Realizing that student engagement is a major component of learning, teachers attempt to design instruction that includes active participation. Many love the idea of using chart paper and sticky notes to have students brainstorm ideas, react to a story, record unfamiliar vocabulary words, summarize newly learned ideas, and pose new wonderings.
Often, however, teachers don’t readily have needed quantities of these paper resources, and after the lesson is finished the adhesive seldom continues to adhere to the wall. Additionally, without prodding, students infrequently reference these resources.
As an alternative, have you considered Wallwisher
, which is a motivating, tree-saving, digitized, note posting way to engage students individually and collaboratively with purposeful instruction at any point throughout the lesson? Using Wallwisher, students can post, edit, and elaborate their work while sharing the thinking of their classmates.
The following examples illustrate how Wallwisher can support student learning in the content area of science. Teaching and learning science is being given very needed attention since the recently released draft of A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
from the Committee on Conceptual Framework for the New K-12 Science Education Standards and the National Research Council. This Framework, like the Common Core Standards emphasizes attaining rigorous learning goals including being able to comprehend, evaluate, and communicate information learned through inquiry and text supported content study.
For years the science community has been lobbying for more inquiry-based instruction in school characterized by the promotion of the real world practices of critical thinking and problem-solving (American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, 1993; National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment & National Research Council, 1996; Rutherford & Ahlgren, 1989). This characterization continues to be promoted as evidenced through the call for students to expand and revise their knowledge, thinking, and literacy while engaging in scientific inquiry, (The Committee on Conceptual Framework for the New K-12 Science Education Standards and the National Research Council (2011).
Wallwisher is the perfect tool to facilitate such inquiry and critical thinking within any area of study. What is Wallwisher?
Wallwisher is an online notice board maker. It can be used to convey birthday wishes, make announcements, take notes, reflect on a reading, or brainstorm what is known, learned, or questioned during a unit of study. Think of Wallwisher as a digital bulletin board. How does Wallwisher work?
The teacher logs in (it’s free!) and poses a question or topic to the class. Once the bulletin board is customized with different information, colors, fonts, icons, etc., it is ready to be shared. Students read the teacher-posed question or topic, and create/write a sticky of their own. All of the responses appear on one “wall space” so students can see each others’ ideas as they create their own sticky note.
A big advantage is that the users do not need to have accounts themselves to post a response so it is quick and easy to use in a group situation. Messages can contain up to 160 characters and can include hyperlinks to other sites. Multimedia that is hosted online on other sites, such as images, videos and sound files, can also be added to a sticky note by using the URL.
Once a wall has been created, you can also embed the wall in other online spaces such as wiki pages or blog posts. Click on this link to see a YouTube video on how Wallwisher works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBn1EVzh6wk Wallwisher in a 3rd grade classroom: Supporting Initial Planning and Formative Student Assessment
Before beginning science units in her classroom, Angela Harrison likes to assess the base of knowledge her students have on a topic. To do so she often invites them to use KWL charts to record this information. To assess their growing knowledge throughout a unit of study, she has them return to their charts to continually chronicle their learning and questions.
Unfortunately, many charts are often lost through the study. She solved this problem with Wallwisher. Once the students were familiar with using paper sticky notes she moved them into digital sticky notes. Her students recently used Wallwisher at the beginning of a unit of study on weather. Some of her student’s “sticky notes” said: “I’ve seen evaporation at work after a rain storm because the puddles in my backyard get smaller and smaller.” Another wrote “Hail is like hard snow.” A third comment was “I wonder why different parts of the world have different weather at the same time.”
By having her students use Wallwisher to share their ideas and wonderings about weather, Mrs. Harrison was able to frequently assess their learning, and then tailor the upcoming lessons to meet their individual and collective needs. Using Wallwisher, she was able to post different questions to different students throughout the unit and assess if and when re-teaching was necessary.
Click on the following link to see Mrs. Harrison’s class wall: http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/msharrisons3rdgrade Wallwisher in 9th grade Earth Science classroom: Creating Text-supported Summaries
Ninth grade teacher Adam Renick used Wallwisher to support his students as they summarized and shared different articles about ecosystems. He asked small groups, to each read and summarize a different article about an ecosystem.
Using the allotted 160 characters, student groups carefully synthesized ideas in order to provide appropriate summaries. The students were also tasked with adding a related link that would help their peers learn more about an ecosystem.
After all sticky notes were posted, students were to go to the site again (this time individually), read all the sticky notes, and click on two of the links to learn more about the ecosystem with which they were least familiar. They were then to individually post one note identifying a newly learned fact or an additional wondering they now had.
Mr. Renick was also able to respond to some of his students’ wonderings by creating sticky notes of his own. As his students used their texts to create summaries, Mr. Renick was able to also continually assess their growing base of knowledge and provide additional instruction as needed.
Click on the following link to see the wall from Mr. Renick’s class: http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/9thgradescience Benefits to Learning
The goals set forth by the Committee on Conceptual Framework for the New K-12 Science Education Standards and the National Research Council (2011) is calling for learners to gain sufficient knowledge of the practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas of science in order to be able to engage in discussions and to become critical consumers of scientific information. Wallwisher, as a tool that facilitates digital publication within a classroom, is an innovative and engaging way for students to share ideas, curiosities, and thoughts in a collaborative fashion. This type of creative, critical thinking is the hallmark of scientific problem-solving—an aspect of education that is rapidly becoming a central area of focus and concern at both national and local levels.
For educators seeking ways to promote engaged participation and inventive thought, Wallwisher is just the right tool. References
American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy
. New York: Oxford University Press.
Committee on Conceptual Framework for the New K-12 Science Education Standards & National Research Council. (2011). A framework for k-12 science education: practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas
(Prepublication copy). Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13165&page=1
National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment & National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards
. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4962&page=1
Rutherford, F.J., & Ahlgren, A. (1989). Science for all Americans
. New York: Oxford University Press.
© 2011 Kelly Johnson, Diane Lapp, Maria Grant. Please do not reproduce in any form, electronic or otherwise. Teaching Tips: Going Graphic with Glogs Teaching Tips: Language Frames Support Literacy in Science