Frequently Asked Questions: Edmodo, Choice Boards, IXL, and ISNs


What is Edmodo?

How we communicate. Edmodo is where I will post homework, grades, announcements, etc. You will also use it for submitting electronic copies of your homework (as pictures or attached documents). This app is absolutely critical for completing your work each week.

Why Edmodo?

It’s FREE. Yes, there are other programs similar to Edmodo that provide the same functions, but I believe that being a good steward of money extends to business as well, and I love to save parents money when I can. By using Edmodo, there are no additional costs passed on to parents.

Who needs to use Edmodo?

Students and parents. There is an app for students and an app for parents. You will need to set up the student account first, then I can provide you with the parent code. Please keep up with your username and password – I suggest writing it down in MULTIPLE places (ISN, binder, phone, planner, etc.)

When should I check Edmodo?

Often. You will need to check Edmodo to confirm the details of your homework assignments (usually posted 1-2 days after class), but remember, in most cases, you should leave each class knowing exactly what your homework assignment is, so the posting on Edmodo should just be confirmation for you. However, if you missed class, checking Edmodo becomes even more important as it will be your only source for getting your assignments.

How do I check my grades on Edmodo?

It depends. Individual grades are easier to see on Edmodo when they are posted. Remember that since classes work on the points system, grades might not look like the percentage grade (out of 100) that you are used to. It just takes a little math to figure out your percentage grade.Take the grade I give you and divide by total number of points possible – that will give you your percentage. Here are some examples: 1425/1500 = 95     500/500 = 100% 575/500 = 115%. To see your average for the class, you’ll need to do the same sort of math. Take the TOTAL number of points you’ve earned in the class so far then divide it by the total number of points possible so far for the class. (Depending on what device you use for your Edmodo app, you MAY need to open Edmodo on an actual computer to see the “big fraction” to calculate your class average.)

Should I use Edmodo to contact you (the teacher)?

Sure. Edmodo has a messaging feature that seems to work pretty well, and you are more than welcome to use that (notifications for comments under posts sometimes get lost in the shuffle, but the messaging feature works much better). However, if you have an urgent question, please feel free to text me. Examples of “urgent” communication would be: letting me know that you will be absent/over 15 minutes late (same day), asking a question that needs to be answered in less than 24 hours, or to play Game Pigeon (lol).


Choice Boards

Do I have to complete every assignment on the choice board?

No. What is so great about the choice board format is that it is full of…choices. You get to pick which assignments you want to complete each week. Since all of the assignments listed help you dig deeper into what you’ve read, you have the freedom to choose activities that appeal to you.

Do I have to complete every assignment in a box?

No. You can choose ANY combination of assignments on the choice board in order to earn your points. Just because you choose one assignment from a certain box does not mean you now have to complete all of the activities in that box. You can mix and match as you wish.

Do I have to complete the same work on every choice board?

No. Every choice board in a clean slate. What you chose on the last choice board has nothing to do with what you choose on any other choice board. So, play around with them and have fun. Some students find activities that they really enjoy, so they choose them over and over. Other students try something new on each choice board. One suggestion, though – you don’t know if you like something until you try it, so don’t be afraid to think outside the “box” that you usually choose. 🙂

How many points do I have to earn?

500. Unless otherwise stated, most choice boards require you to earn 500 points, but you also have the opportunity to earn bonus points each week.

Can I get bonus points?

Yes. Unless otherwise stated, you can earn up to 100 bonus points on each choice board. However, the limit is 100, which means you can’t attempt any points over 600 to cover any points you might miss due to wrong answers. I STRONGLY encourage you to attempt at least a few bonus points on each choice board. Think of the points like money – you may have heard your parents talk about working “overtime” to save up a little extra money for a vacation, home repair, or “rainy day fund.” The bonus points are just like that – a little extra money in the bank for a rainy day. You never know when you are going to have a difficult week (due to sports, time constraints, emergency, etc.), and maybe you are only able to complete 300 points one week. However, if you’ve been “banking” some extra credit every week, it is easy for that 300 to still average out to an A (or even higher) thanks to all those bonus points.

