Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lessons for Learning, from Lego (Movie)

This year, I'm using "The Lego Movie" as a theme in my classroom.

Sure I have a couple little posters I made that I think are pretty fun, but there are also profound messages that I hope will motivate and inspire my students.

Check out this page from my class website, where I have embedded some of the more poigniant clips.

Class Dojo Intro Presentation & Videos

Here is a Presentation that will walk you through what Class Dojo is, and what you can do with it.

This video does a great job explaining how Class Dojo can help you emphasize positive behaviors in your class.

Parents love Class Dojo, too! Watch this video to see how CDJ can help you communicate with parents.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Class Dojo in my Classroom

We use PBIS in my district, which stands for Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports.
This is a great movement that seeks to use more positive means to affect students' behavior than merely punitive/negative ones. Here's how I connect those behaviors to my Class Dojo behaviors.

The way this works is that a school generally comes up with some sort of acronym (often having to do with their mascot), and uses each letter to list a behavior, or category of behaviors, that we are looking for from students. For example, "Give Respect" is one of ours. Giving Respect will look different in the classroom, the cafeteria, and the playground. So, several different posters are developed to very specifically teach students exactly what Respect, Excellence, and so forth all look like in those different contexts.

Tie Class Dojo behaviors to your school's behavior expectations
I set up my Class Dojo so that I could tie in to those school-wide PBIS behaviors on a daily basis, rather than just having my own set of behaviors. It really didn't require much adjustment at all, actually.

PBIS "Eagle Expectations" for my school
First, here are our what we call our "Eagle Expectations" (our mascot guessed it...the eagle!):

Eagerly Learn
Act Responsibly
Give Respect
Listen Attentively
Exhibit Excellence

My Positive Class Dojo behaviors
Here are my positive behaviors. In some cases, the phrase I use is one of the descriptors of one of the main behaviors. I put the letter E, A, G, L, or e in front of the behavior so I could easily, verbally tie it more explicitly to the specific school-wide expectation, if it seems necessary or appropriate.

E- Eager to Learn
     An attitude thing. "Participate" is one descriptor for this school-wide one. I also look for that.

A-On Task
I use this one a lot by telling the class what to do, and then randomly choosing a student. If they are doing what I asked, the whole class hears my phone go "ding!", and they know someone is getting a point! Sure beats nagging those that are not yet on task!

    Very versatile. Fun to give this one out. Easy to find situations where this is appropriate.

L-Listen Attentively
     Sometimes it's a toss up between this one and "On Task".  If they're doing what they're supposed to, they obviously were listening in the first place. When a student is sitting quietly when those around them are talking & making noise, I make a big deal out of this one.

     I weighted this one double, so that if I randomly call on someone, and they are not only prepared with an answer (On Task), but have a correct answer, I can give them a point, essentially, for both with one tap.
     I also made it a lower-case "e" to avoid confusion with "Eager to Learn".

Math Practice Standards:
Be ready to affirm them when these qualities show up in your classroom!
I also included several of the Standards for Mathematical Practice. These are qualities of a mathematical conversation that I wanted to be ready to affirm. The "Justify/Critique" one is a bit of a crossover - it's also useful for during a Language Arts conversation, and students are defending their answer, giving textual evidence for their observation, and such.


My Negative Class Dojo behaviors
Here are the negative behaviors I use. In the case of Act Responsibly,  I needed more than one negative behavior to specify just how they were being irresponsible.

E-Not Trying


A-Off Task



L-Not Listening


No Glasses 
     I added this one so I would have a way to track when a student that had glasses, needed glasses, and didn't bring them. I didn't penalize students if they were broken, truly lost. However, if the glasses were lost, I might give them a very pointed, clear expectation for "homework": look for them with your parents. I had them write this down in their planner. Then, the next day, if they have no glasses, and they tell me that they didn't look, I would assign a negative point here.

Any thoughts or questions on this? Leave a comment!

Do you connect your PBIS school-wide behaviors with your Class Dojo behaviors? Leave a comment explaining how!

Class Dojo at Home

As we go back to school, many teachers are setting up our Class Dojo rosters and behaviors.
A few weeks ago, I was sharing with someone how I used Class Dojo at home this summer.

Every teacher who is also a parent doesn't "really" get summers off.
As I have found myself saying a lot in the last couple years, "Parenting Ain't for Wimps!"

So, here are the behaviors that I used this summer. They are basically the things that we were needing to work on, and remind our sons about. We didn't use the negative ones hardly at all. I don't use the negative ones much in class, either, actually. Class Dojo is a great tool for ME to remember to accentuate the positive.

End Fun Time Well
Respectful Words
Pet Owner
Helping Others
Work Hard
On Task

"Contentment" allowed us to compliment them when they could have whined, but didn't.
"End Fun Time Well" is when they had to turn off the TV, Wii, iPad, etc. This one always takes work!
"Compromise" is when they want something, but we can't do exactly what they want, but are able to move from our original position...and they accept that.
"Respectful Words" is exactly that. Sometimes, we were just blown away at how polite, kind, etc. they spoke. This gave us a way to celebrate that.
"Pet owner" was important when trying to help our boys participate in, rather than undermine, ways that we were trying to train our dog. Or, when they put forth some extra effort taking care of the dog.
"Maturity" is always a battle, right? This allowed us to affirm it when we saw it.

I assume the rest are pretty obvious.

After a few weeks of using it, a spontaneous conversation about these behaviors produced some Bible references that connect directly to some of the behaviors. We didn't over-do it with the verses. It was just a neat connection that just happened one day.

Rubik's Cube Instructions in JavaScript

Can Rubik's Cubes fit in Computer Science or Math?  I say YES! Read on to find out why. This past summer, I learned how to solve several...