Tracking and recording student learning skills has always been a challenge for me. When it came time to write progress reports (report cards) I would have to recall student behaviours from memory, notes written on sticky notes or, if I was particularly organized, from poorly designed tracking sheets.
Recently I decided to replace this nonsense with Class Dojo, a behaviour tracking application, that allows me to not only track student behaviours in real time, but provide meaningful, timely, feedback to my students. I won’t go into the detail of how easy Class Dojo is to use (this video is a great introduction to the application), but rather I’d like to share how I have personalized the application.
Class Dojo does default to a number of standard behaviours for you to track (both positive and negative). However, these behaviours did not match perfectly with learning skills (behaviours) found on Ontario progress reports. Fortunately you can add your own behaviours in Class Dojo and I have now set up my “behaviours” to match the language on the Ontario progress report. Both positive and negative behaviours are tracked in: Responsibility, Organization, Independent Work, Teamwork, Initiative, and Self Regulation. With a few taps on my iPhone or iPad (using the Class Dojo app) I am able monitor these learning skills during class as students are working. Students can then monitor their own learning skills through the Class Dojo website where I am able to give more explicit feedback about behaviours.
Recently, when completing Early Progress Reports, I was able to generate a report for each student. Not only did this make writing progress reports easy, but it provided the students with justification and rationale for the learning skill level they achieved (needs improvement, satisfactory, good and excellent). In addition, students had a clear indication of where and how they could improve.
Class Dojo may be saving me a headache around progress report time, but I think it’s true value can been in the how the students respond to the feedback. Students often ask at the beginning of the day why they received a positive or negative “Dojo Point” on the previous day. This then prompts a meaningful student-teacher discussion about behaviours for success, which is obviously a win for all involved.