Sunday, August 3, 2014

Using Edmodo with Younger Students: part 4 - App-a-looza

Using Edmodo with 4th and 5th graders has opened my mind to a variety of creative possibilities. After attending my second #edmodocon in person at +Edmodo headquarters, I  was challenged to begin using apps.  Having 1:1 iPads in my classroom made this endeavor easier, but there is a lot you can do with 5-10 devices, whether mobile, laptops or desktops.  Due to an incredibly difficult year, I was not as successful as I would have liked in trying new apps, but at least I dipped my toe in and am looking to dive in next month when I get my new class. Trying a variety of apps became easier when in the fall of 2013 I won the Power of One contest and was awarded a substantial amount of Edmodo app store credit to share throughout my district. At this point I was blessed with an overabundance of apps and set my students on a quest to explore and review new apps.Here are some highlights.

Some apps were great for students who had finished their work early and could work independently. My students liked Manga High's PEMDAS for math. They also liked Animal Cell, Thirteen Colonies and Slim the Ogre apps for ELA.  With a nod to gamification, they really liked when they were awarded badges automatically.  I used +Common Sense Educators Digital Passport app as a refresher whenever a student violated our classroom agreements.

Demonstrating understanding and Storytelling with Cartoons

My  students loved using +PowToon , +go animate and +Pixton Comics  We used these somewhat interchangeably, and students decided which tool they wanted to use to suit their purpose.  With GoAnimate, they realized they needed to so a lot more planning than they'd anticipated.  They realized the benefit of storyboarding, for which they used Storyboard That,  as well as editing their work.

Learnstreet - Hour of Code

Last winter we participated in the CSEDWeek/ Hour of Code. We used the LearnStreet app which had a special 'course' where students could code their own holiday card.

StoryLines Pages

Inspired by the story All Good Things by Sister Helen Mrosla, StoryLines Pages asks each student to express (in one sentence) something unique that he appreciates about his classmate. In my blogpost about this project I explained how this project worked well for all abilities, and helped me identify some grammar, spelling and punctuation trends in my students.  I think this app would work well with much younger students as well.

I started using Snapshot after I returned to the classroom in late April.  Snapshot is a Edmodo app that helps you see  what your students know (and what they don’t). With real-time feedback and multiple ways to view results by student and standard, Snapshot helps you take the guessing out of assessing common core standards.  It was really helpful for me to get a handle on what they had learned while I was gone. I also used it to help double check meeting of standards for our report card.  This coming year I am looking forward to using Snapshot for pre- and post assessments, both on a lesson-by-lesson basis (exit tickets, etc) but also for broader concepts.

Apps I want to try

There are many apps in the Edmodo app store that I want to dive deeper into including Educlipper and instaGrok.  I also plan to use Curriculet and Subtext for reading comprehension and literature circles.

Using Edmodo with younger students has proven invaluable in helping me manage my time, increasing student engagement and providing my students with real and authentic ways to become good digital citizens.  We've participated in groups with classrooms across the country and we have an alumni group to keep connected with our past students. Edmodo is a game changer! And I feel like I have barely scratched the surface!

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