Two fifth grade reading classes in Georgia have put together what I think is a great example of a book study wiki filled with information about the book itself and contextual information including photo slide shows, audio recordings of student performances, interviews and historical reports. The book is Patricia Beatty’s Turn Homeward Hannalee. One thing that I think is especially cool is that the teachers took the time to add their reflections to the site which is a great way for the rest of us to learn and think about how this might work in our own practice:
This project gave the students the opportunity to “become the teacher” and is a great example of authentic learning. The students immediately took ownership of this project, so I was able to simply facilitate the process. I was pleasantly surprised that everything ran so smoothly even though I had never attempted to create a website on my own or with my students. Since the students were each given a different area to work on they were able to express what they had learned in their own unique way. This activity allowed the students to integrate what they had learned to create something new. Also, it gave the students a confident feeling to see their work in a format that will help other students and teachers learn about the two thousand Georgia mill workers who were shipped north by the Union Army during the Civil War, and the many other historical facts and interesting information from Turn Homeward, Hannalee.
I know I say this a lot, but this is a perfect example of giving our students the opportunity to teach what they have learned. This work now has a chance of becoming a part of other students’ study of not only this book but this part of the state’s history. In Marco Torres’ words, this is work “that has wings.” BTW, the teachers are also looking to get feedback from other educators, students and readers.
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