Lots of classrooms are using ClassDojo as a behaviour management tool and it’s great to see. I remember the days before ClassDojo, one of my favourite reward systems was a classroom management shop. All the children’s names were on a whiteboard and if they did something well or some other identified behaviour, they would receive a number of points. For example, if there was a table who were ready first, the pupils on that table would each score a point. As the pupils built up points, they were able to trade them in for different rewards. The points were then deducted from their total and they built up points again.
At the beginning of the year, we would have a couple of classes as part of our Learn Together curriculum in the kinds of behaviours that we would be looking for in class. We would then choose some rewards – generally they were not monetary, except for stickers or certificates, for example – and then how much they were worth. A sticker was generally a fairly low value whatever the class, the older children tended to value homework passes more than younger classes. However, by far one of the most popular rewards was to sit beside a friend for part or all of the day.
ClassDojo gives classrooms a digital method of creating this reward system in the classroom. There are a number of teachers in Ireland who do this, most notably Bianca NíGhrógáin. The advantage of ClassDojo over my neanderthal method, is in its colourful display and the pupils’ ownership of their avatars. There is also the wonderful advantage of being able to share rewards with parents.
Some of the rewards chosen in my classrooms were: sitting beside a friend for a class or for the full day, stickers, certificates, computer passes, homework passes, choosing any classroom job for a day, being the classroom messenger for the day, and so on.
To use ClassDojo in this way is not too different from regular usage. The pupils score points for the regular positive behaviours and build up their points. The only difference is when they want to spend their points. This is where one uses the sometimes-not-used negative points. I never use the negative points on ClassDojo so I delete them all except for this one. I create a behaviour called “Shop,” (see right)
There are a few things to take into account when doing this. If you have something that costs a lot of points, it might be worth setting up a number of “negative” shop behaviours and set them as multiples. It’s also really important to let parents know that the negative points are only being used for the shop and to ignore any statistics, etc. In fact, be aware that the shop idea does make the behaviour statistics invalid but if you’re not using negative points with your class, this doesn’t really matter.
I’d highly recommend using a ClassDojo shop in your classroom. It is highly motivating for children and works really well for behaviour ownership.