Welcome to the new year! Here are some fun and free tools to help manage your classroom and communicate with parents.
Class Dojo: This was recommended by NYC teacher Frances Amato in the edWeb.net webinar, “Apps to Teach Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”. Created by Class Twist, Inc. for iOS and Android, the app is a behavioral system for students. It builds a community in your classroom and allows communication with parents. Some nice features are that it allows you to import student names through Word or Excel, it automatically creates printable instructions for parents to sign up, and makes it very easy for teachers and parents to communicate.
Class Dojo does not have a robust method for students to submit work — once they create and save an assignment they can’t add to it — but it does allow you to keep track of attendance and give points for good behavior such as helping others, being on task, participating, persistence, teamwork, working hard, and any other skill you would like to add. You can also define behaviors which call for points to be removed. Helpfully, Class Dojo generates reports of this information.
Another great free tool for parental communication is Remind, which lets you send text messages to parents — either one-way messages to a group, or a personal chat. The message history is recorded and can be downloaded at any time. You can also schedule messages and reminders in advance.
A fun way to organize student logins and passwords is to use paint chip cards from your local home improvement store. Punch a hole in each paint chip card and tie them together with a ribbon. This provides convenient access to logins and passwords regardless if you are in the classroom or traveling to the school computer lab. See this and more ideas in “25 Amazing Classroom Organising and Decorating Ideas” and “Top 10 Apps for Clasroom Management” on ourict.co.uk.