Life is a journey, not a destination. ~Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Wonderopolis as our mentor text. It's been very gratifying watching them go back to Wonderopolis to see how the website has incorporated key vocabulary or written a conclusion. I can see the evidence in the kids' individual web pages.
Working collaboratively in Weebly has been an adventure this week. We had one of those days that if you didn't laugh, you would be truly exasperated. I'm sure the problem was with my "rookieness" in using the site this way.
I created our site, Wondering in Room 114 and then created a page for each child. We all used the same log in and password with the understanding that we would not edit any pages but our own. I chose not to create student accounts because I didn't want the kids to create a whole website. (That's the part I need to investigate more). On this particular day, kids were scattered everywhere. Some were upstairs with the intervention teacher, others were in the library with the media specialist, and some were in the classroom with me. Things were going along very well. Then I got a call from Mrs. Brown from the library.
Mrs. Brown: "Mrs. Johnson, some of the kids want to change their original website plans. They are discovering some new things on Weebly that they want to try. Is that ok with you?"
Me (feeling pretty confident since everything was going so well): "Yep. It's fine. I expected that they would want to add some new features once they discovered them." I know that happens to me when I'm working in with a new tool and I'm all about authenticity in the classroom. I assumed that the kids would stay on their pages and use the elements provided there. (And that was my mistake).
It wasn't 2 minutes later that some of the students started calling out, "Mrs. Johnson, the whole background changed. Now it's all blue and I don't want it to be blue. Wait, now the background has the picture in a different place."
"Mrs. Johnson, now my page is all about Bill Gates. That's E.'s page."
"Mrs. Johnson, I think J. changed everyone's pictures. I have basketball photos on my page."
Ughh! Chaos had erupted. I knew what was happening. When I said that kids could change things, they were changing the theme. Others forgot to save their photos to their page only, while others were inadvertently working on the landing page instead of their own. Unfortunately, the kids were in 3 different places, not all in the classroom where I could halt everything.
It took a few minutes and a few trips upstairs, but we got things under control. And I was reminded again of an important lesson. When working with young children and technology, it's important to know that there will be glitches. It's inevitable. Knowing in advance that things can and will go wrong and being patient and flexible is paramount to the success of a project such as this. In the last 4 or 5 years, there's been a huge paradigm shift in my teaching. I no longer need to be the "expert" when using technology (See Holly Mueller's post today about her experiences) and I am more comfortable giving up control. Sure, it was
They are still building and revising, and I am impressed with what they've done. They are embedding video and slide shows, adding hyperlinks, and playing with Google Draw. I hope that next week, I'll be able to unveil the final project for all to see.
|Another free photo slideshow by Smilebox|