Kindergarten Teacher

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Using Class Dojo for Work Management

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Many teachers have been using Class Dojo as a behavior management system. If you are familiar with me you know that I avoid using these systems or any kind of reward in my classroom (read here.) However, I have been trying to find a system to allow my students to keep track of their completed work each week that would also give parents access to this information. Teaching management skills as well as time management are very important to me, even in Kindergarten. Until this week my class used a paper printout of all the jobs and colored in a box each time they filed away a job (yes, we use files)  This system has worked really well except we are wasting paper each week and there is no easy way for parents to see how much work they are completing. Enter Class Dojo. What I did was take all the behaviors they have built into the system and changed them to the names of all of our literacy centers. As the kids finished work they would pick the correct center and give themselves a point for that job. Since this was our first week I kept the iPad at my teacher table and assisted as they added their points each time. My hope is that after two weeks of working with them I can set up a computer or an iPad in the room specifically for Class Dojo and let the kids do this independently. I will update this post if that does not work out for some reason but I think it will after watching the kids use the system this week. I have pictures below to show some of the process of using the app this way.

One surprise benefit I realized is this app will give me important data about my centers. I can easily see what stations are being visited most frequently or first in the week (meaning favorite.) I can also look at each student and see what centers they are doing most often, or the ones they are avoiding each week. Since I give my class complete control over what centers they want to work on this data could really benefit me in planning stations.

Positives: Free!, easy to use as teacher, easy for kids to use, parent sign up is simple, web and app based, data for centers

Negatives: Cant add kids pictures instead of avatars (update below), can’t customize behavior icons (job icons), kids can see how many stations other kids have finished (wish there was an option to not display total) *please note these are negatives mainly because I am using the app for a different way than it was intended.

*Update: They have added a new feature this week  to allow you to customize the avatars with your own images (explained here)

This is what is displayed on the iPad for the kids to enter their points. When they tap on their avatar a menu pops up with all the center choices for my room. As noted above I don’t like that they can see the points for their friends.

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The image below is a sample image of an individual child’s progress during the week. This is what parents can see. The app shows what jobs they finish each day as well as the time those jobs are entered. The time stamp isn’t crucial to me at this point but I can see where it could be helpful given individual kids. Are they working better in the morning vs afternoon, etc. I should also note there is a pie chart above this info that shows how many of their points are positive/negative. I told the parents to ignore that part of the app and focus only on the completed centers.

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The image below is from the Dojo account on the web. I am able to see what parents have connected their account and even enter a parents email to encourage them to join. My understanding is the app will send parents a weekly update which is nice in case they forget to check. Parents can login online or use the free app to keep up with the progress in real-time.

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So how do parents sign up? Once you enter the students names into Class Dojo you can then download a pdf with the access codes for the parents. For my kindergarten class I did not worry about the student account. I just asked parents to join.

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Overall I was very impressed with the simplicity of getting my class setup and the design of the app and website. Hopefully they will consider others that might want to use the app this way and give more options that would make it more successful for that use.

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Dramatic Play: Bakery and Ice Cream Shop

Check out the amazing dramatic play center the parents at my school created! I can not claim any part of this but wanted to share the great idea. photo

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The image below shows the space. It is located in the hallway. We have four of these “pods” in our hallway that we use for our social centers (science, art, home living and blocks.) All the classes take turns rotating through these centers each day.

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Presentation: Virtual Field Trips for Elementary

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The video below is from a webinar with Region 10 where I discuss virtual field trips. This is one topic in a series of hangouts I will be doing with Region 10. You can see the full schedule here and register for FREE (required for CPE credit.) I hope you enjoy the presentation and will check out the topics on the schedule.

Watch the video HERE

Handouts and links mentioned in the presentation are below.
Presentation Slides

Google Earth Daylight Tool

Google Earth Measure Tool

Google Earth Creating A Path

Google Earth Path Video

Google Earth Past Path

Pinterest VFT

World Wonders 

360.net

Decorah Eagles

San Diego Zoo Webcams

Safeshare

Wonderopolis

50 Great Wonders for Elem

Scholastic Student Activities

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Presentation: Sharing Learning with Tech

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The video below is from a webinar with Region 10 where I discuss sharing learning with technology. This is one topic in a series of hangouts I will be doing with Region 10. You can see the full schedule here and register for FREE (required for CPE credit.) I hope you enjoy the presentation and will check out the topics on the schedule.
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Presentation slides here and links mentioned in the presentation below…

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Sports and Action Photography Tips

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I felt it was time to share my second passion with my readers. Did you know I am a photographer and even have my own sports and performance photography business. I have noticed on my social media channels that many educators are also big fans of photography so I thought I would share a few tips for sports photography. These first few tips are basic and have little to do with camera setting. (I will post more tips if the response to this post is well received)

The basics…

1- Get low! The lower the better in most cases, especially for kids. It gives a professional look to the images. I use a small chair most of the time but sitting down is even better.

2- Shoot Vertical! Most beginners always shoot horizontal. Vertical helps you isolate the action in most sports and keep the focus on the subject you are shooting. Practice switching from vertical to horizontal depending on the action.

3- Don’t be afraid of the sun! I feel most people think photography requires “front lighting” or the sun in the subjects face. I actually prefer back or side lighting (image above and first one below) If you are using auto setting the subjects face may be dark but that is only because you are letting the camera decide (meter) the image. Being able to use back lighting is a great reason to start playing with the camera settings.

4- Frames per second vs Timing! Most people think I am able to capture the action because my camera can shoot at 10 frames per second. This is rarely the case. I almost always shoot in two shot bursts and about 85% of the time the first image is the one I keep. Capturing action takes timing and practice. When you hold down the shutter and let it click away (spray and pray) you seldom get the exact moment you want. I suggest to work on timing instead of relying on holding down the shutter. You will get better with practice.

Thanks for reading, I would love for you to join my photography Facebook Page.

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Global Collaboration in Elementary: Presentation (with audio)

The video below is from a webinar with Region 10 where I discuss the basics of global collaboration in elementary. This is one topic in a series of hangouts I will be doing with Region 10. You can see the full schedule here and register for FREE (required for CPE credit.) I hope you enjoy the presentation and will check out the topics on the schedule.

Global Collaboration in elementary: The How and Why- “Learn about tech tools and example projects that will give your class a global audience while discussing how these connections lead to collaboration and authentic learning in the classroom. Tools shared include blogs, Twitter, Google Docs, and Skype. Real-life project examples will be shared and importance of digital citizenship will be an underlying topic.”

 

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