How We Changed the Culture of Our School – And You Can Too!

How We Changed the Culture of Our School – And You Can Too!

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?

Our school vision is to develop independent learners and ClassDojo has been at the heart of this by enabling us (as teachers) to give positive feedback to students instead of the broad comment of “well done,” which is rarely helpful.

So how can you go about making this shift in your school? Here are some tips we learned along the way:

Creating a positive whole school culture

Within school we now have 5Rs, which are the gold thread throughout our curriculum: Resilience, Relationships, Risk-taking, Resourceful and Reflective. When children are using and applying one or more of these into their school day, we recognize it with ClassDojo. The Big Ideas videos and activities on Empathy, Growth Mindset, and now Mindfulness have really helped here too.

We then celebrate that in our weekly Friday Praise Assembly. On Fridays each class, also votes for one of their peers who used and applied the 5Rs all week to attend afternoon tea with the school senior leadership team. This is a lovely opportunity for our students to share which of the 5Rs they have successfully used and applied. Our students take such pride in it!

Celebrating success instantly

Being a large Primary School (with 600 children on roll) we struggle to share our students’ achievements with the whole school. Each class has their own blog but it can be quite time consuming to read through all twenty-one of them. Trilby TV has enabled us to instantly upload our children’s achievements to what were once redundant television screens around school, and share with each other and with our visitors too. Each week, our Year 6 children produce a weekly Vlog to share what has happened around school, including all their ClassDojo achievements. This is then instantly uploaded onto Trilby TV for parents and carers to watch — and is also shown in our reception area! We have had numerous visitors comment on how fantastic it is to listen to our children having a voice and celebrating their success.

So what’s the impact?

Our children now have growth mindsets and are proud to celebrate their mistakes and learn from them, so much so that every class has a ‘Best Mistakes Board’ where children celebrate and share mistakes they have made and reflect on their learning. It’s fantastic to hear children saying ‘I’m not there ‘yet’… and hear them discussing how like Mojo they too can grow their brains! Our children are resilient, taking risks and choosing the resources they need to be independent learners. They collaborate with each other and this is shown through ClassDojo and Trilby TV.

What are ways you celebrate all the amazing things happening at your school?

 

My name is Claire Jones and I am an Assistant Headteacher at Layton Primary School in Blackpool, which is in the North West of the United Kingdom. ClassDojo was introduced in our school four years ago and I’m extremely proud to be an advocate for it with other schools by sharing the positive impact we've seen it make in how our children learn. I believe technology can enable all our children to become independent learners by giving them a choice of how to present their work.