Sunday, July 28, 2013
Do you Edmodo? Plus a FREEBIE!
Do you Edmodo? If not, you should! It's a learning community of over 20 MILLION teachers and students online. You know how I feel about learning communities! (If you don't know, I LOVE THEM!) Let me tell you all about Edmodo. I've even included a super-cool FREEBIE for you at the bottom of this post!
Why do I love Edmodo?
It's a FREE learning network for K-12 educators. I use it all the time in my 5th grade class. It's a place for you to post assignments, interesting links, quizzes, photos, videos, etc. It even stores student grades. Parents can get a password too so they can see assignments and grades for their kids.
But the cool thing is that it looks like a social media site! (My kids say it's like a school version of Facebook.) That makes it fun for students to use, and they are eager to use it. There's an app, too! Lots of my students downloaded it onto their phones or iPods last year. (The app is for iPhone and Droids too.)
Once you learn your way around, Edmodo is very easy to use. I post assignments from the computer because I usually include a link to a website for students to visit. I do most of my commenting and grading from my iPhone, however. It's so easy! When my son has practice or I'm stuck waiting at an appointment, I can easily grade several assignments in a matter of minutes.
Ooh, and I like that it's paperless - it feels like I'm doing my part to save the environment!
Using Edmodo in your classroom is a way to stay relevant with your students. I can post assignments that are on topics that INTEREST them. I use a lot of websites like Scholastic News, NatGeo for Kids, TweenTribune, etc. TweenTribune is especially great - it's national news written for tweens. It's at their reading ability level and about topics that are important to them that have made the news. Plus, it makes me seem more relevant to them - it shows that I understand them and the way they communicate. They can ask me questions, and I can answer them even before the next school day!
When I post such relevant articles, I always get great student response. Students want to answer, so they are immediately engaged when they use Edmodo. Lots of times, I will also ask students to post their own word documents or presentations on Edmodo, sharing their learning with their classmates. How much is that like our real life? Amazing!
One of the most important factors, though, is that Edmodo is SAFE. Students can send me a private message any time, but students cannot private message other students. Students can only post privately to me or publicly to the whole class. There's no hidden cyberbullying on Edmodo. If a student posts something that is threatening or rude, I can see it. I have the power to delete it. I have deleted a few posts in the last four years that I've used Edmodo, and when I do, I send a private message to that student, basically scolding them and letting them know that if they do it again, they will be removed from my class. That's not cool, because then they lose the engagement with their peers and must do the assignment on paper.
Edmodo has produced a quick video (less than 2 minutes) about why it's a game-changer in education - check it out HERE.
Here are the kinds of assignments I post on Edmodo:
*Read an article, review it, answer questions (always standards-based)
*Create a Prezi about a topic and share it with your classmates. I include the requirements for the Prezi, then the students must load it for me to grade. THEN they must share it with their class. I usually then require each student to comment on at least 2-3 presentations. (We discuss commenting A LOT.)
*Create an online timeline and share it with the teacher and the class.
*Create a Top 10 list. This is always a class-pleaser and it works with any topic. Sometimes it even requires research. What a bonus! (Reading: Top 10 reasons that Janie is the worst antagonist ever. Social Studies: Top 10 reasons that it's important to study the Civil War. Science: Top 10 reasons that electricity is important in our daily lives. Math: Top 10 reasons we need to learn geometry. Grammar: Top 10 reasons commas are important in writing. Music: Top 10 reasons that Mozart is remembered as a musical legend. PE: Top 10 reasons aerobic exercise is important for our health.)
*One of their favorite assignments was related to a book about a shipwreck. I included 4 websites about surviving shipwrecks, then gave students a list of 10 items they might find in the wreckage. Students had to rank on a scale of 1-10 the importance of each item for survival. They also had to provide reasoning for each item.
Have you tried Edmodo? Do you love it? Is this new to you and you want to give it a try? Sound off in the comments!
OH - you can connect with other teachers too! Find me - Mrs. Dallas Thompson!
Click HERE to download my Edmodo Scavenger Hunt for your students! It will take them through all the steps to log in and practice taking quizzes, completing assignments, voting in polls, etc.