Every teacher wants the answer to classroom managmen and the answer is different for each person. I have met some teachers who use Class Dojo. Class Dojo is a real time behavior management application for classrooms. Teachers can set up their class or classes on Class Dojo with icons, or avatars, representing each student. Then the teacher can set up behavior criteria and award points to each student for showing these behaviors. For example: Team work, on task, prepared for class, persistence etc. You could have the Class Dojo screen showing on the IWB for students to see throughout the day or, as one of my colleauges does, you can have it on your Ipod strapped to your arm. Some teachers have the application on their ipad and they keep it close to them in the classroom.
Class Dojo supports a classroom or school wide Positive Behavior System (PBS) by allowing students to accumulate points individually. The teacher can also have a tally for the entire class and give class rewards. Dojo has a fun interface with little monsters that can be customized, so kids might engage more and respond to the criteria.
I made myself a class with my students: Simple Pie Man, Humpty Dumpty and Carol Burnett. I then took attendance and awarded them points for good behaviors. I invites parents (in this case i emailed myself) to create accounts and see their child’s report. When I entered as Simple’s mother, I could see that today, Simple received points for being on task and working well in a team. (I was relieved because Simple has a hard time focusing in class!). Simple’s teacher can send a report with 2 clicks in Class Dojo. This is huge improvement over personal emails everyday.
Some comments on Rachel Owen’s blog Go Forth with Mrs Owens question the points and resetting them. Basically you can reset the points to zero at the end of each class (secondary) or day (primary). There does not seem to be a way of keeping track of points longer than that – but I am sure teachers can keep track of this if they want. But maybe it is OK if kids can start anew each day!
Nothing is hidden from the students either. They can each create an account on the student Class Dojo site. They can see their points for each day or class and change their avatar. For the kids that like a laugh, they can surprise their classmates each day with a funny new avatar.
In an article in the Huffington Post (UK) the Class Dojofounders L iam Don and Sam Chaudray state that “Four out of 10 teachers say they spend more of their time in class managing behaviour than teaching, time which they want to dedicate to the classroom.” They were looking for a way to make this part of teaching easier to manage. The comments on this article were interesting as well. One reader stated ”I have noticed that it has helped my students identify WHAT they were doing incorrectly (out of seat/talking/etc) without me having to do the old, “Stop it, Johnny” routine.”
How are teachers using it?
I found a tonne of blogs by teachers talking about Class Dojo. The general feeling is that Class Dojo offers a fun, easy way to give feedback to students and parents about classroom behaviors. Most people love the application and are using it in the most basic way. One blogger, Bianca Hewes, was super intense and has modified the behavior criteria to fit with her philoposhies related to “16 habits of the mind”.
Audrey Nay, a librarian blogger, uses Class Dojo for each class that comes to visit the library. She tracks borrowing and overdues for each child in addition to her loan system for the books.
Richard Byrne writes a blog called Free Technologies for Teachers. (Did I mention Class Dojo is free?). He keeps a treasure box where students can redeem their points earned for positive behaviors. The rewards often include privileges that students enjoy like free time, use of the Ipad etc. He chooses not to use subtract points options because ”[he] prefer[s] the students to focus more on meeting my expectations rather than on how they can disappoint [him].”
All in all, Class Dojo offers a fun, easy and visually intriguing behavior managment system.