Seattle Elementary Teacher Uses Bloomz App to Encourage Good Behavior
Before she started using the Bloomz app, Seattle elementary teacher Jude Miqueli would hand-color a gumball chart on the wall.
The better a class behaved, the more gumballs would be colored in. If students were acting out, no gumballs would receive color. Overall, the results were … satisfactory.
But once she started using Bloomz a year and a half ago, she noticed that her kids were responding better, and were even improving their behavior in class.
“The Bloomz award system has helped our classroom. It’s given us a structure for what behaviors they want to achieve,” Miqueli said in an interview. “It has helped us think about our behavior throughout the day. It’s given us the opportunity for peer reflection and self-reflection, and helped students give compliments to each other and receive compliments.”
Miqueli teaches first through third graders at West Seattle Montessori School and Academy, a private school in Washington state. She has been teaching professionally for three years.
Last year, the assistant director at her school introduced Bloomz to the staff. Since then, Miqueli has become “the Bloomz ambassador” — an example of how to use the app with kids and with their parents.
“It’s just been great to share the information,” she said. “It feels like there’s so much more being shared between me and the parents. It doesn’t feel like an overwhelming amount of information I need to share with them at parent-teacher conferences this Friday.”
Bloomz is an app designed to improve communication and coordination between teachers and parents. Teachers can send notifications, emails, photos, text messages or badges through the app. They can schedule appointments, send reminders and ask for project volunteers. Parents can receive the messages and notifications on their phones and respond with “likes,” comments or their own text messages.
But the app, based in Redmond, WA and founded by Chaks Appalabattula in 2014, also has features that can be used directly in the classroom. Students may have a hand in using it too.
Jude Miqueli posts what’s going on in her classroom and also takes advantage of a section called “members” — which are her students. Each student has a flower pot, and a flower grows out of it if the teacher rewards the student for good behavior.
“It’s been working out really well, because the students are able to reflect on their behavior throughout the day,” she said.
The teacher can share and encourage different values, such as teamwork, courage and listening to others. “When I reward them with a behavior, there’s a timeline for them and their parents to see.” When a student’s flower finally blooms in Ms. Miqueli’s class, she gives the student a real flower as a reward.
“It works out really well IRL — in real life,” she said. “They’re really excited about doing this activity at the end of the day, when we look at the flowers and their progress. And they’re keeping their behavior in check throughout the day.”
Miqueli, 35, said the app works well with special needs kids as well. “I do have one special needs student who’s on the autism spectrum. He has an aide, and we reinforce the exact same behaviors — receive a compliment from a friend, give a compliment. The class is very accommodating and welcoming of differences.”
Bloomz is available for free, and is accessible online through Chrome, Explorer and Safari browsers. Chrome is generally preferred, according to the official website.
Bloomz is also available on Apple and Android devices. Users should have iOS 7 or above, with an iPhone 5 or above, or an Android 4.1 and above.
According to the company’s site, Bloomz does not currently generate revenue from its site or app. The company is funded by seed capital from current and past senior leaders at Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and other successful companies.
For more information on Bloomz, visit the company’s website or email [email protected].
Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].