Friday, March 16, 2007

End of trimester 2

So my goal for this trimester was to push my students' writing. One of the best ways I felt that I could do that was with a Wiki. We did two wiki projects. The first was research oriented with a partner. All of the students logged on to either a morning or afternoon wiki. For the most part I think they were successful. A few even took it to the next and used Bubbleshare to make a powerpoint into a flash object for the Wiki.

The second wiki was a collaboration between my two classes. I think our students need opportunities to learn to collaborate. This was their opportunity to write an imaginative story. I do think that the collaboration was the weakest link, but it was the first time they had tried it without a face to face meeting. Some of their stories were quite cute, although the males seem to concentrate on war stories.

Overall I think we have made a good start on Wikis and some of my students even got it. They realized that they could work on this project at home. It would be great if I could convince some of the eighth grade teachers to continue with this kind of project.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wikis, Wikis and more wikis

This last week has been a wiki week. I showed a Powerpoint about Web 2.0 to our district class. I think it went over fairly well. The technology that we were working with was wikis, and there we ran into the problem. The first time I used a wiki with my students I did the navigation for them. This time I wanted the teachers to practice but forgot that with so many people working on the page it would kick people off or delete their work. What a mess, not my most successful moment. I hate when the application does not work seemlessly-my fault. These teachers are nervous enough without having problems. But on the other hand it does give them a chance to see how to go to plan B and to learn from it. I did send an e-mail telling the teachers that I learned from them and adjusted my lesson plan for my students the next day.

My students are working on their second wiki project. I am not up to looking for another classroom to collaborate with at this point in time. Instead I thought that my 2 Core classes could work with one another. We talked about how you don't know people from other countries when you have to collaborate on projects with them. This would give them the opportunity to try to collaborate with someone else.
Each team had to choose a picture of a Greek artifact and write an imaginative store. The partners could collaborate and write one story. They could write the story from 2 different points of view in a conflict. The stories could be about different time periods with the object appearing in both stories. The wiki has allowed some of the teams discussions on how and what they want to do. It has been pretty interesting to see the directions the teams have taken.
The rough drafts are due tomorrow so we shall see how they work out.

One of the students asked if he could work on this at home and I reminded him since it was online that it would be easy to do. They haven't quite taken the jump to see how it makes their writing easier using the wiki. I will be interested to know tomorrow who makes the leap.