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.

 

Handout for Building a Better Reader

As teachers we often have parents asking us for advice and ideas for helping their child to become a better reader. While searching Pinterest, which is my way of relaxing after a school day, I found this handout on Primary Junction.

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This would be helpful to handout to give parents at conferences since that’s when the conversation of what can be done at home comes up. I’m sending this home with my newsletter this week.

Remind101

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Remind101 is a useful technology tool to communicate with parents. This website allows you to send a group text message without revealing your cell phone number or theirs. Remind101 can also be used with older students to safely text reminders and other notifications. There is a also an email feature if the parent would rather receive an email than a text. This is the quickest and easiest way to send a group message to parents to remind them of field trip money, an upcoming test, or anything else on your classroom calendar. We all know newsletters don’t make it home half of the time.

To access this tool visit remind101.com to create an account. You can then create a class, or as many as you like. You’ll be given a number and a message for parents to text you. This will enable them to sign up to receive your messages.

One thing I love about Remind101 is that the site creates a note for you to send home to parents to explain the process of signing up. Below is the note for my parents. It’s in a PDF which made it easy for me to also load it to my class website just in case parents needed access to it throughout the year.
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Remind101 is also available in an app to download to your iPhone, iPad, and android. The app makes it even easier to send a quick reminder to parents. Click here to go iTunes for the download.