Sunday, March 30, 2014

ClassDojo: New Messaging Feature

The geniuses at ClassDojo are at it again! ClassDojo has another update to its already awesome tool. They have added a messaging feature that will allow you to send direct messages to parents, and allow them to message you back. This works much like text messaging on your phone. There are a couple of things that have to be set up first, but it is easy and painless, and will be a great addition to your behavior tracking & parent communication in your classroom!

Set Up:
First, you must have your parents "join". You can print out sign in codes to send home (this is really important at the student level as they should be able to track their own behavior). Once parents get the code and they set up their account you can begin. You will see which parents have set up accounts in your dashboard (see the first image below). From there you can start to send out messages when needed. It works well, but does require the teacher to use the iOS or Android app in order to do (can't do it form the web interface); however, the parent can access messages from the web.

Below are a couple screen shots of it in action.

Invite parents with a code

Open "Messaging" on app start

Communicate Away! (Teacher iPad app)

Parents get an email notification

This is what the parent web interface looks like 

If you have not tried this, give it a shot. It is a great way to keep your parents informed of great achievements or issues that arise during the day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute: DENSI 2014

Perhaps the best PD you will ever experience in your life. That is the best way to sum Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute (DENSI) up. The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) offers an amazing opportunity to around 125 teachers every year. The chance to learn, collaborate, and network with some of the country's most amazing educators in their annual Summer Institute. I was blessed to attend DENSI 2013 in Burlington, Vermont last year and all I can say it that it changed my life. Not just my professional teaching career, but my personal life as well. DENSI is like no other PD you will ever experience. The opportunity to discuss technology, classroom techniques, and the passion of teaching with thoughtful caring educators for a week can not be simulated in any district PD sessions. For 5 days participants live education, talk different techniques, share ideas, learn new technology, grow professionally and personally, and gain a vast network of supportive "DEN family" members. It is an experience that can, short of any other way to describe it, only be experienced. 

This is your chance to learn from the best. Apply for DENSI 2014 in Nashville and experience it for yourself! If you don't believe me, check out the Top 10 Reason to Attend DENSI 2014 in Nashville below.

(Just don't take my spot!) 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Online Safety: Parents' Guides from Connect Safely

Below is some great information from the web site about student online safety. This is a collection of parent guides to some popular sites/tools kids use. We all know our kids are going to these sites, and parents need to be prepared how to make their child's online interaction as safe as possible. Please remember, as a parent you are the last line of defense your child has in this area. You should be included on every post they make, every site they join, and every account they make. Log in and check history, interactions, and chats. It is not spying on your child; it is parenting. It is our job as parents and teachers to protect our children.

Parents’ Guides From ConnectSafely

By parents, for parents: A growing cohort of short, clearly written guidebooks that demystify apps, services and platforms popular with kids and teens. In PDF format. Feel free to download, print and share (if you share in bulk, please let us know via

A Parents' Guide to Facebook

All above resources are from

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fun Photo Editing: Adding Personalized Text

Sometimes we just need to do things for fun. This post is about fun with images. Have you ever wanted to see your face on a billboard in a major city? Your name written in the clouds spray painted on a wall in graffiti (without getting in trouble with the law of course). Here are 2 easy websites that will allow you to add your own text to stock images, download them to your device, and share them in any way you wish. Below are some examples of images I played around with just for fun. Give both of these free sites a shot and have some fun!

Ahhh...To See My Name In Neon Lights!

I Always Knew I had Fashion Sense!

Oh the Power and Authority!

Coming to a Discovery Channel Near You!