Today in class, I guided students through the steps of creating their own introductory wikipage for my Language Arts class. On this page, they included a welcome greeting using a “cool” text generator, uploaded a favorite picture using, and added a favorite quote from a quotation site. These pages will be linked from a Student Pages site on our class wiki, and students will be responsible for maintaining them throughout the year. They will also develop additional pages in the future as our class progresses. I’m hoping my district will pick up student blogs using Edublogger soon, but no word on that yet.

Teaching Language Arts in a Different Way

You might be wondering how I justify using class time to teach technology when I have all of those TEKS to cover. Pretty simple. Language Arts is easily integrated into many different subjects, and technology is one that works particularly well. You should know that I am also this group’s designated computer teacher on Thursday, so I am working with two sets of learning standards, and I think I’ve found a way to mesh them together perfectly.

In creating their page, I was able to teach several concepts. For Language Arts I emphasized mood and tone, formal language, punctuation, and attribution. For technology I touched on design and layout, embedding html code,  and producing work for an audience. This is how our lesson unfolded.

Snapshot of My Lesson

After students logged in as users on wiki, they named their new page and the fun began. I demonstrated text editing in wiki using the text style editor. I was able to show students that they were setting the tone for their page based on the type of welcome greeting they chose. Some students used “Enter at Your Own Risk”  or “Dare to Enter My Page”, while others used “Welcome to My World”, and “Welcome to My Wiki”. Through these greetings, I showed students the importance of word choice and the effect it would have on an audience. Often times when students turn in a writing assignment to the teacher, I’m not sure they consider that writing for a real audience. So, I like to give my students the opportunity to publish work online and in other public areas. I was able to discuss the appropriate use of quotations and giving attribution to the author of the quote they selected.

Students were excited to be able to list a section of “Favorites” including books, food, colors, subjects, and many more! We reviewed using images and saving those in the “My Pictures” file for later use. We discussed copyright issues, but that will be an entire lesson for a different day.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the lesson was teaching the kids how to create their personal avatar using VOKI. Voki is a free software where students can create speaking avatars by either recording their own voices or using the text-to-speech feature. After students make the selections for their avatar – everything from clothing, appearance, and bling – they publish the avatar which provides an embedding code using html. I showed students the code, and we reviewed how to copy and paste html code to produce a desired result.

Overall, the lesson was a success. I will be evaluating the student pages in the next two weeks after students have had enough time to finalize selections and edit the page carefully.

Thanks for stopping by today. As always, I’d love your comments and feedback!

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Tags: English, arts, audience, integration, language, skills, teaching, technology, writing


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