Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Connecting School and Home with a Wiki

Our second graders study insects and this year I wanted to create a home/school connection involving insects. I came up with the idea of starting a Wiki for the entire second grade (six classes). My goal was to teach the students how to insert pictures, so they could take pictures of insects they see at home and post them on the Wiki to share with the rest of the second grade. Yesterday we had our first connection as one student added four pictures from home and shared them in class!

The mechanics of adding a picture were a little complicated for second graders, but I felt the concept was well worth the effort. I began by making a Wiki with as they allow you to create a private site accessible to only those who sign in. The first page consists of  a table with student numbers that correspond to either the computer they sit in my room or their classroom numbers. Six students share a page and also share a log in containing their student number.

As I mentioned, the mechanics of inserting a picture were difficult, but due to the timing of my lesson and their insect lessons in class, I had to start there. This week we are going back in to add general insect information under our pictures. I also created a page for each class, from which we will create a page for each student to record research on their assigned insect.

My future plans include creating your own insect that has body parts of other insects, sort of a remix. The students will use each other's research pages to collect the information, complete a planning sheet and then draw their insect in SmartNotebook. As I did last year, they may then create a Power Point animation of their insect getting food in its habitat and escaping its predators.

Future uses for the Wiki will hopefully involve pen pals with another school and collaborative story writing. There are many other uses here, and as we use the Wiki more, we will try some of them.