This year, our team chose a book to help us on our quest to build empathy with our students: Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie. Author Jordan Sonnenblick takes readers on a journey through the protagonist's eighth grade year as his younger brother battles Leukemia. Sonnenblick's writing is incredible and captured the heart strings of my class from the opening chapter through the last words of the Epilogue. As we finished the story, my students wanted to continue interacting with the characters of the book. We looked at many ways for us to accomplish this: green screen movies, live action plays, etc. With the limited time that was made available for this endeavor to happen, I was able to find a great way for my students to retell the events of the book's main characters: Fakebook.
Fakebook is an online tool for students to create fake Facebook profiles about characters in books or historical figures under study. The format is fairly user friendly and allows students control over their profile picture, friends list, and wall posts. The one downside to this tool is the amount of ad space taken up. My students and I found it very distracting as we began creating our character profiles. If your group does not mind an ad in the middle of their profile, this is the tool for you. If you have an aversion to this, we did find another tool.
After many failed attempts at finding an alternative to Fakebook, my students and I found this Google Slides template of a fake Facebook profile. It was much easier for my students to manipulate the pictures and format of their character's Facebook pages. We also had a shared Google Slides template with hand drawn pictures of each of the characters. Students could copy and paste the pictures into their profile for the Newsfeed conversations and their friends lists. In the end, I really loved seeing my students retell Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie in this fun and creative way. My students, once they got wrapped up in the lesson, did as well.
I encourage anyone with the capability to try this with their students!