How do I turn in my work?

Hard copy and Edmodo. No matter what activities you completed, you will need to turn in a completed choice board for each unit/module. In order to avoid situations in which the dog may have eaten your homework, the best thing to do is to turn in both a hard copy AND an electronic copy. That way, if something happens to the hard copy, we will have a back up online in Edmodo. I consider a “hard copy” to be the original page out of a workbook, a copy of the page, handwritten answers, or typed answers – any of these are acceptable. The choice board itself will serve as your cover sheet for the packet of work you are turning in. Always put any hard copies of work BEHIND the choice board before you staple your packet. Also, when turning in work on Edmodo, don’t forget to submit a picture of the choice board as well.

How do I earn points on the mandatory section?

Honor system. The mandatory section for each choice board consists of reading the current unit/module. I’m giving you points for doing this because it is part of your homework which requires time and effort on your part. However, you don’t have to do anything extra to “proove” that you completed this work; simply mark it as completed and fill in the section for the number of points attempted.

What version of the Bible should I use?

It’s up to you. I believe this is a personal/family choice, so I place no restrictions on this. As a Christian homeschool tutorial, we are blessed to have families from a variety of denominations, and while we may worship a little differently, we are all still worshipping the same God. So, feel free to use whichever version/translation of the Bible you/your family normally uses (KJV, NKJV, NIV, Catholic, NLT, etc.)

How long do I have to complete the choice board?

It depends. Typically history classes have one week per choice board, and science classes have two weeks. However, there will be times (such as over fall/spring/Christmas break) that you may have extra time, so make sure you check the due date listed in Edmodo.

How do I fill out the choice board?

Name, date, check marks, and points attempted. At the top of the choice board, please fill in your name, the date (either when you completed it or the due date is fine), and the total number of points attempted out of 500 (including bonus points). Also, you will want to fill out the points attempted section for each box. Remember, it’s perfectly fine to have a zero in a section or even what looks like a “low score” because you are mixing and matching points from each section to add up to 500 points total. Each activity has a box to check in front of it IF you completed it – place check marks ONLY in the boxes in front of activities you completed. This will help you keep up with what you’ve completed, and it also helps your parents and I see at a glance what you’ve completed.

How should I manage my time each week?

It’s up to you. Again, this is the beauty of homeschool – it allows you to be as flexible or as structured as you need. For the Notgrass history books, you have weekly units with five lessons per unit. So, you can easily do a lesson a day. Then, if you are trying to incorporate your choice board points into your plan for the week, I would suggest shooting for earning about 100 points on each of those 5 days. However, some students prefer to get “in the zone” on a certain subject and work on it for quite a few hours at a time, and that’s fine, too. For the science choice boards, you typically have two weeks to complete the work, but the readings and assignments usually take more time and effort, but you can still apply the same strategy for setting a points goal for each science study session you do.

How do I figure out my grade?

It’s a percentage. Take the grade I give you and divide by 500 points – that will give you your percentage. Here are some examples: 425/500 = 85     500/500 = 100% 575/500 = 115%. Remember – all these grades get averaged together, so a 450 one week plus a 550 another week is still like having two 100s. You will get your choice board packet back in class, but your grade will also be posted on Edmodo. Since classes only meet once a week, you may see your grade on Edmodo before you get your hard copy back in class.



What is IXL?

Online curriculum. IXL is one of my favorite websites for math/English homework, and we will be using it weekly in these two classes. A majority of your grade for math and English will come from the points you earn on IXL every week, so please take it seriously.

Why IXL?

Functionality and support. It may feel weird to use an online curriculum for an in-person class, but IXL is more practice than instruction, so think of it as your online workbook/textbook instead of a stand-alone curriculum. Also, I only see you once a week, so depending on how much time you wait between the in-class instruction and the at-home practice, you may be a little rusty on what we went over in class. However, if you miss a question on IXL, it will walk you through why you missed it and explain the correct answer (but you have to actually scroll down and take the time to read/study the explanation). These explanations are a HUGE help that you wouldn’t get if you simply did worksheets/workbook pages for homework – I LOVE the fact that you have help at home when I can’t be there to help you.

