#BookSnaps – Snapping for Learning

August 23, 2016

According to the cell phone data report, it is safe to say that the Snapchat app occupies a high percentage the Martin-bill usage. My fifteen-year-old makes certain of it! He’s steadily snapping pictures of his daily interactions and sharing them out with his buddies locally and all over the globe. I must admit, Snapchat is an app I did not see a need for until a recently sparked idea. In fact, Kaleb was driving me bonkers, and, in my opinion, spending far too much time on this app. However, I participated in an educational Twitter chat a week ago, and one of the teachers shared out this notion of engaging students through the use of Snapchat to encourage reading. It got my mind reeling; I’ve seen others take images of quotes. That’s pretty awesome. However, the idea in my mind was to create a digital visual representation of the text along with the annotation. Maybe call it #BookSnaps? Now, that might be a productive use for Snapchat that I’m willing to explore. 

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 11.01.06 PMA few of my colleagues and I had already set up a book study with the book LAUNCH by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani. Just a little plug, if you haven’t read this book, order it NOW by clicking the book image. You will not be disappointed!

Back to my story, it was perfect timing to try out this idea running through my head–creating #BookSnaps by documenting our key takeaways and creating this visual digital representation of our thoughts between face-to-face meetings. Then, add them to our “Snap Story” for daily viewing. Of course, keeping student learning the key motivator to try a concept such as this, a few questions came to mind:

1.) How might we find ways for students to use this method for reflecting on the content they are learning?

2.) Will speaking their Snapchat-language encourage more interaction with the book, content, or topic?

3.) How might students share #BookSnaps with teachers via other platforms–Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Twitter classroom, etc.

Ummmm…I like it! Let’s do this!

You are likely asking, what the heck and how does it work? Trust me; you’re in safe hands. I have been trained by the Master Snapchatter, Mr. Kaleb Martin, aka my 15-year-old, not so-little-man! 

It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1.) Download Snapchat from the App Store

2.) Add your book study pals by clicking the little ghost and “Add Friends by Username.”

3.) Begin documenting your reflections as you read

When I shared my plans of BookSnapping with Kaleb, he gave me a quick tutorial and said, “Mom, that should meet your goals…I think.” Along with, “This is kinda weird. And, you’re an ultimate nerd.” However, he follows my story AND asks me questions about what I’m reading. I’ll take it! 

A few (of MANY) reasons to create #BookSnaps

• To annotate and share excerpts of the book you’re reading

• It allows the reader to connect an idea or thought by creating a digital visual representation. The visual representation solidifies the text content within the mind and signals the brain to retrieve the idea from memory. 

• Diagram the rise, fall, and climax of the plot (see an example image below)

• Highlight figurative language and imagery

• Notate character conflict and internal struggles (see example below)

To personally connect to the text; this is my favorite!

• Point out the main idea or a supporting argument 

• It has its own hashtag #BookSnaps on Twitter!

• It’s EASY! Just read, snap, reflect, add stickers, share, and repeat.

Ok, are you ready?

To create a #BookSnaps watch this quick little how-to video. You will be guided to navigate the features of Snapchat, create adorable visuals and upload the images to the Snap Story and other social media outlets so we might visibly see what you’re thinking.

How to Create #BookSnaps

(Updated Video on 10/29/2016)


(Updated #BookSnaps video 2017)

Examples of #BookSnaps


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If you would like to follow my #BookSnaps

1.) Simply open your Snapchat app

2.) Take a picture of this image the SnapCode 

3.) Add as Friend

4.) Or, you can add me at taramartinreal 

Please comment below and share on Twitter @TaraMartinEDU using #BookSnaps if you try this in your class or with your colleagues. I’d love to hear about your “Snapping for Learning” experiences.

*If you’d like to create #BookSnaps with APPS OTHER than Snapchat or see MORE EXAMPLES, click here. Also, to see advanced #BookSnaps options, view the Resources Tab.

