Friday, May 15, 2009

Send them shopping?

Today a group of kindergarten and first grade teachers met to work on our wikis (it's hard to believe that just a year ago, I thought a wiki was some new game!) We looked at both the kinder and first grade wikis and discussed our intent - to gather together resources that would move our work forward. We decided on some guiding principals:
  • We would decide on an organizing structure for each page so that items could be found quickly and efficiently.
  • We would look at the quality of each item. The purpose of the wikis is not to find everything that has ever written about the subject, but to gather the fewer things that can move our work forward - resources of quality.
  • We would describe each item so that a teacher could peruse the list quickly to find what she needs. We would think about our new teachers to make sure that the description adequately described each resource.
  • We would be visual as much as possible, including pictures, videos, charts, etc. to make the resources come alive.
At that point we divided into pairs and looked at the same items on both the kindergarten and first grade wiki so that the two would have some organizational similarities. For instance, the team that looked at author studies, looked at the Eric Carle page in kindergarten and both the Mem Fox and Kevin Henkes pages in first grade. We listed all of the pages on the board. Each team chose their own task and then checked it off when it was finished. This is an intense, detail-oriented, time-consuming task that can quickly numb the brain!

The team broke for lunch with most of the participants choosing to go off campus for lunch - a guilty pleasure for a teacher who normally eats very quickly with small children! After the group had been gone for an hour, I got a phone call! They were stranded at Panera's due to car trouble and needed a ride back to school. We hopped in a van to go pick them up and what do I find when I arrive? SHOPPING! This group uses every second productively so while they had to wait, some of the group decided to shop! While they bought a few things, they did assure me that they had worked on our project on one of their iphones during lunch to make sure they made the best use of their time! One of our newest hires was a little distraught that one of her first pictures on the web would be of her shopping instead of working, but she told me to assure Mrs. Phillips that she would work to make up the time! Too funny!

Actually it was a good break for work that is so intense and takes such focus and concentration. When we got back to school, the group buckled down and worked that with fervor. I think the entire group was pleased with our results. Even with the work today, the wikis are still just a work in progress. They will not ever be finished, but will continue to be a place where we can house our newest finds to make our work the most efficient and productive. Probably the best product of the day is teachers who have been given the time to really explore each resource and to think through the best ways to organize for the best usability. I am sure this group will continue to work throughout the summer and next year on adding and editing which, after all, is what this idea of a wiki is all about - a collaboration so that the final product is better than any of us could have done alone. Check out our kindergarten and first grade wikis. Let us know what you think!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a sad picture of the decline in our Ed. system.

They were in a boat store?

Perhaps, if they had paid attention in science class, they could have fixed the path that the electrons needed to flow through and been on their way :-}