Sunday, June 13, 2010

American Lit. Lesson Plan: The Jazz Age Wiki Page

Objectives: Students will work in teams to create a Wiki that presents their understanding of aspects of the Jazz Age, and that illustrates the setting of The Great Gatsby.

Maine Learning Results:
10. Analyze how the cultural context of a literary work is evident in the text.
1. Scan a passage to determine whether a text contains relevant information.
2. Distinguish between apparent fact and opinion in nonfiction texts.
3. Use discussions with peers as a way of understanding information.
5. Analyze and synthesize the concepts and details in informational texts.
6. Explain how new information from a text changes personal knowledge.
2. Demonstrate how language usage may depend on the situation.
11. Make effective use of a variety of techniques for introducing and representing ideas and insights in written work and oral presentations.

NETS Standards:
1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Communication and Collaboration
3. Research and Information Fluency
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
5. Digital Citizenship
6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Materials and Resources:
For materials, we will use the class set of laptops available by signing out the laptop cart.
For resources, we will use the following Web sites, as well as other related resources selected by students:
Roaring Twenties
A Bio. of America: The Twenties - Transcript
The 1920&30s - Roaring Twenties - The Nineteen Twenties in History
The Internet Guide to Jazz Age Slang
Brunswick Recording Artists of the Mid-1920s - Brunswick Brevities
The Jazz Age
1920s Pictures Fashion History
Temperance & Prohibition

1. Anticipatory Set

I will share with students the concept that “collective efforts are exploding online—from the volunteer-written reference site Wikipedia to Google's search engine” (Hof, 2007). I will post a quotation by Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson that “empowering employees to collaborate in unorthodox ways is all about ‘unleashing the power of human capital’” (Tapscott & Williams, 2007) and discuss with them the importance of being able to construct and present information collaboratively. I will ask students about their previous experiences with Wiki and with blogging; and I will share my own recent experiences with these learning tools. Students will be aware that they are learning important 21st century skills as they complete this “constructionist” (Laureate, 2008) learning task.

I will discuss “digital professionalism” (Davis, 2007) with students and “talk about and make clear what is, and is not, acceptable on the wiki” (Davis, 2007). I will let students know that our Wiki is private for our class, and that I am able to receive alerts when changes have been made to the wiki, and to see exactly what changes have been made and by whom (Davis, 2007).

2. Instructional Input

Step 1: The class will be divided into three groups, each of which will create a Wiki to include a page for Twenties Music, Twenties Fashion, Social Issues of the Twenties, Inventions and Technology of the Twenties, Prohibition in the Twenties, and Arts, Literature, and Language of the Twenties. I will give students the rubric with which they will be evaluated. This includes the page categories, and requirements for editing and contributing to the overall Wiki as well.

Step 2: Students will collaborate within their groups to decide who will be responsible for each research topic, and for organizing the pages for each topic. Together they will set up their initial site during class, with my assistance, and create a Wiki Title Page where they list themselves as contributors. I will use my own laptop and projector to demonstrate how to do this, and students will be sharing one computer per group at this point.

Step 3: Students will begin working individually with laptops and will explore the Web sites listed, as well as other appropriate sites for their topics. They will compile information using Microsoft Word at first, and then adding their findings to the group Wiki.

3. Modeling

I will have students visit and navigate sample Wiki sites that I have selected and bookmarked for them, which demonstrate collaboration among teammates to present information about American Literature and American History. We will discuss the qualities of these good examples of Wiki pages, including language use, visual interest, content, and user-friendliness.

4. Check for understanding

I will follow student work on the Wikis for all three groups, and will provide continuous feedback and suggestions by posting messages and comments to them at their Wiki sites.

5. Guided practice/activity

Students will have class time to edit their Wiki with my help and with peer assistance. I will ensure that students have time online during class by signing out the laptop cart and keeping laptops available during the two weeks we are researching and developing our Wiki site. Most students also have Internet access at home, and a few who do not have it regularly use computers in the library during their study halls.

6. Independent Practice/closure

When each group has completed their assignment, students will have two days to visit the Wikis created by the other two groups in their class. Students will be required to email at least one comment or suggestion to each of the other groups, as listed on the rubric. They will then be given an additional day to incorporate any suggestions or final thoughts into their own Wiki projects before I evaluate them.

7. Assessment Plan/Evaluation:

I will evaluate students based on their contributions to the Wiki site, both in adding content and in collaborating with their teammates. I will develop a rubric for this evaluation, and share it with students when I initially give the assignment and explain my expectations.


Davis, M. (2007).Wiki wisdom: Lessons for educators. Retrieved from

Hof, R. (2007, August 20). The end of work as you know it. Retrieved from

ISTE.Org: Profiles for Technology (ICT) Literate Students

Laureate Education, Inc.. (2008). [DVD]. Understanding the impact of technology on education, work, and society, “Transforming the Classroom with Technology”. Baltimore, MD.

Maine Learning Results. (1997). Maine State Department of Education. Retrieved from

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. (2007, March 26). The Wiki workplace. Retrieved from

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