My New Job

I love, love, love my new job.  I promised updates here on the blog and I have been terrible about keeping everyone informed.  Here’s a quick summary of my year so far:

I teach freshman and seniors.  My senior class is a new curriculum focused on 21st century literacies.  I teach two modules (one marking period each)- The Environment and The Human Condition.  We just finished reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet and my students created Twitter accounts for a particular character and tweeted the major events of the play through their eyes.  The projects were AWESOME!  I am having so much fun that it shouldn’t even be allowed.  We have also been reading Janne Teller’s Nothing as a class and it fits with our human condition theme perfectly.  The students enjoy being read to and the book really shocks them over and over.  They have been referring to it during our Socratic Seminars and in written responses.

It does take a while to get a read aloud done, because I only see my seniors 3 times per week, for 70 minutes each time.  It’s easy to fit the read aloud in most days, but the continuity isn’t always there.  I haven’t started doing the read aloud with my freshmen classes yet because I team teach and I haven’t figured out a way to fit it in yet.  (Yes, it kills me that we don’t have a read aloud, and I do notice the difference in the sense of community-reading, but I will get to it!)

My freshman classes are great, too.  I team teach, as I said, teaching in-sync with the history teacher.  We have two rooms that share a dividing wall, which has not been closed all year.  My curriculum follows the history curriculum, which is World Cultures/World History.  For example, I just taught excerpts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales while my students studied the Middle Ages in history.  I am still finding my footing re: the team teaching, but I love it so far.

Technology-wise, my new school is unreal.  We are a math, science, and technology-focused so all of the students expect us to use a lot of technology.  I use Edmodo to post homework and host backchannel chats while we view movies/hold Socratic Seminars.  It’s fantastic.

I also had all of my students sign up for Goodreads.  So far, my students are just posting books for their 40-Book Challenge and friending each other, but I plan to host book discussions and much more soon.  I will also have the students posting reviews of books they read.  A few have already done so on their own!  Right now I am enjoying watching my students post their books and commenting on them.  I see my students 3-4 times per week and the Goodreads group is a great way to  continue talking about books outside of class.

My new job is absolutely amazing.  I am constantly being challenged, I love my students, my colleagues are brilliant, and love being able to use technology all the time.  :)

Edmodo in the Classroom

Earlier this week I set up my first Edmodo page.  I first heard of the site over the summer and decided to give it a shot this year.  I used a blog for my class last year, but it sounded like Edmodo could give me a little more flexibility.  I admit it had a bit of a learning curve, but after playing around for a bit I realized it is fairly intuitive.  I quickly set up two groups, one for my English I and one for English IV.

So far, I have only introduced the site to my seniors.  Before diving in head-on, I wanted to run a test and my senior class is pretty small.  I figured they would be the perfect test subjects.  As all of my students receive an email address through the school, I assigned the Edmodo sign-up as homework this weekend.  So far, 2/3 of my students have logged in and signed up.

Right now, my page is hosting our class assignments, including files.  I love love love that I can upload files and let the students download them at their leisure.  This allows me to save paper, which I adore.  I can also post all the files in one assignment note, making it easy for students to keep track of the work for each assignment.  Plus, now no one has to ask me for extra copies-they are right there on the web!

I also posted a link to our Goodreads group and an assignment to join our private group.  I have to tell you, it is so much easier posting all of this online instead of writing on a HW board at school!

So, do you use Edmodo?  Any tips or tricks?  Any cool ideas I should try?  I am planning an attempt to use it as a backchannel while we watch a film later this marking period, but otherwise I am tapped out.  I’d love to hear from other users!

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