When I first started using Class DOJO, it was quite the fiasco. I felt like I constantly had to run around with my iPad hitting buttons, or that I was telling students that they were earning red or green bubbles and trying to keep track of that in my head.
My school does not have a SmartBoard or any electronic board that we can display points on, so my students and I had no visual reminder of how anyone’s day was going, apart from the times I would open my iPad and check.
My students were also randomly earning bubbles or losing bubbles, but had no end goal or consistent expectations in mind. It was a headache for me and confusing for my students.
Many teachers that I have worked with or spoken to have had similar issues, so I knew that I needed to come up with a solution for those of us who have limited technology to rely on throughout the day.
Here are some steps I took to make Class DOJO more manageable for me, and now it is a favorite and integral part of my day and my students’ days.
1. I reinstated my clip chart, and put a Class DOJO spin on it.
I knew that I needed my students to know what kind of day they were having at ALL times, not just when I opened my iPad.
Whether you utilize this visual tracker, or a different clip chart, card flip chart, SmartBoard or some other behavior tracker, I found that it is absolutely imperative for students to have an immediate and constant reminder of where they are at all times that is directly tied to whatever aspect of DOJO that you are using.
I use my rainbow clip chart to award the class points. Students who ended the day on the pink section of my clip chart get 3 points, if they end on purple they get 2, if they end on blue they get 1, green (where everyone starts) is 0 points, yellow is -1 point, orange is -2 points and red is -3 points.
My students are always held accountable for knowing where their clip is, and truly own what color they are on. They will walk up to other teachers or my principal and say “Hey, guess what color I am on today!!” And will even run out of school after the day is over and immediately scream to their parents “I had a pink day today!!”
This is the clip chart I use in my classroom, which has the points clearly written on it. There is also a version without points, so you can write your own version or number of points on the chart. Click here to look more in depth at this resource.
2. I limited the amount of times that I give bubbles each day.
Rather than giving students bubbles (this is what my students refer to as the points on the Class DOJO app) immediately when I am commenting on their behavior, I only give points out at the very end of the day.
This gives students who are having a bad day the opportunity to turn their day around and not “lose” or “gain any red” bubbles for that day. This assures that parents are not notified EVERY time students get a red bubble, especially for minor infractions such as talking out of turn.
For students that are constantly needing redirection, you can still immediately give out bubbles, but this alleviates the need to be constantly on your iPad or computer doling out points for 30 students.
We also clearly go over how to earn green bubbles and how to earn red bubbles or “lose” bubbles at the beginning of the year. I hang this list up all year for students to refer to.
3. My students track how many points they have in total, and are “racing” to 100.
Since my students can earn a maximum of 3 points a day, it usually takes until December for students to get to 100. I usually have about 2/3 of my class meet this goal throughout the year.
Once they get to 100, they can redeem their 100s chart for a reward. All of my rewards are not monetary rewards.
I use things such as lunch with the teacher, a free homework pass, bring a stuffed animal to school or bring a treat for the class. My students LOVE these rewards and get so excited when they make 100.
It is super manageable, because I only have to do this a few times throughout the year, and most of the rewards are really something that the students get to do rather than something I need to do. I also add their name to my “100 Point Superstars” list which is displayed for the entire class to see for the rest of the year.
This is a huge honor for my second graders.
4. I still have immediate rewards and consequences for students exhibiting extreme behaviors.
Students that end their day on pink become my “pink superstars” the following day. These students get to be my special helpers all day the next day, whether I need papers passed out or pencils sharpened. Students also love that their name is on the board the following day.
This really encourages students to strive to have the best day possible every day.
Students who get down to yellow are given a warning that they need to turn their day around.
Students that get down to orange know that they must immediately grab a “think sheet” and fill it out. This sheet is a short reflection on how their clip ended up on orange, and what they can do to turn their day around. When my students get a think sheet, they must bring it to me to sign.
They have until the rest of their day to get their clip back up to green. If they get it back to green, they can throw their think sheet in the trash. If they do not, they have to bring it home for their parents to sign and return the next day.
