Sunday, February 24, 2013

Incorporate Writing and Vocabulary into Class Wiki

Creating the wiki for my classroom was easy, the harder part was figuring out how to incorporate it into my class.  The first way I used it was to post lesson vocabulary, grammar explanations and resources.  Then I began having students post their writing.  But it was still not achieving what I wanted which was to have students interact more with the wiki in order to learn more.

One thing that I did was to have students critique each other's work.  I assigned each student a partner and they had to give each other feedback.  I set the rule that they needed to give three comments two compliments and one revision.  The reason to do this is that you don't want students to go overboard on their critiquing and you want it to be a positive experience for the ones receiving the critiques.

At first I had set up a table with students names on it in one column and on the other column the student would enter their writing.  When students critiqued each other they would enter it underneath the student's writing in a different color. It was pretty rudimentary and I was not very happy with it.

The changes I made to this system have made it much easier and more interactive.  First I entered the description of the assignment on a page with the name and date of the assignment.  Then I entered a discussion post giving them instructions how to enter their writing.  Then I checked to Monitor Topic so that I would get emails when the students entered their writing.  It also has a Lock Topic button which is useful if you want to set a deadline for students to enter their work.  

The other thing I implemented was to have them interact more with the vocabulary we we're learning.  I assigned each student three vocabulary words.  On the Unit vocabulary page I posted a discussion where students had to enter a sentence using each of their words.  This made students review the vocabulary word definitions that I had posted in the wiki, instead of waiting until before the test to review the vocabulary.  In class students shared their sentences and we corrected some of them if they need it.  

Researches say that it takes 7 times for a student to interact with a word in order to learn it and 21 times in order to start using it.  If students only see a word when we first learn it and then when they have to review for the test that is only two times, that doesn't do much to increase their vocabulary.


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