Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Class Dojo and Class Discussions

Class discussions are a great way to learn more about your students.  As a teacher, you can hear students express their point of view with their personality shining through.  It is a great practice to help empower your students to become more confident in group discussions which is a great life skill.
From the teacher’s perspective, how do we keep track of who participated?  Hashmarks on a paper?  But, what did that hashmark actually mean?  Did the student agree with someone else?  Did they make a strong argument supported by evidence?  The one-line doesn’t tell me anything specific about the student’s participation other than the fact that they participated.
Mrs. Cromer, 7th & 8th grade Language Arts Teacher, has figured out how to simplify the process of managing class discussions by using Class Dojo.  On its surface, Class Dojo is an online behavior monitoring system for classrooms.  The pre-set behaviors of “on task” and “talking out of turn” can be customized to fit your classroom needs.  Mrs. Cromer has modified the behaviors to reflect student practices in the class discussions that she is looking for, both positive and areas to improve upon.  

During the class discussion, the behaviors are entered on a simple click.  Class Dojo keeps track of all the entries and makes it super simple to see at a glance how students have done on a specific day.  
It is great to keep track of what students are doing, but Mrs. Cromer takes it to the next level.  Class Dojo has the option to print off student reports.  Mrs. Cromer will utilize these student reports for individual student conferences and larger class discussions to include students in the conversation and start to get them to think about the “big picture” of how the discussion progresses.  This good practice continues to help build and strengthen the class community.  This idea isn’t limited to class discussions and could be used in a variety of different ways in class to help students set goals for future performance.

- Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project?  Feel to to contact me

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