I’m a special events junkie. Book parties, dance parties, author b-day parties, life-size games, stuffed animal sleep-overs…I can’t get enough of them. They’re a great way to channel some creative energy. And they are (almost always) as much fun for me as they are for the kids.
The one thing I dread about this type of program is opening the doors and checking in. Unfortunately this sets the stage for the whole event, so it’s important that it runs smoothly. I’ve been trying to improve/streamline my approach, but it still felt like a hurdle every time…until I tried ClassDojo.
ClassDojo is a classroom management app that allows teachers to track student behavior on their smartphone. I was playing around with it for a teacher workshop, and was blown away by the design and ease-of-use.
I was all, “why doesn’t anyone design stuff this cool for libraries?!” I set it aside, and didn’t think of it until about 10 minutes before my Diary of a Wimpy Kid party earlier this month. It came to me as I was printing up the list of kids who registered for the event. I suddenly thought, “I could use ClassDojo for my book party!”
I went to my desk, signed up for a free account, and downloaded the app to my phone. I created a “class” for the event. Then I cut + pasted my guest list from Evanced to create a student list. DONE! I ran to open the doors. I brought my paper guest list just in case I needed it…but I didn’t need it at all.
The app synced to my phone automatically. Each kids was assigned a weird little monster avatar, and the list was sorted by first name. All I had to do was tap each kid, and they were checked in–no muss, no fuss… we were ready to start having fun before you could say, “how do you spell Czajka?”
Another awesome feature is the “random” button. I’m guessing it’s there for teachers to call on students in class, but I used it to select a winner for a raffle.
I posted this sign explaining that check-in was an automatic raffle ticket.
After everyone left, I tapped ‘random’, and had a winner. I had the winner’s info in Evanced, so contacting her was easy.
Anyway, back to whining, “Why doesn’t anyone create awesome apps for librarians?!?!?” Can you imagine how awesome Summer Reading would be if we could track kids’ progress this easily?