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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
Edmodo makes communicating with students very simple. You can choose to communicate with either one student, a group of students, or the entire class. Here in the Seventh grade Life Science group, I am going to go ahead and create some small groups to help filter out our communication. Another way to think about small groups are differentiated groups. There are several ways that I can use small groups. If I have a wide variety of student abilities in my classroom, then maybe I'll create some small groups that are differentiated by ability, this way I can have assignments that are specific to only individual groups not for the entire class.
Further more I could have the ability to communicate with just one set of students, not the entire class. As a science teacher, I often use small groups to create lab partners, so I can communicate with individual sets of lab partners for them to turn in data, or for me to give them updates on their work. For this particular hypotethical class, we have only four students in it. So I'm going to create two different small groups to represent lab partners. I'll simply click on Create a Small Group. We'll call the first one Lab Partners 1. I'll go ahead and click the plus sign next to Small Groups to create a second one, and we'll call this one Lab Partners 2. So now I have two different groups created.
If I click on a group, I will go ahead and enter the group. You can tell that I'm in the group now and not Seventh Grade Life Science as a class, because it says Lab Partners 1 at the top left hand corner. I also have a navigation link to go back to the main science class. Here, if I click on members, I've noticed that I have only one member again, the teacher. So, what I'd like to do is go ahead and add two students to Lab Partners 1. To do that, I'm going to click on the Add Members button at the top of the screen. I'm going to click Add Members, and then choose the top two students which are Greg and Dan. I'll go and click the add button, and I now have two students inside of Lab Partner 1.
Under other small group in the left hand side, I'm going to go ahead and click on Lab Partner 2. I'll go back into member, I'll add members to Lab Partner 2. And this time I select Doug and Kristin. So now I created two different small groups and I've distributed the students from the class into those groups. I'll go ahead and head back to the seventh grade Life Science homepage, and now let's say I wanted to type a note to these students. I could say something like, great work in your lab yesterday! Now I don't want to send this to the entire seventh grade Life Science class so I'll x out of that, and where it says send to, I'm going to go ahead and type Lab Partners 1.
So now I have the opportunity to send this straight to the lab partners one in the seventh grade life science. If I wanted to I could attach a rubric, let's say, from the library. I could add a link to this, or I could even upload a different file. I'm going to go and click Send, so now I've just sent a note to just the two students that were inside of lab partners one. The two students inside of Lab Partners 2 would not have received that note. Furthermore if I wanted to have an alert, I can send an alert just to Lab Partners 2. I can say, missing lab data. I would close out of the Life Science entire class and I would just say this is for Lab Partners 2 in the seventh grade life science class.
You'll notice as I start typing lab partners, I also have the option to send it to the parents of that specific small group. This is a great way that if you have, let's say, students that are working towards going on a field trip, you can build a small group just for the students that are trying to fundraise. Then as you need to communicate with parents you can use Edmodo to send emails out to the parents for just those specific students. And students can belong to more than one small group. For example, if I have one lab partner from Lab Partners 1, and one lab partner from Lab Partners 2 who decided to do a group project, I could actually create a group project group and add those two students.
So, small groups is a powerful way to quickly organize who you want to communicate to and when. Furthermore, I can create assignments, quizzes, and polls that are small group specific. I hope you've enjoyed this overview edmodo.com, and that this tool can be of benefit to you in your classroom. I look forward to seeing you guys next week with the next edition of teacher tips.
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