In my last post I referred to using BrainHoney. In this post I want so share a little bit of what I am doing with BrainHoney in preparation for the new school year. If all goes according to plan I will have at least my first two months of practice, assignments and assessments on BrainHoney before my students come to school on September 3rd.
BrainHoney allows me to sort my assignments and resources into different units called “modules.” Once a module has been named and created I am able to drag the standards I will be focusing on over to the module. For each lesson, assignment or assessment the specific focus standards are matched. This keeps track of what standards I have “Covered” and how many times I have “Assessed” those standards. The standards can be selected from a pre-populated list of Common Core State Standards. I also added the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards to the list, which was quick and easy to do.
So to this point I have set up all of the modules (units) I plan to do throughout the school year. Now I am going through the process of adding lessons, assignments and assessments to each module. I have created and filled three introductory modules. One is a basic introduction to how students should “act” while interacting online, the second is full of writing resources for students and the third is the important information students will need to have access to for English 8. One of the nice parts about BrainHoney is that even when dealing with a pdf I can set a minimum amount of time students need to be on the page before they can move to the next assignment. Obviously, this will not guarantee each student has read the information, but it will allow me to dispute students when they claim, “I have never seen that information before.”
For three units I have paired a book with one of the collections (which is what our text-book calls a unit) that goes along with the theme. For example we begin the year by reading the book Inside Out and Back Again, a collection of poems written from the perspective of a twelve-year-old Vietnamese girl who has to flee her home and become a refugee during the Vietnam War. The work we will do with this novel is closely based on the module from EngageNY.org. I have found that if you work through the modules offered by New York State there is a lot of excellent resources to use, both in terms of assessments and informational text. The themes when reading and working through this book go excellent with the Collections unit titled, “Culture and Belonging.” The pairing will allow my students to read many different types of writing, novels, news articles, historical articles, transcripts, short stories and poems all while working with a common theme.
As I continue to build my year, I will post updates and a few days before school I hope to post my day one plan, followed up with what really happened.