The power of positive reinforcement

The power of positive reinforcement

It was report card time and I wanted to share with my families how grades were determined in the behavior section. My behavior grades were based on ClassDojo. One parent mentioned that I seemed to use the negative behavior feature far more than the positive. I went back to my reports and noticed this parent was correct. I had far more negative activity than positive. My focus was off and I needed to find a way to use ClassDojo in a more positive manner.

After a long dialogue with my class, we came to the idea of “First to…”. We turned ClassDojo into a reward game. We would clear all points and then set a goal for how long it would take for all students to earn 10 points. If it took 10 days to earn ten points, we would clear points and set a new goal: 8 days to earn 10 points!

This system allowed students the opportunity to reflect on their behavior. They could ask questions like, “How was my day? What might be some things I did today to earn a Dojo point? What might be some things I can do today to earn a Dojo point?”

We also acknowledged students that made it to a certain number in a given amount of time. For example, students competed to be the first to make it to twenty-five points in a month. When student’s reached 25 points, we celebrated as a class and acknowledged students at the end of the month.

While it was still necessary to give negative points at times, the positive points began to outweigh the negative. The shifted use of ClassDojo motivated my students and instilled reflection within their learning day. Moreover, parents were much more excited about their child’s progress and ultimately more supportive of me as a teacher!