Blogs and Wikis and
Kids . . . Oh My!
Teresa Wells, Valerie Kuykendall
Once Upon a Time . . .
• there was a school
• there was a librarian
• there was a teacher
Everything was serene.
• The school ran smoothly.
• The library overﬂowed with teachers
and kids and overdue notices.
• The teacher was overrun with
paperwork and testing and parents.
• It was a typical, run-of-the-mill Texas
And then along came
• It was called 23 Things.
• It upset the apple cart.
• It caused all kinds of change to happen.
• To the librarian.
• To the school.
• To the teacher.
And no one was ever the
• Not the librarian.
• Not the school.
• And certainly not the teacher.
And this is the story.
• Main Characters: Teresa Wells and
• Librarian: Teresa Wells (19 years
experience, 9 in the library)
• Teacher: Valerie Kuykendall (8 years
experience, all in 5th grade)
• Wanted to bring Web 2.0 tools to
• Two teachers took the challenge
• Why not Valerie?
Valerie saw the light.
• It took a little cajoling, but Valerie came
• Teresa taught Valerie what she hadn’t
learned yet in 23 Things
• And then Valerie saw what Teresa had
been seeing . . .
Why blogs and wikis?
• NCLB standard accountability: STaR
• Technology TEKS
• Librarians often set the standard for
technology use in classrooms
• Our students are digital natives
What did we do?
• We planned!
• We set expectations
• Teresa set up the wiki and blog pages
• Valerie got the content of the unit
together (Civil War), based on 5th grade
And . . .
• We decided on a date
• How long the unit would last -- how
many days in the library, in the
classroom, reserved the laptops
• Teresa scheduled the library
• Valerie divided classes into groups of 3
or 4 and assigned them to subtopics
How did we use wikis and
• To organize the unit, we used the wiki
Lots of learning took place
• ...and not just history!
• Lots of technology skills were applied:
• copied, pasted, and cut text; posted on
wiki and blog; saved; moved images;
made a tab; moved between tabs to
access information; searched for
websites; evaluated books/sites; linked
Fifth grade isn’t alone
• Third grade also wiki-ed at Thompson
You’ve heard it from us.
Now hear it from the kids.
• In their words, written in all earnestness,
un-spellchecked and just the way they
• When asked which method of research
was more effective for them, this is what
• “It’s fun and easy.”
• “I think that letting us use the wiki gives
us a chance to have responsibility. By
doing the wiki we can show people what
we learned, and that 5th graders are
• “I think it is much more successful &
easier to use the wiki & blog.”
• “I don’t really like paper and pencil. It’s
lots of work and you can lose your
research. While on the computer you
can save stuff on it. If we have
technology we should use it for a
• “I think this is training us for the future.
I mean lets face it we are in the computer
• “I think I like the computers better
because using teachnoigy helps me
better. Also because you get to go to
sites, and see other peoples feeling about