As a teacher I am always looking for ways to maximize effective classroom strategies, which not only engage students but also have a positive academic value. Using ClassDojo.com and GoNoodle.com has
transformed my entire classroom and teaching style. No more pocket charts showing happy or sad faces. No more getting up to change a student’s behavior color chart.
So what are these amazing transforming tools? ClassDojo.com is a behavior management tool individualized by the teacher to provide positive and/or negative (dojo) points to each student in the classroom. Teachers set up exactly what type of positive and negative behavior they can give points for. For example, I see a student working diligently on their morning work assignment and I give that student a positive class dojo point for being “on task.” Soon the entire class notices that I just gave a positive dojo point, not because I interrupt the class to mention it, but because I have my ClassDojo settings to sound for every positive and negative behavior point I give. Soon every student is working diligently and I didn’t have to say a single thing.
Students can pick from many avatars to represent themselves. Once the teacher gives each student an individual access code, students can change their avatar from home. What’s even more exciting as a teacher is that parents can access their child’s account and see what they are getting points for at school in real time. At the end of the week the top-scoring students earn a trip to my treasure chest.
Another excellent behavior management tool that I use daily is GoNoodle.com. This website is designed to provide students with quick and exciting brain breaks to either calm, energize or focus classroom behavior. It’s also a great way to do recess or physical education indoors. I use it before, during and at the end of a lesson depending on classroom mood.
For example, my class schedule had math right after lunch so I had to find a way to keep students motivated and focused. I used the “Freeze It” game and selected the addition or subtraction activity. It was only a minute but I found it helped my students focus during the lesson after they were able to get up out of their seats and move around. At the end of the day I had students get ready for dismissal with a Zumba activity. When the bell rang students left energized and greeted their parents or after-care leaders with enthusiasm instead of apathy.
In essence, my stance on educating students today is that unless students feel challenged, happy and confident to be themselves, you will be unable to reach their full academic potential. Luckily programs like ClassDojo and GoNoodle make our job as teachers much easier.
About the author: Zeny Ulloa is a first grade teacher at Kendale Lakes Elementary School in Miami-Dade County. She is currently working on her Doctorate in Organizational leadership.
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