©2016, Tara M. Martin

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  • Chris Morrison November 4, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I first read about using Snapchat in a classroom about a year ago, and now this has pushed me to do it NOW! I’m trying to figure out how to post Snapchats to my Google Classroom pages.

    • Tara M Martin November 4, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      This is exciting! YAY! To post on Google Classroom, you will save the #BookSnaps to your camera roll and upload them that way. Let me know if you need more help.

  • Cheryl Stickler November 2, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Super cool and groovy and relevant and engaging! Now I have a purpose to download SnapChat. As the curriculum director and ass’t principal of our school in Alaska, I sent a link to your site to all of our K-12 and our school librarian. Fun! Thank you for sharing your great ideas!

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      Thank you. Can’t wait to see the #BookSnaps for Alaska! Also, thanks for sharing my website. Happy Snapping, Tara.

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  • Tracy Mulligan September 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    What a great idea! I’m going to share this with the instructional coaches in our district!

    • Tara M Martin September 20, 2016 at 5:38 am

      Thank you, Tracy. Can’t wait to hear how you all use Snapping for Learning.

  • Asha Appel September 19, 2016 at 6:59 am

    An interesting idea and one that I’m playing around with on a couple different levels, Tara. How do you reconcile the whole temporary nature of the Snap? How do you make it inclusive for all learners (no matter their pace), when the Snap disappears?

    • Tara M Martin September 19, 2016 at 9:05 am

      There is a small little arrow over a bracket facing up in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen of a snap–between the Time icon and the Add to My Story icon (square with a +.) Before sharing the snap, the student/booksnapper would press this (facing-up bracket with an arrow) and save the image. Then, the image will be saved to the camera roll and might be shared on Google Classroom, SeeSaw or any other place you might want them to share it.
      Hope that helps.

      • Asha Appel September 19, 2016 at 9:30 am

        So helpful! Thanks, Tara. I’m using Instagram in a similar way. For vocab acquisition, kids are posting images that USE the words. So far here’s what I’ve found: Although the tool is one they use all the time, high school kids, in particular, aren’t instinctively comfortable using the tool for school (to do school, so to speak). In other words, having them use a tool that is one they identify as theirs requires a code-switch for them to use it in school. They haven’t taken to it naturally, but my sense is that it is a habit we can work towards building in.

        • Tara M Martin September 19, 2016 at 2:12 pm

          Great insight. Thanks for the tips. That makes sense.

          My 15 year old son thought BookSnapping might be “total nerd,” in his terminology. However, as I said in the blog, he trained me to use SnapChat and is “my friend” on it. One interesting thing happened a couple of weeks ago. He said, “Mom, I was reading one of your BookSnaps…yes, I read them, and I noticed that your book mentioned many different types of creators. I think I might be the architect creator. Maybe that is why my teachers never see my creative side. I’m the behind the scenes creator, Mom.” We chatted about the #LaunchBook in detail and discussed how there are so many types of creators. It was a wonderful, productive conversation inspired by a #BookSnap! The intriguing piece to me is that he has never inquired about what I am reading up until utilizing this little inlet, his personal tool.

          I found this super fascinating for many reasons.
          1.) The fact that he actually checks out “My Story,” and
          2.) He found meaning from the #BookSnap

          So, while he may not embrace the idea of using his cool (is that even an “ok word” anymore) tool for learning, he IS LEARNING.

          I do appreciate you sharing your experiences with teens. Please continue to share. It helps us all learn and grow while seeing their perspectives.

          P.S. As a “total nerd,” I’ve found #BookSnapping to be thoroughly engaging. I heart it! Speaking for my PLN, we have had fun with it.

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  • Andrew Easton September 18, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    This is a fantastic idea Tara. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m already considering ideas/ways to implement Book Snaps this week!

    • Tara M Martin September 19, 2016 at 8:24 am

      I am SO looking forward to learning from you and hearing how you utilize BookSnaps in your neck of the woods. Can’t wait!

  • Cristal August 25, 2016 at 12:32 pm

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