This year my school decided to implement a summer reading program, and I think it’s a fantastic idea. I’d like to naively assume that all my students read on their own during the summer, but the annual September regression suggests otherwise. The summer reading program is simple – students read two books, one from a list of “required” readings and a second of their choosing. Then, they complete a brief assignment for each book as proof of reading. It’s not a punitive program, so I do think it actually encourages reading outside of school.
My only concern, however, is that once the students leave school for the last time before break, I will have no opportunity to engage them in conversation about what they are reading. So I had an idea.
Several years ago, I discovered the educational social networking site called Edmodo. It functioned similar to Facebook, but had a lot of education-specific features and teacher controls that made it an excellent tool for online discussion and facilitation. At the time, I had no use for it, and the biggest mistake with technology is to use it just for the sake of using it, so I quietly tucked the site into my mental suitcase. But I thought of Edmodo while mulling over ways to promote the new reading club. What if I set up groups for each required book and then used it to facilitate online discussion over the summer? It’s just crazy enough to work.
I’m sure I’ll be posting on this more throughout the summer. It could be a tremendous success or an abysmal failure (although my suspicion is that the project will land somewhere in between), but itll be an interesting experiment in the ways students learn online and how teachers can further extend the school day beyond the agrarian calendar.
Here is the quick how-to I used with my students to get them set up and logged in to Edmodo. Feel free to use it with your own classes.
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