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Heather Landrum is a 7th grade ELAR teacher at Hillsboro Jr. High in Hillsboro, Texas.
Making Classroom Time More Valuable
I have 134 7th grade writing students, and with only 47 minute periods, there is not enough time in the day to get it all in! Edmodo has given me time that extends beyond the learning day.
Students are able to access resources, PowerPoint, reading selections, and assignments from their mobile device or computers at home; this helps them stay ahead of where we start class the next day. I also teach two class periods that are reading/writing combined. Edmodo has proved effective as a learning platform for these students to practice reading strategies and skills, without taking time out of our already full class period.
Facilitating Peer Conferences
Currently I’m using Edmodo to give my students more time to have peer conferences. Students are grouped by class periods and they post their stories in their group. Their classmates will offer feedback and suggestions for improving effectiveness of the piece.
We have a specific response framework that we use when responding to our classmates’ writing.
- Reply to at least 3 peers
- Reply with a specific positive, and then a “what if”
- Students are also expected to reply to anyone that comments on their writing
Using Edmodo for peer writing engages my students in the revision stage of the writing process by providing a novel and different way for them to read and respond to one another’s writing. It also allows them to continue their collegial conversations even after the class period is over. Often, students even go beyond the required three responses because they enjoy getting to read what their classmates have written.
Utilizing Shared Folders
I have many favorite features in Edmodo, but my favorite would have to be Folders. I have uploaded powerpoints, writing mentor texts, assignments, videos, and web links into Folders. My students have access to everything we use at school right at their fingertip; no more lost papers or keeping up with copies. Edmodo folders keep those references right where I need them – with students!
Advice for Teachers Getting Started With Edmodo
Give yourself time to play with it and learn how to use it before you introduce it to all of your students. I first launched Edmodo with two of my seven class periods. This made it easier for me to manage, troubleshoot, and get used to, than if I had started with all 134 of my students at the beginning of the year.
I would also advise you to make using Edmodo meaningful. I added folders and resources that compelled my students to login and use Edmodo. It wasn’t just another form of social networking for them.