November 18, 2011
Organize Your Teaching With Wikis
This is the fifth in a series on classroom management through wikis. Here are links for wikis I’ve created for grades K-5.
This one is Fourth Grade:
You can organize a classroom with blogs, internet start pages (click for more on internet start pages), wikis, even twitter (Click for more on twitter). Wikis are the most thorough. Take a look at my fourth grade class wiki . I have room for student and parent resources, homework, What we did Today (for absent students or parents), grade-level skills, favorite links. You can even add student pages, created by students. This is very popular in the older grades. When students are absent, I send them to this wiki to see what we did and what they need help with. When we’re getting ready to submit a project, they can check out the grading rubric here, be sure they have all required pieces. This is a great spot to include extensions for those precocious students who finish everything early. I’m going to add a ‘sponge’ page, for just that reason: a place students can go to try theme-oriented websites that can be completed in 5-10 minutes.
How fast do fourth graders get used to the click-clack of finding the wiki? A few weeks, but I don’t design it for only the students, rather the parents also. Fourth grade parents want so much to stay on top of activities, class work, requirements, and they understand the five-year-old brain isn’t yet mature enough (in most cases) to collect and remember pertinent facts. Sometimes, that age child can’t differentiate what they must remember and what there’s no need to. This site solves those issues. If it’s not on here, parents can rest comfortably it isn’t required. There’s also a ‘Discussion’ tab on each page so parents can communicate their thoughts with me if there’s a pesky part that perturbs them.
A class wiki also helps me stay organized. I consider it the best classroom management tool I use. I can go back in time, see the details of what I did last year, the links I visited, samples of projects, and update where necessary. And the best thing about a class wiki: It’s free through Wikispaces.com and so many other purveyors.
Click here for more information on wikis.
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, an Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, an IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.