Digital Age Teachers

10 Clever Ways to Use Goodreads in the Classroom

In today’s digital age, incorporating technology into the classroom is essential for engaging students and enhancing learning experiences. One such platform, Goodreads, offers a vast array of resources and tools to help educators utilize its features effectively. Here are 10 clever ways to use Goodreads in the classroom:

1. Reading Lists: Teachers can create personalized reading lists for their students based on grade level, subject matter, or themes. These lists can be shared with students, who can then add their own book selections, fostering a sense of ownership over their reading choices.

2. Connecting with Authors: Goodreads allows users to connect with thousands of authors worldwide. Teachers can invite these authors for virtual Q&A sessions, engaging the students with firsthand insights into the creative process.

3. Book Clubs: Organizing book clubs within your classroom encourages in-depth discussions on assigned books and fosters camaraderie among peers. Teachers can create private discussion groups exclusive to their class on Goodreads.

4. Reading Challenges: Motivate students by creating reading challenges tailored to their interests and abilities. Students can set goals, track progress, and celebrate success as they complete challenges throughout the academic year.

5. Book Reviews: Encourage students to practice critical thinking by writing book reviews on Goodreads. In addition to cultivating analytical skills, this will promote peer-to-peer learning through shared impressions.

6. Vocabulary Building: While reading books added to their Goodreads lists, students can keep track of new words they come across using a custom “vocabulary list.” This allows them to review and learn new words regularly.

7. Collaborating with Other Classrooms: Connect with teachers from other schools or countries on Goodreads to discuss teaching methodologies and expand your professional network. You might even set up occasional joint class discussions or book clubs!

8. Classroom Library: Maintain an organized and comprehensive inventory of your classroom library using the platform’s cataloging feature. This makes it easy for students to find books that interest them and contribute their own suggestions.

9. Writing Contests: Stimulate creativity and improve writing skills by organizing writing contests amongst your students. Use Goodreads to announce contest themes, collect entries, and share winning stories for others to enjoy.

10. Author Studies: Deepen student understanding of an author’s work by dedicating a unit or time period to studying their body of literature. The platform allows you to gather all relevant material, such as books, quotes, publications, and interviews under one author profile.

In conclusion, Goodreads presents vast opportunities for teachers to supplement their classroom activities with innovative digital tools. It allows educators to craft personalized learning experiences while fostering a love for reading among students. So, dive into this literary treasure trove and let your students’ imaginations soar!

Teaching the Photo Essay Free Lesson Guide


Incorporating photography into the teaching process can help students develop crucial visual literacy skills, engage in critical thinking, and enhance their learning experiences. One effective way to introduce these skills is by teaching them how to create a photo essay. This article will provide a comprehensive guide, broken down into easy-to-follow steps, for teaching the Photo Essay in a classroom setting.

Step 1: Introduce the Concept

Begin by introducing the concept of a photo essay. Explain that it is a collection of photos arranged to communicate a story or theme effectively. Show students examples of compelling photo essays and offer background information on the photographers and their works. Discuss the importance of elements like composition, choice of subject matter, and storytelling through photography.

Step 2: Brainstorming Topics

Encourage students to brainstorm potential subjects for their photo essays. Topics may include personal experiences, issues close to their hearts, or stories related to their community. Ask them to write down their ideas and review the possible subjects as a class.

Step 3: Gathering Materials

Guide students in choosing appropriate cameras or smartphones for capturing photos. Encourage them to use materials like tripods for stability and varied lenses for different perspectives. Provide advice on using natural light sources and other techniques for better image quality.

Step 4: Capturing Images

Designate time for students to take photographs, either in school or outside of school hours with parental supervision. Encourage them to experiment with different angles, lighting conditions, and compositions while keeping in mind the focus of creating a cohesive photo essay.

Step 5: Reviewing Images

Once students have captured their images, arrange a class session where they can share their work with each other. Offer constructive feedback on their photography skills and help them identify strengths and areas requiring improvement.

Step 6: Selecting Images

Guide students through selecting the best images that effectively portray their chosen topic. Remind them to consider aspects like composition, image quality, and the overall narrative they wish to convey.

Step 7: Organizing and Sequencing

Demonstrate how the order of images within a photo essay can significantly impact the overall storytelling aspect. Encourage students to analyze their photos critically and arrange them in a manner that best communicates their message.

Step 8: Adding Text

Teach students how to incorporate brief captions or longer text within their photo essays to provide context and depth. Discuss different types of texts, such as poems, quotes, or personal reflections that may complement the visual narrative.

Step 9: Culminating Presentation

Organize an event where students can showcase their final photo essays to the class or even invite parents and fellow educators. This presentation serves as an opportunity for them to celebrate their hard work and receive feedback from their audience.


By teaching the Photo Essay using this comprehensive guide, educators can empower students in honing their photography skills and develop valuable storytelling techniques. Integrating visual literacy into the classroom not only expands students’ creative horizons but also encourages critical thinking while fostering a deeper appreciation for visual art.

Creative Ways Teachers Are Building Classroom Community Online

In recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted traditional classroom environments, forcing teachers and students to adapt to online learning. However, this doesn’t mean that nurturing a positive classroom community takes a backseat. Teachers have come up with creative ways to maintain meaningful connections and foster collaborative learning online. In this article, we will explore some innovative methods educators are using to build classroom communities in a virtual setting.

1. Virtual Icebreakers

To help students feel comfortable in a remote learning environment and get to know each other, teachers are incorporating virtual icebreakers in their curriculum. One such activity is “Two Truths and a Lie,” where students share three statements about themselves – two true, one false – while classmates guess which statement is fictional.

