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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9 Fun Activities for Spring Break

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(repost from last year)

My 17 things to do during winter break post was fairly popular so I decided to make a list for spring break also. The kids stay home for nine days (including the weekends) so here is a list of 9 things to do during the break…

1. Take pictures all week and create a spring break book to share with the class. You can print the pictures and make a paper book or use a computer or iPad to make the story. Here are great apps for storytelling if you want to make a digital copy.

2. Make a picture graph of food sorted by color. Look through magazines, find pictures online or color your own. After you finish the graph try one new food from each color group. (challenge: make a pie graph also)

3. Create a new animal. Use your imagination or combine features of your favorite animals. Draw this new animal in its habitat and write three interesting facts about the new animal. This website might help!

4. Have a picnic with your family. If possible find a fun park to visit but even a picnic in the backyard will work.

5. Research about another country. It can be a country important to your family or even a place you want to visit. Learn about their clothes, shelter, food, symbols, flag, and animals that live there.

6. Go fishing… or at least feed the fish and explore a pond, creek or lake.

7. Learn something new like… ride a bike, tie shoes, fold laundry, cook a meal, how to sew, how to draw or build something. Dont give up!

8. Plant something! Start a garden or even just a small pot of flowers and estimate how long until they start growing.

9. Record the temperature every hour for one day. You can look online or use a thermometer. How will you record the data? How did the temperature change during the day? Why did it change? This app is great for recording the weather.

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Resources and Ideas for Tweeting in Primary Grades

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Here is a list of my favorite posts on using Twitter in the primary grades. Please let me know of other posts I should add to the list!

We Should Be Doing More Than Teaching Digital Citizenship

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

So you want to tweet with kindergarten…

Using Twitter in the Primary Classroom

Using Blog and Twitter with Young Students: THIS is What it Looks Like

Guide to Twitter in the K-8 Classroom

Digital Citizenship Starts in Kindergarten

Kindergarten Class Tweets with Weather Experts

The Research Center: How Twitter Leads to Learning

Tweets, Tweeting via Twitter

and OF COURSE @cybraryman1 has a page dedicated to twitter

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Hoopla Kidz Phonics Quiz Videos A-Z

Hoopla Kids Phonics Quiz Videos A-Z - @mattBgomez

These videos quiz the kids on the beginning sounds of words. You can find them HERE or by clicking the picture above.

 

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Olympics, Math and Apps in Kindergarten

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The first app we have been using is Skitch! Each morning I Google “Sochi Medal Count” and this chart is displayed. I have been taking a screenshot of the graph and editing out the totals on the far right for each country. Then we use Skitch to circle who has the most medal of each type and to find out the total medal count for each country on the chart. The kids are very excited about adding three digits together and I love how each day it gets a little more difficult as more and more medals are won. The other thing I like about using this chart is the countries are ordered by the number of gold medals not by the total. This has led to a lot of discussion and understanding of how data can be displayed and used. Learn more about this app here

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Today we were asked on Twitter what was our favorite sport. So we used the apps Haiku Deck and Educreations to create the graph above. Using Haiku Deck is a simple way to create a quick and polished looking graph. Once we had the graph made I took a screen shot on the iPad and imported that image into Explain Everything to add the pictures. Obviously the pictures are not crucial but for Kindergarten they really help the kids understand graphs. Once the images were added in Explain Everything we saved the image to our camera roll and tweeted it to our friends! Info on the apps below.

Graphing with Haiku deck details

Explain Everything How To Video

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