I could see using a wiki as a great way to have students research and share background info about a book we are reading. During the most recent A mod we read Rita Hayworth & the Shawshank Redemption in Crime Fiction. On the first day of class, students posted questions regarding the aspects of prison life or the prison system they were curious about on the Whipple Hill message board. I asked them to choose one of their questions, search for an answer and share their findings the next day. They were all genuinely curious and came up with some interesting information which they did share in class, and which added to everyone's understanding as we read the book. It went well, and I found myself referring as often as I could to the info people had found throughout the unit, but I think a wiki would have fit nicely here. I could have had them post their questions on the wiki instead of Message board and summarize their findings on the wiki as well. This would have given them the opportunity to add links as needed, comment on each other's findings, and even add to each other's answers. Using a wiki would have enabled us to turn this into a unit-long inquiry that everybody had the chance to contribute to. It would have enabled us to capitalize on the genuine interest the students had about the subject and been more actively involved in the unit. We could have added a page for students to post their favorite lines from the text as well...
I am teaching the book again, but with the relatively few classes left in the mod I can't see trying this out now. I could see trying it in the next A mod when Children's Lit engages in a unit on Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak though.
Monday, January 16, 2012
I subscribed to Google Reader last year but quickly forgot I had done so and never checked it! I logged back in and added several feeds to my list (with more to come) and admit to feeling somewhat overwhelmed. I feel my news intake is already fairly shallow - I do lots of headline skimming and not as much actual article reading as I would like - and I have trouble focusing with so many options available. I am resolved to check it every day for the next week and see if it makes life easier.