Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dojos Have Brains?!?!?!

In our classroom, it is quite common to walk in the door and see, what some might think are, a bunch of scary looking monsters on the Smart Board. Well, we call them Dojos, and in fact, they are not scary at all! They are AWESOME. They are the characters that my students use to help track their behavior points throughout the school year. They accumulate points and are working as a team towards a certain goal in order to receive an award. The students love being able to earn points for following the classroom expectations, and I love that it is so easy to track.

When students returned from winter break in early January, we discovered something different about our Dojo homepage. There was a link that directed us to something they called “Big Ideas.” The students and I were curious as to what these big ideas might be. So we clicked on the link and were happy to find that the Dojos had been working hard over the break to create a mini-series for us to watch. Each week the monsters have been releasing a new 2-3 minute episode that unleashes a new “big idea” about how our brains grow and learn. Students have been discovering through these short episodes that their brain, just like Mojo's brain, is a muscle that has the capacity to grow if we exercise it enough. We have also learned that mistakes are actually a good thing. And when we make a mistake and fix it, we are actually exercising our brain and helping it to grow.

Each new week, the first thing my students have been asking me is if the new episode is out yet. They are beginning to make connections with the concepts in the video and their own learning. Their motivation to practice each day and to not give up after a mistake has increased insurmountably. Even I can’t wait to see what next week’s episode will bring!

Below are episodes 1 & 2 for your enjoyment!

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