Heroes Among Us Digital Brainstorming Owning our Learning GAMING PODCASTING Digital Storytelling in Classrooms CHECK THE UPDATE! Realtime Behaviour Management in the Classroom Realtime Behaviour Management in the Classroom Augmented Education: Making Reality Real Angry Birds in the Classroom #Post Title
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Class Dojo: Building Positive Classrooms in Realtime. UPDATE!

Previously, I had written about Class Dojo and its place in my classroom.  Over the past few days, my class has worked hard to re evaluate the behaviours they had chosen to work with in the classroom.  Previously we had negotiated 6 positive behaviours and 6 negative behaviours.  All of which are listed below.

Our Class Behaviours
100% Student Negotiated, 100% Student Owned.

Today, my students asked if we could look at the behaviours and write some new ones.  Nothing my students say to me surprises me anymore.  These are an amazing group of kids who I should have anticipated would want to re evaluate their behaviours.  It was simple.  I opened Class Dojo and navigated to the behaviour page and began to talk to my class about what they wanted changed.  Our discussions were deep and vast.  In the end we decided to change the wording of some of our already chosen behaviours.  We also decided that we needed to add another positive and another negative behaviour to suit the needs of our changing classroom.

My students decided they would add a positive behaviour called "Being Awesome."  To them, they felt they needed a behaviour that could be awarded to anyone in the class that completed amazing feats of awesomeness in the classroom.  Examples of this was one girls awesome dancing, or one boys ability to help anyone he works with without being asked.  To my class, the "being awesome" award was the holy grail of awards and those who earned it were allowed to wear a crown for the rest of the day all for being awesome.

We also added another negative behaviour "not working well."  My students thought it would be good to have a behaviour that made them work on trying to work well on every task they do.  I was proud of them for making the choice to add this behaviour.  Students owning learning is a powerful thing to watch and experience.  You can see our new behaviours below.

Our Class Re-Negotiated Behaviours
100% Student Negotiated, 100% Student Owned.

After our re evaluation of behaviours, my students were in a word inspired.  We have a deal that if they could keep their "circle" at 100% positive behaviours I would organise for each student to have an ice-block.  Well today my students did a powerful thing.  They worked together and earned 100% positive rewards.  I have never seen 26, 5 year old students so excited before in my life.  So tomorrow we are having ice-blocks at lunch time.  I have posted their behaviour awards for today below.  So heres a big congratulations to my class, we may not have 100% positive rewards everyday, but we work together as a community and we own our behaviour.  Click here to use Class Dojo in your classroom.  Trust me when I say, it amazing.

Our Class Report
Nothing was standing in the way of my students and their earning of positive behaviours.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TECHNOLOGY FRIDAYS! Made for Children by Children

My students wanted to develop a space of time we set aside each week to learn how to use ICLT's in our classroom.

I have stated previously that I work with a class of 26 students.  Over the course of the year I have developed a massive amount of respect for the 5-year-old learners in my classroom.  As expected, we encounter technology in our classroom every day.  We experience it in our daily routines, we experience it as we negotiate our classroom behaviours  (Read Me!) and we experience it in our learning.

Our school has put an enormous amount of money into Information Communication and Learning Technologies (ICLT’s) for our classrooms.  In my classroom alone I have:

2 Desktop Computers.
2 Laptops.
6 Mini Laptops.
1 Dual Pen Interactive Whiteboard.
2 iPod Touch devices.
2 Flip Video Cameras.
1 Digital SLR Camera.
2 iPad 2’s.
2 Webcams.
1 Wii.
Wireless Internet to all devices.

However, having this many ICLT’s in my classroom doesn’t ensure that my children will be technology literate by the time they leave my classroom. From experience, I think sometimes educators and educational planners can loose sight of the teaching and learning that needs to happen with these devices for them to become effective tools of learning.  About 15 weeks ago, I was working with my students to see how they thought we could improve learning in our classroom through technology.  It was at this time a quiet girl in my class said something that changed the way technology is used in my classroom.

“Don’t you think there is just too much?” A small voice chimed in. “Don’t you think there is too much technology in our classroom, it’s a bit confusing.” I looked at this child and immediately the rest of the students in my class started supporting her. It was like a mutiny against the use of technology in our classroom.  I was dumbfounded, until I asked” How do we stop making it confusing then?”

What happened next was amazing.  For a solid day I worked with my 26, 5 year old students to negotiate how we as a community can make technology less confusing in the classroom.  We negotiated how technology was used, when it was used, when we should be using it and when we shouldn’t be using it.  We negotiated what we wanted to be using technology for and what we wanted to see happen in the future with technology.

Then a boy said something that changed Fridays in our classroom.
“Can we have a day each week that we use to learn how to use computers and stuff?”  The class went silent and I found myself asking the same question in my head.  Why Not? I said.  We negotiated a day of the week that was easy to implement the learning of new ICLT’S and refine our understandings of old ones.

Behold the creation of


On Technology Fridays we spend the morning session of our day finalising any work left over from the week.  Then from11:30am on a Friday all we do until 3:00pm is learn how to use different pieces of technology, apps, websites, etc. We split into mini groups and are assigned mini projects that relate to the ICLT we are learning.

