The third slide of the WELCOME powerpoint introduces the students to EDMODO. Edmodo is a free website where teachers can build an interactive class site. It is academic Facebook. It is a closed site so I control who is a member of the class on Edmodo. I can also create groups, post assignments, leave messages for the class, and contract students individually. Students can turn in work, ask questions, and work in groups. Once students submit work to Edmodo, I can grade it and give feedback. Usually about half the class has used Edmodo in another class. It is my goal to increase the efficiency and the use of technology in my class. So I start day one with the class website and introduction to Edmodo as a tool we will use.
For homework, students have to create an Edmodo account and participate in a survey (W 9-10. 6).
Slides four and five of the powerpoint provide an opportunity for us to get to know one another. I tell them I have a life outside Tucson High and I share some of my interests. After I share my interests, I ask them to share two or three facts about themselves and one thing that they do not tolerate on an index card. The index cards are already on their tables.
I try to write my list so that it is somewhat provocative to illicit questions. I told them that I love to cook and I could butcher. This statement usually peaks curiosity. If they ask me why I can butcher, I can expand on my statement and explain that I learned when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa. I always have some hunters in the class who share they can butcher, too.
I hope this conversation inspires them to take risks on what they reveal about themselves.
Next I share my goals for 2013-14 and beyond. I ask them to write their goals on the back of their index card (W 9-10. 10). The students will use the information on their cards for interviews in our next class.
The final slide of the powerpoint is their homework. They have to sign up for Edmodo, join the class, and complete the survey. I ask a couple of the students to remind the class of the process to sign up and join Edmodo. Then, I answer any final questions before the bell.
When the bell rings, I collect their index cards. The index cards will determine their seating for the next class. I will place them randomly around the room before their next class. They will have to find their card so they know where to sit. My instructional style is all about community. From day one I want them to get to know one another and begin building the trust necessary for a strong and productive learning community.