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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Differentiating Spelling Lists

Returning to a self-contained classroom of 24 fourth graders brought plenty of challenges.  How to differentiate for varying levels of spelling proficiency was one of the first things I needed to tackle.  Locating spelling lists at different levels was the first task.
There are actually a number of resources available.
K12Reader had a list that suited my needs.  This link is for 4th grade but there are lists available for other grade levels as well.  This was great because I had students who needed both easier and more difficult lists.
http://www.k12reader.com/fourth-grade-spelling-words/
These lists were easy to download and then add to my class Edmodo library.
Edmodo is an awesome learning platform.  With it, I created 3 groups the spelling sleuths, guru's, and spotlight.  Every week I attach the appropriate list and send a link for students to copy their words.
At first I used a simple voice recorder app with my cell phone to record the words and loaded the files to Edmodo for students to play back.  I was even able to have students complete their spelling test this way.
Later I decided to try Spelling/Vocabulary City.
Using Spelling City, we were completely paperless for our spelling work because there is built in practice activities for students too.

What strategies do you use to differentiate spelling lists?  Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Edmodo Adds Snapshot Tool

Yesterday I noticed a new message from Edmodo.  Did you see it too?  I am one of those people you might characterize as an early adopter so you can probably figure that I immediately tested it out.  Within minutes and I do mean only a few minutes, I had created 2 snapshots: One for reading and One for math.  I had it assigned to my 4th grade class and this morning we gave it a go.  The tool has earned an initial 4 star rating in my book.

  Pros: quick, easy, aligned to common core, immediate creation of reports that guide instruction by identifying student mastery levels while also offering individualized data screen where you can select a student and review the questions they answered  -- truly impressive sets of questions that are randomized to avoid cheating

Cons: some students got "bumped" out or claimed the screen froze (not sure what user error might have caused that or bug in the system even)  -  even so, easy enough work around... close the tab and reopen the snapshot link then select continue snapshot... not so bad.  Students don't seem to be able to go back to a question after they have moved on.  

All in all a very nice addition to Edmodo as an online learning environment for blendend learning!  Oh and perhaps best of all... this is not part of their App Store... IT IS FREE, built-in, and appears to be fully functional with a sufficient data set!

Thank you Edmodo!!

So... if you use Edmodo and missed this new tool... go get a look at it and try it out for yourself.  You'll be glad you did.
If you've already tried it, or once you try it, I would love to know what pros and cons you discovered and how many stars you would give it.

Released just in time for test prep too.  I'm HAPPY!!  :D