Tag Archives: edmodo

Comments, Compliments, & Digital Citizenship

Teaching digital citizenship is not easy.  Although our students use social media daily, how are they using social media and is it in a way that is respectful to others.  I say this because as my students engage in a global collaborative project about digital citizenship, I am learning that young people need many, many models of what responsible and respectful digital citizenship looks like.

For our global collaborative project, students are using Edmodo to introduce themselves to one another and share research and ideas before working together in small groups to write a research report on a Wiki.  For the first assignment students were to create a video, blog post, or Voki to introduce themselves to the group.  After students uploaded their handshake assignment onto Edmodo, students could view each other’s posts and leave comments.  Here is a screenshot of many of the types of comments that I saw from students.


This then led to a lesson on how to comment on each other’s blogs and posts.  I asked that student comments need to fulfill the following criteria: (1) Be positive and no put downs, (2) Be specific, (3) Find something to connect to, (4) Ask a question, (5) No chat or text lingo.

I realized that students do not really know how to sincerely complement each other.  When I would see or hear students complimenting each other it seemed superficial and on a surface level, “I like your sweater” or “Those are cool kicks.”  I was inspired by the video below and spent this week teaching and talking about sincere compliments to help building community and comradery in my classroom.

In middle school it is often challenging to teach sincere compliments and expect 100% full participation and practice. As much as teachers and adults model this, I still see students being mean to one another in the cafeteria and sometimes in the hallways in between classes.  My students are quick to judge one another. I have often interjected when I heard one student put another student down and the first response was, “I was just joking. He is my friend.”  My response was, “When was the last time you two hung out together?  Is he one of the contacts in your phone? Can I see.”

Schools spend lots of money on anti-bullying curriculum and assemblies and students are tired of hearing the anti-bullying messages. Yet, bullying is still going on in and outside of school. We see it in the media and in popular movies. The question is what is going to work to help make our culture more understanding and sensitive to people’s differences.  This is a challenge I face everyday.  If you have any ideas or if you are doing is working please share your ideas.

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the Edscape conference

My head is pulsating with many ideas that I gathered today at the Edscape Conference in New Milford, New Jersey.  The idea around the conference is to “bring together passionate educators who firmly believe that innovation is essential to increasing student engagement and achievement.”

The Cool Cat Teacher and co-founder of Flat Classrooms, Vicki Davis, kicked off the morning with a keynote that was heartfelt, empowering, and engaging speech.  One of the things that she said is that “the most important A in your classroom is your ATT-I-TUDE. She spoke of building learning pathways and getting students involved in the evolution of technology integration in your classroom.  As teachers, we need to find meaning and encourage others so that we can set ourselves up for serendipity.  Davis shared personal stories of her studies and stressed upon teachers to encourage strengths in every child.  Students are more than numbers and test scores. “We are not making copies, we’re making originals.”

There were workshops galore following the keynote.  I attended one on Edmodo, Evernote & Livebinders: Websites that can Transform Learning in all types of classrooms presented by Media Specialist, Elissa Malespina and teacher, Melissa Butler of South Orange Middle School (my hometown!).  I am very interested in this moleskin paper notebook from Evernote that lets you take physical notes and then take a picture of the notes to upload and transcribe directly to Evernote.  Very cool!

Edmodo was also brought up in the next workshop I attended, Web Tools for Interactive Classrooms.  Since the conference was sponsored by Teq, the Teq staff offered many workshops throughout the day.  One I attended was on Using Your Smartboard to Support Achievement of CCLS.  I learned a few little SMARTboard tricks and recommend SMARTBoard users to check out the awesome resources and lessons on Teq’s website.

The final workshop I attended was on Connecting Kids & Teachers Across the Globe which is a project that I am looking to set up.  I hope to connect with the Japan Society this spring to do a global project between my middle school students and students in Japan.  More information about that will be in future posts.  The global projects and ideas presented by art teacher, Tim Needles were great and I might even steal a few to use with my students.

An amazing day overall, and I hope the links that I provide in this post will give you more information and some inspiring ideas to bring into your classroom.

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