Classdojo a highlight at parents evening

Follow the NCSL ‘Effective Influencing’ course I raced back to school for parents evening. Having listened to the parents and carer at our parent forum group I made two conscious changes to the way I operated. First, I stated that I would prefer to use our time to discuss their child’s progress rather than review the recent report, however I did add, if they had any questions about the report I would of course be more than happy to answer their questions. Not one single question.

I then made a simple statement outline if the progress was below, in line or above expectations before offering one or two strategies or tasks that either students could do to, or they could do to promote learning.

So far, a much more positive series of meetings.

Finally, I then asked if I could show them how I experienced their child’s behaviour and learning in class?

“Of course,” most answered curiously.

At which point I was logged into Classdojo reports. I clicked on their child’s name and simply turned the laptop around so that the report was facing them. The visual display was very well received indeed, easily explained, and had high impact. I was able to explain how I used Classdojo in the classroom and parents were able to translate the donut data to behaviour. It certainly prompted discussion. I was able to explain the different sections and highlight unique elements of their child’s behaviour in class. It promoted even more discussion if a red section (negative) indicated unacceptable behaviour. #Tip Do take time to code your behaviours and do try and avoid just using the basic dojo award.

So impressed by the parents and carers response, I emailed the team at @Classdojo the few queries or suggestions that the parents had offered in our discussions;

Using CD at parents evening. Most like the visual look and respond very well. Of course the data display is mainly positive, reflecting how I work with this group and how I have employed the tool in class. A few parents have asked how their child compares to the group norms. Can the range of points be displayed?? Or just make more of the totals a little more prominent?

The @classdojo team responded with their useful supportive tone.

Kristian – more data visualizations on the way 🙂 what else would you like?

Cheers Sam

It is hard to see where you can go wrong with Classdojo. Conversely, there is so much that is right.

Since writing this post, the new reports have been released and my word they are simply fantastic. See for yourself. I can’t wait to share this with my students at the end of the academic year. We may well have to have our own Oscars style ceremony to send them onto their next teacher. Bravo team Classdojo.

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ipadio: Yr 11 Comandeers the IWB Pen. We Asked Why?

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A five minute impromptu conversation with a member of staff with an IWB in his room soon became a lesson for the teacher. A Yr11 student in for coursework catch-up saw what we were doing on the IWB and commandeered the IWB pen and proceed to organise the tiles. I asked him what got him up and out of his chair.

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ipadio: Hexagonal Learning

I am not going to write a SOLO taxonomy thinking post, I do not know it well enough, I haven’t I explored it far enough nor taught with it in mind. But I will. However the hexagonal tessalating idea, now I am up for that. I may even combine it to shoeless teaching. There’s lots of other excellent uses for hexagonal learning. Tait Coles, Chris Harte and David Didau are already ahead of the game. These guys have put together a useful Prezi, share Teachmeet videos and shared class footage. The practitioners have already provide some very compelling evidence so perhaps I can help in a different way?

Here is a hexagonal learning template and four reflections from today’s lesson and a few more images.

  1. Group’s of 2 were productive, 3 seemed to be engage and discussing the hexagons, 4 seemed a little strained.
  2. The students wanted to ‘finish’ the task and they wanted to know if they had got it right. In the second lesson, I really emphasised that first they needed to decided on the hexagon associations. That there was no ‘right’ answer and that they would need to be able defend their solutions.
  3. The students did not see discussion and justifying the hexagon placement as learning.
  4. The best thinking came about when I challenged their hexagon placements.

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You heard the student feedback, here is their work. I did keep the cut-out hexagons for next time. I think I will soon have a draw full of hex learning activities. Bring on the novels!


Are Lesson Plans Flawed?

I have been reflecting  a lot this week on lesson planning and design as I am teaching a new subject for the second year in succession. The time required to create NEW resources, and learn NEW knowledge can be exhaustive (although I am somewhat reassured that having “advanced content knowledge” is worth only 4weeks learning, so if I get my act together I should be able to recover this deficient).

This aside, I know I have to move my students on. Here is how I intend to do, my teaching mantra for this years RE classes.

First I aim to start the lessons with a ‘Thunk’ either sourced or based on the topic. Setting a tone for reflecting and investigative thinking.

Second, to clarify and share learning intentions and criteria for success. As much for me, as for the students.

Third, I am aim to openly and actively encourage students to look for opportunities for further and deeper discussion using the ABC question framework of (Answer, Backup or Contest).

Pupils taught to look for things and have discussion or wrote about what they think believe. @richards_james

Forth, I am going to try and write one significant hinge question, to really get to the bottom of whether students know what it is we are discussing and it is at this point my lesson planning has faltered.

If I want to assess and evidence learning midway through the lesson, the lesson has to be responsive right? To be able to adapt in real time to meet students’ learning needs? Agreed? If you are in agreement, how do you then plan for flexibility? I am certainly not planning 2 or even 3 possible second halves to the lesson?

Fifth, I am using Classdojo for feedback, for both classroom behaviour management and rewarding proactive learning behaviours. Its quick, instant and visual.

The final two steps are getting students to assess their own and one another’s learning. Both self-assessment and peer-assessment will focus on the examination structure and learning how to be ‘great’ PSRE exam takers. I believe that this skew is possible given the emphasis of the points.

What is formative assessment_

Still, that leaves me with an unfinished lesson plan. I am going to have to get comfortable with being ‘uncomfortable’ working with incomplete lesson plans.

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