Classroom Behavior? There’s an App for That
However, as you are aware, the minds of teachers immediately turn to the topic of how we can improve our practises for the following school year. In light of the fact that maintaining order in the classroom is one of the most difficult tasks that teachers are required to perform, we are continuously looking for solutions that are effective.
ClassDojo is a classroom management system that I started using this year, and it has been of tremendous assistance to me in dealing with the students’ behaviours in my classroom. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using an Apple or an Android device because there’s an app for both of them. Setting it up is very simple. Using this instrument, I was able to achieve the three objectives that are listed below.
1. Improving Behavior
It is not difficult to use Dojo. You organise a class or a series of classes. Every student in each of your classes has an avatar that represents them. After you have set up your class, you will have the ability to give out points, which we affectionately call “dojos” in my classroom, for either appropriate or inappropriate behaviour. You have the option of rewarding a single student or a group of students.
The application provides a list of behaviours; however, you have the option to make your own list. That is what I ended up doing as the academic year progressed (i.e. homework, contest winner, etc.). Your interactive whiteboard, laptops, desktop computers, or even smart phones can all be used to access ClassDojo. Students receive instant feedback regarding their behaviour through the unique sound that is produced whenever their avatar is clicked on.
I don’t give out negative behaviour points very often. My students are aware that in order to earn a negative grade, something significant had to happen on their end. I’ve discovered that awarding students positive points is an effective way to motivate them and has a greater influence on the manner in which they behave. Students love getting “dojo” points! They get excited when they hear the sound of a positive dojo, but they cringe whenever they hear the sound of a negative one. Everyone takes a moment to look at the board after hearing either a positive or negative sound before returning to their work.
The educators are a resourceful bunch who have devised a wide variety of strategies to make use of those points. I go to a store that sells items for five dollars and purchase a prize to give to the student who has accumulated the most points at the end of each quarter. After that, I reset their bubbles. You decide what’s best for both you and the students in your class. However, I am aware that students enjoy amassing points even when there are no prizes involved.
ClassDojo is used by all of the teachers at my school, including the ones who are not particularly savvy when it comes to technology. When students come to me for Book Club or Math Intervention, I divide them up into their own individual “dojo” classes and teach them individually. ClassDojo receives responses from the students.
2. Sharing Data
ClassDojo keeps track of the behaviour in your classroom automatically by recording which behaviours were clicked on. You have the option of configuring it to generate reports that are then sent as emails to the parents. Parents are able to communicate with one another through either printed or emailed invitations. After they have successfully connected, an email will be sent to them every Friday prompting them to check their child’s reports. Receiving the reports is something that the parents of my students look forward to doing because it keeps them informed.
The reports are clear and simple to understand. You have the option of viewing data on a daily or weekly basis, and you can set the range that you want to view. The information is presented in the form of a donut chart that illustrates the percentage of behaviours that were clicked, and underneath the chart is a written version of the data for each day. All of this information can be compiled into end-of-year reports if necessary.
ClassDojo recently added a feature called Trendspotter, which gives teachers the ability to analyse patterns of behaviour exhibited by their students. This is a wonderful opportunity to think about what is working well in your classrooms and what could use some improvement. It’s possible, for instance, that you’ll realise on Fridays that you’ve accumulated the most amount of negative points. You can use this data to help you reflect on why Fridays appear to be challenging for you, what you can do to change it, and then use data from Trendspotter to determine whether or not your strategies were successful.
If you give your students their own accounts, they will also have access to all of their data. Create printed copies of their login codes, and then allow them to sign in. Even when they aren’t at school, they can continue to keep track of their dojo points and personalise their avatars, two things that really excite them.
3. Saving Time
Dojo helps teachers save time by only requiring one click to record students’ good behaviours and achievements in the classroom. I don’t know about you, but I distinctly recall a time when I used to put checkmarks on the board. What about you? In most cases, I ran out of space, and even more unfortunate was the fact that it was completely ineffective.
I keep ClassDojo open on the Smartboard throughout the entire school day. Although it’s not always visible, the sound can always be picked up. My iPhone is never far from my side, whether I’m interacting with students in small groups or welcoming them as they enter the classroom. I won’t have to get up from my seat or walk into the classroom in order to provide either positive or negative feedback. A definite time saver!
ClassDojo just recently added some fantastic new features, including attendance, a timer, and Random, which is my personal favourite. During the transitions we go through, I make use of a behaviour that I devised and named “deserving random.”
You can connect with other users of ClassDojo as well as ClassDojo itself on the social networking sites Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo, and Pinterest. When you read what experiences other people have had with this classroom management tool, it will be easier for you to decide whether or not to use it when the new school year begins.