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.


ms. whatsit said...

Wow! I love the notion of students building a wiki together. I'm going to share this wiki with my technology group at work when we get together to discuss how we can use web 2.0 to increase student achievement.

nbosch said...

Like I said, I don't think the collaboration was there---i.e. kids adding to or changing other kids work. But they did all add something to make a bigger something! As I said at Classroom 2.0 I don't know how a classroom teacher would ever find time to do this in the classroom. It's just too darn time consuming.

ms. whatsit said...

Nancy -- I hear you. It's still mighty impressive.

This wiki does make a compelling case for educators who are otherwise disinterested in providing web 2.0 opportunities for students.

nbosch said...

It beats one of our district's 6th grade objectives-- "The student will do a report on a country of their choice!!" Yikes.

ms. whatsit said...


I'm sharing your wiki with some teachers from my district. :-)

nbosch said...

Ms. Whatsit, you might enjoy our next mammoth project. We started a project this week on the Titanic. Using primary source documents (there are tens of thousands available) we are going to answer some essential questions. The curriculum and searchable database (still under construction) were given to me by the school board of Western Australia---I'm pretty excited. See the website here and stop back to see the kids work added.