Want to Know What Makes Our Day? This!

Well, here’s a little something delightful.

It’s end of year time for schools in many countries, and that also means its one of the busiest times at ClassDojo! We’re so lucky we get to interact with this amazing community every day.

One of our favorite things is when we hear directly from you! Emails, posts, pings, likes, shares, shoutouts, and tags – they’re all the best! And we read every single one of the messages we get. From tales of classroom kindness to seeing Mojo mania, the #classdojolove is what keeps our coffee pot warm and our team inspired.

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“Raise Your Voice! It Can Change The World!”

This month, students are making their voices heard, including those in our Dojo community. We all believe our students’ voices will shape our future world – and there’s no better time to support them than right now!

That’s why we asked ClassDojo teachers to share words of encouragement, and to tell us how they help their students find their voices every day.

Here’s what they shared 😀

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Closing the gap between school and home :)

In an ever-busy and increasingly demanding classroom, it can be very difficult to forge strong home-school links. Too often, communication with parents is limited to reporting the ‘bad news’. Sometimes ensuring a strong social line from the school to the home is difficult because you don’t quite know the approach or tone to take.

This year I’ve found the opportunity to communicate with parents using ClassDojo to be integral in maintaining strong links to the home. From a practical point of view, the parent can check in on their child’s progress so they feel like more of an active participant than a passive bystander in their child’s daily school life. But moreover, I’ve found the simple messages of ‘Remember it’s Swimming tomorrow’ or ‘Don’t forget to bring your coat for the Sponsored Walk!’ to be a subtle but incredibly useful way to utilise the potential of ClassDojo. The parent gets an alert, they don’t need to say anything back. They’re happy to have the reminder!

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Best Resources for Blended Learning!

Even old-school educators agree with the fact that technology has made immense contributions towards the evolution of our educational system. With the right tools and methods, students can achieve great success even in disciplines they used to struggle with. Blended learning can take many forms in the classroom, but one thing is certain: it helps students to study and deliver projects more efficiently.

The following online resources, listed in two categories, will help educators explore the opportunities of blended learning.

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What is a Teachmeet?

The first time I heard about ClassDojo was at a Teachmeet – a unique opportunity to share and contribute the most creative and innovative ideas unfolding in our classrooms today. Since so many of us Ambassadors and Community Leads are hoping to engage in Teachmeets in our own countries, I thought it might be helpful for us to outline exactly what is involved in a Teachmeet.

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Hidden Gems of ClassDojo — The SUPER-Dojo!

This is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting some of the hidden gems of ClassDojo that you may not have heard of.

Sometimes the brilliant behaviour that your students exhibit deserves something more than the 1-point-ping from ClassDojo. Sometimes the student is so good, you end up pressing that reward button several times. Sometimes you want to make a behaviour just a little bit more special and sometimes a 1 point reward just isn’t enough.

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Team Building through ClassDojo!

As humans, we thrive on relationships and connecting with one another. Whether it be in the classroom as a student or a teacher, if people are working together then they can achieve far more than if they were to do so individually.

As part of introducing ClassDojo to my students this year, we decided that we should set a class goal. As a team, the class would need to earn 2000 ClassDojo points in order to earn a class achievement award. This has really added to the excitement of each student earning individual points — students are delighted to watch one another succeed! Daily, students are asking what the class total is, and they even take a few moments to work out how many more points they need and how many each student would need to earn (a little bonus maths lesson!) to reach their goal.

My students have quickly evolved into a fantastic team, working together towards a common goal. Unfortunately, from time to time some students do lose points (which is the case for some when homework is due).  However, when this occurs, these students have a positive support system behind them. Their classmates will say, “WE can get those points back!“. They truly have come together as a class, encouraging one another day in and day out. I am so proud of the positive and supportive relationships that are being built in my classroom. So, thank you to ClassDojo for promoting positive teamwork in my classroom. I’d love to hear how others are using ClassDojo to encourage teamwork in your classroom 🙂

Join us Wednesdays at 6:30pm AEST / 8:30pm NZ for #dojochatANZ

Whatever it takes: 6 strategies for student success!

