How Edmodo is used at Crossroads Park School

How Edmodo is used at Crossroads Park Elementary

Crossroads Park fifth grade teacher, Lynda Niffenegger was searching for a way to electronic accept assignments from students.  “I’ve used the district’s network drop box before, but was searching for an easier option for my students. ”  After being introduced to Edmodo, Niffenegger “hasn’t used the district’s drop box since.”   Not only did Edmodo solve the electronic submission need, it has become the de-facto tool for organizing and structuring her classroom.

What is Edmodo?
It’s an online social networking tool that enables teachers to establish a safe learning environment.  Teachers can create a course, which produces a short access code that is given out to students.  This access code enables students to easily connect to the course.  If parents want to connect, an access code is also available for them.

 

How is it being used?

Using on-line discussions for differentiation and creating more one on one time.
Sixth grade teacher, Brandon Hargens uses Edmodo during language arts to enable differentiation and enhance the one on one time he has with his students.  “I create groups within my class.  For example, we are reading four different books and students are placed in their appropriate group”, explained Hargens.  Students discuss their specific book within their online group.  Hargens is easily able to monitor all of the groups.  Previously, he used to meet with each groups face to face.  Now he’s able to monitor them online.  “If they have enough quality discussions and can demonstrate that they understand what they’ve read, then they don’t have to meet with me”, states Hargens.  This enables him to use his limited face to face time to meet specifically with students in need.


Organizing classroom resources to save time
Niffenegger uses Edmodo to organize her handouts and resources.   “I used to have students walk up to me during class and ask for documents from previous days – and it was distracting to everyone.  Now I post all of my notes, resources, and documents for the class online in Edmodo”, states Niffeneger.   Not only are students who missed class accessing the documents, but the resource has also been a tremendous help to students and families with IEP accommodations.

This year, Niffenegger also has a student with a large number of absences.  “When the student was gone, he posted his questions on Edmodo.  Sometimes I would answer and other times his classmates responded instead,” explained Niffenegger.  “ At first, I was worried that posting everything would result in me getting bombarded with student and paretns questions – but the opposite has happened.  When they do ask for assistance, I’m finding that I am answering the same question for many students – and it’s saving me time”, says Niffenegger.   In addition to saving time, she’s finding savings on paper,  “ I used to request 10 extra copies of everything from the printshop, but now that’s not necessary.”

 After reading various science articles, students responded via Edmodo.
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Streamlining assignment submission, grading, and feedback.
Not only does Edmodo enable easy assignment submission – it also provides an easy method for providing feedback to students about specific assignments, including their scores and written feedback. Niffenegger also uses online assignment submission for regularly assignments like spelling. Students do all of their spelling homework online using spellingcity.com and Edmodo. They have an option to create one sentence for each word or use in a paragraph and then create a PDF and turn it in on Edmodo.   Her class also uses the assignment submission process to save time when doing classroom presentations. When students present a PowerPoint, it is submitted as an assignment and the students run their presentation directly from Edmodo, as it’s faster than having each student log in and/or messing with flash drives.

Online quizzes for formative assessment
Both Niffenegger and Hargens use the built in quiz feature for both formative and summative assessments.  Students take the quiz on-line and as soon as they are finished – they get instant feedback on how they did.  “Their progress is also available to me, so that I can use it to gauge our progress”, said Niffenegger.  She also uses quizlet.com to create vocabulary word games and then posts links to them in Edmodo so students can practice vocabulary introduced in class.  Hargens also uses the online quiz feature with his differentiated reading groups, as it’s an easy way to gauge students understanding in a formative manner.


On-line polls can also be used to spark feedback and discussions.

How have students reacted to Edmodo?
The response has been overwhelming, as students are even advocating for other teachers to use Edmodo.  If fact, they suggested to the guidance counselor setup a group for them to contact her if they or classmates have any issues.  Students are also using Edmodo to help manage their student council, named Cougar Council.  They post all events, dates, and documents related to the council.

Another unplanned positive aspect of using Edmodo is that the online discussions have the ability to “open up” students who otherwise might not participate.  Niffenegger states, “This year, we had a new student transfer in from outside USA.  He was very quiet both in class and at recess.  He started with a simple ‘Hi’ on Edmodo to his classmates and gradually started talking more and more.   Sometimes he would post in his native language (Edmodo support multiple languages) which sparked great curiosity among the classmates.  He communicates much more in the classroom now and is well-liked and accepted by his peers. I really believe Edmodo provided that initial safe environment to reach out to his classmates.”

Another unique finding from Niffenegger’s room is that students spend time on Edmodo doing projects that aren’t even assigned.  Students began making Animoto videos on various topics and started posting them on Edmodo.  Topics ranged from college football to the dangers of texting and driving.  Students also commented and responded to each other’s projects within Edmodo  – and it wasn’t even an assigned project!

                                   

Lynda Niffenegger     
5th Grade Teacher
Crossroads Park Elementary 
niffenegge@wdcms.org  

     

                                                   
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Brandon Hargens
6th Grade Teacher
Crossroads Park Elementary
hargensb@wdmcs.org

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