Originally posted on Miss P’s Ponderings on April 25, 2012
In my language arts class, we have started using a website to help with communication, learning, instruction, and assessment. [If you’re a teacher, visit www.edmodo.com to see what it’s all about.] When my language arts students rotate to the iPad table, the first thing they do is use the Edmodo app.
Right now, I’ve posted two questions regarding their book club. Let’s see…I’ve asked them to pick a character from their assigned book club and tell me about him/her including either their personality or what’s going on with them in the story’s plot. Then, today I added a challenge for them to name a character and write five adjectives to describe him/her. And, just for fun, I posted a poll asking them to pick their favorite fairy tale out of five I’ve listed.
What’s the purpose of this? Well, first, it’s a more engaging and interactive way for them to reflect and communicate about their book. You see, when they post their thoughts, the rest of our class can see their writing. Tomorrow, I’m going to pull up “our class page,” and we’re going to examine and discuss the offerings of the various students. Eventually, fingers crossed, I will be able to fairly assess their understanding as well as their language conventions.
Now, besides this being “more fun”, as my students have pointed out to me, it’s also good practice for the inevitable move to ISTEP+ online. The thought of my third graders taking a high-stakes test online, where they can just click through answers, scares me a bit. Yet, knowing that they’ll eventually have to complete the writing portion of the assessment online as well literally scares me to death. Well OK, not literally…but it scares me…a lot.
So, I figure if they get to the point where they can communicate their thoughts appropriately to me using Emodo, then maybe…just maybe, they can meet the challenge.
Now, you know…I wouldn’t be writing this unless I had an application or challenge in there for my spiritual journey, so here you go.
If my students were perfect in following directions, then the only writing I would see on our class page would be about their book club characters and their preference of fairy tales. Alas, that is not the case. Wow! My students must not be perfect at following directions, so what else did they write? Let’s see…
One student chose to praise another student’s participation and completion of their book club.
Several students affirmed the character of another student by declaring him nice and awesome, to which someone proclaimed that everyone likes him. A student who is new to my language class said he enjoyed being in my class. Several students told me I was a good reader…a really good reader.
And others simply told me they liked me.
Now, I know it wasn’t their assignment, but how can I possibly correct behavior that affirms others? I can’t. So I simply remind them to complete the assignment. If they want to add affirmations (as we discussed that negative comments were cyber-bullying), I don’t mind…as long as they take care of their responsibilities as well.
The same goes with me and my time with God.
Yes, He wants me to study, to pray, to meditate, to worship, to confess, to serve, to disciple, to witness… There’s lots of things I can do within my relationship with Him.
If I go to Him in prayer and in the midst of my prayer start sharing about my likes and dislikes, does He care that I lost focus? Nope, I don’t get a composition grade…just an eager Listener who loves me.
If I’m confessing and start asking Him to help me to do better, He just sees my heart…not the disorganized manner in which I’m sharing my soul with Him.
If I’m praising Him and start sharing how blessed I am because of people in my life, does He become angry because I’ve went off task? Nope, after all, He’s the Creator of those people who blessed me, so I’m also thanking Him for bringing them into my life.
My students are so eager to get to the iPads and share their thoughts on Edmodo. Is it because it’s a new thing? Perhaps, but it’s nice to see their excitement just the same. The same goes with my eagerness to share my journey with others. Am I eager to share how He has blessed me and used me and taught me? I’m sure my eagerness brings Him joy as well.
And the best part…I don’t get a grade. He doesn’t tell me my participle dangled or I ended with a preposition. He doesn’t ask me if I used the appropriate punctuation. He simply sees my heart and accepts it with all its “typos”.
You see…just like my students have to be in my “class” to be able to post comments…I must be in His family to have Him see past my “typos” and accept me through the blood of Christ. Yep, that’s a sweet, sweet thought to end on.