2. Collaborative Learning Projects

Online platforms such as Google Classroom, Edmodo, and Seesaw enable teachers to manage group projects seamlessly. Teachers may assign various roles to individual students, who can then share ideas, provide feedback, and collaborate on creating their final product. Such collaboration encourages camaraderie in the group.

3. Digital Pen Pals

Connecting with classrooms worldwide through digital pen pal programs can expand students’ cultural horizons and help them appreciate diverse perspectives. By exchanging messages and participating in video calls with international classrooms, students can further develop their communication skills.

4. Online Book Clubs

Creating an online book club with regular discussion sessions encourages students’ active participation in reading activities while facilitating intellectual conversations among peers. Utilizing tools like Flipgrid or Padlet allows for asynchronous idea sharing and collaboration.

5. Virtual Field Trips

Teachers can take advantage of virtual field trips available on websites such as Google Arts & Culture or the Smithsonian Institution websites to recreate memorable classroom experiences for their students. These immersive experiences not only offer new learning opportunities but also promote student engagement.

6. Show-and-Tell Sessions

Holding online show-and-tell sessions are a great way to help students express their interests and passions outside of academics. Students can share various personal objects, talents, or stories via video presentations or screen sharing, encouraging them to open up and form emotional connections.

7. Interactive Games and Quizzes

Incorporating educational games like Kahoot!, Quizlet Live, or Gimkit spices up the learning experience while fostering a sense of community among students. Friendly competitions drive student participation and help deepen their friendships.

8. Social Media Engagement

Social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter can be used as an extended classroom space for out-of-class discussions, news sharing, and keeping students engaged between virtual class sessions.

9. Building a Digital Classroom Environment

Utilizing virtual tools such as Bitmoji Classrooms or custom Zoom backgrounds helps educators create a visually appealing digital environment that fosters a sense of belonging among students.

10. Empathy-building Activities

Teachers can incorporate activities that promote empathy and understanding to foster positive interpersonal relationships, such as discussing various scenarios displaying kindness or conducting gratitude circles.

These creative methods prove that despite the ongoing transition to remote learning, teachers can build strong classroom communities online. By continually adapting their teaching strategies in our ever-evolving world, they ensure students remain engaged and continue developing meaningful connections with their peers.

Parents Are Commenting On Teachers’ Looks on Zoom, and We’re Over It

In this digital era of distance learning, teachers and parents have found themselves in closer contact than ever before. Through platforms such as Zoom, educators have worked relentlessly to impart knowledge to their students and maintain a sense of normalcy amidst the pandemic. However, a recent trend has emerged as parents engage in an unsavory practice: commenting on teachers’ appearances during virtual classes. It’s time we address this behavior and remind ourselves of the essential role our teachers play.

We understand that the shift from a physical classroom to online screens has been drastic for everyone involved. As parents and caregivers, you have a front-row seat to the education process nowadays. Having your living rooms turn into classrooms has provided constant reminders of your child’s lessons and growth.

While this newfound intimacy with education might seem beneficial, blurring the lines between personal and professional spaces can sometimes give rise to inappropriate behavior. Recently, there have been numerous reports of parents commenting on teachers’ looks during Zoom sessions – remarks that stray far from the intended purpose of these classes.

Such comments are not only unprofessional but also counterproductive as they detract from what should be the primary focus: our children’s learning. Forgetting that our educators are professionals might seem harmless at first glance. However, as empathy seems scarce, it undermines their hard work and dedication.

It is crucial to realize that teachers are not just content creators or talking heads – they’re dedicated professionals who deserve our respect and support. They’ve had to adapt quickly, acquiring new technological skills and modifying curriculums within unforgiving timeframes while also providing emotional support for their students.

Rather than focusing on surface-level characteristics like appearance, we should celebrate the incredible amount of effort and determination teachers demonstrate every day. Our children need role models who treat people thoughtfully, regardless of how they look or sound during a video call.

Let us take this opportunity to address the issue head-on and remind ourselves that backing our teachers creates a more constructive learning environment for everyone involved. By showing our appreciation and respect, we can foster deeper connections with educators, reinforcing the importance of their essential work.

In conclusion, parents have a unique opportunity to witness and participate in their children’s education during this dynamic, digital era. However, it remains crucial to maintain professional boundaries and ensure our actions support what truly matters: nurturing young minds toward their infinite potential. Let us focus less on the superficial and more on upholding the sanctity of education by giving our hardworking teachers the full gratitude and respect they deserve.

EU project CATAPULT offers opportunities for Internationalisation, profiling and lifelong learning for LSP, L2, MFL and CLIL teachers

One of the results of the CATAPULT Project (Computer-Assisted Training And Platforms to Upskill Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) Teachers) is LinguaCoP, a Community of Practice platform.

With its resource bank, blogs and forum Linguacop supports knowledge development and practice sharing by language, LSP and CLIL teachers.

It also hosts ‘LinguaClick’  to support (freelance) LSP, but also L2 and MFL professionals to offer their services, also internationally. View this short presentation video to see what this online Community of Practice has to offer.

Furthermore the project also offers a free online course (MOOC, released on October 12, 2020) based on the project’s LSP competence framework.

It supports LSP teachers wanting to update their teaching skills and those language teachers interested in developing competences specific for LSP teaching. Watch this video to get a sneak peek at what course participants can expect.  Those interested can register here

For more details about these and other project developments see the online version of the latest Newsletter

Project website: Twitter: @ProjectCatapult

From Ton Koenraad on behalf of Catapult partner TELLConsult