Building Our Neighborhood Neighbourhood #midlev #etmooc


Welcome to our wiki!  We have members !  We have resources, including a Diigo group and Evernote Notebook.

We have ideas for prompts and projects on the page Possible Projects.

All because we, together, want to build a neighborhood for support and sustenance in this hectic education world.

If you haven’t heard Dean Shareski’s Sharing As Accountability session, please do. It’s what we are doing as educators — accepting the responsibility to share our knowledge with each other for our students.

Here we go…




Thank you all for your continued commitment to “Learn and Share.”  Have a great week. I hope to tackle a prompt sometime this week. Remember, we build from each other, as we can. Gallit asked if there is a chat feature in wikispaces — does any one know? I think I can make a discussion page for each page we have. You are all organizers, so you can play around with creating pages and adding widgets. Let’s learn that wikispaces together.  Thank you!



Photo: CC by teach.eagle

Power: Compelling Collaboration

BeadworkHow powerful is global collaboration?  Sue Waters asks this. Even small projects can prove beneficial in more than academic ways.
I’ve just blogged a reflection on an ongoing project between my fifth graders in Nespelem, Wa and Kim Trefz’s fifth grade in Memphis, Tennessee to share the goals and results of a serendipitous Web 2.0 meeting of minds.  I read an intro to a new edublog on twitter, which linked to her classroom blog, which included a voice thread. I commented and we emailed. Twenty hours later, Kim and I had Skyped and decided to collaborate. We’ve centered our work around a wiki idea: Living History.  To meet each of our schools’ requirements, we’ve adapted as the needs demanded. We skyped an exhibition of our Native American dancers (please read blog) and bookmarked historical text and videos about our bands.  They researched and wrote about Memphis in wiki and Mapskip entries.  We then highlighted main ideas and commented with Diigo, and revised the comment in Mapskip. Her students are commenting back. Her reflection is here.

We’ll be starting up wiki collaboration after our respective Spring Breaks. It’s been an opportunity for both our classes to build commonalities despite our differences, all through the power of writing and learning with Web 2.0.

My eighth grade students respond to a mentor, preservice teacher from the University of Regina in Regina, SK, Canada who is creating photography lessons for my students.  We annotating pictures to add to a project in Youth Voices, a youth blogging site.

My fifth grade students watched the inauguration of Barak Obama and heard his call for service.  Therefore, we started a VoiceThread for which two other schools have now added their voice for “Mr. Obama, we can serve by…”

The sixth graders just started a mentorship with another University of Regina preservice teacher on newsblogging.

I became involved because students love the computer, and writing class is a natural place for being IN web 2.0 responsibly with its fullest capacity: text, images, video, design.

My students are more engaged in learning through the empowerment of a digital footprint with others so far away who have similar goals (writing to publish, service) but come from different backgrounds and experiences.  Because we live in a very rural area, now my students begin to understand similarities in a world of multiple perspectives; they think, care, and produce as responsible, digital citizens. These projects help meet our school mission: “to enable a child to become a thinking, caring, productive person using high academic standards in a positive learning environment.”

Flexibility is key to such projects, especially in the beginning, so that participants can engage while learning the schools’ required objectives. Dive in is the next key. Kim had not skyped before, but signed up that night, emailed me her name, and I skyped her to test it out the next morning, not knowing it was her staff meeting time. She introduced the Mapskip aspect to us.  It was an exciting adventure that just blossomed for all of us. Focus on the global: our overarching goal became sharing living cultures even though our vehicle is writing.

I recently sent this tweet to Kim, which represents the heartfelt side of these projects:

“ktrefz picture this: two of my boys -arms around each others’ shoulders – reading your kids Mapskip comments [back to them]; smiles; joy in their lives; thank you”

This is the joy of leading the change we wish to see in the world.  Powerful, isn’t it?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Gandhi


Much bolder projects others in which others have succeeded can be found at the Flat Classroom Project:

Find other projects at:

Teachers Connecting:

Online Projects 4 Teachers:

Commenting to our new friends

What’s Next?

Fifth grade and sixth grade still focus on elaboration in writing. However, we will dabble in applying our elaboration skills on election issues. I hope to introduce them to working together on wiki work to explain 1) How a person can become president and 2) Which candidate meets their solutions on the the student’s issues?

Seventh grade will finish their introductory research on Arctic global warming. We’ll break for a similar focus on elections as five/six since the topic is relevant and current.

Ditto for grade eight: they’ll complete their Who Are You art/media/text work in computers and the library study hall while our writing class begins the election focus.

All classes will vote: On September 23rd for Weekly Reader and on October 29th for the National Mock Election, which will include State elections also.

Students will have choices in daily and project work as they begin their role:

You are an informed citizen volunteer whom others will call upon for information. You volunteer at your candidate’s headquarters. As a volunter, you must thoroughly research the election process and the issues supported by your candidate and his opponent. You must create the information that voters need to make their choices.

Younger students will receive more support and guidance in writing project completion as they discuss the issues in class and with families to form and write their own opinions. Older students will make more design/product decisions on their own.

Will their products be accepted by the local headquarters? We’ll see.