Technology and ELA


An idea I created/compiled for completing a Digital Novel Study:

Book of Negroes


1. Use Google Maps to plot locations in the book

– Give students a list of important places in the book and have them use google maps to plot the locations. This will allow students to be able to visualize and have a better understanding of where places are as they are reading the novel. It is more effective to have them do it themselves than you creating a PP and showing them – they will retain more.

2. Create an Author Study

– Do this in the form of a webquest. Students will independently learn about the author. You would have to make the webquest up ahead of time, but they could use the internet to answer your questions and educate themselves about the author.

3. Vocabulary

– Provide students with a list of more challenging words that appear in the novel. Have them use or another online source that will allow them to find the meaning of the word. Extend the learning to figure out what origin it comes from. This will allow students to refer quickly to their list as they are reading so they can decode what the word means.

4. Online Quiz

– Use a quiz as a Preassessment tool to figure out how much your students know about the historical background of the novel. You can use this information to guide other prereading activities – things you need to cover and things they may already know.

5. Research History

– Religion, Abolitionist Movement, From Americas to Africa, African Culture, Slave Factories/Slave Trade, Slavery in Americas, Slavery Rebellions and Escapes, War of Independence, Black Loyalists. You can have students present this historical in any number of ways – PP, speech, role play, essay. It would be best to present to the class that way everyone learns about each historical category.


1. Literature Circles (21st Century)

– The discussion director can use questions posted online by the teacher to guide the group in discussion. This way the students have access to the questions if they spread out around the school.

– Vocabulary Enricher should have access to a dictionary website or app so they can provide the group with information about unknown words.

– Connector can add pictures, video, Popplet mind map (allows for organization of ideas). If this is online, all group members can add to this so it would be a working document.

– Summarizer can use comic strip apps or things like iMovie to summarize chapters. This makes it easy to review as a class to make sure everyone is understanding the chapters.

– Literary Luminary can read aloud on an ebook and can highlight important passages as they are reading that they can come back to later when they are in their groups and use the passages for discussion.

**All of these tasks would be uploaded to a site like Edmodo for the teacher to evaluate – or just to make sure students are on the right track.

 2. Reading Journal Assignment

– Students would be given journal prompts as often as you, as the teacher, decide necessary. You could post the prompts online and students could respond on a blog. They could also be active learners and comment on other students’ blogs in order to extend learning. This is an easy way to keep all assignments in one place.

3. Character Analysis

– A good way to make this relevant and digital is to have students create a FB profile on their selected character. They can include things like physical appearance, personal traits, friends, family, etc.

4. Class Discussion

– You can have students engage in an online discussion where they can remain anonymous, or not. Here they can ask questions and respond to questions in a less intimidating environment. You can use programs such as Class Chatter, Poll Anywhere, Twitter, etc.

5. Skype

– Skype another classroom who is learning the same novel you are. This allows for collaboration and also may give another insight that you may not have considered as a class.You could also skype the author of the novel.


1.Family Genealogy

– Have students trace their own family history. They could write a narrative of an ancestor. They could do this through online websites, emailing family members, or conduct some type of an online interview.

2. Explore Real Historical People

– Email history groups and research stories of real people who went through the same things as the main character in the novel. This could be presented or handed in.

3. Have an Online Class Debate

– Have students prepare and go online in a safe space and formally debate something that may have been controversial in the novel.

4. Dramatic Readings

– Have students prepare a dramatic reading of the novel. They could use PP and include images that may enhance their reading and make it realistic.

5. Webquest
– Have students complete a webquest after reading the novel, perhaps looking through historical websites or other websites that may supplement their reading of the novel.

6. Panel Presentation

– Allow students to research in groups controversies related to the novel and have them present action plans of how they, as a social action group, would work to combat change in the world. Allow time for questions of other classmates and have the learning be extended as much as possible.


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