Kyle Crater is the principal of Amanda E. Stout Elementary in Pennsylvania’s Reading School District. Many of the families in Kyle’s district don’t speak English – which makes it harder for them to be involved in what’s happening in the classroom and school.
It’s a challenge that many teachers and principals face across the U.S. – as well as around the world. Today, more than 15 percent of adults in the U.S. don’t speak English at home. For one in four school-aged students, either they or their parents were not born in the U.S.
We developed Translate over three years ago to help solve this problem. And the idea came from you! (Like all the best ideas do, ha!) But when we created it – in 36 hours no less – we had no idea how impactful it could be. Every week, over 270,000 (yes, a quarter of a million!) messages are translated through ClassDojo in the U.S. Translate may feel like a small thing, but it’s been making a big difference.
Did you know that Sunday was National Parents Day? It really should have been a national holiday, but we’ll settle for a congressional resolution.
Hat’s off and hi-fives to all the parents out there doing whatever it takes for their kiddos! The juggle is real.
Any parent will tell you (or shout from the rooftops): a little bit goes a long way. So to celebrate the occasion, we went through our Summer Kindness Series submissions from families to highlight some of the brilliant ways kids are showing their parents a little TLC this summer.
Picture a middle school student who we’ll call Ethan. He entered third period today with a scowl on his face. He squirms and fidgets in his chair, unable to focus. When his teacher asks him about last night’s homework, he bristles with annoyance and says he didn’t do the assignment. It’s not clear why Ethan appears angry, and chances are Ethan may be a little unsure himself.
Building a positive classroom environment isn’t just about what happens inside a classroom, it’s about building a classroom community without walls, one that includes and engages parents and caregivers. Research has shown that students with involved parents and caregivers, regardless of background, are more likely to be successful in academics and develop better social skills.
As a teacher, I’ve been blessed to have positive relationships with parents since the first day of my career. The friendships I’ve formed with parents last far longer than a 10-month school calendar, and they are among the aspects of teaching that I cherish most.
Recently, during a camping trip, a colleague asked how I knew so many of our students’ parents by name. Developing relationships with her students’ parents was difficult for her, she admitted. She’s a good teacher and a wonderful person, but parents have not warmed up to her easily. In speaking to other teachers, I learned she is not alone. Thankfully, there are several proactive steps teachers can take to ensure the relationships they have with their students’ parents are helpful and rewarding.
It’s M-M-M Mindset Monday! That’s what the students at Walter Reed Middle School, in Studio City, CA, hear over the loudspeaker each week. And they pay special attention because it’s an announcement made by their fellow students.
What is Mindset Monday all about? And why do we do it?
Five years ago our school had: children with fixed mindsets, no consistent school wide culture policy, and no way of instantly celebrating achievements with each other and parents. Fast forward to today and it’s like walking into a different school…
Why is that?
Today, they would call me an introvert, but when I was a child, the label was “shy.”
I remember the challenges of wanting to demonstrate to my teacher that I was paying attention or mastering concepts but often felt intimidated by participating in class.
The classroom was an overstimulating environment. The number of people and all that surrounded me was enough to hinder my thoughts, let alone the fact that I was expected to process and interact. Unable to keep up, I would quickly shut down.
Today, I teach at first grade in the very same school where I struggled as a student. Though I now enter this building as a teacher, I still struggle as an introvert in an extrovert-dominated career. But I’m reminded of why I became a teacher.
You may be one of those teachers who’s thinking about how ClassDojo and Responsive Classroom can go together. I know I was! If you’re not familiar with the term, Responsive Classroom is founded on the belief that students and teachers work as a team and create the rules and expectations of the classroom together. This gives them a sense of ownership and decision making in the classroom. It can be done during a morning meeting – which is the approach I take. Only the way I do it is to incorporate ClassDojo!