Wallwisher – Stimulating Out of Class Conversation

Throughout this year, I have been participating in a Reading Literacy PD to help cultivate my student’s reading skills in the context of history. Each month, we have a technique or skill that is modeled, practiced and then eventually assessed. This month, our skill is questioning.

Student’s need to be able to have an internal monologue in their minds while reading. They need to be constantly asking questions about the text they are engaging with, and then trying to answer those questions while using the text. As they practice this in class, I was trying to think of a way to practice this in a more interactive way than just student created lists or graphic organizers. This is where Wallwisher comes in.

I was introduced to Wallwisher by my friend and colleague, Candace Marcotte, who is doing some awesome things over at her blog, Ms. Frizzle’s Flow.  Candace introduced me to this virtual wall, that allows you to post short messages with extreme ease. I jumped at the chance to utilize this with my student’s questioning, and created several walls, posted them on my classroom site, and offered soem extra credit to those to tried them out. The instructions were, post name, class and a high level question that the reading homework created for you. I plan on updating how this experiment goes, as I have only been trying it for several days. Below, I will give a brief explanation of why I chose Wallwisher.

 

Why Wallwisher?

No Login – That’s right, the student does not have to sign in to view or post. They just must have the link to the virtual wall, and double click to create their post. This cut down on valuable instruction time and I am sure made the task more desirable to many student’s who would have been turned off by creating an account.

Easy Setup – I was able to set up a virtual wall in about five seconds, and have it linked to my class site in under a minute. This is so easy that I will be able to create a new wall for each of the chapters that I assign my students.

Safety – There are several features that allow me to monitor my student’s safety and ensure the space remains a learning environment, and not a potential cyber bullying  landscape. I can change who is able to see the posts, who is able to able write the posts, and even a “Moderator” setting that requires my approval before each post is published. This is extremely useful when trying to keep track of student engagement, and also monitoring student interactions.

Future – My long term plan is to create student comfortability, and then allow them to engage each other in discussions. After they feel confident in posting questions, I would like to develop a lesson where they begin to answer each others inquiries. Eventually, I would like my student’s to begin a backchannel discussion of the text, where they can discuss questions, observations and inferences about the book.

 

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