The strategy lessons housed within this unit provide ideas and resources for lesson planning and managing a classroom. They include resources such as websites I’ve found useful over the years, activities that have improved my classroom environment, and tools that engage students while assisting with planning. It is my hope that you will find them to be just as helpful in your own classroom!
Looking for an interactive way to get your students excited about positive behavior? Oh this is it, friends! I first found Class Dojo on Pinterest - I guess about a year ago. I thought it looked interesting, but at the time really didn’t have the time for “one more thing.” (Ever feel that way?) Well, this turned out not to be just “one more thing” to add to my workload and instead felt like it made the load easier.
I was convinced by a co-worker to give it a try a few months ago. She had great success using the service in her classroom and promised it was easy to use and set up. I caved and set up my classes that day. Bingo! Sure enough, it was incredibly easy to get started and I began managing behaviors that day!
Classdojo.com is a free site that helps classroom teachers manage student behaviors. You can immediately acknowledge and reward positive behaviors or give consequences for negative behaviors. Both actions actually help to increase the number of positive behaviors you will see in the classroom!
When you sign up and import (or type in) your class list, each student will receive his own monster avatar. You can change these or leave them as randomly assigned.
Next comes customizing the behavior lists. Your classroom comes “pre-loaded” with generic positive and negative behaviors. You can delete any/all of the behaviors listed and add your own. Each time a student is caught doing one of the positive behaviors listed, he receives a point. Each time a student exhibits a negative behavior he loses a point.
Start your class! Simply click “Start” to begin tracking behaviors. I start this just before students arrive each day and leave it running on the SmartBoard all day. As students enter the room, I have them give themselves a point for attendance. Our school is on a mission to improve student attendance so I decided to add this as a positive behavior. I also give bonus points each day that the entire class is there. It’s an easy way for students to get at least five points by the end of the week! (Dojo actually has a separate attendance feature that will allow you to take attendance as well, if you’d like.)
In my class, students also earn a point for starting their morning work independently. If I walk into the room and see nothing but chaos, I simply walk to the board and start assigning points for anything positive I can find. The little “ding” each time a point is assigned really grabs students’ attention and gets everyone scrambling to get busy! There is an option to turn the sound off when assigning or taking points and sometimes, such as during independent reading or small group time, I’ll do that. However, most of the time I find the sound works perfectly to get students back on track.
There is a “random” feature that the kids absolutely love! When you click it, a box pops up at the bottom of the screen that appears to scroll through everyone’s name. It stops randomly on one student and waits for you to assign a point if they are showing one of the positive behaviors or take a point is they are off task in some way. At first, students are so enthralled by this that they simply stop what they’re doing and stare at the screen. However, this stops after awhile as they realize that I can’t give them a point for being on task if I catch them simply sitting agape at the screen!
At the end of the period, click “End Class” to be returned to the statistics page. This gives you various options for viewing your data. The “Donut” allows you to see how the entire class did overall that day, week, or month. The “Trend Spotter” allows you to view reports for specific behaviors such as being off task, turning in homework, or attendance.
There are student and parental involvement pieces that are fabulous too. You can print both student and parent code sheets that allows students and parents to access their accounts from home. Students can log on to see their point totals and customize their avatars. Parents can log on to see how their students are doing each day or week and leave feedback for teachers. Teachers can respond to parent feedback as well.