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Classroom Management, Ninja-Style

 

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I’m a kickboxer; this requires quite a bit of self-discipline. Every time I go to the gym, I stand directly across from a sign on the wall that says “ATTITUDE,” and when I start to feel whiny (which is pretty often) I say the word over and over again. My dojo emphasizes positive reinforcement, and I certainly respond better to the positive changes I see vs. the negative ones. So I was looking for something like this to help me control my classroom because, let’s face it, middle schoolers aren’t always that positive, and screaming at them constantly doesn’t work anyway. And kicking them is not an option.

Enter Class Dojo. First of all, it’s EASY. It doesn’t require rocket science to figure out; the interface is clean and simple. It has both a web & app interface, so you can access it from either (or both, which I’m about to explain). It may look a little childish, but that’s part of the charm. (Seriously, my 8th graders LOVE it. This program is great for all ages.)

You set up your classroom and put your student’s names in. They get assigned a cute little monster that they can customize, if you’d like. Then you input both positive and negative behaviors that you want to track.

That’s it.

When your class comes in, you can access it from any iDevice or the web interface. I personally like to keep it up on my Smartboard so the kids can see I’m actively tracking them, but sometimes I keep it “on the downlow” and secretly monitor with my iPhone. That encourages good behavior ALL the time.

When you see a student doing something good, you simply touch their little monster and click on the behavior that you want to enforce. Class Dojo assigns them a certain number of points. Of course, there’s negatives, too, which can result in points being taken away, but for the most part, I try to stay on the positive side.  Kids with the most “points” get special privileges in my classroom, such as “music” time with their iPods, or the class errand runner. Next year I’ll have a weekly “Internet Cafe” during lunchtime, where high performers can come in the lab to play games and get snacks. You can decide the incentive program, but Class Dojo makes it incredibly easy to track the behaviors.

The reporting system is also awesome. You can track certain behaviors over time in your classroom on a student level, or as a whole class. There’s also a parent log-in, so parents can monitor their kid’s behavior in your class, too. (Data, data, data!!).

The only complaint I have about this program is that you are not able to document behavior with a photograph, which is something that I liked about my previous behavior app. But they are constantly upgrading and improving the program, so maybe it will become available at a later date.

The best part? It’s FREE. I’m able to track 8 classes as well as my two after-school clubs. It was a life-saver this past year. And it’s just cute.

 

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