Our thinwalled classroom is moving onto another project. November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada. Since Canadian soldiers have been serving in Afghanistan, this day has taken on a much deeper meaning for many across the country. A country gaining a new generation of veterans has that effect.
Between Wingham and Snow Lake, we have decided to look at war from a variety of perspectives. We are working on a multiple step project.
1.) We are using the buddypress site that was set up this summer for our initial research on World War 2 . When Ning changed to a pay for use model, I thought it was time to move on. Doing some research I found buddypress which is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to set up a set of forums and groups. While students have only entered this space and posted a few things, they have quickly taken to it. Students have chosen the forums they are interested in and are moving in to research mode. Communities are developing in each forum as students from Snow Lake and Wingham get to know each other and their research interests in a new way.
2.) After this initial research piece is finished, we are going to begin reading The Book Thief. This is a fantastic book. If you haven’t read it, please do. Heather and I plan on doing this as a read aloud to our classes. One day she will read over Skype to both classes and I will moderate a backchannel that the kids from both classes will be operating inside. The next day Heather and I will switch roles. This book can be dark and heavy in some places so we wanted to ensure that the kids have lots of people to discuss it with.
3.) The information picked up will move back and forth from the buddypress site and skype, through backchannels and onto blogs where students will post their own ideas and understanding of events from this time period. The students will move from community research spaces and brainstorming spaces to those that are more personal.
Bringing our students together in these multiple spaces over time, doing different things from research to posting personal reflections is a way to get these students into a variety of tools and thinking in new and different directions.
This is where we’re off to next. See places for improvement? Let us know in the comments.