Isn’t it funny how some days you feel like your students are perfect angels and then all of the sudden everything seems to fall apart? A million factors contribute to the classroom atmosphere — from a full moon to spring break starting the following day. It is one of the most important elements of a successful learning environment.
I have found that combining motivation, constant monitoring, and time for movement breaks can result in a managed classroom that can stand up to pretty much anything… even the last week of school! ClassDojo has been my motivational and monitoring savior for the past several years. Several elements of ClassDojo worked wonders to motivate and monitor my students:
1. Motivation: Motivating students can be frustrating, but somehow ClassDojo found the perfect way to instantly encourage students with both impactful feedback and points. Engaging students with ClassDojo was largely due to these factors:
- SOUND EFFECTS: My students squeal with excitement every time they hear the delightful “ding”, resulting when someone receives a positive behavior point. I love that something so simple has such an effect on my students.
- AVATARS: Could the ClassDojo monsters get any cuter? Students love choosing their avatars. You can also create your own for a customized effect. My colleague sets point goals for her students (10, 20, 50, etc) and when they reach their goal they get to change their avatars. You should see the excitement over such a simple reward.
- CLASSROOM ECONOMY: In our class, we use ClassDojo as a component of our larger classroom economy system. Students earn (or lose) Dojo points, which are equivalent to “dollars”. They receive paychecks for total points/dollars monthly or bimonthly. Students can cash them in and use them to purchase items at our classroom store.
2. Manage and monitor: When I began teaching, tracking and communicating student behavior was laborious, time consuming, and often far from accurate. Then came ClassDojo! ClassDojo has such an amazing, built-in data management and monitoring system. In my opinion, this is perhaps the best aspect of ClassDojo.
- PARENT PORTAL: With easy parent sign-up, ClassDojo becomes an automatic and effortless parent portal into student behavior within the classroom. Parents can see in real-time how their students are doing, so that nothing is a surprise at parent-teacher night! Also, teachers can instantly message them exciting moments from school or to just clarify a Dojo point that was given.
- TEACHER TRACKING: Best of all, I have instant and accurate access to student behavior data for any period of time I wish to choose. Thanks to ClassDojo this extremely important portion of our job is made so simple!
- STUDENT SUCCESS: It is quite powerful to see students check their points and view their reports. The ownership they feel over monitoring their own personal progress and achieving personal behavior goals is empowering, impressive, and effective.
3. Make Time for Movement: No matter how great your classroom management system is, students need time to give their brains a break and get in some movement. Try some yoga or dance moves in your classroom!
I hope these tips come in handy for you this school year!