signatures, reading logs, journals, etc.

Teacher will hold conferences with students periodically. Upon completion of conferences, students are asked to type their group assignments and save onto a flash drive or online storage (google docs)
Lesson # 4 should extend over time, and having students comment & publish group work online should be repeated  until there is certainty that students are comfortable with the process before moving onto lesson #4.

Lesson 5:


Students will choose a final project before completion of Independent Reading & Literary Circles


Teacher laptop/Workstation with Internet access and LCD projector

Literature Circle Rubric - Link to Handout

Sample Student Work
Chart paper & Markers


  • Students answer the check-in question - "What are the most important qualities of multimedia final project?"

  • Review Final Project choices on Literature Circle Rubric handout and have students actively read

  • Teacher has large chart paper for each choice of final project (4 total) and different color marker for each
  • Label Chart Paper by Final Project, assign student volunteers (4) to chart
  • Review check-in question. Attach responses to project where it is appropriate - e.g. - "Interesting Design" can be attached to PowerPoint, website, & storyboard
  • Generate additional responses for characteristics/qualities of multimedia project - Teacher can add what he/she feels is missing
  • Demonstrate previous Student examples and have students point to characteristics/qualities generated in class

    • if teacher has no examples to show, you can do the same review by using any PowerPoint, website. Qualities of a good presentation are similar across disciples.
  • Exit Pass


Students will continue working on group assignments until completion of book

Students will complete work of their individual web site, uploading new group role assignments


Teacher reviews exit passes for lingering needs

Teacher utilizes chart paper to generate specific project rubrics using Rubistar Website. 

Distribute Rubrics to students when they have chosen their project.

Before becoming a NY City Teacher, I worked in the Information Technology arena. I started in technical recruiting, but moved into software training, project management and eventually became a CTO. I spent a majority of my experience working with banks, law firms, and media companies. As a teacher, I feel my most important job is to keep students engaged and interested in the classroom. To accomplish this, I rely on practical issues, technology, sense-of-humor and real life knowledge. Making the classroom a place where students connect to the real world and global community is vital to their educational enrichment.

I am an avid runner and beginner triathlete. I currently coach Wrestling & Softball at my school, CSI High School for International Studies.


Jonathan's PowerPoint on Catcher in the Rye

Amber's PowerPoint on 12 Angry Men



19 Minutes


Come across an outdated link?
Please visit The Wayback Machine to find what you are looking for.


Journey Back to the Great Before