Motivating Students...DOJO Style!

This year was the first year I decided to take a swing at this whole Class Dojo thing. In year's past, I've done team points on the board, individual incentives, and the list truly goes on. I started using Class Dojo at the end of the first quarter. I used it religiously for a while, and then just like many other little classroom things, it more or less got thrown to the wayside. Coming into the fourth quarter of this school year, I found myself really struggling to find ways to get my students to behave like they did at the beginning of the school year. By the time fourth quarter rolled around, I was finding my students burnt out and unmotivated to complete their work. So, I decided to try Dojo again. And it made a WORLD of difference.

This time, I set an attainable goal for each class. Each class had to reach 250 Dojo points as a whole and they would be rewarded with individual music time while they worked. Individual students who reached 20 points got their music time before the class as a whole did. I'm completely amazed at how big of a motivating factor music is for the kids. This week, two of my five classes reached that goal of 250 and they were incredibly proud of themselves and continued to work extremely hard for fear of getting that headphone privilege taken away.

So it is safe to say, that I will be starting all of my classes with Class Dojo next year. This summer I plan to come up with some personal goals and class goals for achieving those Dojo points. For now, here are my top three pieces of advice I have for using Class Dojo with middle school students.

Get Students to Buy In

When students create their accounts, let them customize their Dojo avatar. If it's something fun they can do, they are more likely to be excited about participating in the program. Also discuss the class goals with them. As I discussed, listening to their own music has been a huge motivator for them. Reward them for positive behaviors with something that they will be eager to achieve.

Utilize it Daily

The biggest mistake I made when using Class Dojo in my classroom was starting the program with my students and forgetting about it. I would tend to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of other things going on in my classes that poor Dojo had been a thing of the past. When I started using it as a daily incentive program, behaviors in my class slowly but surely started to shift. Students that weren't necessarily working to their fullest potential before were now suddenly the biggest pencil pushers in the room. So next year, you bet I"m going to utilize Class Dojo day in and day out. For my own sanity.

Display the Points

Create a place in your room that allows students to see just how many Dojo points they have as a class. Lately, my students have been rather excited to come in and check on their progress and love to compare their class to my other classes. Middle school students love anything that has to do with competition. I do my best to update the Dojo points each day so my kids know where they stand going into class that day. Next year, when I decide to implement class jobs (there's a blog post in the making!) one of my jobs is going to be a point updater. Seeing as the kids are already so eager to ask to update the points, I foresee this class job being a much sought after one! Here is a picture of what my Class Dojo display looks like in my classroom!

For more information on Class Dojo and to try it out in your own classroom, click on the link to the below!

I'd love to hear how you're using it in your classroom. Feel free to email me at mathematicsinthemiddle@gmail.com!


HEY THERE!

Hello, I'm Lauren. I'm a 6th grade math teacher in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mathematics in the Middle is an educational blog devoted to resources and ideas that can be applied to any middle school mathematics classroom.

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