Last week was one of those weeks that left me questioning if I was in the right profession. I left school Monday highly frustrated. It happens to me about three or four times a year. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my job! I highly respect and appreciate my co-workers and administrators. I just get overwhelmed at times with what I regard as poor student engagement: in other words, not listening to instructions and allowing their brains to process the instruction and turn it in to action. As an enhancement teacher, I see six different classrooms of students a day. That calculates to over 120 students. I get them 45 minutes, once a week. When the Intermediate students come to the computer lab, I feel a great deal of pressure to manage the time they are in there in the most efficient way possible. The students come in, get their headphone bags that are laid out on the counter, great me with a handshake, and then have a seat on the floor in front of the projector. I explain the job they are to complete by demonstrating using the white board as well as writing helpful information, in case they get “stuck”, on the chalkboard. What frustrates me is when they go to their computer and do not know what to do. I do not have the time to show each one individually the steps they need to take to get their job done. After explaining my frustration to my principal, Mrs. Parker, she suggested I use the “ask three, then me” approach. I immediately implemented that strategy the following day. Students must ask three other students before asking me if they have a question about the assignment. I believe that strategy is going to lower my frustration level, but I had an idea over the weekend that I believe will be even more advantageous – introducing Class DoJo.
I had come across Class Dojo on Richard Byrne’s FreeTech4Teachers blog in September. I thought it looked like a great tool, but did not know how it would work for someone with over 300 students until this weekend. I created 15 classes and populated them with students in less than an hour. (I have five third grade classes, five fourth grade classes, and five fifth grade classes.) Now here is how I will use it. When the each class comes to technology, I can use the Class Dojo app on my iPad to walk around the lab while students are working. If they have to ask another student about directions that were given at the beginning of class (ask three, then me), I will denote that as a negative behavior. If a student responds in a friendly and helpful manner, I will denote that as a positive behavior. At the end of the week, I will look at each grade level and determine what class had the most positive points. When that class comes to the lab, I will randomly pick one person to come to the treasure chest. Using Class Dojo in this way will allow me to set up a weekly competition between classes within each grade level. I believe this approach will encourage students to be better listeners AND encourage them to respond kindly to their classmates that need a little extra help.
Here is a screen capture of my classes: