Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Online Stickies -- Wallwisher

Today's guest blogger is DeLyn Beard, 4th grade teacher at Oak Hill School in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation.
"Where did I put that sticky note? I can't find it..." We've all had that conversation in our heads, maybe more than one time in a day! Wallwisher is a fun, techie tool with endless possibilities for all grade levels. Get rid of those small sticky notes, and put them online.

Getting Started:


Here's a great MentorMob list of directions, ideas, and lots of examples that describe how you can get started. It's so easy! (I'm a big fan of Mentor Mob! I use it to organize my math videos. Check it out!)


Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

As a 4th grade teacher, I'm not in a 1:1 situation, and I have only 2.5 computers in my classroom. (Yes, that is .5, because that one only works half the time!) All of my Wallwishers are housed on one site, beardsbrains.com. I have used Wallwishers for every topic imaginable. Because there are so many on my site, we needed to put the links to them in one place. My students came up with the idea of adding their links to one main page. They're so smart! Each time I add another Wallwisher to our site, I add the link to one main page. My blog is used daily. I always link the newest Wallwisher to our class blog. Students know that part of their homework includes checking the blog daily.


Features:

One of the most appealing features, I believe, is the fact that students are not required to have a username or password to post their thoughts and ideas on a Wallwisher. It's quick and easy! We all love that! You don't even need a username and password to create a new wall. I do have an account because I like having all my walls in one place; I will use the site as a reference for next year. Some of the newest features include being able to add pictures and video! How exciting! My students have been using Wallwishers along with QR codes in technology class. There have been a few limitations for Mac users, but I think we'll soon have access to all the features of PC users. I would like to be able to add my own picture next to the title; I haven't been able to do that on a Mac, yet.

This is our "brainstorming list" of African Americans we will research this month. Here are our ideas so far: 

While there are countless ways to use Wallwisher, (...a simple Google search will reveal the lengthy list) I will describe a few ways I have used them with my 4th graders. I began by using them as a "fun" way to let my students get acquainted with using our class site. I didn't assign them as official "homework" assignments. Instead, I asked to share their opinions by asking them questions that did not have one exact "right" answer. For example, in my back-to-school letter to my students, I invited them to post some answers on our Wallwishers that answered the questions, "What was the best part of 3rd grade?" and "What did you do during the summer?"
 

Get to know each other before school starts:


ELA/Reading:


    • Writing: Pre-writing - students can create a list of ideas for writing topics.
    • K/W/L Charts - Wallwishers can be used for any and all of those pieces of this graphic organizer.
    • Figurative Language - we are collecting idioms, similes, and metaphors right now.
    • Reading - post predictions or connections about the story we are reading.
    • Instead of worksheets, use Wallwishers to correct spelling, grammar, mechanics, etc.
    • Make a "Wonder" wall - just start with, "I wonder..." Students could post their wonderings, along with a web site that they can use to research their wonder. Wonderopolis is a great site you could use to spark thinking. My students love it!
    • Make a wall that has the steps in the writing process. Have students add their name under the sticky that shows where they are.

      Math:

        • For a given unit of study, such as fractions, students could use it as a place to post the important information needed to remember to study for the upcoming test. My 4th graders and I call them "math tricks."
        • Before a unit of study begins, students could record what they already know about a given topic.
        • A Wallwisher is a convenient place to keep math vocabulary words for a particular topic.
        • When you ask your essential questions for a lesson, students could record their answers.
        • Students could post their questions about a topic; if they are unsure of how to solve a particular problem, maybe others could answer it.
        • Have a Wallwisher that describes the steps in solving a problem - long division, for example. We are connecting math and writing in a powerful way!

          Miscellaneous Ideas:

          • Parents/PTA can use it to organize upcoming events: Who is responsible for which task?
          • Fun Stuff! Have students post an online sticky note that describes their weekend. Right now, we are collecting our favorite moments from 4th grade for an end-of-year book.
          • Professional Development - I recall in a faculty meeting recently, how many sleepy eyes I saw in the room. Why not have teachers record their thinking, questions, and connections during the meeting? Engagement at its finest!
          • For the 100th day of school, each of us brought in 100 pennies. We used a Wallwsiher to brainstorm various local non-profits to which we could donate our money. Here's the link to that wall.
          • Because the stickies can be moved easily, you can add numbers or letters and ask younger students to put them in order.
          The possibilities are endless. For me, Wallwisher has replaced traditional charts that I previously used in the classroom. We know our students need visual cues that capture their learning, and now, thanks to Wallwisher, those visual cues are not limited to classroom walls. They can literally hold them in their hands via a smart phone! This is another way to connect school and home. Using Wallwishers can promote creativity and "out-of-the-box" thinking. I have seen students who appear "shy" really share freely on our walls. It has been a blessing to see!

          I hope I have given you a few ideas, but I haven't even scratched the surface! That's what makes it so fun!
          I hope you give Wallwisher a try. You will love it, as will your students!

          The Challenge

          Create a Wallwisher account and try out the program, either to organize your own lists or try one of DeLyn's projects with your students.

          1 comment:

          1. Providing a space for students to collaborate and share their thoughts..work, etc...is always so valuable. I love that it provides a space for students that might not have shared in a out loud format in class. And that it is mobile and connects school with home is priceless.

            ReplyDelete