ALEX Lesson Plan


Google in the Classroom: Creating a Book Review using Google Books

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:John Simmer
System: Bibb County
School: Bibb County High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 30005


Google in the Classroom: Creating a Book Review using Google Books


Technology-based lesson for a High School English class, incorporating Google Books and Google Docs. Students will choose a book to review, read the book, research other reviews of the same book, and then use Google Docs to create their own review. They will share this review with the teacher on Google Docs, and after receiving approval, they will post the review on Google Books.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (9-12) Computer Applications
11. Critique digital content for validity, accuracy, bias, currency, and relevance.
TC2 (9-12) Computer Applications
12. Use digital tools to publish curriculum-related content.
Examples: Web page authoring software, coding software, wikis, blogs, podcasts
TC2 (9-12) Computer Applications
13. Demonstrate collaborative skills using curriculum-related content in digital environments.
Examples: completing assignments online; interacting with experts and peers in a structured, online learning environment
ELA2015 (10)
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RL.9-10.1]
ELA2015 (10)
2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.9-10.2]
ELA2015 (10)
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone). [RL.9-10.4]
ELA2015 (10)
24. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 21-23 above.) [W.9-10.4]
ELA2015 (10)
29. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [W.9-10.9]
a. Apply Grade 10 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work [e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare"]. [W.9-10.9a]
b. Apply Grade 10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., "Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning"). [W.9-10.9b]

Local/National Standards:

NCTE/IRA Standards:
1. Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
2. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will choose a book to review and read the book.

Students will then learn what a book review is, how it is different from a book report, and how to write a clear, relevant review. Students will research other reviews of the book they have chosen, and then use Google Docs to create their own review. They will share this review with the teacher on Google Docs, who will share the review with the class for discussion. Once the review has been approved by the teacher, the student will post the review on Google Books.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will communicate with the teacher using electronic mail and collaborate using Google Docs.
Students will be able to use the Internet to research examples of book reviews.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Time Not Specified

Materials and Resources:

The teacher should provide a list of appropriate books for the students to choose from. All the books on the list should have a full text version available on Google Books.

Below is a link to an example list:

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers (1 per 2 students)
LCD Projector
Internet access


Teacher prep: Teacher should be familiar with Google applications. Specifically, Google Books, Google Docs, Gmail, and Internet Explorer. Teacher should be comfortable using a LCD Projector.

Student prep: Students should have prior knowledge of Google, Google Books, Google Docs, Gmail, and using the Internet for basic research.
Introduction and tutorial for Google Docs:



Email students the following instructions (or share instructions with them as a Google Doc):

Write a critical review for the novel you chose to read. Each review should be 1 page typed, double-spaced, with your name, date, and title on top.


1. Read the book.
2. Type the review on Google Docs.
3. Share with (your email address)
4. Search for your book by title and author on Google Books.
5. Click on the "Write a Review" link on your book's page.
6. Copy & paste your review from Google Docs into the Google Books review and post.

Before you begin, visit Roger Ebert's review of the movie "Titanic" to see how a critical review for a movie is written. A movie review is similar in many ways to a book review, and is written essentially for the same purpose. Ebert's review will give you another model to consider when writing your own critical review. Notice that his review is more than a simple summary of the plot. What else does he discuss? What details are included? How does he begin and end his review? Think about these questions as you are writing.

The book review is a test grade. If you have any questions or issues, let me know in class or send me an email. The review must be completed before the end of the 9 weeks to receive credit. See attached document for more information, a brief explanation of book reviews, and several links to online resources.


Share with the students a Google Doc on writing a critical review, complete with links to example reviews online. See attachment below.



Direct the students to Roger Ebert's review of the movie Titanic, and display on the projector. Have students take turns reading the review aloud, and discuss how he has written the review, what elements he has included, how he has expressed his opinions, and what details or facts from the plot he has shared with his audience. Just as Ebert's review of the movie differs from a simple synopsis of the plot, explain the ways a book review differs from a book report.


Direct students to the Google Books website, and illustrate the layout using the digital projector. Show the students how to find several examples from your list of appropriate books, and demonstrate how to use the table of contents feature, as well as the zoom in and out buttons.


Have the students navigate to the Google Docs page and create a new document. Require students to name the document with both their first and last names as well as the title and author of the book. For example, "Johnny Student - Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut." Then require students to share the document with the teacher, selecting the "to edit" feature so that the teacher may edit and make changes to the document as needed. Review the instructions again if needed. Set work timelines if needed. Remind students that they must receive approval to post their review on Google Books, and that once posted they must email the teacher with the web address of their posted review.


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Assessment Strategies


Students that mater the objectives could be challenged to extend the project by creating oral presentations of the book reviews and recording them.  These video book reviews could be formatted as an enhanced podcast and published online.


Special consideration will be given to the strengths and weaknesses in research and technology skills for individual students. Teachers should offer after school assistance to any students having trouble with reading or technology issues.

Google Docs will allow teachers to collaborate online in real time with students needing assistance with their writing.

Peer tutoring could be employed for students needing extra assistance.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.