For example with the COMIC BOOK! App on the iPad we negotiated the rules of its use, learned its features, taught everyone in the group how to use it and then made a short comic book with it.  Before we rotate groups and ICLT’s we show the class what we made and explain to them the expectations the group had when using the app.  We spend approximately 30 - 40 minutes on each ICLT.  TECHNOLOGY FRIDAYS have assisted us in making ICLT’S invisible in our classroom.  The learning promoted on this day has become an integral part of our everyday learning. 

This post is a sign of respect to my students who have taken charge of their learning and developed a time for them to build on and share their understandings of ICLT in their lives.  We hope to share their resources with other students to promote effective ICLT use in classrooms across the world. 

Our first resource is below.  If you’ve ever wanted to used Little Bird Tales in your classroom this might help remind your learners of what each of the buttons mean.  It is made by children for children.  We hope you enjoy it. 

"Little Bird Tales Prompts"
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Class Dojo: Building Positive Classrooms in Realtime

Everything we do is behaviour.  I sometimes struggle to understand my own behaviour and I have had years of practice at monitoring, assessing and managing it.  One thing I have noticed as a teacher is that once you put a class of children together, everything is multiplied.

I have questioned myself many times on the fairness of pushing 26 or so students into a classroom context and expecting them to manage and negotiate their own behaviours.  Teachers do the best they can to outline expected behaviours and social standards of classrooms, schools and the greater societal contexts.  However, even the best teacher can't read the minds of each and every student in their class (if you can, call me, because we need to talk).  It can be hard to manage the behaviour of all students at all times, especially if their not sure of what is expected of them.

I have always believed that technology should be invisible in the classroom.  It should be something that just happens, not something that has to happen.  I also believe that when implementing things into the classroom, an excellent teacher negotiates his/her expectations with their class and behaviour expectations are no different.

I found Class Dojo by sheer luck and implemented it's flexible program into my classroom with the guidance of 26 five year old children.  For a while I had been looking for a pieces of technology that would allow me to monitor student behaviour as well as providing students with instant feedback.  Class Dojo does both of these things and more.

The interface is easy to use, there is a step by step tutorial on how to use the program on your internet browser and the best feature of all is that it is free!  Once you have signed up, the website asks you to add a class and input your students names.  From there you can assign them a cute looking monster or arrange to add a picture of them to make it more personal.  My favourite feature is being able to use my smartphone as a remote to award positive or negative behaviours.

Once your class is added, the program asks you to create positive behaviours (these are green) and negative behaviours (these are red).  There are simple icons that are tied to each behaviour you make.  I have found that there are enough of them to assign to nearly any behaviour you can think of.

For me , this is one of the coolest tools I have come across, and after testing it now for over 2 months, it is the coolest thing my students have encountered.  Class Dojo rewrote our classroom behaviour system.  It allowed us to sit down as a class and negotiate what we wanted rewarded as positive behaviours and what we wanted rewarded as negative behaviours.  All 26 students were participants in this process and it allowed for each student to have a voice and develop an understanding of how to behave in the classroom context.

We spent hours on negotiating what a "good/positive" choice was and what a "bad/negative" choice was.  My class negotiated the language we would use when creating behaviours and committed themselves to creating an environment that was safe and where each member knew what was expected of them.  I was blown away by the deep discussion 5 year olds were having over what constituted a positive behaviour to them. I developed deep respect for them as learners and community members.  They now owned their behaviour, they owned the positive and negative consequences; its rewards, and most of all they respected each other because of it.

Our classroom behaviours are simple yet effective.  They are student decided and worded.  The technology didn't rule their decisions, it guided them and assisted them in becoming everyday expectations rather than punishments.

Our Class Behaviours
100% Student Negotiated, 100% Student Owned.

Another feature of Class Dojo is its ability to provide instant behaviour feedback to students. Other than the sounds played when a behaviour is made, or its visual pop ups, the program provides interactive behaviour graphs that show audiences the behaviours recorded for a given period. I was astounded when my class asked to see their graphed data.

When we first started the graph was approximately 50/50 in regards to positive and negative behaviours made.  My class were distraught and accused the program of recording their data wrong.  It was unbelievable to 26, 5 year old students that they had made so many negative decisions.  Since then we have had many discussion about how to improve our behaviour making, with the goal to make our graph 100% positive behaviours. I am pleased to say that since the beginning of this month we are at 90% positive behaviours.

Class Report for October
It's amazing to watch students negotiate how they can make more positive behaviours with informed knowledge of what they need to change.

In my eyes that is all I could wish for. No one is perfect; especially when you're 5 years old and you're still exploring your behaviours and their consequences.  I have promised an ice block to each child when we get 100% positive behaviours and I'm sure the day will come when this happens. When it does, I will congratulate my students for their efforts.  Until then, I am just happy with them owning their own behaviour.

My hat goes off to the creators of Class Dojo.  The most effective technology in classrooms is that which is unseen until it is needed to be used.  Class Dojo is one of those technologies.  It isn't 100% perfect, but the influence it has on students and their ability to negotiate and own their behaviour is priceless.  Myself and 26 students want to thank you, we look forward to using this program in our classroom for sometime to come.

If you would like to use Class Dojo in your classroom, click on this link > CLASS DOJO.  You won't regret it!  Share it with your friends and peers as well.  Technology such as this needs to be shared.
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Play some Tetris!

Or try some Pacman!