Last week, I reset my classroom management using a free tool via classdojo.com. Here’s how it works:
You add your students by simply pasting a list of their names into a text box. Then, you are prompted to assign each student an avatar–there are some cute monster icons available by default, but if you refer a friend to the site, you can use a different set or even upload photos of your students. It was hilarious to see the kids’ reactions to the silly characters they were represented by. One student insisted that I change her one-eyed monster avatar, even when I told her that it was randomly selected!
Once everything is set up, you click “start class” and you get a screen with each student’s name and avatar in alphabetical order. It was clearly created for display, as it looks great on my interactive whiteboard. Every time you mark an infraction, the kid loses a point. Conversely, students can also earn points for positive behavior like participation or helping others. Although there are positive and negative “awards” included by default, you can replace or add awards that coincide with your own class and school rules. I really liked that students who lost a point worked hard to earn a point to make up for their loss. In this way, ClassDojo not only discourages negative behavior, but gives students an incentive to immediately replace it with positive behavior. I offer “Patriot bucks”, our school-wide reward system to students who earn three points in a week. This has really helped me get back on track with management since things got more crazy as we settled into the school year. You can even set it up so you can award points from your phone, iPod, or iPad! I use it to track individual and class behavior stats, print, and email behavior reports to parents and other teachers. Even my most stubborn students have responded to this fun, effective tool!
Try ClassDojo for free by visiting http://classdojo.com and setting up an account. It is super-quick, super easy, and most of all, super-cute!