Classroom Management Idea for 2012!

Posted on 25 June 2012 by urbanmusiceducation.org

I’ve been pondering this new classroom management system for a while now, ever since I was introduced to ClassDojo earlier this year. ClassDojo is an online classroom management software that track both positive and negative behaviors in very class you set up. I have been experimenting with it at home and have devised a system in my classroom that i think will rival my current system.

Currently, my system of pulling a “MUSIC” letter (I pull one letter off when the class is becoming unruly, and add up the “points”- one point per remaining letter- at the end of class) has become very subjective and the kids are earning rewards much faster than I can provide-which cuts into my valuable teaching time- and makes me think there is a “kink” in the system. I am under the impression that I need to provide more specific feedback for our new teacher evaluation system and I think Class Dojo will do just the trick.

The hard part will be ending my lessons 5 minutes earlier to have a “Dojo Council” at the end of every class period. This will give me time to run a class report, and discuss the points with the kids. If the kids get over 70% positive remarks, I will give them a music note to add to a class composition, which will have 16 possible beats. This will reinforce composition and music writing skills as well. When the compositions are finished, the class can earn a reward. I haven’t decided yet on the reward (in the past I’ve used popcorn parties, but I’m getting tired of the mess and $$). That makes it possible to earn a reward about every 2 months at the earliest since I see the kids 2 times a week. I may lengthen it to a 32 beat (8-measure) piece for the end of the year, just to make it a little bit more advanced.

I plan to get an iPad soon, and ClassDojo has an App, so even if my Wiimote Whiteboard isn’t set up for the day, students can still be awarded points and I can show it on the document camera or project it if I get a VGA adapter. It also has an app for my android phone, but the way the program is set up, I think it would be too small to work with properly. Who knows…Updates will surely be coming in the fall! It seems like a lot of setup in the beginning (24 classes next year!!) but I do that anyway for my seating charts, so not that big of a deal. I can also import the names from Infinite Campus- our district grading and attendance software. In the meantime, if you use or have used ClassDojo in your music classroom, I would love some tips!

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Bonnie McSpadden Says:

    You might already provide a way for them to share these collaborative compositions, but if not, maybe their reward could be to share their class compositions. If you don’t want to provide CDs, then maybe you could post the songs using a service like podsnack. Maybe the songs could be shared on the announcements? I like the idea of providing an instructional reward. Great Blog!

  2. urbanmusiceducation.org Says:

    Bonnie, Those are great suggestions! Unfortunately, I have naively trained my kids to work for extrinsic rewards and I don’t think playing their compositions would be “enough” motivation to perform. We don’t have announcements, but maybe I can find a way to mix their melody in Garage Band and put it on their class website… the ideas are flowing! Thanks for reading!
    S

  3. Stephen Says:

    Hey! You made my year with this post. What a great find. This thing will be going around like hotcakes. I want to keep it hidden so its a special music class thing. Haha. I’m sure when teachers hear about it, they’ll be asking me for it.

  4. Linda Belden Says:

    I love Class Dojo! It makes me be positive, and provides great data. I hadn’t thought of printing a report out–might have to do that. I have showed the kids monthly reports so they can see how they do by month–which I think might be easier for you as well. With the new Trendsetter feature, you can also evaluate when behavior is good, and analyze what worked and what didn’t. I like the iPad app, but you can’t do attendance on it. So, if someone was absent the week before, they won’t show up on your class list. You could also look at your report for individuals who did a great job. The ideas are endless!

  5. Natasha Says:

    I am exploring an idea that “take away” behavior management systems don’t really work in urban environment, except, like, staying after school, but music teachers don’t have such awesome powers. “Add on” systems work better, like your extrinsic system. I got that idea from Rita Pierson, PhD who I first encountered on NPR’s TED Hour and then got a number of her CDs and DVDS. I think Stephan is right. I just took a non music PD with a bunch of teachers from my Baltimore, MD district and they were talking about ClassDojo. Nobody in my school uses it, but I am sure they soon will and then the sky is the limit on the amount of dissing the kids will give me about my not being the REAL ClassDojo, so I don’t even want to open this can of worms. I did your MUSIC thing before, but, like you, I was using it “take away” way. In the future I will just put a letter M there and have the class earn the other letters. I will put it on a chart for 2-5 grades and give treats to the winning class at the end of the month and Certificates indicating a place to every classroom teacher (everybody-from first to last.) I did it last year but I was not consistent. Need to work on that. As a matter of fact, the classroom teacher who’s class would have always been in the last place had I been consistent is the head of my school’s PBIS (behavior) committee. Other teachers worked with their classes on behavior in music, but she would just tell me, “They are not my children”. Some classes who needed it I would give tickets and pens to write their names on and then do a lottery at the end of the class. That way the better they act the more chances they get to win a price. Once they settle down I stop giving tickets and can teach. Once they get bad again I start giving tickets to good ones again. So now I need to figure out how to teach music without standing at the front of the class and, you know, teach, so I have time to go around giving out tickets. But that’s what they want from us anyway. They want us to be facilitators. Maybe I can do “flipped” classroom right there during class and use technology to largely automatize my presentations of the material. Oi, like they say in my native Russia, you need half a bottle of vodka for all this.(Just kidding!)

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