How to Avoid the Whammy! with Class Dojo
Type of technology– Class Dojo App or website
SAMR Model Rating– Augmentation
Grade Level– All
Subject – Any
Cost – Free
Remember that game show called “Press Your Luck”? The one with the Whammies?? Well, last year was not only my first year as a sixth grade teacher, it was also my first year as a full-time teacher, period. DOUBLE-WHAMMY! Unfortunately, I did not start out with an effective classroom management plan. As I had been the same students’ technology enrichment teacher the two years before, I thought that everything was going to go swimmingly in the behavior department because we had already built up a rapport. Was I ever wrong! After about three months of trying new plan after new plan to get my students’ behaviors managed, I tried an app called Class Dojo. BIG BUCKS! This app was immediately effective with my sixth graders last year, and it has continued to be so this year, as well.
My favorite part of using Class Dojo is that each user can individually choose what behaviors will be monitored in their classroom. I acknowledge behaviors in my classroom that are aligned with our class procedures. Students know what is expected of them and they will be honored if they make positive choices and they will be “dinged” if they make a poor choice. Additionally, I use attributes that are part of what we call a “Top Scholar” at our school so that students are familiar with the language. One of the best parts of Class Dojo is that I don’t have to write anything down. All of these behaviors are monitored via my iPad or laptop by a tap of the finger or a click of the mouse. Sometimes, all I have to do is just pick up my iPad and my class will straighten up their behavior without me having to “ding” anyone.
Another aspect of Class Dojo that I appreciate is that it is accessible to both students and parents. Students are able to log on with their own password at any time to check in with their behavior awards on any given day. They also are able to create their own profile icon, choosing from different styles of little monsters in bright colors to create an original design. Parents can also check in from any device at any time and see how their child is behaving in the classroom. If the need arises, parents and I can communicate with each other via a messaging system that is built right into the site.
Each student’s behavior of the day is presented as a percentage in a pie-chart that has different wedges for each behavior. Students and parents can easily see which behaviors are occurring the most. Also, each time I make a behavior entry, Class Dojo monitors at what time of the day it occurred. This promotes a healthy discussion for the students and I to look at what time of day a student may be making poor choices most frequently. For example, if a student looks at their profile and sees that all of their red “dings” happen in the last fifteen minutes before recess, before lunch, and before the end of school, they can see that they need to be more focused at those times in an effort to put forth their best effort.
I refer to this percentage as the student’s “behavior bank.” My students are required to keep their behavior deposits at 80% or above in order to be granted access to school events like field trips or special assemblies. This holds them accountable for their behavior choices.
All in all, I’d give Class Dojo two thumbs up! If you find you need to freshen up your classroom behavior management plan, give this a try. I have a feeling that both you and your students will enjoy this little technological boost and you can make sure to avoid the WHAMMIES!!