Thursday, June 29, 2017

Class Dojo Economy System & Classroom Management

I was introduced to the Class Dojo App a few years ago at a Education Tech Conference in Silicon Valley. My students are absolutely in love with Class Dojo and are really motivated to get "Dojo Points!" I decided to come up with a new classroom management system that combines the old school "economy system" with this new modern classroom management app. 

Class Dojo is really easy to set up and can be used with multiple devices: laptop, ipad, phone, etc. This allows you to reward students and keep track of their behavior wherever you go....Great for field trips! After you set up your class, the app assigns each students their own avatar monster...but can later be changed and personalized (this becomes an incentive and reward to earn). Students love this program because it is colorful,fun, and makes a fun noise every time someone earns a positive point. It has both visual and auditory ques to entice students to want to earn more points. Sometimes I just allow them to only hear the points being earned, that way they don't know who is getting the point and it gets them all on task because they are hoping to get a point next. You can also project the app onto your smartboard to allow them to see their progress...the only downside is that it shows everyone's points. 
As the teacher you decide how you want to give out points. You can customize what types of behavior earns points and they even have negative points for unwanted behavior. My first year I used both positive and negative points, then the next year I only used it for positive reinforcement which seemed to work out better. Either way, you use it to fit your classroom needs. 

Not only do students and teachers love Class Dojo, but parents love it as well. At Back to School Night I explain the system and print out parent codes for them...this allows them access to their child's individual report. This gives parents a peek into the classroom to see what kind of behaviors their child is doing. One of the reasons I stopped doing negative points is because it sends an immediate e-mail to the parents of the negative behavior...however, it doesn't not allow any kind of explanation. So I found myself explaining a lot at the end of the day when parents pick up. In my opinion, not all negative behavior needs to be explained to parents (ex. talking to a neighbor, off task, etc.) However, it is good to use for behavior that you want parents to know about. 

I created a classroom economy system based on Class Dojo. You can get the full system including posters, coupons, and more at my TpT store by clicking here. 

I decided to give out weekly rewards and monthly rewards to encourage student behavior all month long. This work great for 4th and 5th grade levels. It might need to be adjusted for younger grade levels. I came up with percentage rewards (if you are using both positive and negative points) and point rewards. When I only used it for positive points I had students get different rewards/coupons to redeem prizes at different point levels throughout the month and then the big incentive was that all their points get turned into cash at the end of each month. Instead of wasting a bunch of paper to make "teacher money" I just created bank account sheets for every student in a binder and did "direct deposits" of their total amount each month. (One of my class jobs is a student banker who did all of that for me...someone who is very responsible of course.) This made the economy system "electronic" and all withdrawals and deposits were recorded on the bank account sheet in pen so no forgery can happen. Students can then spend their money at the class store every Friday during Free Time Friday. Click here for more information on how to implement Free Time Friday or Class Store in your classroom. 

At the end of each month, the student with the most points earns the Class Citizen Trophy that they get to put on their desk. After all points have been accounted for, clear the points and start again fresh each month! 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bucket Fillers

One of the best ways to create a positive classroom community and environment is to implement Bucket Fillers into your classroom routine.  During the first week of school I introduce bucket fillers to my class by reading the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud . Image result for have you filled a bucket today

I teach a lesson along with reading the book about my expectations for the year about how we are going to treat one another. I lead them in a discussion using an anchor chart to write their ideas about what classifies as a bucket filler vs. a bucket dipper. Then I introduce the bucket filler board and how they can fill each others bucket all year long. This becomes an activity to do when they finish their work early. We also discuss how to try to fill every ones buckets and not just their friends.
To make the buckets I got popcorn bags from Party City and stapled white pipe cleaner to the top for the handle. Then I labeled the buckets with my students names and hang them on the board with a push pin so they could take their bucket off and on to check it weekly.

To get bucket filler papers to print and cut for free, visit my TpT store: Mrs Kearsley's Classroom.

This is one of my students' favorite activities and helps create a positive classroom community throughout the year. You can even make yourself a bucket as well! Positivity is contagious and can make your year great!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Classroom Reveal

I took last school year off to raise my baby boy, Landon. Now I want to make sure I don't forget anything while I stay at home with him so I decided to create a blog of my last year of teaching. It was my best year yet and I can't wait to share all that I did! I hope this blog will not only help myself remember all the great things in the classroom, but help other teachers get creative ideas to use in their own classrooms. I will be taking the summer to blog about the school year. While the post won't be what is currently happening in the school year, it will be more of a look back on the school year.

August 2014: New year, new classroom. Here is the big reveal. I decided to set up student desks in cooperative learning groups because I knew I wanted do more cooperative learning this year and teach them right from the get go how to have self control and not talk all the time just because they are close.

Then I spent a lot of time organizing and setting up our classroom library. I used book bins from the dollar tree and binder rings to attached labels onto the bins. Non-fiction books were labeled with green border and fiction books were labeled with a blue border. Labels were created based on different literary genres or book sets that I had in my collection, for example: Mystery, Humor, Science Fiction, Action Adventure, Boxcar Children, Fantasy, etc. Click here to get my library labels from my TpT store...I have recently updated them and they are super cute! I found this cozy rug at Ross for $15 and bought a few comfy pillows to make the space feel comfortable and inviting. 

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