Sunday, November 15, 2009

More About Using Wikis in My Classroom

Phew! I made it through the first trimester of school! There were days when I thought I'd never survive with my sanity in tact, but then the next day I can't believe how fast the days are going. I can't believe the school year is already one-third over.

Once again I am finding myself creating new curriculum and trying new things I've never done before. That combination makes for an interesting school year. Not only am I stretching my limits by teaching a class of 6th graders (and believe is a BIG stretch!), but I'm trying new things with them. What I'm finding, however, is that the new things are GOOD things. First I tried going paperless (thanks to budget cuts!). That wasn't too hard considering the fact that I have great computers in my classroom and can just download handouts to our student-shared server, but then I created a wiki to use with them. They LOVE it! One of the greatest benefits of using the wiki was the fact that the kids were excited to use it, so I didn't have to tell them to get focused when the bell rang...they already were!

Next I got brave and started another wiki about national parks that put more responsibility in the hands of my students. They added pages, edited text, uploaded pictures, added links, and all the good stuff that a wiki allows you to do. What a huge success it was. This wiki was a take-off of a project that I discovered on the Apple Learning Interchange. At first I was a little nervous about giving the kids so much freedom in the wiki, but soon discovered that my students could easily grasp the concepts of creating a wiki page complete with photos and links. They didn't let me down! Check it out! (6th Grade Computer Basics - National Parks Project)

Now the first term is over, and I get to start with a new group of students. That in itself is quite a challenge. The good thing is...I feel so much more confident about what I'm teaching them! And THAT, my friends, is a GOOD thing. I'm beginning to think that I'll survive this school year after all. Phew! I had my doubts a few weeks ago!

So as I head into a second term, I will continue to look for cool things to enhance my curriculum. After all, no curriculum should ever be completed. It should be ever-growing and ever-changing. If you have any great ideas...send them my way!

Look out I come!

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