|Image taken from: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/social-books-hopes-to-make-e-reading-communal/|
(I've also included this June 2014 article on the best apps for classroom use. Many of which I'm unfamiliar with but hope to blog about my successes with them later!)
All of the presenters at the session on social reading I attended were World Language faculty members at a universities around the country and because they are in higher education not all of their ideas seemed to me to be readily adaptable to the middle school level. However, one of the panelists, Joshua Thoms from the University of Utah, described a project he and his students completed using classroom salon that I thought would be really fun to try with my own students.
(1) The activity is a group project and so the first step is to assign groups of four.
(2) Each group was assigned a different text and had to read the text using the Classroom Salon app. They were also instructed to annotate the selection and to comment on each other's work. (This step requires getting author's permission to use their text on Classroom Salon.)
(3) Groups then had to generate 10-15 different interview questions for the author of each text.
(4) Finally, the groups conducted Skype interviews with the author in the target language and those interviews were later played for the entire class.
I remember reading a blog post long ago about Cynthia Hitz doing a skype interview with her students and Mira Canion and thinking then how cool that would be to do with my own kids. We will be reading "Hija del sastre" by TPRS publishing later this year and I'm planning on bringing in some authentic texts about the Spanish Civil War and having students do the activity described above.