I guess I should write up a brief description of this project, especially if I'm going to blog about it!

The major concept is that students will take on the role of newspaper reporters, and write articles about a given area of World History (I chose Ancient Rome for this first project). They will do their own research, and publish their articles on a wiki. I came up with 35 different articles that students could write about, and created wiki pages for each of them. Students work in collaborative groups of 3 to 4, so there are only 6 or 8 groups per period.

The first phase of the project is where the students write their initial articles. Using the web, students learn about a particular aspect of Roman history, either a person, or an event, or some other part of life. Then they turn that knowledge into an article, written as though they were writing about current history.

So far, so normal.

The second phase is where I hope to harness the power of the wiki. Since every class has a different set of articles, the plan is to rotate the articles through the classes for fact-checking. In other words, 1st period will fact-check 3rd period. 3rd period will check 4th period. 4th period will check 5th period, and so on.

The third phase (which I may cut, if I run out of time), is the polishing phase. The articles are rotated again, and this time groups go through looking at how the article is written. Did the original authors write as though they were reporters, or did they write as though they were students in the 21st Century?

Once this is all done, students will individually use the completed wiki (if the term "completed" can ever be applied to a wiki) to answer a page of potential test questions. The test itself will consist of two or three of these questions.

That's how it stands in my head at the moment. Like most plans, it is subject to change. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Views: 38

Comment by tdsmorris on September 27, 2007 at 1:55pm
How old are the kids? I did a similar project to this (minus the wiki) for some juniors and seniors in high school, but focusing instead on Hamlet. My only real suggestion is to make sure they understand how to write a good lede. You can also talk to them about layout and design. Here's a good resource:
Comment by Terry Smith on September 27, 2007 at 7:49pm
Matt - I think the news writing scenario to explore topics is very appropriate and attractive to students, both high school and in elementary. I've been experimenting with a weekly classroom newspaper for a number of years (grade 4), and have settled in to having the kids write about the main topics of the week from science or reading or from our Internet projects. Helps reinforce what we've discussed or learned, provides a kid-written forum for parents to see what's happening in the classroom, and makes for good kid work to post on our web site for other classrooms to see on the Internet. An all-around multifaceted methodology - hard to handle sometimes as far as kids staying on task, but always worth it in the end.
Comment by janien on September 28, 2007 at 1:12am
Sounds great! Best! I'll come back, I have to hurry to go to school now, sorry.


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