Monday, January 21, 2013

Fear Does Not Exist in this Dojo

Last week I told you about my Lunch 'n Learn about Class Dojo.  So, what exactly is Class Dojo?

Class Dojo is an amazing website that helps you monitor student behavior.  And the best part is that you can use your iDevice as a remote control of sorts.

First you load your classes.  Dojo assigns each student a cute little monster.

Then you can customize your positive and negative behaviors.  Now you're ready to go.
As you walk around monitoring your students you can award them points or take away points based on your expected behaviors through your iPhone or iPad.  I like to use the random button to let Dojo suggest a student.  It helps me make sure I'm not focusing on certain students.

Don't have an iDevice? No problem! Dojo works just the same from the website.

You can put Dojo on the projector while students work.  When you award points that way, Dojo makes a little sound.  One of my favorite stories from the LnL was a teacher who wanted her students to encourage to each other in group work.  She put "encouraging" as a positive behavior. After she awarded one student an encouraging point, she began to hear more and more students encouraging each other.  "Good job!" and "Great ideas!" abounded.

Class Dojo creates awesome reports.  You can get an overall class report or individual student report.  The student reports give an overall score for that student as well as a break down of points awarded.

You can also invited your students and parents to Class Dojo to track their results.

Here my top 5 tips for using Class Dojo
  1. explain the behaviors you are looking for before you start awarding points
  2. if you use Class Dojo to get a grade for collaborative work, be sure to gather enough data.  It isn't fair to give a grade based on only 2 points given
  3. tell your students the monsters are randomly assigned and not what you think they look like ;)
  4. add your comments to class reports to give more information on both positive and negative points
  5. if you're class is having a rough day, show the class report and simply ask "Do we think this is acceptable?" It's powerful!

Have you used Class Dojo?  Do you have questions?  Let's hear in the comments!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lunch 'n Learn

I'm back at it!  After my last blog post in October, my youngest son got sick then I got the flu.  Everyone is back up to playing strength and ready to start this new year.

One of my goals for this year is to be a better blogger.   I received some great advice from my awesome twitter friends Paul Wagner and Jaime Vandergrift.  I have a schedule, a list of topics and I'm off and rolling....

Something new I'm trying with my campus this year is Lunch 'n Learn.  I did one Lunch 'n Learn last year when we wanted the staff to sign up for Twitter.  I did my first session of this new year last week and it was a great success.

This Lunch 'n Learn was the idea of our academic administrator.  Our Special Education department mentioned Class Dojo in a newsletter. I, of course, commented back to everyone that it was super easy and fun to use.  Many teachers jumped on the bandwagon and tried it out.  The purpose of the Lunch 'n Learn was to introduce Class Dojo to those who had not started using it and let those who had used it share best practices.

Lunch is fun together    

Here are my tips for a successful Lunch 'n Learn:
  1. Give plenty of advance notice to teachers, but not too much.  You don't want it to be so far off that they forget.
  2. Try to schedule on a 'light' day at school (is there such a thing?!?) so teachers don't feel so stressed.
  3. Offer to purchase lunch, if possible.  My AA provided pizza, teachers provided their own drinks.  That worked out wonderfully!
  4. Ask teachers to sign up so you know who to expect and how much food to purchase.  We sent out a Google form.  Now we also have a record of who signed up.
  5. Ask teachers to sign in as they arrive.  Maintain your records, prove your worth!
  6. As the facilitator, don't plan too much.  Lunch is a short period.  You wouldn't be able to start right away as everyone gets their food and settles.  Give an overview of a tool, don't try to teach specifics.  
  7. Leave time for sharing and questions.  Nothing is more frustrating than spending your lunch learning something and leave confused.
  8. Let teachers know the next step.  Are you available to work one on one to help them implement the new tool?  
 I am planning more LnLs for my staff. I'm also hoping to schedule some for the students.  I'll keep you posted.

Have you hosted a Lunch 'n Learn? Have you attended a Lunch 'n Learn?  What made it worth your time? Share your tips in the comments!

Photo Credit: By the George Eastman House posted on Flickr