Raise your hand if Class Dojo has changed your life! Class Dojo is by far one of my favorite tools to ever grace the teaching world.
First of all, I have to say one of my favorite parts about Class Dojo is the iPhone app because my aides can have it on their phone and log in. We are all able to provide positive and negative reinforcement to our students. My aides go to specials and lunch with my students so even when I am not with my class, my aides are able to provide the direct reinforcement. They can be consistent with or without me in the room and consistency goes a looong way with my kiddos!
In the past I have used a variety of classroom management techniques and nothing has ever been as motivating to my kids as Class Dojo. Class Dojo is ideal in a special education classroom because it incorporates the green and red reinforcement system which is a research based behavior intervention THAT WORKS!
Before diving in to my behavior management system, one thing I'll say is that this is what works for me. Later in this post you'll read about the million ways I have had to tweak my system to make it work for everyone. You have to know your kids and don't be afraid to try a few things to figure out what works. I am a weirdo and I actually love behavior. I think behavior makes the world go 'round and it's one of the reasons I love being a special education teacher. I find so much happiness in figuring out the psychological reasons behind why a child acts a certain way and then helping him overcome it. I always keep in mind the ABCs of Behavior:
- Antecedent- why is it happening?
- Behavior- what happened?
- Consequence- how did you respond to it?
EVERY behavior has an antecedent or a cause. Although it may not feel this way sometimes, no behavior ever just comes out of thin air. Children learn how to behave based on how you react to it. It is my own personal philosophy that my job is to help them learn how to control it themselves, not control it for them.
So here's how it looks in Room 13...In September I begin with my behavior punch cards to show my students the difference between green choices and red choices. I do this because it is more concrete and in their face and my babies are babies when they come to me so they need that in-your-face approach to learn the difference between a good choice and a bad choice. In the beginning I will give a green for ANYTHING. You picked up your pencil? You get a green! You had your eyes on me? You get a green! You came to school? You get a green! It's like Oprah Winfrey up in here.
(Hehe this was my first time making my own meme! I'm so cool.)
Once the kids start understanding the difference between a green choice and a red choice (usually after a few weeks) I take away the behavior cards and switch over to Class Dojo. I let the kids choose their own monster and off we go!
Incorporating a Traditional Color Chart
One of the things that took me a little time to figure out was incorporating my traditional color behavior chart. I didn't want to do away with it because I use that to communicate with parents and sometimes I like being dramatic and saying "Move all the way to pink!" or "MOVE STRAIGHT TO RED." There is just something so effective about a traditional color chart. Also, this is most likely the system that my students will use with other teachers in the future so I want them to be used to it. At the end of the day I put a colored star in my students' folders so their parents know what type of day we had. I also can't assume