Goodbye card system, hello Dojo!

To start my tenth year of teaching, I wanted to utilize something different for my behavior management. Previously I had been using the 4 colored card system. This involved a student “pulling a card” for not making a good choice, i.e. talking, not following directions, whatever their choice was that wasn’t follow our classroom rules. For 2nd graders,  I would write their behavior on the card, along with the date, but for third graders I had them write what they did. Viola! I had a record of a child’s behavior.  Points were then given for whatever color of card the child was on at the end of the day. At the end of the month, children could use their points to attend the monthly reward. 80% of the points possible had to be earned to participate.

This worked well for 9 years.

But there were some downsides to it, as there are with anything.

There were times, when I was the one responsible for writing on the card, when I would forget what the child had done. This lead to me asking the child at the end of the day, “What did you do?”

Another downside, was when a child would be asked to go pull a card they would have to stop what they were doing, walk over the the bulletin board, pull a card, write what they did, and the sit back down. All while, I continue to teach. They were missing instruction and course some classmates were occupied with the friend who had to pull a card.

And the last downside, stems from my lack of organization. At the end of the day, I needed to record the points earned by each student. In the beginning I used a pencil and paper chart. That upgraded to an Excel document. Both of these took no more than 10 minutes, but at the end of the day I didn’t want to mess with it.

I knew there had to be something else out there besides the clips that I could use that would work well. I set out on Pinterest during one of my summer coffee drinking mornings. I stumbled upon Class Dojo. Eureka!!! This will work!

 If you’re not familiar with Class Dojo, please check it out! The focus of this is rewarding kids for positive behaviors. You can set which behaviors you want to reward and the point level. In my classroom behaviors such as helping others, using manner, being polite, and doing without being asked are positive behaviors that earn points. 

Behaviors such as using unkind words, talking with others are talking, or being off task are behaviors that will lose points.

On Mondays I have a store open for kids to use the Dojo points they’ve earned to buy items such as candy, erasers, pencils, bookmarks, lunch in the classroom with a friend, and stinky feet pass (no shoes). Many of these items I pick up at the $1 Spot at Target or I use my bonus points when I place a Scholastic book order.

My kids have really taken off with positive behaviors. They do things without even thinking about earning points.

My kids have also liked being able to change their avatar.

There is even a Dojo app to download. I have it on my iPhone and iPad. I use both to give and take points. Also, another great feature is the parent messaging. Personal cell phone numbers are never exchanged. Parents can text me and vice versa. Group messaging is also possible. I rarely email my parents. All but 3 of my parents have downloaded the app and use it frequently.

I have also received many positive comments from parents. They love being able to see how their child is doing everyday. Plus it saves me times with keeping them informed.

If you’re looking for a different way to manage classroom behavior, I receommend Class Dojo.


Behavior Cards and Lunch Choices

As part of my classroom management I use Behavior Cards. I got this idea from the teacher who I completed my student teaching with who was a 4th grade teacher. It works well with my 2nd graders cans carries over well to 3rd grade.

Here is what the Behavior Cards bulletin board looks like.

I give each kid a number at the beginning of the year. This number corresponds with their pocket of a cards. Each kid has a pocket of 4 different colored cards- green, yellow, blue, and pink.


When one of my kids do not follow our classroom expectations, I tell them to pull a card. I then write on the card what they were doing. For example, if a kid was talking, I would say go pull a card. They walk over pull their card, and lay it on my desk. We practice what this looks and sounds like in the first couple days of school. They love to be the example of what it shouldn’t look and sound like. Writing down what the kids do to pull a card is a good at of documenting their behavior which is especially helpful at conference time. I also have kids pull cards for not having their homework completed in the morning.

At the end of the day I record how many points they’ve earned based on what color of card is showing in their pocket. I use an Excel spreadsheet to do this. Green cards earn 2 points, yellow earn 1, blue earns 0, and pink (the last card) earns a phone call or note sent home. I usually have the kids call home instead of me. This seems to have a bigger impact.

Each month I have a reward party. This past month we had an extra recess. To be able to go to the party each kid had to have earned 80% of the possible points. For example, three were 62 points possible based on a child possibly earning 2 points a day so a kid would had to have earned 50 points to attend. It was actually 49.6 points, but I rounded up. I partner up with another teacher who takes the kids who can’t go and we have a study hall. Kids can finish any work during this time. Other ideas for behavior parties which usually last 30 minutes are board games, Just Dance dance party using YouTube videos, or a movie party.

The pockets on the bulletin board also hold the kids’ lunch sticks. I write their names and numbers on a popsicle stick.
In the morning when the kids come in, they use their stick to make their lunch choice by putting it in the correct lunch choice pocket. I can easily see who has not signed up for lunch by seeing who’s popsicle stuck is still in their pocket and I can see who is absent also.


I also have some posters above the Behavior Cards. I think the classroom expectation came from Pinterest, can’t remember where I got it.