Recently I had the pleasure of taking part in a I&RS (Intervention and Referral Services) meeting for a struggling student. Basically a team of teachers, parents, administrators, guidance counselors, child study team members, and others convened to problem solve student deficiencies. Many ideas were shared and an action plan was developed. The passion in the room was truly remarkable, especially the professional manner in which our staff conducted themselves. Each member of the committee took the “whatever it takes” approach in order to put this child in a position to succeed. In fact, throughout the school year other technology based strategies were utilized for other students as well.

Below you will find a sampling of strategies that were recommended for various students throughout the school year in order for them to be in a position to succeed with the help of technology…..

  • Teachers can leverage the power of ClassDojo to track student performance and behavior. This great tool can be very beneficial for students and parents in terms of communication, transparency, and buy-in.
  • Encourage student to utilize their personal computer in the school setting for organization and curation purposes. Often students feel more comfortable using their own device as they make sense of their learning.
  • Utilized the Dragon Dictation App so that the student can highlight their oral abilities on paper and/or computer screen.
  • Increase mental agility at home while at the same time providing breaks with the Pomodoro Timer App.
  • Focus on increasing typing speed using a program called EduTyping. This program can be utilized at home and in school.
  • Provide student with alternative assessment opportunities to show what they know on a given topic. For example, use the Audioboo podcasting app for a project in language arts.

Leveraging the power of technology and available web applications to promote the success of students is critical in the year 2014. Identifying student strengths in order to overcome weaknesses is important if schools are to put students in a position to be successful. As I said before, the strategies above are just a sampling of what was recommended. It’s truly amazing to see passionate school stakeholders collaborate and problem solve together. There is no doubt that struggling students will do a complete turn around and begin enjoying school once again.

Everyone wins when we are kind to substitutes! :)

I substituted for a year after I graduated from my teaching program, and it was the hardest thing I ever did. I was working in a district with 28 schools (my home district has 6) sprawled throughout eight cities. Everything was unpredictable. Most of the time, I had no idea where the school was, unless I had been there enough times to remember the side gate into the parking lot where I was not allowed to park. Sometimes, I got called to sub for the morning, then requested for an afternoon job at a school an hour away that started 45 minutes after the morning class ended, leaving me negative 15 minutes for lunch.

A sub’s life is frantic, so I implore teachers out there to be kind to subs, which basically means: Please leave instructions. Please. Subs want to be helpful (and sane). Having been in many classrooms where the kids had to teach me how to teach them, or I had to come up with my own lessons based on what the kids told me they were learning – here is, from a sub’s experience, how a teacher can get the most out of a substitute’s day’s work while keeping the sub sane:

1. Simplify. If there is something important or complex you were planning to teach on that day and you need to be out, don’t have us teach it, because the sub will not know what you want, and the kids will not get what you want out of it. There’s always the chance that you may get a fantastic master teacher who has taught this very lesson for 30 years (it could happen), but most likely not. Unless it’s absolutely necessary that the big lesson happens on that day, save it for when you can share it with the kids.

2. Bullet point. It’s much, much easier for a sub to read the lesson plan while teaching when it’s formatted vertically, versus giant paragraphs resembling a dissertation. We can easily check off what we’ve done and spot the next step.

3. Host. Have a conversation with the students the day before about expectations, being welcoming to a new person, and also appoint a few students who have shown responsibility during the week to be the sub’s helpers. This is also a good opportunity for students to try to earn this privilege, and it minimizes kids influencing each other to take advantage of the sub because there will always point people.

4. Routines. Tell the sub what the class’s routines and customs are, such as clapping 3 times to get their attention, or that everyone’s books need to be open to the right page before starting. This reduces chaos and gives the sub more authority in front of the kids.

5. Feedback. Leave a note at the end of the instructions asking the sub to write a few sentences of feedback about the day. I always did when I subbed anyway, pointing out the kids who showed exceptional effort and respect, and anything special that happened in the day. This way, you also get the sub’s name and can request him or her again if you feel it was a successful day. Good subs who know your class are hard to come by!