Class Dojo is an online reward system used for many different reasons. When teachers set this up, they are able to create a character for each pupils within the class. They are then able to award the pupils ‘dojo points’ in to encourage pupils for many different skills or values including working hard, being kind and helping others.
Another aspect of this system involves parental engagement. Teachers can share photos and videos of work, moments within the class or individuals performance. This motivates children to push themselves to their best potential and allows them to be proud of the achievements they have made.
Teachers can log into the class dojo using various different devices, therefore they are able to log into a device such a an iPad and move around the room, still rewarding pupils whilst working with others.
This system was used across the school during practice for many of the reasons stated above. Often ‘whole class dojo’s’ were given out if they had all shown progression or worked extremely hard. The child with the highest about of dojo points at the end of the week got a prize from the prize box, consisting of small toys, sweets, pens etc.
This system was effective during placement. It could be used to draw the attention of the class at the beginning of the lesson. It was also used to promote positive behaviour and encourage children to complete activities. Having the ability to share photos and videos with parents was effective as it encourage positive behaviour and motivation to work hard. Furthermore, as the system was used across the school, pupils were eager to increase their points as they wanted to discuss their achievements with their friends. This is a system I will use within the future, however, as i did not implement this previously, I will ensure I share photos and videos with parents and guardians.
On my first day of profession practice within second year, I took a set of class rules into the class. Beforehand I discussed this with the class teacher to ensure she agreed with this. When I first met the children, I asked them some of the rules they have to follow in the classroom and around school. I presented my rules to the children and set the expectations I had whilst I was teaching them. Instantly, this built mutual respect between myself and the class. It also presented a good structure for behaviour, and children know what was expected of them.
The class rules I set were positive statements, that indicated the children already met the expectations I had – this can be seen below.
Ensuring the rules are positive allows children to be proud of the things they are being asked to do in addition to them to view the statements as negative things. Moreover, as children clearly understood the rules I had whilst they were being taught by myself, positive attitudes were promoted within the classroom. This is a vital aspect of teaching, as it helps monitor and support positive behaviour during lesson time. Moreover, this provides a positive attitude throughout the school, as these rules were demonstrated whilst children work with other teachers, moved from class to class and represented myself and the class teacher in assemblies. One target from this for future pratice would be to ensure pupils had the opportunity to input their ideas for class rules.
During my final placement I worked with a child who had Special Educational Needs (SEN). It was evident this child had difficulty concentrating for long periods of time and presented challenging behaviour when given an activity the child did not wish to participate in.
Lessons I had planned catered for this child and as they had one-to-one support, the support staff was deployed well. However, an effective strategy was introduced by the SENCO at the school, called a ‘task slicer’. The image below shows the basic design of the slicer. It was laminated, and there were various different ‘task cards’ made for the slicer.
The task cards would be put onto the slicer using velcro, and set up the activities the child with SEN would carry out in the day. These activities were short, and still included tasks with the other children. For example, in the morning the child would pratise spelling whilst the other children were completing a starter for their lesson. Once the child had completed their spellings, they would join the rest of the class to participate in the lesson, for example English. The task slicer would show this activity, so the child was aware of what was expected of them. Once this child had completed the expected amount for that lesson, they would use their task slicer to see that they would have a 5 minute ‘play card’, where they were able to play with something of their choice.
Below are two examples of activities.
This strategy was effective for many reasons. It support the learning and individual needs of the child, as it gave them a structure to their day. They were able to see what they were expected to do, and how much work or time they would have to take part in until their next task. Furthermore, this was beneficial to the other members in the class, as this child often became disruptive when they were presented with the same activity for a long period of time. Activities shown on the slicer were adjustable so they could be changed in order to suit the plans for that day within school. I will take this strategy into my teaching practice, and ensure that it is use effectively if required. As a target for this, I would ensure the child who the task slicer is created for, has an input into the planning and activities they will take part in within the day.
During both my second and third professional practice placements I was able to participate within a school residential with a year four, year group.
The first trip took place at Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre, Wales; and the second was Mount Cook Adventure Centre, Derbyshire. During both trips I undertook a wide range of responsibility. I lead my own group of children alongside an instructor from the centre. We completed a range of team building activities, engaging and involving all children within the tasks. Responsibilities also involved building relationships with the pupils, however remaining professional throughout the trip. Alongside other members of staff from school, we had to ensure all children were settled and sleeping well.
The activities that the children engaged with supported their knowledge of various subjects. Children completed a diary entry each night about the activities they had taken part in throughout the day. This allowed children to continue literacy skills whilst on the school trip. This was then taken back to school and reflected upon through literacy lessons. Many children, who were low ability within many subjects at school, showed many other important skills during activities such as perseverance.
This experience enabled me to build strong relationships with children within this year group, as well as the members of staff from the school; an important aspect for TS8. I was able to get to know the children, building trust and relationships between myself and the pupils. Taking the lead of a group showed responsibility and allowed me to improve my confidence with the role of being the teacher. Learning was able to be carried out within the activities, and questioning from myself scaffolded the development of their knowledge. This opportunity brought out a different side to many pupils who were low attainers withing the core subjects at school; this provided ideas to be implemented into the classroom upon return to school.
Within my NQT year I would like to engage with further residential trips and will be willing to promote the idea within schools. Futhermore, as this experience has shown evidence of the importance for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC), i will ensure LOtC lesson are conducted within my practice.
As a strategy to motivate children to learn, a ‘Superhero Reward Chart’ was implemented into teaching practice phase 2. Each child’s face was put into a superhero character; the chart had three shields (bronze, silver and gold) with stepping stones in between each shield. All children started on the bronze shield, moving each stepping stone for various reasons: if the child created an outstanding piece of work, met a target which had been set between themselves and the teacher, participated and achieved within an extra-curricular activity etc. The image below shows a uncompleted example of the reward system.
This system was effective as it support children learning and achievement. Children were eager to have their superheros moved up the chart and the competition between pupils and their peers pushed them to show improvements within their work. The system was not something used everyday, therefore it gave children a huge sense of achievement when their success was promoted to the rest of the class. Although the rewards given to children were small, for example bubbles, a highlighter, a ruler etc., children were passionate to receive these rewards. This is a strategy I would like to incorporate into my NQT year, however I would ensure that one person a day would be moved up the chart in order to reinforce rewarding outstanding work.