Classroom management is an essential part of teaching. Without a strategy to show students what behaviors result in a productive environment and a plan to reinforce expectations, a classroom can turn into chaos in no time. Part of a good classroom management plan is a way to document both positive and negative behaviors, report to parents on a regular basis, and use the system to provide both incentives and sanctions to reinforce your expectations. The problem becomes the time and paperwork involved in managing the system.
As a teacher and principal, I saw what was involved in both elementary and secondary settings. After all was said and done, parents sometimes got no more feedback than a grade of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F.” Sometimes that came only at the end of the grading period. At the elementary level, the “weekly folder” included a vehicle for reporting conduct in a current time frame. All of that came with its share of paperwork.
What if we could automate the process so that teachers simply record positive or negative behaviors as they occur with a couple of mouse clicks? What if the software could handle the rest? ClassDojo.com provides exactly that.
At the beginning of the year, the teacher creates classes and enters student names and parent email addresses. More than likely, the school’s student information system will allow the printing of a list of those parent email addresses.
When the teacher logs in and clicks on that particular class, an avatar for each student appears together with the number points earned during the week.
To give either a commendation or correction, the teacher simply clicks the name and chooses the behavior being displayed. The teacher can, of course, customize the choices.
As soon as the teacher makes a selection, the student’s name appears briefly on the screen along with whether they gained or lost a point and for what reason. Points can be awarded to multiple students, or even the entire class, at one time.
Students are able to establish an account, allowing them to log in and see all points awarded or deducted and their percentage of positive points for the week. After the teacher enters the names of the students at the beginning of the year, a simple report will generate a code for each student.
Likewise, another reports will generate a slip to send home to parents giving them a login:
When a student logs in, here is how his or her report will appear:
By the way, the student is able to customize the avatar, one of those small details which adds a great deal of interest for the student and gives a feeling of having some control.
At the end of the week, each parent receives an email with a link to the report. No more having to send home something paper-based and hope that it actually makes it to the parent!