Monday, December 16, 2013

Thing 12: Social Learning & Learning Management Systems

This was a really great, and a really timely assignment for me.  I had set up an Edmodo account last Spring to use with my 6th grade classes, but never found the time to follow through.  This assignment came last month just as I was wrapping up a long "Library Passports" unit with 6th grade (I ended it was a trip around the world via the all new Google Maps!!).  Our next unit includes nonfiction text skills in preparation for short research assignments.  I quickly realized Edmodo would be the ideal tool to use to launch this unit and to track the students progress.

So I went in and explored my teacher account in greater depth, and then made a test student so I could see what it would look like from both ends.  I created a group, and just last week got all my 6th grade students signed up.  They LOVED that it looks a lot like FaceBook and seemed to enjoy the first assignment I posted for them.  It's definitely a learning experience for me, though - and I suspect I will end up learning as much from the kids as they do from me!

As for the rest of this Thing 12 assignment, I did check out a number of the other links and videos.  I noticed that a lot of the content was more geared towards High School applications than Elementary, though, which I suppose is to be expected.  That said, I found Common Sense Media ( on TeacherLibrarianNing, which does have excellent K-6 resources that I know I will use.  

I also explored several Edutopia groups, especially one devoted to differentiated instruction and classroom management - both areas I'm quite interested in.  There, I found some interesting advice and tips that I'm in the process of experimenting with.  Furthermore, I just visted Edutopia again this morning and noticed a new group on Project Based Learning, which is something that I delved heavily into last year with training from Tech Valley.  I think I'll join that discussion and see what other's experiences were like.  My Middle School teachers did not care for it, but I found parts of it valuable, and would like to try it again this year, even if we have to modify it to better fit our traditional classroom structure.

All in all, I had fun with the assignment, and as usual, I learned A LOT!  I'm glad I have been able to take content from both of these first two assignments, and right away put it into use with my 6th grade classes.  It's good to have guinea pigs readily available :-)

Happy holidays!

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