Do I need to purchase a membership?

No. Your membership is already included in the course materials fee. Memberships set up through the school instead of individually save you close to $100, so no need to do anything else. I will set up the IXL accounts during the first week of school and issue the username/password cards. Your membership is good for a full calendar year and includes access to all levels of the subject, so you are welcome to go back and review or even peek ahead at upcoming classes.

Can you/my parents see my work on IXL?

Oh yes. Down to the MINUTE. So, this is NOT the place to cut corners or stretch the truth about how much time you’ve spent on your homework or how many points you’ve earned. We have access to real-time information as you are working as well as extensive reports available 24/7.

What if I lose my username/password?

Contact me. On the class roster, I can see your username and password. So, if you lose/forget it, just let me know, and I can look it up. However, I recommend that you write it down in multiple locations – your ISN, phone, notebook, binder, etc. Also, while the original username/password is generated by IXL, you are able to change the password (not username) if you wish. Just remember that I can see all the passwords on the roster, so nothing too crazy, please.

How do I “submit” my IXL homework on Edmodo?

Just submit your total points. If you’re like me, you love checking off to do lists, and seeing that you still have homework to do in Edmodo when you’ve finished it on IXL is annoying. So, to clear that reminder on Edmodo (and to let me know you’ve finished your homework), simply click on the assignment and list your total number of points earned (including any bonus points), then click submit. I’ll confirm the number you submitted by checking IXL, then enter the grade in Edmodo.



What is an ISN?

Interactive Student Notebook. An ISN is a notebook designated for specific, teacher-assigned notes for a certain class. For our purposes, we use a composition book for each ISN (instead of a spiral-bound notebook) since pre-printed activities are designed to fit a composition book. The goal for ISNs is to house the most essential notes for a class. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when juggling textbooks, notebooks, binders, lab notebooks, apps, etc., especially if it is not your strongest subject. The notes that go in the ISN are meant to help you synthesize the most important concepts from class each week.

What goes in the ISN?

Only what your teacher assigns as ISN work. I know this sounds super picky, but remember that the goal of the ISN is to give you a one-stop-shop for the most important concepts. This will help you study for tests, and it can also be a big help in college. For example, you may be asked to copy down a math formula and a few sample problems, but you wouldn’t want to do all of your math homework in the ISN (that should be done on a separate sheet of paper). Examples of things you might be asked to include in your ISN would be definitions of key terms, formulas, grammar charts, graphic organizers, sample problems, teacher-led notes, strategies, etc. Sometimes you will be copying information directly into your ISN, and other times there will be pre-printed handouts to be glued into your ISN, so always listen carefully to the directions for each page.

Should I bring my ISN to class?

YES!!! Every. Single. Week! This is important so you don’t wind up having to recopy notes into your ISN later or confused about the directions for how to cut/glue something onto a certain page.

What if I miss a day?

Your ISN work will be in your student folder. First – don’t worry. I will simply place any handouts in your student folder for you to get the next day you are back in class. Ask a classmate if you can see his or her ISN to catch up on any pages you may have missed. The best idea is to take pictures of a classmate’s ISN pages when possible, so you can fill in any missing pages outside of class (as long as the pictures don’t show any answers to work you should be doing on your own).

Will I get a grade for my ISN?

YES. We will have “ISN checks” that will count for a grade. They may be announced or unannounced, so you should ALWAYS have your ISN in class and up-to-date to ensure a fantastic ISN grade. This is also a great place to earn some extra credit! While I will tell you what should be on each page of your ISN, you are in charge of making it “yours.” Let your creativity shine – add color, extra notes, highlights, stickers, washi tape, etc. I believe that the more time you spend with your notes and the more fun you make them, the more likely you are to actually use them to study, and while I can’t promise that using washi tape will earn you extra credit…let’s just say, it couldn’t hurt. 🙂