In preparation for my presentation on Technology as Alternative Assessment at the Metro-Milwaukee Teachers Conference in March, I pitched my original lesson plans for the novel Freak the Mighty and decided to to something different.
The summer before I started teaching, I stumbled upon this book and practically devoured it. The book is narrated by Max, a boy who has a learning disability. The first line tells us, “I never had a brain until Freak came along and let me borrow his for a while, and that’s the truth, the whole truth. The unvanquished truth.” Freak (also known as Kevin) and Max form a friendship of which depth very few have experienced. In preparing to teach the book for the first time, I went through each chapter and pulled vocabulary words. I wrote questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher-order thinking. I thought, This is going to be the coolest novel work ever! (I’ve learned a lot about myself as a teacher since then!)
This time around, I decided to assist my kids in building a Wiki. You can see our work at http://freakthemighty.wikia.com. I told my kids that they should have at least one quality edit per chapter. I set up the skeleton for each of the pages, and the kids filled in the content.
Some enjoyed the idea and ran with it, others didn’t. I’m planning on putting together a post-unit survey to see some of their opinions on what they enjoyed about it or some suggestions they could offer for future novel units.
Our next book is The Giver by Lois Lowry, and I think for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to stick to the lesson plans that I’ve used in the past. I’m sure I’ll feel like sprinkling in some technology in the unit.
If you’re a teacher and have used a wiki in your class, what are some of the best things you and your students learned while creating it?
Until next time,
Keep a song in your heart!