Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Class DoJo, An Awesome Website & App for Classroom Management

Since February 7, 2014, I have been using Class DoJo  in all of my library skills classes.  To sum it up in one word to describe Class DoJo, it is a LIFESAVER!

What is Class DoJo?
According to the website http://www.classdojo.com/ , Class DoJo is "a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily.  It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators."  I would also add that Class DoJo is a great tool to provide immediate feedback.

For more information about Class DoJo, check out their website for interesting information at http://www.classdojo.com/about

I have known about Class DoJo for the last two years, but couldn't figure out how I could manage such a potentially awesome classroom management tool between two buildings and approximately 700 students.  Up until this school year, I was a teacher-librarian shared between two elementary buildings.  This year (my 6th year as a TL), I serve one building, and this was the perfect opportunity to finally implement Class DoJo.

It seems February, and the months following, are challenging months for student behavior.  During the first week of February, I noticed negative student behaviors start to increase, and I knew, at that time, that I needed to change up my classroom management system.  That is when Class DoJo entered my classroom, and has become a great lifesaver for me!  I officially implemented Class DoJo on February 7, 2014.

To introduce Class DoJo, during library skills classes, I showed students both the Class DoJo website on the LCD projector and the Class DoJO app on the iPad.  I informed students of what positive behaviors and expectations I will reward points with, and what negative behaviors and expectations I will make note of and take points away.  Then I gave positive points "on the spot" to students who were meeting my expectations.  To illustrate what happens when a student choose to show a negative behavior or expectation, I asked for a student volunteer so I could show what happens on Class DoJo.  Between you (the reader) and me, I admit that I selected a student volunteer who had actually been misbehaving at the start of that class period, prior to the introduction of Class DoJo.  When I asked the student volunteer (okay, the student who did volunteer but I selected, on purpose, due to their negative behavior at start of class), to select a negative behavior to take a point away, ironically, the student would actually select that very same behavior that he/she did at the start of class.  As soon as I finished showing positive points, it was quite amusing to watch students sit up a little straighter and try really hard to get noticed so he/she could gain a positive behavior point.  Those students who struggled with behavior issues, stepped it up, and were evening self-counting and keeping track of their points on their fingers.  When the students hear a "ding" or a "buzz," it is like Pavlov's Dog, they immediately turned towards me to see who earned the positive or negative point, which I admit is entertaining to observe.  At the end of that first day of Class DoJo, overall, the response was positive and students were excited about the immediate feedback they would get on library skills classes behavior and expectations.

Approximately five weeks later, and I am still pleased to observe students positively respond to Class DoJo.  In the approximately five weeks I have implemented Class DoJo, all it takes is one reminder or the first time to use Class DoJo or the iPad app at the start of class, and students self-check themselves and realign to better behavior.  Even after spring break (March 8-16), all it took was a gentle reminder to students and they responded immediately with improved behavior.

I wanted to write a blog post about Class DoJo much sooner, but other events in the library (i.e. World Read Aloud Day and my spring break internship hours) surfaced and became top priorities on my "blogging to-do list."  I also wanted to see how effective Class DoJo would be after its initial introduction and "shock-and-awe" was over.  After approximately five weeks of Class DoJo implementation, I am quite pleased with how effective and engaging this classroom management tool has become in library skills classes.

After yesterday's feedback and comments from a first grade male student, who struggles with behavior issues, I also thought it was perfect timing to blog about Class DoJo.  One of my first grade library skills class sections consists of many challenging behaviors and personalities, so Class DoJo is PERFECT for them.  The moment this particular 1st grade class entered, I could see that these students forgot library skills expectations and were going to need a re-teaching on library skills rules and expectations, especially after just returning from spring break.  So, I pulled up Class DoJo on the website and showed it on the LCD projector.  I showed this particular class section on the LCD projector.  Right away, I started awarding positive points to those who were just sitting there, waiting respectfully for me to teach, and those students were pleased to see that they were the first to get noticed for actually doing something positive, rather than negative.  Then I started assigning negative points to those who were not meeting library skills behaviors and expectations.  As soon as the first "buzz" went off, the students with negative behaviors immediately looked at the LCD projector and started to improve their behavior.  By the way, while I am not one who likes to point out or single out kids, especially students who are displaying negative behaviors and expectations, this particular class needs extremely specific feedback.  This explains why I showed their entire class and all the students' names on the LCD projector.  Anyways, after that first "buzz," the students, with negative behaviors, actually stepped it up!  Finally, I was able to complete an entire lesson with them, something that rarely happens among all of us specials teachers with this particular class!  It was absolutely priceless to see these students use their fingers and keep track of their points throughout the entire class.  As students left library skills class, some reported back to me on how many positive points they earned.  And you know what?!  They were absolutely correct on how many positive points they earned, so that tells me they were clearly paying attention!

When the first grade teacher picked up the students at the end of library skills classes, this particular 1st grade male student, who I mentioned in the previous paragraph, said to the teacher, "You have to go to www-POINT-classdojo-POINT-com and use it with our class!"  Side note, it was entertainment to the classroom teacher and me when the boy emphasized, "POINT" and didn't say "dot," the normal lingo for sharing website URL addresses.  The teacher looked at me and smiled.  Even better, is after school ended that day, this classroom teacher returned to the library and reported that this student kept reminding him the rest of the day about Class DoJo.  While it is pleasing to hear about this student's reaction to Class DoJo, I can't help but wonder if this class will still respond the same way at the next library skills class time.  No matter what, I am convinced that Class DoJo is a great tool for classroom behavior management!

Here is a first grade class fully engaged and on-task, while I am using Class DoJo during one of my Iowa Goldfinch Award book lessons! 

Here is a screen shot from Class DoJo of the general education classroom teachers names, which are my library skills classes.

Here is a screen shot from Class DoJo of one class.  Positive points are in green and negative points are in red.

Here is a screen shot from Class DoJo on a summary of the class mentioned in the above picture.  This is summary allows time for me to self-reflect on my teaching instruction and behavior management system.

This is just the "tip of the iceberg" of Class DoJo and all it has to offer.  There are opportunities for parents and students to login to view their results.  Class DoJo allows me to reflect on how the class did with both instruction and behavior management during a particular class period, lesson, etc..  I am able to decipher more objectively if the awarded points illustrate students' actual actions and behaviors, versus the mood I am at that time.  A side note, I hate to admit it, but, unfortunately, sometimes a teacher's mood does play a part into that particular day's lesson, activity, etc.  I guess it shows that teachers are human.  Personally, I try to minimize or avoid my mood playing a part on students' behaviors, lessons, class, grading, etc..

Class DoJo is truly an awesome tool to use for classroom behavior management!  Prior to my personal implementation of Class DoJo, I could easily recommend the tool because of the knowledge I had.  Now I can back up this product with BOTH actions and words!  Definitely, give Class DoJo a try!  It is a lifesaver for me!  A great documentation, reflection, and self-check tool for both students and me!