I'm not by any means saying that the excitement over what we started in my room yesterday means I've overcome any of this in the slightest, but it was cool and my kids are excited about it. That's good enough for me right now.
Wonderopolis, it's a website that basically posts a "wonder of the day" each day. The "wonders" are accompanied by articles, videos, etc., so that the reader can explore a topic further. There are a bazillion wonders in many categories, so there is bound to be something interesting on there for each of your students. I decided that I wanted to use it with my class, but didn't have a clue how to go beyond just showing them the site. I still don't have a fully formed plan, but I'm jumping in.
Here's the background. I was talking with my team at a recent PD about ways to integrate technology into the reading unit we were working on. The issue of students' lack of keyboarding proficiency came up, so we talked about how to hold them accountable for more keyboarding time, without taking a chunk of the day for Type to Learn, which we just don't have enough time for. We decided that if we got our kids set up on Google Drive, we could assign writing about reading work that they would be required to type, and they would have to share it with us on drive, thereby holding them accountable. We also talked about how to keep NF going as we move into a unit that is focused on short, fictional text--the idea of "Nonfiction Fridays" was tossed around. I filed that thought for another day, as it was almost Christmas & I couldn't have started something new if I tried.
After break, I had Bryan, our elementary technology resource person, come in and help me and the kids get all set up on GD. We have an in-district account, so they each have their own login and it's secure. They logged in, set up a portfolio folder, and shared it all with me. However, now I had to do something with it. Eeep!
Bryan and I both felt really rushed and like we could have done more with the kids that afternoon, so I had lunch with him this week and we talked a bit about what else I could do around this seed of an idea. Yesterday, I had all of the kids revise the way they had their portfolio folder set up, based upon some of that conversation and feedback. Now, they each have a portfolio file, inside of which are individual subject files, all named in such a way that will make them easier for me to access than originally.
Here's one of my little friends sharing their folder with me. It literally popped right up in my Google Drive, which was visible up on the Smartboard. They were psyched when they saw their portfolios, because they had immediate confirmation that they had been successful:
Then, I had them create a Google Doc in their reading folder where they listed their wonders. I explained that they will choose one next week to do more with, but for the moment, I just wanted to know what they were interested in exploring. They typed the wonders into the document and named it. Now, since their entire portfolio has been shared with me, I can access their work from wherever.
Next step: I spent time after school reading what each of them wrote, and then wrote comments and suggestions on each of their documents to move them towards choosing one of their wonders to focus on next week. How cool is it that I can leave a comment and then they can revise based upon what I say AND comment/ ask questions in response, all without having to have any sort of flash drive or print anything out?! Those of you who are way more savvy than I am are probably laughing at my old-lady ways, but I'm seriously psyched about this. Here are some of the wonders they were interested in:
Cool, right? The plan is murky, but this I know: they will do some planning, researching and writing about their "wonder". Maybe there will be a multimedia component to the final product--I don't know. I do think that this is a great way to combine technology and keep non-fiction going in our classroom, and I think it's all kinds of engaging based upon their reactions, so I'm excited about it. I'm going to keep it relatively small and contained this first time, so that I can work out the kinks and figure out the best way to use it. I know that regardless of where we go with Wonderopolis, I'm as excited about using Google Drive and being able to take our little corner of the school a teensy bit paperless.
I'll post back about how it's going, and I'd love to hear from anyone out there who is using either of these tools in the classroom!