Double negatives are a bitch

Month: April, 2014

ClassDojo, or behaving well done right

Did you ever struggle to keep tabs on your students’ behaviour? Then ClassDojo might be the tool for you!

What is ClassDojo?

ClassDojo is a tool to keep track of the behaviour of students in the classroom, and analyzes it through reports that can be shared directly to the parents. It is a fun tool for both the teacher and his or her students, as it is customizable. Students can choose the avatar that represents them. Managing more than one class is also easy, since it is possible to create folders for more than one group. Moreover, the classes are associated to certain levels, a tutorial to create classrooms can be found here.

How can it be used in a classroom?

Since ClassDojo is a behaviour tracking tool, the best way to use it in a classroom setting is by using it to check on the students’ behaviour in class. Since it can be shared with the parents directly, it is a nice way to communicate with them without having to explain what happened specifically via email. The point system comes with simple guidelines for students to follow, but they are customizable too, to suit the teacher’s criteria. The clear distinction between the positive and negative behaviour to adopt in class is great for younger children. Teachers can also create their own criteria to evaluate. Every point given to the student can be notified to the parents, so they can follow their child’s behaviour constantly. Students that behave well and accumulate a certain number of points after a set amount of time may be eligible for a reward activity or a prize (toys, stickers, etc. work especially well with younger levels). Other testimonies about how teachers implemented that tool in their classrooms can be found here, here and here. More drastic implementation, such as that of projecting the classroom on a white board so that everyone can see the others’ results is also suggested here. Time saving is also discussed here.

To sum up, I think ClassDojo is a great disciplinary tool for younger learners but may be lackluster when used with grade 9 students (and above). It has become a very popular tool across the globe, and innovative ways on how to implement it are shared on many social media websites, like Pinterest!




Oh, how Pinteresting!

Social medias are always interesting tools to use in a classroom setting. What sets Pinterest apart from the others is its versatility.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media website that encompasses sharing through categorized bookmarks. It allows the users to follow other users as well.

How can it be used in a classroom?

  • First of all, Pinterest can be used to store and share ideas about classroom crafts. By doing so, others can get inspired with new ideas and have a greater variety of activities for students.
  • Secondly, you can integrate it to your and your students’ toolbar, so they can pin websites as they look up stuff. They can organize their search in folders. This helps organize their thoughts better.
  • Show off students’ work by posting individual works in a Pinterest group (called a board), like the Photoshop Peer Critique. This allows students to get feedback from their peers in a creative manner. Another example of that is the Portraits board.
  • Virtual field trips: there are tons of ideas out there for virtual field trips, as well as printables, videos, websites, etc. Virtual field trips is a good way to teach students about the outside world.
  • Activity sheets: many homemade teacher activities are posted on Pinterest, such as scavenger hunt worksheets.
  • Photo journals: By creating an account, students can post in a specific folder journals (since there is a description tool that can be used to write journals too) accompanied by a photo, either related to the topic or the mood of the journal.

Overall, Pinterest is a visually appealing tool that can be used efficiently in the classroom, and a great source of activities for teachers.

This website suggests other ways to use Pinterest in classrooms, and posted an infographic about it.

Other ways on how to use Pinterest are explained in details here.


What is bubbl?

That’s a fairly easy question. is a free mind mapping tool to organize your thoughts, projects, you name it! The website shows various examples of how the mindmaps can be created. Unlike other softwares like popplet, bubbl allows users to include documents and pictures to the mind maps.

How can it be used in a classroom?

This website can be used to start off team projects. Brainstorming is made easier thanks to those tools, and students organizing their thoughts in a mind map oftens helps them to see the bigger image. It enhances critical thinking and creativity. A tutorial on how to use create mind maps can be found here.

The mind maps created can be made collaboratively, as they can be shared. This enables students to brainstorm separately or to work on two different parts of the project at the same time.

Teachers can use it to present concepts in language classrooms, where students cooperate together with the teacher to complete the mind map together. An example of that is the Wizard of Oz exercise. Other activities inspired from this website are descriptive activities, where the students are asked to write about the mind map studied without using the words it contains. Moreover, it is a good way to elicit information about novels students were assigned to read, as they can summarize their thoughts and organize them, while using recast.

Other fun things about Bubbl

Several bubbl reviews can be found online, such as here, here and here.



