Monday, April 15, 2013

My ClassDojo Story

How Jeremy Badiner Uses ClassDojo to Encourage Student Ownership for Behavior

By Jeremy Badiner, Instructional Technology Coach

Hi, my name is Jeremy Badiner. I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade for 15 years. This year I am currently an Instructional Technology Coach for Gull Lake Community Schools in Richland, MI. Today I want to tell you about how I am using ClassDojo to track positive/poor behavior, reward for positive behavior, and ultimately increase student ownership of their own behavior.

As teachers we all have our easy groups and our difficult groups of students. Last year I had a very challenging group of 4th graders. They were all great kids, but as a whole group they had little ownership of their own actions. I was desperate for something to help reinforce positive behaviors in and outside my classroom. We all know how we spend too much time with the misbehaving students while the well behaved kids who are doing just what they should be doing seem to suffer. I wanted a means to reward kids for, basically, doing what they are suppose to be doing. ClassDojo was my savior!

I first heard of ClassDojo at a technology conference. As soon as I discovered it I knew I found my solution. I was so sure that this was going to change my teaching that I uploaded my kids’ names into ClassDojo during the session (I am sure I missed another great application, but I knew this was something special). I was so excited to get back to my class and see what this new tool would do. The Monday after the conference my class ditched the morning routine and spend a long time (different than the long conversations we usually had about poor behavior and discipline) discussing the program and how we were going to implement it into the classroom. I showed them how I can track each student’s behavior (good and poor) and how I can print reports for parents to see (this is where I had them!). I told them that the first week was nothing more than practice to see how it all played out. They were like kids in a candy store. Suddenly they wanted to know how they were doing! I try to give at least 10-15 whole class rewards each day. I set up the behaviors to match our school expectations and my classroom rules and basic procedures.
Positive Behaviors

Negative Behaviors

As the day progresses I give everyone a reward (positive or negative) for how they did at that moment according to my expectations. This could be transitions, following directions, being prepared, etc. Those who are following expectations get a positive, and those who are not following expectations receive a negative. At recess time (middle of the day) anyone who has a negative score total (more negative than positive) must stay in and “chat” with me about their behavior. I don’t keep them in the whole recess time, just enough to discuss a plan for the rest of the day. In addition to ClassDojo I also have a classroom economy. At the end of the day I pay everyone who was in class for over half the day; however, anyone who is at a negative total at the end of the day does not get paid. Now kids saw the effects of their behavior on their class pay! Also, I show the whole class the class average on the LCD screen before we leave. Our goal is always 90% or higher. In addition to paydays, we also choose new seats in class every 2 weeks. I use ClassDojo scores to do this. I have everyone stand around the room and work my way down from 100% to 0%. When they hear their name they choose what desk to sit at for the next 2 weeks based on classroom behavior (something they all have control over). The higher the two week positive score the sooner they choose a seat.

I have seen a HUGE change in my room. We did start out a little rough. The first couple of days were very low. Here is the first week of using ClassDojo:
Day One

As the year went on, each week improved. The best part was when kids wanted to know how they were doing. This was the first step in taking ownership for their actions. I then gave out student and parent log-ins and created a quick link to ClassDojo on my homepage. The students were checking their scores multiple times each day! I also began receiving emails from parents with positive comments to pass on to their child during the day when a student was improving. This has opened a wonderful line of communication and awareness between parents and school.

Last Year's Overall Average

This year I am an Instructional Technology Coach and am spreading the success I had with ClassDojo among the teachers in my district. I have many teachers using it from Kindergarten to 5th grade. Every teacher that has begun using ClassDojo has loved it and will continue to use it. We are keeping data in many ways with this program: regular classroom behaviors, Special Education data for IEPs, and looking into some type of school wide use for building behavior expectations.

In short, ClassDojo saved my classroom last year and has been a great addition to our district for data collecting and behavior reinforcement. It is easy to use, helps collect accurate data, and the kids love the feeling of knowing they can improve. I don’t think I could ever teach without ClassDojo again!