Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Class Dojo

Welcome back for another edition of Tried It!

Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper is also working off this same theme. Go check out her post as well.

 I'm starting to have 'Teacher Dreams' with only three weeks left before I say Sayonara to Summer. You know those dreams that put you into a classroom situation and then you have to figure out what to do? I'm talking those nailbiting situations like someone throws an eraser at you, or one of your little darlings talk back, or you forgot to pass out the report cards, or the principal shows up right as the science experiment blows up.

What? You've never had these? Hm, maybe I'm just weird.

Anyway, it's these 'walkthroughs' of what would you do that I start analyzing my classroom strategies and trying to figure out, well, what I would do. I'm constantly having to discuss the idea of talking and how it is NOT good during worktimes. I have gone through so much research on what to do with an overly chatty class, and they always offer the same stunted suggestions such as move clips, or give a child three cubes, or a behavior chart. I've tried everything! Nothing curbs those eager mouths that sometimes talk right over you no matter how close to their desk you stand.

One program I ran across that I thought would solve it all was a cute little site called Class Dojo. It works on the idea of a visual reminder for both positive and  negative behaviors. Each student is assigned a funny little monster icon. Look below:

 And you get to set the awards into categories of your own selecting, such as the list below. I'm sure you can guess what types of Negative choices there are.

The site allows you to make some custom settings for your room:

As the day progresses you have the class screen up for all to see. Then as someone  makes a great choice or needs to rethink their behaviors you can simply click over and reward or take away points. You'll need to discuss with your class beforehand what types of rewards will occur if they have so many minuses (maybe they lose 5 mins of recess for -2) and what happens when they have so many pluses (extra computer time, or call home with a good note) at the end of the day, or week as you move to wean them off this process.

Now, for my experience the first time it didn't work for me. Analyzing the hows and whys and whatfors during my 'Teacher Dreaming' I believe it was because I started this process way too late. It was something new but they never really bought into it. I want to start it right from the beginning of school and see how that affects their behaviors. Also, I don't like to keep my monitor on all day. I'm stingy and those lightbulbs in the machine are very expensive. I wouldn't want the school shelling out tons of dollars just to keep my kids quiet. I might be trying to have it on only during the major worktimes such as reading workshop or math class.

I will check back in with you in September after a month of school to let you know how it is coming. But until then I'd love to hear your responses to this program if you've tried it, or suggestions on how to make it work better in your room.

So, give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

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