SCHOOLOGY THOUGHTS

Many of you have shared your lessons, ideas, and questions with me about Schoology.  

After listening and looking at where we all are I wanted to share some ideas to make Schoology lessons easier to navigate by you and your students….

As we build more and more lessons it is important that we have some consistency between classes and that each “Course”- (unit/lessons) need to be intuitive and really easy to find what to do for all stakeholders.  

I thought I would share some screenshots of a course that I did a couple years back to show what I was taught when I trained for Schoology – and show what worked best for over time for students and teachers that I worked with.  

OK- humor me-

These are SUGGESTIONS to make things go smoothly for everyone! 

BRAINSTORMING

Many of you know what content that you want to teach. You now just have to adapt it to a digital platform, Schoology.  Sounds easy, but there is a learning curve. 


Think “backwards design” – and start with the end in mind.  In your classes you have big rocks or concepts that the standards drive you to teach.  Those are your “units” (think how they look in a textbook “table of contents”….  and there are lessons under each unit. 


When we teach a class over a year or semester we have to pace it out.  You look at your standards that the state requires to be taught, and build out from there.  Some teachers have made pacing guides of their own, some rely on the textbook table of contents, some may use a pacing guide given them, etc- but we all look at what needs to be taught over the school term. So on Schoology you will create units for the year, and your lessons you are building will fall under those units. 


As you begin to create units / lessons on Schoology first ask yourself “What are students going to have to show you so that you will know they have mastered the material?”  Think  of how you will assess them- tests, projects, discussions, student made videos or audio, student made reports or graphics….etc.. (this is them REPORTING out or assessment) 


Then ask yourself what do YOU need to do to kick off the lesson, activate them, hook them, tell basic info, touch on background knowledge, relevance, etc… (this is you opening the class giving INFORMATION- teaching)


And of course, the next step is to come up with different activities students can choose from for them to practice and learn the material- this is the guided dynamic instruction like you do every day in class. It can be videos assigned that they watch, links to other sites, research, worksheets, graphic organizers, textbook readings, questions assigned, discussion boards, mini-PBL, etc  (This is where the actual work is done for them to learn- like in regular classes the seat work, practice, collaboration, creating, etc-  this falls under ACTIVITIES) 


You are actually building units in Schoology…. they call them courses. 
Name your course on what concept or chapter you are teaching- concept- PLUS your name…
 That makes it easy to find later.

FOLDER CONCEPT


I would strongly suggest that to make things easier for the students and you that you add a “folder concept” to each course- Let me explain….


Create three folders to organize what you are teaching to help guide the students…


For example-

  • One folder is INFORMATION- Where you give an overview of the concept being taught and do the teaching-show standard taught
  • Another is ACTION- where you provide things for them to do to practice and learn-videos, graphics, PPT, SWAY-stuff they do
  • And the last is REPORTING- this is assessment- how you measure mastery of standard- test, reports, fill out a form, they create a video, project, etc


I attached a screenshot of a course I did as an example of what I mean with the above- I hope this helps some- 

That is an entire unit on WW2 for 11th grade.  

The Unit / course is named “Contemporary History- Sumner”- but ideally it should have the concept name “WW2” added to that name to make it easy to find and share. 

Notice how there are five folders in this unit for concepts of the war- (Prelude to War, Homefront, European Theater, Asian Theater, Aftermath of Second World War) each folder could be taught for one week for each of those folders for a 5 week unit

Each of those “concept of the war” folders is broken into three lesson subfolders- following the “Information- Action- Reporting” format given above. 

Schoology allows for great teacher freedom- but it has to be “user-friendly” and needs to make sense as you teach with it. It should reflect teaching like what is done in the classroom in regular times- so your organization is important. You can break down work in these folders into week by week, day by day, or topically…. just remember to think like a student who is in your class. Does what you have in Schoology make sense to them, and can you guide them on what work in to be done each day within your unit?

Again, those ideas make it easier to users to find the info and know what is expected. Consistency and organization are important for students and all stakeholders. Name course with concept taught and teacher… use folders to organize what is to be done instead of having it scroll forever….. those are a couple of ideas that really helped when I taught that unit. 


Make sense?
Please feel free to contact me for more help!