Friday, August 2, 2013

A Social Media Journey Through Eighth Grade Literature

In Pamela Carver’s article, “What Would Romeo and Juliet Say to Jack and Piggy on Facebook?”, she tells about her experiment to review eighth grade literature using role play and social media technology.  The project, called Connecting through Time—A Journey through Eighth Grade Literature, used Ning, a private social networking site, to facilitate discussions between characters from each of the books the students read.  “[Carver] assigned a character to each student and then put them into groups of four or five.  [She] made sure that each group contained a variety of personalities and a representative from each major piece of literature” (pp. 26).  The week long project, which students later decided should have lasted a month, was meant to forge connections between the different novels; it did that, as well as provided a fun way to review for the final, opportunity for creativity, to practice citations, do internet research, quote from the texts, format dialogue and hone presentation skills. 

I think that this is an ingenious use of technology for working on all of the skills listed above.  Additionally, the students explored emotional themes of each character as they portrayed them online which allows for deeper interpretation of motivation and the literature.   The exercise satisfied the standards for creative thinking and innovation, communication and collaboration, research fluency, critical thinking, digital citizenship and fluency in technology operations; in short, it satisfies all of the standards in at least some way.  I would definitely use this in my classroom just for the fact that it brought some students to the table who may have been resistant to reading or needed extra review.

Read the full article here:What Would Romeo and Juliet Say to Jack and Piggy on Facebook

Carver, P. (2013). What would Romeo and Juliet say to Jack and Piggy on Facebook? Learning and Leading With Technology (40.5), 26-28.


  1. This sounds like a really fun project! I would have liked to have done something like this in class. By assigning each student a particular character, this teacher made their students connect to the work on a personal level. The fact that the kids suggested the project should have taken four times as long just goes to show how much they liked it. This is a great example of using technology to speak to kids in their own language. Great post!

  2. The thing I love about this is that it increases a students capacity for empathy. This is a skill that needs sharpened and is crucial in our digital-age and global communities. As a teacher I want to use a multitude of perspectives when I teacher this exercise forces the student to invest themselves emotionally into the character's perspective. I would have thoroughly enjoyed this project in school, even though, the use of technology would have given me extreme anxiety.