Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Class' Wiki Has Been Blocked By the Board

My grade 12 class' wiki has been blocked by the school board. So the students cannot access it from any of the school's computers. The reason given is that it is a free site, and, therefore, its content cannot be controlled.

I am constantly checking what the kids post via Bloglines.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Unbelievable Reaction to the Wiki

If I may speak in an unprofessional manner for a moment...holy shmolly!

The 2 students who are the first to produce work on the SSO WH5T wiki have put so much effort into it, and are asking for my opinion and so carefully considering my opinion (and not just accepting it), that I'm freaking out! You have got to see this. A lot of comments already generated in only 3 days. All I did was create the home page! LOL

I'm proud of these students! I know that other students may not react the same, but it is nice to see some spark in students. I'm sure these 2 students will be great in teaching the other club members how to contribute to the wiki.

Dig its grooviness here.

By the way, SSO WH5T stands for Science and Society--Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Think. There was once a course called Science and Society, but it got canned by the provincial government. The students, though, wanted it continued as a club!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The New Club Wiki

Yesterday afternoon I helped to create the SSO WH5T Wiki. The spelling is correct, the "5" is supposed to be there. Instead of telling you what this club is about, I'll just direct you to the site.

The 2 students who would be the first to post were so thrilled to be able to help in the production of such a web page. You should have seen their faces! :) They have already created several pages and have already acted on my composition suggestion, that is, to move a paragraph to another spot to keep a logical flow to their writing.

They're terrific!

Please feel free to comment.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Class Wiki

I told the grade 12 classes today that they will be contributing to a class wiki. You should have seen the looks of fear and apprehension on their faces. Really, the fear was that obvious.

I told them that writing an entry for the wiki is as easy as writing in MS Word.

I am hoping that this fear will motivate the students into trying to write very good entries, i.e. they will really think about the topic about which they are writing the entry. To help accomplish this, I told them that their audience will be international.

I also told them that I will invite the other math teachers to comment on the entries.

The class wiki is here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How Time Was Wasted in the First 2 Days

I am giving a review quiz to my grade 9 math class tomorrow. I feel uncomfortable doing this, because I won't be able to do a decent homework take-up. True, it is a review quiz and the last 3 days were review, and the kids today demonstrated that they knew most of the review material, and they should already know this material.

So why the uncomfortable feeling?

Because I won't be able to do a proper homework take-up.
Well, I can do what I always do, that is, take-up at most 1 question (time constraints). For bellwork, I can write the question "is there a question from homework you want looked at?" Write some of their questions on the board, and take a vote on which they want looked at. And remember, it is a review of grade 8 math.

Because the lessons finished just before the bell sounded. I feel that I was not able to teach in the manner to which I'm accustomed, i.e. I guide the class through a problem, then I let them do a very similar problem on their own, then give them homework time in class. Two days should have been enough for my usual method, but I didn't know I'd have to factor in administrative tasks, because this is a homeroom. So I needed time to write locker combinations, and collect tracking sheet info. Next time, I will let them take home the tracking sheets.
Still, it is a review.

I will see how many homework questions they want me to cover tomorrow. I may postpone the quiz until Monday.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Order of Web 2.0 Introduction

This is the order in which I'd like to introduce the students to the social software:
  1. Firefox--done at home, with brief explanation on class blog, use Mozilla pages for explanation.
  2. Wetpaint Wiki--done at home, with brief explanation on class blog, use Wetpaint pages for their practice
  3. Bloglines/del.icio.us/Diigo--Bloglines done in E200, others introduced in same class but done at home, use del.icio.us and Diigo pages for explanation
      • introduced later in the course, when I begin talking about ISU
ThinkFree will be introduced when I teach Excel--i.e. I will ask them to go to the class blog, and click on link which takes them to my ThinkFree docs with the Excel lesson.

Tree Diagram generator, flickr, flickrtoys, Bubbleshare--introduced if and when needed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Assessing the Blog Posts of My Students

I have to assess the blog posts of my students so that they will be accountable, otherwise, they will produce awful work. I want the blogs to be a change from the usual, traditional "chalk and talk" method of teaching math. I want to use blogs to:
  • give students practice at being more reflective (so I'll have to use questions from Bloom's level 6)
  • give students practice at being better writers i.e. write with clarity and precision, while not using extraneous words and finding their writing style.
  • students will be allowed to create a blog with their peers, 3 students pre blog max, so as to have them collaborate and to reduce my marking.
  • I will tell them to be brief, get to the point; questions will need answers of at most 5 sentences, like the Communications questions I give on tests.
So here is the marking scheme for each posting:
  1. one mark for for a post that is sufficiently clear and precise i.e I understand what point you're trying to make
  2. one mark for backing up any and all claims with a fact/example/reference such as a hyperlink
  3. 1 mark for not using extraneous words, extraneous phrases, or chatspeak like "btw" or "on the other hand".
These will be worth 5% of your term communications mark.

What do you think?