Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wiki-Wiki-What? Magic!

"Why isn't this course counted as a computer credit?"

That's a great question . . . I am certified to teach English, but not business/computers.

"Can we ask Mr. Ward [the high school principal] or Mrs. Brandon [the high school guidance counselor] to allow your English class to be counted as computer credit?  We do as much with technology in this class than we do in computer classes."

That's true . . . Mr. Ward checked into that a couple of years ago.  According to the Regional Office of Education, since I am not certified in business or computer technology, I am not regarded as a highly qualified teacher in computer technology.

"But . . ."

Yeah, I know.

While this conversation occurs between students and myself multiple times a year, it doesn't hinder our lessons and projects, nor my style of teaching - geared to prepare students for their futures.  Students just completed the project portion of their semester exam this weekend, analyses of American Romanticism on the PPHS English 332 Wiki.  In striving to create assessments that will realistically test the students over the material and skills that were covered throughout the semester, I decided a continuation of the Wiki created by last year's English students, analyzing American Modernism, was the logical choice for 3/4 of the semester exam grade.  The other 1/4 will be determined from a grammar test on the designated semester exam day.

Perfect!  In the Wiki project, student's will be able to show proficiency in analyzing, evaluating, and writing as well as collaborating and offering constructive criticism.  In the grammar test, students will be able to show proficiency in identifying parts of speech, phrases, clauses, parts of the sentence and in determining words that are being modified by phrases or clauses.

Following are the project expectations:

Project Expectations of American Romanticism Project (3/4 of Semester Exam grade)
Using the Literature Book and additional credible, authoritative sources (no dictionary, encyclopedia, wikipedia-type sites, or spark-note/e-note-type sites), define all Aspects of American Romanticism. Everyone is required to post the Aspects of American Romanticism page. Each student will sign up to analyze one Romanticism short story and one Romanticism poem. Mr. Langley will create pages for each work of literature as students sign up. Students will post their essay assignments and video assignments to the wiki page corresponding to the work of literature they are analyzing.

All work on the wiki is due no later than 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Saturday, December 11, 2010.

Failure to use citations, using citations incorrectly, or claiming another’s work as one’s own is plagiarism and will result in a zero grade for that portion of the assignment.

Reports that are missing components or not formatted properly will not be scored. Be sure to complete all components of the assignment. Late or incomplete reports will not be accepted.
The project is worth 300 points of the Semester Exam with the following breakdown (The remaining 100 points of the Semester Exam will come from the Grammar Test on Semester Exam day):

Using Classroom time - up to 25 points (points will be logged each class period)
Posting to the Aspects of American Romanticism page - up to 25 points
Each essay (2 essays) - up to 100 points each (Rubric) = 200 possible
Post honest, helpful, and respectful criticisms on the Discussions Tab of 10 of the Romanticism Works pages - up to 50 points

The Following assignment will be on each page created for the work of literature:

Create a video presentation summarizing your report on each author and embed it into the page

Delete this text and replace it with your embed code for your video - be sure to use MLA parenthetical citations and place your Works Cited list at the bottom of the page

Write an essay discussing the following points:
  1. Thoroughly show how the work of literature fits the definition of Romanticism.
  2. Show how the writer’s life affected his/her work.
  3. Show how the work compares in style, character, theme, etc. to other works by the author and to your other assigned work.

Delete this text and replace it with your answer - be sure to use MLA parenthetical citations and place your Works Cited list at the bottom of the page

Once again, the level of writing has made me gush with excitement.  The comments on the discussion tabs have also demonstrated that students are aware of the style rules of formal writing.  The fact that the wiki is a real world product, a research venue for others on the internet with material cited from credible sources, make the learning magic even more powerful.  I love magic!


  1. I love to see you teach, Pirate Langley. You raise an interesting question about students getting credit in computing through an English class. That says something about our perception of computing as something different than "what we usually learn."

    Keep up the good work. You are involving your students in authentic learning. Have you heard of Wikibooks? Here is a wikibook that we wrote in one of my classes

    Keep it going.


  2. Thanks Dr. Z. The wikibook format looks pretty appealing. Excellent topic of choice!