First, l want to invite you (okay, urge you, really) to visit and contribute to discussions about the American. Westward Expansion from 1780 to 1860. Here's a screenshot:
Now, the context. I'm hoping to engage my students in creating something with an authentic audience, while simultaneously teaching them a thing or two about US History & Language Arts. Oh yeah, did I mention my studnets are school-dependent 8th & 9th graders who may have a lot to say and share, but frequently struggle to get beyond concrete "worksheet questions."
My answer? Have these kids explore the world of wikis. First, we muddled our way through a Moodle wiki in which we worked on contributing ideas about revolutionary War era vocabulary. Next, we have moved on to a wikispaces
wiki because it offers easier editing and student/member engagement. More important, though, is the kids' work is more easily accessed by the global web community.
In this effort, we have begun developing content related to the Westward Expansion
. Unlike our first wiki in which specific pages/topics were assigned to individual students, this time around, I have kids editing different pages every time they login. I'm hoping this fosters greater collaboration by allowing students to contribute to each other's work.
Tonight, I've invited Twitter followers and Facebook friends to get in on the act and engage in discussions on the different pages. Now, I'm hoping the Classroom2.0 community will jump on board.
Please take a moment to contribute to the discussions on the different Westward Expansion topics my students have started working on (Treaty of Paris, Louisiana Purchase, Spanish Cession, Annexation of Texas, Mexican Cession, Oregon Territory). When you get to the page, look for these topics and engage in the project with my kids.
Here's that link again: North ALC Westward Expansion