Sunday, October 16, 2016

5 Ways to Use Wikis In Your Classroom

1. As a digital portfolio of student-created videos.

2. As a place for students to share notes on each unit of study in your courses.

3. As an alternative to textbooks. Work with colleagues in your school or department to create a multimedia reference site for your students. Include YouTube videos that use the "choose your own adventure" model to allow students to pursue areas of interest.

4. As an alternative to textbooks. Have students create reference pages for units of study in your course. When you do this students become responsible to each other for creating accurate and meaningful content that they can refer to when it comes time for assessment. For example, when I get to the 1920's in my US History curriculum I have each student create a page on a wiki about a theme from that decade. Some of the themes that the students cover are fashion, entertainment, and sports.

5. As a place to track, document, and manage on-going community projects. In my district every student is required to complete a community service project before graduation. As a homeroom or "common block" advisor teachers are supposed to help their students take the necessary steps to document that work. By creating a homeroom wiki you create a place where students can make weekly updates about what they have done to complete their projects.

If you're not quite sure what a wiki is or what makes it different from a traditional website or blog, watch Wikis in Plain English from Common Craft.

Magic Gopher - A Math Game

Magic Gopher is a fun little game in which students select a two digit number, add the digits together, subtract the new number from the original, then look up a symbol associated with the final number. The Magic Gopher the correctly "guesses" the final number symbol. Of course it's not actually magic, but young students will think it is.

Applications for Education
Magic Gopher could be a fun little way to get students thinking about the "magic" of mathematics. Allow them to struggle with the challenge of figuring out how the gopher gets it right every time then explain it.

The National Archives' Today's Document Offers Good Lesson Ideas

The US National Archives is a great resource for history teachers to keep in their books. I've written about some of their services in the past (here and here) and today I'd like to remind you of the National Archives Today's Document feed. On a daily basis Today's Document features a new image or document from the United States' National archives. The documents are usually accompanied by some additional research links and lesson plan resources.

One of the documents that I have used from the Today's Document feed was a petition to the US Government signed by Hopi (Moqui) Chiefs. One of the interesting things about this document is the way that the document was signed with the symbol of each family in the tribe.

Applications for Education
This document could be used with a wide range of grade levels. At the middle school or high school level the petition could be part of a lesson on the way the US Government redistributed land to Native Americans following the Dawes Act. The symbol-signature aspect of the document could be used in an elementary school lesson about cultural differences between European-Americans and Native Americans.