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If you are using the Intro level of Excellence in Lit this year

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Would your teens be interested in participating on an online writing community to discuss the books and share their papers? I'm am setting up a Wikispaces wiki, with Janice Campbell's permission, for this purpose. My son (13) and my friend's daughters (13 and 15), would love to have some cyber-company on this literary adventure. Our goal is to encourage writing for an audience, increase our students' commitment to the assignments, practice thoughtful and constructive analysis and criticism, and enhance the fun factor.


Every participating family would need to have a copy of the book, available here:



If you aren't familiar with wikis, you can read about them and see some examples here:



Many college classes have online components, and some professors use wikis for class communication, projects and participation. Many public school classrooms also make use of wikis. So, it can be advantageous for homeschooled students to have some experience in this area.


We've chosen Wikispaces because it allows for completely private, no-charge, ad-free wikis for educational purposes. (It's not quite as flashy as some other providers, but there won't be any offensive ads surrounding the pages, either).


If you and your student(s) are interested, please PM me, and I will give you further details.


Maura in NY

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If you've used wikipedia, you've seen a wiki -- The world's hugest wiki! A slightly smaller one is http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikijunior


A wiki is like a group blog and a forum rolled together. All the members can edit the pages (except those locked by the administrators -- like a page with group guidelines that we wouldn't want accidentally changed or deleted), adding text, pictures, video, etc. And every page has its own discussion tab. When a wiki is private, the members get to know each other (or whatever the online equivalent of getting to know each other is...), and really have a sense of being heard. Both of my sons started wikis a few years ago. The 16 year old "ran" a creative writing wiki for a few years, with nearly 20 members. They posted their own work, wrote round-robin stories, and role playing stories, had poetry contests, talked about their favorite books/tv shows/movies/music. (There was quite a bit of socializing, but the writing definitely dominated.) My younger son has a tiny wiki, with a handful of friends. Over the years they've discussed their Lego obsessions, favorite jokes, etc.


Jen and I will moderate, which means that in addition to guiding the students through the units, and posing questions to keep the discussions going, we will make sure that content remains appropriate and the tone of comments remains friendly.


If you google classroom wikis, you can find examples, but I suspect that the saavy teachers make their wikis private, as we are doing, so they aren't searchable. You'll find many other wikis for various purposes.


I've been searching for an example of one used the way I'm envisioning this group working, but I haven't come across any. Again, this might be because anyone encouraging a high level of youth participation is smart enough to make it private for safety reasons. The school ones are very top-down, rather than collaborative. My image of how this can work for the teens comes out of my sons' experiences and my belief that writing for an audience is so much more motivating and purposeful than writing an assignment to be filed away. While we will be the adult guides, I want the teens to feel ownership over the wiki.


Let me know if you have any other questions, concerns, etc.

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