In the past two years, I have presented sessions and written a variety of articles on apps for the elementary music classroom. As I continue this “Top 10” series of blog posts, I felt that I had to write about 10 helpful apps for elementary music educators. I would not go so far as to say “top 10” because I feel like the “app world” changes daily because many are updated and more are added. In addition, one app might work well for one teacher, but another app might work well for another. Therefore, look over this list and feel free to check some out.
I adore this app! I use this app to keep track of all of my students’ grades, assessments and seating charts. I was able to take the student list from excel (saved as a .csv file) and import it to iDoceo using dropbox. If the excel file contains more than their names, you can arrange the excel file to import the additional information as well. I then created tabs in each class such as “attendance chart,” “assessments chart,” “recorder star chart,” and “Orff chart.” In the attendance chart, I can create icons for “present,” “absent,” “bathroom,” “at nurse” or “other.” Before each class, I create a column that automatically inserts the date. If everyone is present, I can touch and hold the column and the “Attend All” option comes up, which when pressed, all check marks appear next to the students’ names. It is a quick way to take attendance. In the assessment chart, I can customize icons to use when I perform an assessment game like “I’m the fastest turkey” (from Denise Gagné’s Sing and Play on Special Days), so that when I assess the student, I can input the icon (like a smiley face, a check mark, a flag, etc.) and the student will not be able to interpret the icon. In the recorder star chart, I keep track of the students’ recorder assessments and input the stars into the chart when they earn their recorder stars. In the Orff chart, I keep track of which Orff instruments they have performed on so that I do not repeat the instrument.
Some other items that I adore about this app are:
1) When I double click on the student’s name, all of their info shows up on the screen. If I click on the link icon, I can take a picture of the student, add a photo, add a file, record a video, record audio, or add a URL. The option to record a video or audio is a wonderful option for a music educator because when I have used it, I have been able to videotape my 5th graders’ instrumental performance tests, I have been able to record audio of the students’ vocalizations assessments and I have been able to revisit them when I needed to write progress reports.
2) The seating charts are wonderful. You can create five seating charts for each class. You can also add photos of each
student by adding the photo of the student, or taking a photo of the student using the app. You can also email the seating charts with the pictures to yourself. This has been very helpful on days when I have needed a sub.
I can print out the seating charts with pictures and give them to the sub, who now will be able to see the students’ names and pictures on one page. Finally, there is a random select tool within the seating chart so that when you have the seating chart window up on screen, you can click on the “dice” and it will randomly select a student from the chart.
3) If you create a grading system, the app will average it for you. If you make notes in the app, you can email the notes to the teacher or the parents with one click.
4) You can back it up often (I have it back up to google drive) and their website has great quickstart guides to answer many questions you would have about the app.
ClassDojo can run on the laptop or on a mobile device. I use this app for classes that come to me at rough times during the day. Whether they are coming to me very late in the day or they are coming to me after they have been transitioning all throughout the day, I feel that I need some sort of reward system to help them stay on task because they are tired and/or exhausted. ClassDojo does just that and my younger students love seeing their points increase as they stay on task. I have seen an educator use it on her mobile tablet so that if her students spoke out of turn while they were walking in the hallway, she would take a point away. The sound of the point being taken away reminded all of the students that they were not to talk in the hallway. It worked very well and was very successful. Inputting a list into ClassDojo was effortless as it also just required copying the column from the excel file and pasting it into ClassDojo.