A retired teacher tells us how his last year of teaching was different than any other before, thanks to Bloomz.
The below text, came from Jim Baker. A teacher who reached retirement after 37 years in education, and who enjoyed so much Bloomz he volunteered his awesome story to be shared with our community. Check it out!
"I retired from teaching in June of 2017 after a long and rewarding career of thirty-seven years. My first seventeen years were spent teaching special education. In the fall of 1998, I changed paths and accepted a role as a Campus Instructional Technologist at a brand new school. After seventeen years, that position was phased out, and I returned to special education for my last two years.
My last year of teaching, I was partnered with a third grade teacher. All of the third grade special education students had been placed in her “collaborative” class. We teamed together to teach the whole class, each of using our specific talents to meet the needs of all of the students. Our third grade team opted to use the Bloomz app. I had never heard of it, and instantly took to the Internet to find out more about it.
I was amazed at how many things the Bloomz app could do for us. My partner and I chose to use it for our discipline management system and parent communications. The discipline management elements were great. All I had to do when the class got a little out of hand was hold up my iPhone, let Bloomz make its sounds, and say, “That was one of your classmates getting a point for working quietly on the assignment”, or “That was one of your classmates losing a point for being off task”. This had a positive effect on the whole class. We almost never had any major behavioral issues. I believe that is because the parents got notifications about their behavior. In fact, they all agreed in advance to make a big deal every time their child’s flower bloomed. We kept track of their points and had a reward store occasionally where the students could trade their points for prizes.
My favorite part of the app was most definitely the communications elements. We were able to share a calendar and give reminders of events easily. We were able to post short videos to explain a project or assignment for the parents. But, the best part was our daily contacts. If a child didn’t come to school, we immediately sent a message to find out what was up. If a child forgot their lunch, we immediately sent a message to make sure it was taken care of by lunch time. If our field trip got called off at the last minute because of the weather, we immediately sent a message letting the parents know. Most importantly to me personally, if one of my special ed students had a breakthrough with something that was giving them trouble, I could catch it on video and share it with the parents right then. If we had a special event, I posted links to pictures and videos right then. Our parents always knew what was going on with our class, and most importantly with their children. It was almost as if they were there to experience our day with us.
One of my students was a child with autism. I notified his family (mom, aunt, and grandmother) several times every day about any little thing I thought they would like to know. It was simple to do and didn’t take much time. By the end of the year, I noticed a difference in our relationship. In an odd way, I felt like a part of the family. Because we communicated so frequently and completely, they were able to see how much I loved and cared for the student. That is something very important to all parents, and especially parents of children with autism. I feel like our other parents got to see the same things from us. The communication was simply that good with Bloomz.
My only regret about the Bloomz app is that I didn’t learn about it earlier. Had I known about it when I was still the Campus Instructional Technologist, I would have shared it with my entire faculty and held trainings to make sure they learned how to use it well. Instead, I told everyone at the school about it many times last year. I have heard that other grade levels are now using it, as well."
Do you know other amazing teachers like Jim? tell us about them in the comments below.