Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Behaviour management .... monster madness!

One of my BT (beginning teacher) goals for this term is behaviour management in the classroom.  We've been trying the use of positive reinforcement using Class Dojo, or as we're calling it with the learners - monster points!

As we have now used it for two weeks, I've decided to reflect on what I've seen to date.  We decided early on we would use it for positive reinforcement - there is the ability within the app to "take away" points, although I much prefer to focus on the 'positives' than remove points for negatives.  As with any new system, we wanted to really emphasise it and have our learners really excited about it early on.  In order to achieve this, we handed out many points in the first few days, and even as week 3 starts I find I am still doing this.  As an added bonus, when awarding points using the iPad app, it makes a "ding" sound - the sound itself is motivational for the learners!

We began with all learners in the classroom with the same "monster" icon and made it a reward to change the monster to a different icon when they had earn't 10 points.  Subsequent groupings of 10 and the learner can again change their character (maths to the fore in monster points also!)  If a learner achieves 100 monster points they are able to choose a "prize" from our gift box.

There was a little time involved in inputting all students names,starting them with the same monster icon and deciding on which behaviours to focus on.  However, on a daily basis it is easy to allocate the points throughout the day - we have the app on our iPad and give points out using this throughout the day.  Our learners know that we display on our Apple TV their points at roll call each morning, and time permitting, at the end of the day.  It can take a few minutes for learners to choose and change their monster icon if they have reached 10 points (we found that changing them on the iPad wasn't too successful so I use my laptop for this) but this is not every day and is rewarding for the learners involved.

So, just over three weeks into trialling the system, is it working for us?  I have to say yes!  There are still times when we see calling out during mat times (rather than raising the hand) or learners not sitting quietly on the mat area but, I remind myself, these are five year olds and having 19 all remembering to manage themselves 100% of the time is unrealistic I think.  Having said that, there has been a major improvement and hearing someone receive a monster point is generally all the reminder that is required when several are off task.  I look forward to reflecting on this behaviour management system in a few more weeks.

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