The Case for Wiki-Based Projects (Part 2)

Last week I talked about my brilliant and doomed  innovative  plan to adopt a class wiki to help organize student projects and share resources amongst my classes. I'm rolling assignments related to this out next week, so it's probably a good time to talk about exactly how this whole thing is supposed to actually work. At a basic level, all I'm having students do is assemble a Google Sites page with information about their projects. All of these pages will be on the same Google Site, but the same thing could mostly be accomplished by having each student group just make their own site. The benefit of having everything on a single page is for ease of linking between pages (a staple of wikis) and so I have direct control over everything. That's less for the sake of my ego and more so I can ensure that a student doesn't link to somebody else's site only to find a month later that everything's deleted and nobody saved the info. It's cleaner if I have everyth

The Case for Wiki-Based Projects (Part 1)

A bit of preface; my ELP classroom is structured unlike nearly any class I ever took in school. It is, however, the dream class I always wished were possible. Outside of whole-class activities, discussions, and debates, a bulk of the work is on student-driven projects. The students pick something they're interested in, develop goals with a tangible end-product in mind, and do research to develop needed skills as needed. Some students work in groups, many are individual. It sidesteps the whole "when am I going to use this?" question by ensuring the students are working on something they have a desire to learn and use. One of my biggest issues to tackle going into the second semester of my big classroom experiment was efficiency. Teachers are already strapped for time, a fact I never really understood until I started doing this. When I was in school, and hour seemed to drag on into three, but now that I'm the tall person in the room I feel like I always have half as m

Fall 2018 Reflections

So, brief background for readers outside my classroom: I'm a first year teacher. I teach elective courses and my school's Extended Learning Program. I teach in Alaska. Yes, it's cold. This Fall has been a whirlwind, one which no amount of student teaching really could have prepared me for. Something about suddenly having full responsibility for everything happening in the classroom is simultaneously freeing and overbearing. This is doubly true when teaching electives, where there isn't as much Standards-Based goodness for me to look towards when I feel out of my depth. A lot of the last few months has been me figuring out what I ideas needed to teach, brainstorming the best way to give students experience with the topics, and then desperately hoping no fires burst out in the process. So far we've had a good run. There were only two fires this semester. I have 150 middle-schoolers. This is an accurate depiction of my classroom some days. That said, my class