Saturday, November 10, 2012

Classroom Management Magic for FREE

Every teacher knows how hard the job of teaching can be. That's why we welcome all the help we can get when it comes to getting the job done. When a tip, a tool, or resource comes along that can truly make their work a little easier, teachers want to shout about it from a mountain top. Today, I am doing the modern day equivalent of a mountain-top shout out and blogging about a wonderful web application a friend shared with me over a year ago. I could kick myself for not getting around to implementing it in my classroom sooner, but you know what they say. "Better late than never!"

The application I want to share with you today is called CallDojo. You can check it out yourself at The program allows teachers to easily award feedback points for behavior in class in real-time, with just one click from your laptop or iPhone. 

One of the best features of the program is that you can select the behaviors, positive and negative, that you want to focus on. I set behaviors WITH my students the second week of school, after a class discussion about expectations and student achievement. These are the behaviors we decided on in Room 202.

It only takes a few minutes to get your class set up and the target behaviors customized. Then all you have to do is click on a student's name when you want to record a specific behavior and the program saves the data for you. You even have the option of adding comments to an assigned "point". ClassDojo then creates customized reports for teachers to share with parents and administrators. It's a beautiful thing!

In addition to appreciating the immediate feedback and the positive recognition they can earn, children love the cute little avatars that appear alongside their name on the ClassDojo screen. The avatars are even customizable. I used the privilege of being able to customize the avatars as my first incentive for earning positive ClassDojo points. Once the children had 10 positive points, I gave them their log-in codes and they got to create a new avatar. I'll show you what our avatars look like using the Room 202 attendance screen. That's right. If you have an interactive whiteboard, you can use ClassDojo for attendance check-in, too.

If you haven't already heard about ClassDojo, it's definitely worth checking it out. The start of the second marking period, is a great time to introduce the program to students and parents. There are letters of introduction available on the site so you'll have everything you need to get started. 

(My final thought is this. ClassDojo is not just a program for teachers who are having trouble managing their classroom. My students are well-behaved and focused on learning the vast majority of the time. I love that I can show their parents all the things the children are doing right in class. My parents really appreciate hearing good things from school.)

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