Monday, March 6, 2006


Thanks to a recent post from Bud Hunt, I've been experimenting with wikis in my classroom over the past week and a half.

My students have been creating their own vocabulary lists from in and out of classroom reading. I ask them to make some predictions about what the word means before looking it up.

Using the wiki, they're now sharing these words with each other. There is some overlap; since we're reading Night in class, a few students are finding the same words, but able to add to each other's definitions and use.

Once we all have our first week of words posted, I'm going to ask students to find five words they think they could use more frequently in their writing and speaking. Instead of a test, I'll ask them to try to use the words in their Writer's Notebooks and maybe some sort of form their parents can sign when they use the word in conversations at home . . . I don't know, it's still under development . . .

Anyway, here's my first attempt at a classroom wiki.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Text Messaging in the Classroom?

I spoke with a parent yesterday afternoon who has discontinued her child's cell phone service after her grades dropped.

My first reaction was "thank goodness!" This student is a chronic text messager, and to many of my students text messaging is the ultimate form of note passing: digital, so there's no detection (so they assume).

But I think back to a lesson I taught last week where I let them write and pass notes to their friends to show differences in audience. Everyone had a lot of fun, and I think everyone "got it."

I was speaking to a group of teachers a few weeks ago, and many of them wished for the day when parents could control the hours of the day text messaging services are available.

But is there someway this new technology could be integrated in our instruction? One thought is that AOL Instant Messanger allows students to send messages between computers and cell phones without any additional software needed on the phones, allowing students without cell phones or text messaging to still participate. A downside is making sure the class sanctioned messaging won't rack up parents' bills.

Any ideas?