Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Behaviour Points Using Class Dojo

In a previous post, I wrote about how the students will be graded in my classroom next year.  I touched on the idea of XP, and how those experience points will essentially be their marks on assignments while the levels they achieve will be their grades.  In this post I am going to write about another point system I will be introducing next year: Behaviour Points.

In short, I'll call these points BPs.  Teachers all over the world use a behaviour management system that revolves around points and rewards.  I'm not reinventing the wheel by any means, but I will be integrating this management system into my class narrative and theme.

The Class Dojo homepage.
This past year I stumbled onto the classroom management system Class Dojo, and it was a stress-saver.  I implemented it into my grade 8 class in November, and they immediately loved it.  Their system is an avatar based reward and consequence system.  I can assign points based on defined actions (1 positive point for raising a hand or 1 negative point for coming in late).  During every class I would put the website up on the interactive whiteboard, so that students always knew where they were in terms of points.  I set up a system where if they got 10 points in a week they would get to choose a reward like sitting in the teacher's chair or eating in class.  If the entire class earned 75% positive in the course of a week we had a whole class reward like playing soccer for 20 minutes or having free personal activity time.  Only the kids with -1 or higher were allowed to participate in the whole class rewards.  This system worked wonders in my class, as I had kids invested in the game nature of the program.  They wanted to earn points, win the week.  Add to that the fact that kids can create their own avatars and I can e-mail parents beautiful behaviour reports. It is a fantastic free classroom management tool that I suggest every teacher try out.

I will be using Class Dojo next year, but I will be changing how I use it.  This year I reset the points each week, so that the students had a fresh start.  Next year I will use it more as a currency system.  Students will earn positive BPs for things like raising hands, completing homework, staying on task, helping others, etc.  They will earn negative BPs (and therefore lose points) for things like being late to class, not doing homework, speaking out, and using Arabic in class (a problem in a bilingual school, as the students have been caught saying some nasty things - also we are trying to promote their development of English skills).

An example of the point distribution for my grade eights.
Alaa has earned her reward!
At any time students will be able to spend their BPs on 'loot.'  For instance, 5BP would buy a student a pencil or pen, 10BP no homework for one night, 15BP a treat, 35BP 15 minutes of quiet free time, etc.  100BP would buy a student soccer for 25 minutes.  Obviously soccer costs a lot of points and an individual student would have to save for an entire semester to earn something like that.  However, I want to promote cooperation and group work.  Since the students will already be in guilds (groups) I will allow them to combine or donate points to each other in order to claim loot.  If Ahmed doesn't have a pencil and he has no BP left, he can ask Tom if he can spare 5BP from his cache of 30BP.  In order to get the soccer reward, my students will have to work together to combine their points.

As of right now, Class Dojo doesn't seem to allow for erasing a particular student's points (as in spending them on a reward), so I hope that they allow this in the future.  If not I'm sure I can figure out a work around to it.  I will be using Class Dojo simply because it is a clean and easy way to manage and track my students' behaviour.


  1. Hi Jeff - Kalen from ClassDojo here. Just wanted to say thank you so much for your great post! Sounds like you've set up a very impressive system - really cool! I just tweeted at you about this, but it might be cool to feature you on our ClassDojo blog - let me know if you're interested - kalen@classdojo.com

    If anyone who comes across this post has any questions about ClassDojo or needs help getting set up, please don't hesitate to reach out at hello@classdojo.com :)


  2. My daughters class has just started Dojo and the teacher keeps giving my child negative points for class and group when it is not her misbehavior. Is this fair?

  3. Often teachers will incorporate all sorts of motivational techniques. Some of them are individual-based and others are group-based. I can't speak for your child's teacher, but I often give group points (both positive and negative). Sometimes when a group gets negative points, they will work harder to correct the behaviour. Your child's teacher might be hoping to motivate them to practice the skills she/he has taught them in class.

    My advice would be to ask the teacher how and why points are given (positive and negative), and ask how your daughter help her group to get more points.