It’s that time of year again… back-to-school night!

It’s that time of year again, back-to-school night is right around the corner! I know that parent involvement leads to student success, so how should I maximize the 20 minutes I have with parents to start the year off right? In the past, I’ve planned too much for back-to-school night. I always seemed to run out of time. Parents would be out the door before I even had a chance to go over my behavior management plan! This year is going to be different. I’m going to keep it short, sweet, and attempt to make better use of my time time.

Here’s my plan of attack:

1. Introduction! 1 minute

I plan to introduce myself and share a little background about myself. My hope is to come across approachable and passionate about helping their children succeed. My goal is to get parents on my side.

2. Give a BRIEF overview of what I have planned for the school year 3 minutes

I will inform parents of the general topics that will be covered in my class this year and any big projects I may need their help with down the line. However, parents get bored too — I will make sure to not go over every detail of my curriculum, that’s what a syllabus is for!

4. Go over behavior management plan: ClassDojo 5 minutes

Explain what ClassDojo is and how it will help develop positive behaviors in the classroom. Show parents what students’ avatars look like and what happens when students receive a positive or negative point. Explain how ClassDojo behaviors align with our school’s code of conduct.

5. Get parents on board! 5 minutes

We all know that parent involvement is directly correlated with student success. I plan on keeping parents in the know as much as possible through ClassDojo. At back-to-school night I will hand out parent codes so they can create a ClassDojo parent account. Here they can view behavior reports and communicate with me through ClassDojo Messenger.

6. Class “Wish List” 1 minute

Let’s be honest — teacher’s aren’t given much money to spend on school supplies. This is why I always show parents my “Wish List” at back-to-school night. This can include everything from glue sticks to construction paper. Anything you think you might need goes on the wish list!

7. Questions? 5 minutes

Leaving time at the end for questions is crucial. I want to make sure parents feel comfortable and excited about the year ahead. I’m hopeful that back-to-school night will give parents the information and tools necessary to stay as involved as possible in my class this year.

Fingers crossed! Here goes nothin’ 🙂

Using ClassDojo for more than just behavior!

Have you ever thought about using ClassDojo for data tracking needs besides behavior? As educators, we are continually collecting data on our students. No matter what grade-level you teach or how many classes you have any given day, ClassDojo can assist in collecting, storing, and producing customized data without the need for a spreadsheet or paper. You just need to think outside the box!

In my own little fifth-grade world, I use ClassDojo to gather a multitude of data. ClassDojo allows me to create as many classes and behaviors as I’d like, so I can keep track of so many different types of data points. For example, I track our students’ work habits. I track whether students complete an assignment for ELA, math, science, and social studies. If a student does not complete the assignment, he or she receives a negative point for the specific subject area. Students can also receive a negative point if they are unprepared for class. This really comes in handy when quantifying subjective data such as “work habits”, which appears as a grade on students’ quarterly report cards. At the end of each quarter I enter the date range of the quarter within the “Customized Report” and instantly have a number of missed assignments for each of my 97 students. This number is then translated into an O, S, or N based on a grading scale pre-determined by our administrators. The data truly makes my job of submitting these types of grades much easier.

Another great use of my ClassDojo account has been tracking my Junior Beta members’ service hours and meeting attendance. Just as I do with work habits, I create categories for meetings and projects we are completing. Members receive points for attending monthly meetings and completing service projects. This replaces hunting for sign-in sheets or begging for Beta folders to monitor student participation. By the end of the year I have collected a useful report of students’ individual hours and have guaranteed proof of hours earned. Once again, this omits the loss of documents and playing the guessing game on which member may have gained his or her hours in order to receive an award at the end of each year.

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The amount of data that can be collected through ClassDojo is endless. I have already started a list of spreadsheets I will be converting to ClassDojo next school year. This list includes the large amount of signed paperwork students must submit each year prior to school starting, fees collected, forms returned, etc.

It’s time to think outside the “paper” box you collect each year and save yourself a lot of work!