I am adamant about the think sheet being returned, and usually send parents a quick email to let them know that the sheet is on its way home, and a brief description of what happened.
Usually, I send home about 10-15 think sheets total in a year, and they typically are top-heavy from the beginning of the year, and taper off toward the end of the year.
I try really hard to allow students to turn their day around, as this helps build a strong relationship between me and the student.
Finally, if a student’s clip gets all the way down to red, they must call home immediately. I always make the students call their parent, and I listen in as they explain to their mom or dad what has happened. This makes it so that I don’t need to do the majority of the work, and holds the students accountable for reflecting on their behavior.
I also always follow up with an email to parents, partly for documentation, and partly so that parents can have something to refer to when they have a conversation with their student that night after school.
The most imperative part of immediate rewards and consequences is CONSISTENCY.
It is SO important to be consistent. If a student gets down to orange, they must fill out the think sheet EVERY SINGLE TIME, even if you decide later that they can throw it away.
This sets a clear expectation in your room that you are holding your students accountable for their actions so that the next time that student or another student gets on orange, they know EXACTLY what is going to happen. If you decide later that they are doing better and don’t need that consequence anymore, then have them clip up one or two times for smaller things, and they can throw the think sheet away.
This allows the student to see that you are on their side and want them to do the best they can, but that you will NOT allow them to misbehave and run your classroom.
I also find it incredibly important to celebrate ALL students. Every student should have a chance to be at the top of the color chart, even the most challenging kiddos.
This is a great reminder for students that everyone can be successful in the classroom. This is good not just for the high flyers, but also for students who sometimes fly under the radar because they are so quiet.
One way to make sure that every student reaches the top of the chart is to pick 1-2 students to keep an eye on all day, and to make sure that you are positively commenting on their behavior throughout the day.
This is great the beginning of the year, and I sometimes use one of my roster sheets to just cross out names as they become pink superstars, so that I can ensure every student gets at least one chance.
5. COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
I make it a point at the beginning of the year to make sure that EVERY SINGLE parent is connected with me on Class DOJO.
This way, ALL parents, whether their student is really well behaved, a high flyer, or somewhere in the middle, can know what kind of day their child has at school every single day.
This makes conferences so much easier, because parents should know what kind of day, week and month their students have had immediately, rather than hearing it for the first time in October.
I also make sure that at least once a month I am sending home a positive message about every student. I usually take a picture of them doing a great job at something, and send it with a quick note saying “_____” is doing a great job at ____ today!”. This fills the students’ buckets along with their parents, as their parents can see their success in the classroom.
This also makes it MUCH easier to have a difficult conversation later when the student isn’t having such a hot day, or is having an academic issue that you need to talk to the parents about. This makes parents feel like you are not “out to get” their students. I also use Class DOJO for all of my reminders, grade updates and simple communication.
Parents will send me quick reminders as well, and it works just like a text message. It is great for short reminders such as “we have a half day today” and “please remind ____ That _____ is picking them up today”. It is nice to have so many needs met in one place.
6. There are a lot of fun features on Class DOJO beyond just behavior.
I have my “class website” on there, where I post whole class pictures and pictures of class projects. I also will post pictures and little blurbs about what is happening in our classroom on there, such as big speakers or funny anecdotes.
Parents love this feeling of being connected to the classroom. This year students will also be able to have a “student portfolio” where they can upload pictures of their work to refer back to throughout the year and for their parents to see instantly at home.
Students also love to pick and change their monsters on the Class DOJO website. It is interactive and allows students to have a little more buy in to the various aspects of the website.
I hope you enjoy and that this makes Class DOJO a little more manageable for you.
Please don’t feel like you need to start with all of this right away. It takes time to find a strategy that will work for you, and just because it is working for me does not mean it is the right fit for you.
If you are just starting out or trying to change your management system, I suggest you just start small with the clip chart system/DOJO combination, and then slowly add in the other pieces, as trying to do it all at once might be overwhelming at first.