With that first step out of the way, I'm thinking of other things I can do with my class. I have created a wiki for the students to use for posting their work as we explore various themes and units. ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) We begin the year with the miracle of the monarch butterfly, observing a caterpillar as it forms a chrysalis and emerges as a beautiful winged creature which we carefully release. In addition, I order Painted Lady caterpillars and we repeat the process with them. I've created a Caterpillars and Butterflies page on the wiki for student work. The plan is to have the students use our Flip Video camera to record the stages of the life cycle to add to the wiki along with their narration. We create butterfly life cycles out of art supplies and write about the cycle as well. I'm thinking that this year I may introduce poetry very early and have the kids write some about their observations. All of those assignments can be posted on the wiki to share with families and friends.
Another passion of mine is digital storytelling. Staying with the wiki for now, I've created a page for the students' stories to be uploaded. Although I experimented with this last year, I would like to expand student time spent creating digital stories this year. One goal is to involve families more as we request photos and objects from home that will personalize the students' creations. I think the wiki will be much more accessible to families at a distance than the site where I posted things last year. My plan is to begin on the first day of school by having each child create a picture of something that tells about them. I will photograph each child with their picture (no names, of course) and make a slide show using Animoto to post on our wiki.
It can be shown for Open House as well!
This is all still just the tip of the iceberg, but as my students' reading and writing skills develop, we will expand our journey into the 21st century classroom. I'm feeling more confident everyday as I sort it all out...