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Learning beyond the classroom with Wakelet: by Scott St. Denis

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Read about how Scott uses Wakelet to bring the joy of reading to his students!

Imagine a classroom where reading was the one thing that students clamored for. So often, this is a fairytale statement that can be a rather difficult result to obtain, however, it is very much real.

Lynn Bonakdar (@MrsBonakdar) and Scott St. Denis (@MrStDenis) combined forces with several English 11 classes at Westford Academy (@WestfordAcademy) as the Junior classes began a book club chat. This was, however, unlike any book club they had ever taken part in. The results left students flooding into the classroom class after class to continue conversing about what they had read, curating and discussing information from outside of the classroom walls, and organizing their own findings through their banter, discussion, arguments, and ultimately joy.

You see, when given the choice to select a book that they were interested in, the students then grouped themselves with others that were enjoying the same one that they chose. These were all books that were either locally available within the school, and when they were not, Mrs. Bonakdar arranged for them to be sent from libraries all over Massachusetts. It was important to show these students that sometimes you need to look to the community for help! 


To keep the conversations flowing as the weeks rolled on, Mrs. Bonakdar asked them to find information, music, videos, or even create their own artwork that best represented the chapters they were working on, and compile it all together using Wakelet’s Collaboration features. The possibilities were truly endless, and the students never missed a beat. Being able to continue a conversation after the bell rang by communicating through the aforementioned feature meant that class never truly ended. Often a student would add to their group’s Wakelet collection in the evening, and it would instantly spur conversation at the start of the next day’s book chat.

Once the classes were done with their curation, chat, and reporting on their books, it was time to put on the finishing touches. As mentioned earlier, a large chunk of the books were collected from libraries around MA, thus what a wonderful opportunity to share the student-created and curated Wakelet collections with a larger population! 

The students then went on to create QR codes that linked directly to their own Wakelet collections, and used those codes to then decorate bookmarks for each book they had read. Now, with a simple scan, not only did the students give access to a plethora of information they had curated about each book, but whoever scans it can also listen to high schoolers’ reviews of the book, find background information, and see the impact that the author had on them.  

This was a revolutionary change for some of these students as it went from something for just the teacher’s eyes to see to something for the world to see, and in some cases, even the authors responded to some students. Talk about learning beyond the walls!


To see the webpage that the students helped to create and house this assignment, click here. To see the Wakelet collection that jump-started the assignment, click here.