(Almost) Paperless Literature Circles

Literature Circles are one of my favorite things to do with my students.  It gives them a chance to read novel and stories they wouldn't normally be exposed to.  It gives them a chance to get out of the (dare I say the "B" word) basal!  It also gives them a time to be creative and collaborate with their peers.  There are a lot of pros to literature circles.  If you haven't tried them, I definitely encourage you to do so!  

This year, I made a huge change to my literature circles.  I do the traditional 'jobs' that are seen in most circles:

*Summary Supervisor
*Character Chief
*Art Smart Illustrator
*Discussion Director
* Literary Luminary

In the past, I would keep copies of each of these jobs and the paper they needed and each week or even multiple times a week I could get stacks and stacks of papers to go through.  You know that feeling, right?  Well not anymore!!!  

I am so excited to share with you how I've now been doing (almost) paperless literature circles!  I switched to using technology for a few reasons:

1.  It's motivational for the students.  They get to use technology - SCORE!
2.  Saves on paper
3.  Easier for me to check their progress because I can access it from anywhere!  And I can even share their responses and work with the parents if I need/want to.  

So how do I do it?  Have you ever heard of a little thing called Google Forms!?  Yep!  That's it!

I have created 5 different google doc forms and put in all of the questions and directions that would normally be on the papers into them.  Here's a quick glance of what some of them look like!

Very basic, but that's all they need!  If you're not sure how to make a google form, there are some great tutorials Here!  

So you're probably thinking, 'how do the students get to the forms!?'  Well, this is where the (almost) paperless part comes into play.  

Each time the students meet, they are given this paper (usually copied smaller than pictured to save paper).  Their job is told to them, they scan the QR code which takes them to the correct google doc and off they go!  The ONLY part that's been somewhat difficult is that, at least for my groups, they cannot hit the 'submit' button on their google form until they have done the discussion part of the literature circle.  They are to answer the two reflective questions while they wait.  When time is up on their work and its time to discuss, they use the google form to share their information and then before everyone puts away their iPads - they hit submit!  Then I have 9-10 beautifully done literature circle answer forms ready to check and in my spreadsheet.  :)  Super simple and super motivating! 

I've even been able to do a few other fun things to help make the literature circles a little more '21st century'.  This is what we did at the beginning of the year to research the three book choices the students had been given.  Each QR code had been linked to a YouTube video that I found about the story OR a written book review about the story somewhere online.  The students scanned the QR codes and wrote down notes about which they wanted.   

Then they were able to vote and persuade me as to which book should be chosen!

This past week, I implemented a contract and a prediction paragraph after having the students watch a video I found all about Chocolate Fever (our current book!)  

This technology is making our resources endless and we plan to tap into all of its potential!  If you have any questions about the google forms, please just let me know!  


  1. I LOVE this! We are also a 1:1 school, and I always try to convert at least some of the steps of a project or study to technology! I may have some questions for you as I get started trying this.

  2. Any suggestions for schools without technology available to younger grades?

  3. This is so cool! I'm not very tech savvy so this question may sound silly, but how do your students scan the QR codes? What do they use?

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