Distance Learning with Edmodo

Finally…the reflection on Edmodo. When I got back, my school went straight into testing season. This blog got put on the back burner. Talking about testing really wears a person out. 

Edmodo was awesome! Students were engaged. Everyone participated. I even got my students to admit that prewriting worked…a HUGE accomplishment for a Language Arts teacher. Usually I do the “what worked, what didn’t work, how to change” thing for a blog post, but for this situation, everything worked. I got it right. And even though the activity was over a month ago, students are still begging me to go on Edmodo again. They loved it. Makes me wish I had a 1:1 classroom.

Review: I had to be out-of-town for the week before the state writing test. I wanted to conduct a review of sorts (mainly just students telling me what they know about writing so they can see how much the do know about writing). I used Edmodo to conduct this lesson.

The Setup: I was not alone in this. Our school has a computer lab in the media center and our media specialist (who just happens to be the best media specialist ever) agreed to be my cohort in this experiment.

I took the kids down the week before I left to teach them how to use the site. We discussed not just how to post, but what a digital footprint is, what an acceptable post looks like and why they weren’t allowed to type “I don’t know” to every question.

The Lesson: My goal was not to direct the discussion, but to let them talk and just be part of it. I started by giving them a question, then I either responded to their answers or would post something like “Susie has a good answer. What do you think?” or “Timmy asked a good question. Can anyone answer?” For the classes that caught on, I only asked three or four questions the whole time. One class I was truly part of the discussion and the questions where the ones they honestly had rather than ones I designed.

What surprised me the most is how supportive they were of each other. My first question was “What are you worried about?” After typing in their answers, many students started responding to others, either agreeing with them about the worry or telling the other student how good a writer they were. This wasn’t just friends talking to friends either. Often these connections were made by students who don’t really talk in class.

While I was in Georgia leading the discussion, my cohort was back in Florida monitoring what was going on. She was the one looking over shoulders and saying, “Does that comment add to the discussion?” or “Are you sure that’s what you want to say.” She sometimes would duck back into her office and type a few comments herself.

After:  The student all…really, all of them…said they felt more confident after our discussion. They felt they were ready to attack the test. Now we are gearing up for the reading test, they keep begging me to go back. I guess we’re going to have to.

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