Inspired Classroom Upadate – Wiki for Texting

Last December I started a classroom wiki. I kept it private and controlled and asked parents to request memberships to join as a viewer only. For me this worked well because I needed to feel in control and comfortable with the tool as a part of my Inspired Classroom model. Students responded very well but parents never really got it. Some joined others just let well enough alone.

This year I started a new wiki right away and got all the students on board within a week. It is open for public so parents can get to it easily without barriers. Students are the only ones with access as members and writers. They can create pages, add comments, pictures and have their own folders.

It’s been 6 weeks since we started school and my students seem to think the wiki is a great way to text! I have reviewed making comments, appropriate use and so on but they really want to text. Is it possible that in a year the students are so much more aware of social networking, texting on phones and twitter from their parents and TV that they expect to be able to text?

I am fascinated by their desire to communicate synchronously. Still, I need to develop writers who can communicate whole thoughts and express their ideas and opinions with support. Will the wiki really succeed in addressing helping students reach their writing objectives? I guess that’s up to me!

Update! They made some great comments today about our black widow spider.

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2 Responses to “Inspired Classroom Upadate – Wiki for Texting”

  1. Karen Says:

    Hi Kathy
    I teach third grade in San Diego and I visit your class website periodically. I’m inspired by you.

    This month I’m going to start a class wiki. I hope to use it for writing, reading response, math and perhaps even our science observations. How did you introduce it to your students? Are there any major issues that came up when you first introduced it?

    Thanks for being so inspirational…

    Karen

  2. Kathy Shields Says:

    Hi Karen,
    You made my day! I checked out your website and blog and I think adding a wiki to the mix will seem very natural and get your students even more engaged if that’s possible. I should probably write a post on the best way to introduce a wiki to the classroom because I have learned a thing or two. First of all, I explain that we are going that we are going to be sharing a website that will be like a bulletin board for the world to view. We read together the contract I wrote. Next, students take the pledge and sign it agreeing to follow the rules with the understanding that they may lose their priveledges.

    I don’t pass out the user names and passwords until everyone has returned the parent permission slip. I also email the link to parents so they can look at the wiki. Most parents don’t really know what it means until their child starts touring them through their first few pages. My parents have been enthusiastic supporters of the wiki this year because it truly is a window into the classroom. It helps them to start conversations, ask questions and feel better informed. Start with an activity that involves posting comments and then review proper commenting and the purpose for commenting. I know some teachers have a commenting rubric. I just have some examples. Well, that was nearly a whole post. I will expand further on another day. Let me know how it goes.

    Thanks again. Kathy

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