Classroom management is one of the most important skills a teacher can have, and it’s also one of the most difficult challenges as a teacher. Teachers are always on the hunt for a perfect tool or strategy to maintain harmony and order in class. Enter this app called Class Dojo.
Class Dojo is a free online behaviour tracking and management system, and it is really popular in the US, with 1 in every 2 schools using it as a tool for classroom management. It has an app for iOS and Android, and of course, on the web. The teacher can operate the program through a phone, tablet, interactive whiteboard or a desktop. Each student is given a profile, complete with his or her own cute monster avatar to which teachers can assign positive and negative points.
The points are then recorded in their profiles so that it can be reviewed across the year. Parents can view these profiles separately and they can monitor their child’s progress in your class.
The philosophy behind it is very similar to the Marble Jar strategy: good behaviour means more points for you and the class. You basically award points to those who follow good behaviour, and the app comes with a list, but you can create your own such as “Creativity, Participation, Homework, etc”. What’s good about this app is that students get immediate feedback when you assign a point and they immediately distinguish it if it’s for positive or a negative behaviour.
For many teachers, assigning a positive score motivates students and has a wonderful impact on their behaviour. Students love getting plus points in their dojos and dread a negative one. Teachers use the negative points sparingly as they get embarrassed.
You can get creative in reinforcing these behavioural models as well. To keep Class Dojo relevant in the classroom, you can offer free and tangible rewards like extra computer time for getting 20 points in a week or sitting next to a friend for 15 points. You can also involve the whole class, for example having a movie time when the class reaches 500 points for the term. These are all simple and free, and the students love it. What matters is that the prizes should be decided by the teacher and the students.
Class Dojo can also be the extension of your class records as it automatically keeps track of your student’s behaviour by tracking a specific behaviour from your list. It can also track attendance. It is so easy to create reports for these values and then send it to parents via email or a printed note. Reports are easy to read. You can set a time range for them may it be a weekly report, a monthly report or an annual report.
Parents can (and should) have an account to keep track of their child’s behavioural progress. As a teacher, you have access to invitations that have a special parent’s login and password details. Once they login and connect, they can see their child’s points, the class stories that you share with them like pictures and videos, and class announcements about homework or projects. They can also message you through the app. The parents enjoy the app as it keeps everything transparent and relevant. Some are even keen to help you in reinforcing positive behaviour in their house by providing incentives for their child when a positive point is given!
If you provide your students with accounts, they can also see their points and track their behaviour. This offers them a chance to self-regulate. They can also change the look of their monster avatars, which students really enjoy doing.
Class Dojo is really effective as a time saving tool for the teacher. It has a built in timer so that the children can keep track of their working times on screen. Recording accomplishments, good behaviour is now done with just one click. It is also a great way to keep an open line of communication with parents. It is also quite handy. When you are working outside the classroom, or just walking around with small groups to manage, you can have your iPhone in your hand and give out points!