Take a moment to think about a thriving community; perhaps it’s a neighborhood, a school, or a club. What are some common features? Safe, active, and trusting are just a few words that might come to mind. A flourishing virtual community has some of these same characteristics.
The qualities of a successful community can be strengthened in your Edmodo class by implementing enjoyable and non-threatening ways for your students to communicate with you and each other. Students might not be motivated to log into their online class with only announcements, quizzes, or assignments in the home stream!
An engaging post can start a conversation, produce a laugh or cause a student to feel connected to their classmates. Consistency is key! Students will begin to notice and look forward to exciting posts like “Monday Meme,” “Weird News,” or “Respond with a Sketch”!
Here are five fun ways to engage students and build a thriving community in your virtual classroom.
A meme is a humorous image, video, or phrase that is shared online and often includes an observation that will be recognized by readers as significant to the time/era, social situation, or everyday life experience. Sharing a meme, especially if it’s related to your content area or an upcoming school event, is an excellent way to engage students. You can find a relevant meme by searching “math memes” or “memes for kids,” for example.
Quick Tips for Choosing a Meme:
There are many free meme generators online, or you can create one using a program or app you might already have on your computer or mobile device. Make it personal! Create a unique meme that includes your name, school/team name, or anything relevant to your students. Creating a meme that “only the students in this class will understand” builds a sincere sense of belonging, similar to the feeling you get from a private joke or story shared only among close friends.
Another option is to post a blank meme and ask students to send you the text in a direct message. Use your students’ ideas to create several meme variations, then share them in the post’s comment section the next day. Students will look forward to seeing the different meme versions and interact with “likes” and replies to the comments.
Quick Tips for “Create a Meme” Post:
Students of all ages enjoy reading strange true stories from around the world! A reluctant reader might see their classmates laughing or smiling at a news story and want to join in the discussion. Sharing a link to the news story in a post will allow students to open the article right from your class stream.
Quick Tips for “Share a Weird News Article”:
Ask a question in a post and have students respond with a drawing in the comments. Visual learners will enjoy sharing their thinking in a way that supports their learning style. For non-visual learners, drawing a concept, flow chart, or story illustration pushes them to think differently, activating different areas of the brain.
Quick Tips for “Respond with a Sketch” Post:
One of the hallmarks of a thriving community is that people feel heard. Asking students their opinions about something shows you care about what they are thinking and feeling. Ask for your students’ choice on the next novel to read, their opinion on a recent news story, or their preference of class instructional activities. The possibilities are endless! Poll responses are anonymous, so students feel comfortable answering honestly.
Quick Tips for “Share a Class Poll” Post:
Creating fun and engaging posts will support your effort to build a safe, trusting, and active learning environment.
What are some creative ways you build a vibrant online community?
Please share in the comments!
Doreen is an Education Writer at Edmodo and a Veteran Educator, experienced in both elementary and secondary levels in the USA and Germany. In her career, she has served as an Instructional Coach, Professional Development Coach, and Curriculum Specialist. She is passionate about using technology to create and grow a community of engaged learners worldwide.