How is it like over there?

“The lottery of birth is responsible for much of who we are. If you were not born in the country you were, what would your life be like? Would you be the same person?”

The website IfItWereMyHome is the best when it comes to make students think about others abroad. How? Because it compares the person’s living conditions with those of another country.

The website compares different data like death in infancy, unemployment, birth rates, life expectancy, electricity & oil consumptions, wages, money spent on healthcare, chances of having HIV/AIDS, etc. It also compares the size of the country on that to which it is compared by transposing it on a map. An example of can be shown here. There is also a paragraph about additionnal information regarding the country that is included with each country, as well as book suggestions which are about the country.  This can be used as a source to get students to read about a specific country.

It is a great tool to add in classes when talking about politics, environment of the contemporary world. The website talks about disasters such as the Pakistan Flood or the BP Oil Spill, and relates it to the students’ surroundings through the use of a map. By allowing the website to access the location info of your computer, it takes the map of the disaster’s impact and tranfers the effects on a map of the place where the students live. For instance, the Pakistan Flood would cover an area as big as the distance between New Jersey and la Manicouagan. By transposing issues to the person’s life, they may relate to it more and feel concerned about it, which helps retain information.


IPads and classrooms: Better than you thought!

With the constant growth of the place of technologies in society, iPads are a good place to start in a classroom. Assuming people have access to a 1:1 ratio of iPads for students, here are some great ways to incorporate its use in the classroom. You’re thinking about something? THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!

1. Replacing textbooks with iPads.

Books are heavy to carry, iPads aren’t. Many publishers now offer an iPad application for their textbooks. Those are easily accessible through iBooks. The only downside to it is that if you forgot your iPad at home, you’re pretty much screwed for the rest of the day.

2. Taking attendance.

Taking attendance is made easy through the application called Attendance. This app allows you to add your students in groups with personalized avatars/pictures for each (hopefully, you’ll use their school ID picture), so it’s fairly easy to use at the beginning of the year as well.

3. IPadagogy

IPadagogy is a youtube channel that offers app reviews of iPad apps, such as TopNotes, a notetaking app which can also include videos (videos!!!) in your notes.

4. Its rise in popularity and resource guides

With the rise in popularity of tablets and other devices, many have created resource guides, such as Kathy Schrok’s. Her resource guide even includes evaluation forms for apps, which could be included in computer classes related to the use of iPads. The iPad has a variety of teaching apps, some of which you can find here. Its popularity also makes people interested in creating applications, which helps the app community grow bigger each day.

5. Writing tools

Writing apps are great for practicing writing, especially when learning a new language. Korean Letters is a nice app to start learning how to write Hangul characters or to practice. Aside from the previously mentioned TopNotes, there is also Notability that is worth mentioning when it comes to notetaking applications.

6. Dictionaries.

So many dictionary apps exist, it’s crazy!  From language dictionaries to & Thesaurus, you have all the possible dictionaries you may think of in one place to make it, once again, fairly easier to carry everything around.

All in all, I think the use of iPads in classrooms is creative and the biggest example of forward thinking! However, I think students should use other tools as well, instead of focusing on a tool only. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

OneNote it down!

One of Office’s greatest invention is that of OneNote. Why? Because it is simple, effective and creative.

First, OneNote allows people to share everything through a cloud, under the same principle as icloud. This makes the notes taken in class by students available at all times. Moreover, just like with documents on google drive, students can work on two computers on the same document simultaneously, which is explained here. That comes handy when doing group projects in computer lab classes.

Second, this blog post explains how it’s a virtual binder. It’s classification tool enables students to organize their notes as if they were using a binder. But it’s better than regular binders; you can share that one with others! What is more, you can draw, scribble and sketch in that binder, just like on real paper! Hence, using that file in class to teach, adding stuff on it while teaching and then sharing that document with students is very easy.

Third, it enables you to create task lists. This proves to be useful when keeping track of due dates for papers, assignments, you name it!

Fourth, you can create wiki-links very easily, making notes for students more interactive. A tutorial to do so can be found here.

Overall, OneNote is set to replace Word in no time, as it proves to be much more effective as a tool than Word will ever be! And if the students don’t have OneNote at home? Converting the documents to PDF files is done in a click, making them accessible to all!