Last week, one of my colleagues sent us all out a link to http://www.classdojo.com/ and said that he was using it in his classroom and enjoyed it. I had heard about it during one of my technology PD’s but hadn’t tried it out because when it was pitched to us it sounded like it would be more useful in a situation where students had their own laptops or netbooks or some other form of technology. It was something that sounded like “Well, you could use it in a classroom with only one laptop if that’s all you’ve got, but it won’t be as effective.
But since my co-worker was using it and he doesn’t have any more technology than I do, I thought I’d give it a second look. It’s basically a behaviour management tracking system but it comes with cute avatars and an easy way to share that information with parents. I signed up my class and decided to try it out. Quite a few of us did actually.
To start it off, I wanted my class to choose the positives and negatives themselves. I had them write down a list of 5 positive things that people should get points for and 5 negatives that they should get points taken away for. We wrote them down on a big list and then debated which ones to keep so that we could get it down to just 5 for each category. They had some great suggestions and it sparked an excellent conversation about what were positive and negative behaviours.
We’ve been doing it for a week so far and it seems to be working pretty well. I’m noticing students taking a little more care with keeping our classroom clean and it’s a good reminder when they hear a bing that I’m giving points for something. At the end of the day we look at the totals for the class and students can check their own totals. Parents can sign up to get a record at the end of each week as well.
I have to admit, it’s a bit of a carrot and stick system and while I would prefer them to be more intrinsically motivated to follow expectations, I also see a big benefit. Far too often I feel that students who are always following expectations, are polite, respectful, on-task, they get forgotten or feel like they’re forgotten. We give more attention, both negative and positive to the off-task students because, quite frankly, they need more attention and care. But I appreciate my on-task, expectation following students so much because they give me that time and freedom to take care of my more needy students. I feel like this system gives me a quick and consistent way to show those kids that I am noticing they’re on-task. I am noticing they’re being respectful and helpful and that I appreciate that because I was that kid.
Does anyone else use this program or one like it?