When I decided upon a ‘reboot’ of how I was using ClassDojo and what ethos I wanted to create in the department, I decided a few things were crucial. Firstly, the way points would be awarded would have to be transparent, so displays would have to be made. Secondly, all department staff would have to buy into it, so discussions at DMs to agree on our policy and give ownership to all staff would be essential. Thirdly, I wanted to incorporate some elements of our core department ethos, therefore I wanted to represent the school’s Ready to Learn procedures (1) (which were developed from our original department code which I brought with me from my previous post), Co-operative Learning (2), which is a huge part of our department approach, and Active Learning (3). Lastly and perhaps most importantly I wanted to completely avoid the culture that exists so often in schools where the learners with behaviours that are more difficult to manage end up with the most points at the end of the week because teachers are desperate to find a way to keep them from causing massive disruption to the learning & teaching process.
To address this last point we decided to give our learners 3 points at the start of each week:
- Following Class Rules
- Co-operative Learning
If they still had all 3 by the end of the week they would get a “positive referral” on the whole school behaviour system, which also contributes to House Points. Each extra set of 3 adds more rewards. Here’s the display poster we created to inform our classes of how it works:
The “constructive points” are there to deal with low-level disruption, which is often a major headache in classrooms, and to deal with my personal bug-bear – chewing gum. The learners themselves will be the first to point out any wrong-doing that deserves a “constructive point” but encouraging them to be just as quick to point out “positive points” is taking a little longer. Perhaps that’s part of our collective culture in Education, or in Britain, I’m not sure. Whatever it is, we’re working on it!
Adding the IT games time on was a brilliant motivator for the lower school pupils and although it was always languages games (using Linguascope, Zondle and Quizlet for the most part), they still really worked to get their 9 points each week. Also having a “clean slate” every week really helped with the learners who often struggle with their behaviour and has helped to get them to buy in to our ethos. It’s not Utopia, it doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it has made a huge impact on participation, enjoyment, behaviour and attainment in our department so far.
So that was phase 1. We have followed this through for almost 2 academic years but are ready to move onto phase 2. But that’s for a future post.