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September 12, 2012 / tasha cowdy

Creating a classroom management portal

One of the challenges for me with my flat classrooms course is to find ways to make the course assignments relevant to my early childhood class. Often I find that, actually, the big ideas are the same; we just approach them a bit differently with five year olds. However creating a classroom management portal that is useful in an early childhood class had me stumped. As I pondered what the very first steps of a classroom management portal would look like it occurred to me that a class wiki could be a good starting point.

Throughout the year, as part of a whole class inquiry into writing to entertain, the children have written many different fictional works and have taken several through to the publishing stage. They have had lots of opportunities to work collaboratively with the other children, both in YIS and in other countries through Kinderplay global projects. I wanted a system that would allow the children to work collaboratively on their stories and at the same time allow me to monitor the collaborations. We use kidblog for non fictional writing. Kidblog provides a simple and secure way for the children to experiment with blogging by themselves while allowing me have firm control of the reins. A wiki seemed like the next step.

I set up a collaborative writing wiki. Each child had their own page where they could write their stories. Other people could add to the stories. I put a link to the wiki on the class blog to make it easy for the children to get to the wiki by themselves. I explained that the wiki was a way for the children to collaborate with their parents and siblings. I showed the children how they each had their own pages so they could co-write stories with other people. The children were delighted.

  • That is soooo AWESOME!
  • Me and my dad can do a collaborate together!
  • I can’t wait.
  • This is the best idea we ever did!

The children started their first stories on the wiki. Some children chose to work with a partner and others preferred to work on their own.

The children were excited to think that their parents and siblings could share the stories and add their own ideas. Several children wondered if KinderPals in Canada would like to add to their stories. This is a work in progress. I expect that as I get more skilled in managing the wiki and learn more about the possibilities, I will be able to open up more opportunities to my five and six year old children.


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