Four questions headteachers should ask their Doodle leads each term

Lately, my favourite bit of EdTech has been something slightly unexpected: a Minions talking toothbrush. For a few weeks, it has transformed my 5-year-old for two minutes every morning/evening as it talked him through where to brush, and then gave him a big minion ‘yippee!’ at the end.

But after a few weeks, the shininess wore off, and we were back to the same problems. Sticker charts, a little bit of nagging, the occasional tale of brown teeth falling out…

As a headteacher, you need to know that the investment you have made in improving maths and English confidence and ability of pupils in your school is more than just short-term. Doodle has lots of features to keep children motivated and engaged.

To keep children consistently using Doodle, schools need to know where to find them – and our supporting competitions and other material – in order to provide the opportunities and incentives to keep children doodling year-round.

Here are our four simple questions you can ask your Doodle lead – and the kinds of answers you’d hope to hear!

1. What is our expectation for using Doodle at home?

How is this communicated to parents? Ideally, doing Doodle a few times per week and earning, say, 50 stars (which takes about 20 minutes), will be part of your school homework policy. It will be written in homework diaries, reminders will be put in school newsletters, and non-completion will be followed up according to your usual school policy.

2. How and when is Doodle being used in lessons?

Every child in the school should do Doodle once a week, perhaps as part of a carousel of activities, during registration, or as a starter activity. Again, 15 minutes should be enough time for children to complete a couple of 7-a-Days, perhaps an Extra, and clear their ‘Tricky Questions’ folder.

3. What provision is in place in school for children who do not have the opportunity at home to complete their Doodle, or if they simply want to do more?

Most schools run a Doodle club once or twice per week at lunchtime or after school for these children. But additionally, you’d hope that your iPads or similar were being made available in breakfast clubs, after school clubs, Saturday school, soft-starts, golden time and wet play for children to use this time effectively.

4. How do we celebrate success?

Every school who starts with us is sent a reward pack. This includes a variety of merchandise, such as trophies, certificates, stickers and posters to celebrate success.

At a class level, at the end of the week, teachers should award a house point/Dojo or equivalent to every child who has hit their target number of stars, and an extra reward to the ones who have made the most progress (as measured by effort, i.e. DoodleStars earned, not ability).

At a school level, assemblies at the end of the week should recognise the classes who have at least 75% hitting their target number of stars, and the class with the highest proportion hitting their target, as well as the ones who have made the most progress. Is your school taking part in, and celebrating the success of children in the Christmas, Easter and Summer Challenges?

Following these simple guidelines will ensure that Doodle more than fulfils the expectations you had when you came on board!

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