This is a guest post from Jimmy Sapia, a 4th grade teacher at Springdale Elementary School in Stamford, Connecticut. The full version of his post can be found on his blog at mrsapia.wordpress.com. If you are interested in contributing to the Edmodo Blog, please complete this form.
Edmodo is a tool that transformed how my classroom operates. While I use Edmodo for many reasons in my daily routines, this post will only focus on differentiating homework using Edmodo.
How I Use Edmodo to Differentiate Homework:
Meeting the varied needs of students in any classroom is one of the most difficult aspects of teaching. Teachers work tirelessly gathering resources, analyzing data, collaborating with grade level peers, and connecting with their Personal Learning Network on Twitter to meet the needs of their students. Differentiation requires hard work and a significant time commitment to implement it effectively. Enter Edmodo.
Using Google Docs with Edmodo
In addition to having Edmodo accounts, each student has a Google doc link, which is added to their Edmodo “backpack.” The “backpack” feature is available to all students and provides a great way for students to maintain organization of materials they upload or save. Students are the only ones that have access to these resources, so privacy is maintained.
The Google doc is an online notebook. Literacy homework usually consists of students responding to reading in an open-ended format, answering text-dependent questions, and typing reflective entries. Homework is strategically assigned and aligned to meet student’s needs. Parents have unprecedented access to their child’s work via Google docs with teacher feedback, and can better assist in building the home/school connection to help their child grow.
The power of using the Google doc comes from students having an ongoing record of their responses, with purposeful feedback given by me that always highlights strengths, as well as offers suggestions for improvement. With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards places heavy focus of text-dependent/evidence based questions being asked, so purposeful feedback becomes a daily part of our practice. Gone are the days of just saying “Good Job,” or “Nice Work.”
Small Groups for Differentiation
Teachers can create small groups to send homework assignments to. I have three “teams” in my class. Depending on the needs of students I can send three different homework assignments to those individual groups. It’s as simple as uploading a file from my Edmodo library, desktop, flash drive, or a link from the internet, and sending it out to the appropriate teams.
After students complete the assignment, they click “Turned-in,” and I have a record of who has submitted their work. Diving deeper, if a student needs significant readiness or enrichment activities, I can also send assignments to that student individually and not as part of a team.
Common Topics Educators Have Asked me About:
- No Access to Tech at Home: If students do not have access to tech at home, I give them the assignment in their response notebook or worksheet.
- Amount of Time per Assignment: Depending on the complexity of the assignment, I determine the length of time per assignment.
- If Students Have Not Completed Required Homework on Edmodo: If a student does not hand in their Edmodo homework because they could not log in, I will forgive them a couple of times. If it becomes a greater problem after that, I will call the parent and speak about this method of homework delivery. If it’s not feasible to complete because of after school activities or inability to log in to Edmodo, I have students complete homework in their notebook or on a worksheet.
If you have any questions or need clarification, please drop a comment below. I am always looking to improve my implementation. I’d also love to hear about the exciting ways you’re using Edmodo to reach the varied needs of your students.