Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Pirate Wiki is Finally Finished!!

About 12 weeks ago we started a study of pirates and celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day in mid September. We used the topic as content for what we thought was going to be a review of researching skills and an introduction of the "wiki model" to our 4th and 5th graders. Sixth graders had done a wiki last year. We'd planned on a 6 week unit and got broadsided a few weeks in.

Our 4th and 5th graders had no skills!! These are gifted kids!! My co-teacher ended up teaching a step-by-step unit on the research process including note taking, main idea, copyright, citing sources, etc. We have come to the conclusion that NCLB has sucked all the time out of the classroom and kids are no longer getting research, writing and for that matter basic technology (keyboarding and word processing) in the classroom. We actually had a gifted 5th grader ask us what "indent" meant!! Yikes!!

Well that aside, the students finally finished their paragraphs for the wiki and the editing is almost done. Here's my opinion of wikis for elementary kids---they are a different place to publish research. I like the linking to each other's work. But I don't think we are using it to its best advantage --as a true collaboration tool. I'm wondering if we will ever get to that point. See Arrrpirates here.

Sing a Song

Here is a website application you may never need. It's called Sing a Song. You write something and through "tags" the words are picked out of exisitng songs. Pretty wacky!