Today's Meet for Virtual Book Clubs

As teachers we are always looking for ways to engage, personalize and maximize learning for our students.  In reading, teachers often lead guided reading groups or reading conferences to give individualized instruction while the rest of the class reads independently.  One of the ways I maximize my time during our reader's workshop is by using my class IPads and  

Today's Meet is a web-based backchanneling tool.  Backchanneling is the "practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside the primary group activity or live spoken remarks" (Victor Yngve 1970).

Today's Meet is a website that allows you to create a backchannel room for 2 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, 1 day, 1 week or 1 month depending on your needs.  After that, the room disappears.  You name the room, so it is easy to tailor it to your presentation with other educators or an activity with students.  The link ends up being  Ex.

Today's Meet is web-based and not an app, but it is easy to add a button to IPad home screens.  For directions, see here.  

As I begin a guided reading group, I start a room titled after the book we are reading.  Many of these books are longer and after reading the first chapter or chapters together, I send them off to read on their own and continue the conversation through today's meet.  I can pose questions, students can ask questions and discuss the text in a virtual book club.  The students are actively engaged, while I am opened up to work with another reading group or provide extra support for my struggling readers.  

See some examples from 1st grade readers below.

Practicing phonics skills

How have you been able to maximize your time during reading?  Have you used todaysmeet or other backchannels in your classroom for other purposes?