Teachers at Lafayette Upper Elementary School are using apps to help manage behavior in their classrooms.
Student teacher Ali Carpenter said the app ClassDojo has come in handy.
“We try to promote positive behavior through rewarding the positive behavior,” said Carpenter. “Students receive points and get points taken away if they break a rule, aren’t listening, etc.”
ClassDojo is described as an app that offers teachers a way to manage their classroom using an iPad or iPhone. With a simple interface, tracking attendance and recording student behavior is easy. It also enables teachers to share reports with parents and colleagues.
“Each month, we set a goal for total points each student should have,” said Carpenter, “and if they reach that goal, they are able to participate in the class party at the end of each month. Implementing this has increased positive behavior in our classroom.”
With the app, teachers can encourage students for any skill and share photos, videos, and announcements with parents. They can also instantly message with parents and display a stream of photos of the child’s daily activities that parents can view.
The app is free and K-12 teachers, parents, students, and school leaders in more than 180 countries have joined. It works on all devices, like iPhones, iPads, tablets, phones, and smartboards.
“Another thing we implemented recently is flexible seating,” Carpenter said. “We have yoga balls, yoga mats, exercise disks, and stadium seats that students can check out on assigned days if they have displayed desired positive behavior.
“When unwanted behavior is present, they lose flexible seating privileges, which is something they all look forward to. This has also decreased undesired behavior and promoted positive behavior from all learning levels.”
Learning is a top priority, but it can be challenging in a classroom of 20 children, all at different learning levels.
“My biggest challenge is “getting all of the students motivated to learn and getting them excited about learning,” said Melalicia Caldwell, a third grade teacher at Lafayette Upper Elementary. “We try to include fun activities in daily lessons, but the students know that when they do not follow directions, they do not get to do all these fun activities. It is discouraging when poor behavior results in taking away a fun activity.”
Carpenter said her biggest challenge is finding different ways of explaining a concept so all students understand.
“Recently, we have been working on elapsed time, and it is the hardest concept to teach,” she said. “We have had to go back multiple times to reteach because students are just not understanding.
“Teachers have to be able to be open minded and understand that some brains do not work the same as others, so activities, explanations, strategies, etc. have to be taught in more than one way in order to meet the needs of all students to create a fair environment that promotes academic success for each and every student.”
Grouping students based on learning levels is sometimes helpful, she said. “This allows us to work with each level. We can easily modify/change centers to ensure each level is mastering the material being taught at the moment.”
Carpenter said the most important thing she has learned is that the teacher may be the one person the child looks forward to seeing daily.
“Home life is not always the best for some students,” she said, “but I want each of my students to know I will never give up on them (no matter what), that I have the utmost faith in their abilities, and I will be their biggest fan on their road to success.
“As a teacher, I have been given the privilege to positively impact children’s lives every single day and provide them with endless opportunities to learn and grow as a student, but also as an individual.”