It's Elementary!

by Jamie Forrest

Losing my mind – but finding inspiration November 21, 2010

Filed under: eci831 — Jamie @ 1:39 am

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, last night you may have seen this tweet:

I had really started to freak out! I received these next two tweets in response.


The first response was really no help… (Sorry Alec!) It actually started to freak me out a little more! The second one seemed so simple. Breathe. Since there seemed to be nothing else I could do, I decided to take Barbara’s advice and just breathe. I turned off the computer, read a book, and went to bed. Of course, I kept thinking of it!

Thursday at school, I had asked two former students (now in grade seven) try the form I created to each submit a book review. I learned a few things watching them fill in the form and in trying to add their information to the original blog I had created. First, the form was much too labour intensive. Having them type the description from the back of the book took entirely too long, especially when it can easily be found elsewhere. Second, trying to format the information on the blog took me entire too much time.

Then, when it was posted to the blog, I realized that the formatting was hard to do on the blog. Also, with every new book that would be posted, the post that I want the kids to first see when they come to the page (the link to the form) would move lower and lower on the page, and eventually disappear from the front page altogether.

I decided to think back over all the different tools we’ve talked about this term: Twitter, Google Docs, Wikis, Delicious, WordPress/Blogs, YouTube, Edmodo… I started to think about what my project would look like using each of these tools at the platform. I just crossed out a blog. I’d tried Edmodo and didn’t like that. Twitter, YouTube, and Google Docs were out because of the age of my students. Delicious was an interesting one, once I started thinking about it. Perhaps students could post links to their book on AR Bookfinder or a bookseller website like Chapters and post their reactions in the notes section. However, once again, the age of the children and needing an email address/Yahoo account was a problem.

So, that left a Wiki. I started creating, playing, fooling around… I started adding books which, with a change to format, is a quick job now. It allows for more reactions to a particular book to be added easily. It allows for the home page, and the link to the form to stay front and center. You can see the wiki here. I have added books in YELLOW and ORANGE. What do you think so far? Do you have any suggestions? Any thoughts are welcome. Thank you!


8 Responses to “Losing my mind – but finding inspiration”

  1. Alyson Says:

    Oh Jamie – Hang in there…Love your Wiki though. Let me know how it works out for you.

  2. There’s always more than one way to solve a problem, some more elegant than the other. And sometimes you just have to try them all to figure out which one feels best.

    On a technical note, WordPress does have something called a “sticky” post that keeps that post at the top. I used this feature on our Green Home Chautauqua website – so you can take a look at it there. Re: the formatting issues, I have no suggestions… It is time consuming!

    The wiki looks good. What do your students and other users think of it?

  3. byrnesa Says:

    Looks great Jamie!

  4. Jamie F (@fiteach) Says:

    This comment was posted to me by Barbara on Twitter. I wanted to share:

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barbara McLaughlin and Jamie F, Jamie F. Jamie F said: New blog post: Losing my mind – but finding inspiration: #eci831 #edchat #edtech #elemchat […]

  6. Lisa M Lane Says:

    But…Did you find the email address? Perhaps something was sent from it?

    • Jamie Says:

      I did find the book that I had my email and password written in! I think that I still like the wiki better. I’ve been thinking about it more and more. We have leadership teams at my school (grades 6-8 students who take responsibilities for various things around the school). I think that ownership of this wiki could be transferred to the library and technology leadership teams in the coming year more easily than the blog could! Thanks for your concern.

  7. Jen Says:

    I like the wiki. I think it will suit your purpose better than a blog would. It also seems pretty easy to navigate. Great work.

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