When people ask me how I came to win the 2015/2016 Teacher of the Year award for North Carolina, I first point to the amazing teachers, mentors, dean, and my parents who lifted me up when I needed it…and pushed me forward when I needed that too 🙂 But I also point to an app we all know and love: ClassDojo. How has an app meant to bring teachers, parents, and students together helped me in my teacher journey? I put it to a couple key things.
ClassDojo has made it easy to reach out to parents — either just because or in the time of need, like when school is canceled, there’s an early dismissal due to weather, or when their scholar is not feeling well. In that sense, because I’m saving time by sending a quick message versus making numerous phone calls in a row, Dojo lets me to keep my focus where it should be: on teaching! And of course this works both ways, since parents can know they can reach me whenever necessary. For instance, if their scholar is ill, will be late to school, or even just an FYI message.
Building on School “Virtues”
The school I teach at is a moral focus school, meaning we focus on nine different moral focus virtues throughout the year. Some of the virtues we focus on and teach our scholars are: Wisdom, Respect, Gratitude, Integrity, and Self-control. Over the past two years I’ve adapted Dojo to our Moral focus standards so I can recognize scholars as they demonstrate these virtues. At the end of the month I can then show their progress through individual and class pie charts, which is a great way to recognize efforts made and places that can be improved.
In essence, ClassDojo helped me become teacher of the year by making sure I had all the right tools so I could bring even more focus and personal attention to each of my scholars. ClassDojo goes far beyond the “management” moniker some box it into. It’s the best way I’ve found to engage scholars and parents so everyone is connected and involved. In other words: it helped me turn my classroom into a community 🙂
How has ClassDojo made your life easier as a teacher? I’d love to know!