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Students mirror teacher behavior — are you setting a good example?

This post was written by Melissa Myers, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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Years ago, I worked in a school where faculty members routinely brought laptops to meetings. Everyone would gather in desks facing the front of the room, screens up, fingers furiously typing, while the facilitator spoke.  At first, I was determined to sit near the front, maintain eye-contact with the facilitator, and participate meaningfully in discussion.  Eventually, though, I gave up. It became clear what my colleagues thought of our meetings: this time was better spent preparing lessons, checking email, or even comparing Fantasy Football stats.

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Can students control technology? Or does technology control students?

This post was written by Helena Li, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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I am from the generation when cell phones evolved from being primitively monochrome, with its most entertaining feature being an ever-elongating snake, to sudden touch screen brilliance, with a sassy voice-activated personal secretary. I have been an avid user at each of these stages, relishing every new invention, novel distraction, and complicated organization tool.

We have evolved at a rate that would frighten Darwin, growing an extra appendage that our thumbs are incessantly tapping on. If I have become so dependent on technology and the instant gratification of notifications and Likes, how addicted must our kids be, who were born into this world likely in the company of 4-inch lit screens?

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ADHD: friend or foe?

This post was written by Kelly Connolly-Hickey, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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One sentence sums up “John” perfectly: He’s a class all by himself.  

Possessing a great deal of energy, John is a bright, intense, young man with strong opinions, an off-beat humor, and obsessive interests. John can be polarizing, but he’s quick to stand up for others and what he believes is right. On a rare bad day, his silence puts a damper on the classroom atmosphere; usually, he is actively engaged and talkative. Though he frequently needs redirection, he usually leads class discussions. John is a powerful, positive presence in the class.

John is also one of the increasing number of students I have who have been diagnosed with ADHD.

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Get on the ball!

This post was written by Olivia S. Blazer, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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Gone are the days of lectures and students sitting silently and listening, completing assignments individually in a room so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Over the years, the culture of the classroom has changed dramatically. Students are interacting with technology and each other to enhance learning. There is less direct instruction and more small group instruction. Educators are less and less the “sage on the stage,” and have moved more into a facilitator’s role – the “guide on the side.” Teachers are using unorthodox tools and strategies to encourage and sharpen student focus.

One such tool is the stability ball. “Out-of-the-box” teachers are choosing to replace student chairs in their classrooms for stability balls in order to increase focus during lessons and aid retention through movement. Movement and learning are indelibly connected. Children learn best when they are moving, and what better way for them to be focused, learning, and moving than sitting on a stability ball?

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Go Team!

This post was written by Christine Flok, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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I use ClassDojo for both behavioral and academic monitoring. I have multiple teams of students within ClassDojo that I award points to. These teams include partnerships and table groups. Their partnerships originally stemmed from their reading partners, but quickly expanded to desk partners as well. If either partner was off-task, they would not earn the points. It became a way for the students to not only work in teams, but to work together to accomplish a common goal.

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Keeping the peace with restorative practices

This post was written by Christine Flok, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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The first day of school always seems to sneak up on me. Students, parents and teachers alike are focused on getting new school supplies, getting themselves more organized, and planning other details for the school year. Most of these components are controllable. However, there seem to be a number of components that are completely out of our control… or are they?

When school starts, students experience a shift in environment, from home to the classroom. There is a strict schedule, new faces to get used to, academic work that needs to be done, and much more. It can come as a shock to students and they often act out in ways that are outside of their normal behaviors. We cannot control the strong feelings that students have, but we can control how they deal with those feelings.

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It’s time to start exploring the world of Blogs!

This post was written by Erin Dye, a ClassDojo Thought Partner who tweets regularly at GreenLightLT

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School is about to start up again! This is the opportune time to plan for the upcoming school year and think about the changes you might want to make in your classroom. Most tech-minded teachers already know about top education sites like Edudemic and Edutopia, but where else should you look on the web to find tips this summer? Here are some great blogs that will help as you plan for the fall.  

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Constructing a community of learners

This post was written by Olivia S. Blazer, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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Remember the song “We Are Family” by the Pointer Sisters? That has become the mantra for my class as we journey through the school year together, building a learning community as we go. A learning community is a group of students with a common purpose and shared values and goals. Building a classroom community truly enriches the students’ learning experience, and helps them learn valuable life skills they will be able to use and benefit from for the rest of their lives. Here are four thoughts to consider as you build your own classroom community this year!

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At a new school this year? Build a community on day one!

This post was written by Christine Flok, a ClassDojo Thought Partner

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Summer is a time where a lot of teachers are relaxing and enjoying a break in the school year. Other teachers are switching schools and are scrambling to get their new classrooms together. The checklist of things to get accomplished before beginning at a new school is lengthy. It includes all of the HR requirements, tying loose ends at your old school, moving your things from one classroom to the other, learning any new curriculum for your grade or school, and most importantly, thinking about how to build your new classroom community.

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Motivation + monitoring + movement = Management miracle!

This post was written by Lindsey Petlak, a ClassDojo Thought Partner who tweets regularly at LindseyPetlak

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Isn’t it funny how some days you feel like your students are perfect angels and then all of the sudden everything seems to fall apart? A million factors contribute to the classroom atmosphere — from a full moon to spring break starting the following day. It is one of the most important elements of a successful learning environment. 

I have found that combining motivation, constant monitoring, and time for movement breaks can result in a managed classroom that can stand up to pretty much anything… even the last week of school! ClassDojo has been my motivational and monitoring savior for the past several years. Several elements of ClassDojo worked wonders to motivate and monitor my students:

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