A tool that has simply transformed how my classroom operates is Edmodo. If you are unfamiliar with this platform do yourself a favor and follow this link. In short, Edmodo is a secure learning management system that can be used to form groups, share links, embed videos/projects, track progress, organize uploaded content, join support communities, share folders and resources, distribute parent codes, connect with others around the world, back channel, and so much more. Many teachers and students from around the world have dubbed it “Facebook for Education.” 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. Needless to say, differentiation requires hard work and a significant time commitment to implement it effectively.
Each student in my class has a teacher created username and password. In addition to having individual student accounts, I also created a google doc for each student, which are housed in their “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 acts as their 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. 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. I can’t stress the importance of giving purposeful feedback to students. Gone are the days of just saying “Good Job,” or “Nice Work.” With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, it’s imperative purposeful feedback becomes a daily part of our practice because of the heavy focus of text-dependent/evidence based questions being asked. Furthermore, parents have unprecedented access to their child’s work, via google docs, with teacher feedback, to assist in building the home/school connection to help their child grow.
Teachers can create small, flexible groups to send homework assignments to. For example, I have 3
“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/Dropbox, 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 those students individually and not as part of a team.
SIDE NOTE: Thanks to some great questions, I will clarify most post even further.
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. However, it is usually one day. Once I begin literature circles, the time to complete assignments will increase.
IF STUDENTS ARE 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 becoming problematic or not feasible to complete because of after school activities, or inability to log in to Edmodo, I would revert back to having students complete homework in their notebook or 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.
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