Classroom Management For Everyone!

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Now that the school year is underway, most teachers may be finding themselves in the same boat I did in mid-September, experiencing behavior issues within your classroom.  If you are not experiencing any aspect of this, please share your “magic juice”!  What I’m speaking of, is the loss of the “honeymoon” period with some of your students.  By this time, you may be experiencing little, or big, behaviors that your students were hiding those first few weeks of school.  Now that reality has set in that they will actually be held accountable for classwork for the next eight months, and you actually have classroom rules they have to follow, some of your students may not be so happy.  Not to mention the kiddos who may struggle with learning, and the only way to get out of actually completing their work is to act out and disrupt the classroom learning taking place.  I know, we as teachers, start to build up, what I call, our “teacher toolbox”.  Those behavior and management techniques and strategies that may have worked in the past with similar students, things you’ve picked up watching other teachers or from conferences and workshops.  I know, personally, I can find anything I need on Pinterest!  Well I am here to share a few more resources to add to your “teacher toolbox”.  Class Dojo and ClassCharts.


Class Dojo

I like ClassDojo for many reasons.  ClassDojo is a free visual behavior tracking system that allows the students to view their behavior over the course of the day.  The students begin by choosing their own fun little alien/monster avatar to represent their name.  There are many to choose from allowing different avatars for each student depending on your classroom numbers.  The students may be awarded points for following certain behaviors.  When that occurs, there is a positive sound as the program adds a point next to the student’s avatar.  However, through experience, I have found that focusing on the positive behaviors is ultimately more successful with students.   ClassDojo also allows for weekly parent reports and class codes so parents and students can have access to their own accounts to track behavior.  There is also a teacher resource tab which provides additional information and resources to assist with classroom use. Did I mention there is also a free mobile app to allow teachers easy access to award positive behavior outside the classroom?


Class Charts

I like Class Charts for its versatility and opportunity to not only appeal to younger learners, but older students as well.  Class Charts is a free resource which provides teachers with the ability to track student behavior and also create classroom arrangements based on gathered behavior and learning data.  Teachers have a variety of desk and table sizes to use to create their classroom arrangement.  Teachers can assign students to selected areas and upload pictures to help with classroom location of students for substitute teachers, if needed.  There is also a feature, of using past student behaviors and added learning data , to have Class Charts assign possible seating arrangements for students.  As with ClassDojo, parents can become involved in keeping tabs of their student behavior, and teachers have access to weekly and trend behavior reports, and the people at Class Charts are more than willing to provide demonstrations and provide additional information if needed.


Here are a few other resources I wanted to share.  Hope you find something useful!  If you have a tool you use for classroom management, please add to the comments below.



Fun Formative Assessment…KAHOOT!

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It’s rare when you happen upon a web resource that is so versatile, all students, young and old alike, will LOVE using it.  KAHOOT is a Web 2.0 tool that can be used in the kindergarten classroom, clear through collegiate classes.  It’s colorful format, along with the timing and point-awarding factor, make this a highly engaging resource when checking student content understanding or reviewing for tests.  This is a free tool that can be utilized with computer and mobile devices.  Not a 1:1 classroom?  No worries!  Break out those Kagan Cooperative Learning strategies, Heads Together, Boss, Secretary, etc and use with small groups.  Here’s how it works:

  • Teacher will create a free membership at Kahoot.  (this is different from the site students enter to play)
  • Teacher will either create a new Kahoot or search for Kahoots already created and shared through the public Kahoot tab at top of the page.
  • If the teacher wishes to create their own, they would choose whether they wanted to create a Quiz, Survey, or Discussion.
  • Once the type of formative assessment is selected, the teacher begins adding their checking for understanding/review questions.
  • The teacher will have a choice between adding text type questions, inserting images, or uploading videos to use for question prompts.
  • The teacher will include answer choices (multiple choice) including the correct answer.
  • The teacher will also have an option to award points and determine time allotted for each question.
  • Once the questions have been created, the teacher will be given a GamePin.  This will connect the students to the interactive quiz.
  • To access the quiz, the students will go to the Kahoot site, enter the GamePin, and get ready to play!


What makes this so engaging for students?  The immediate feedback for each question.  The students are awarded points depending on if they answered the questions correctly and how quickly they answered.  What makes this so beneficial for teachers?  It allows teachers an opportunity to see exactly where their students understanding lies within the content.  By having each student/team actively login to the game, via the GamePin, the teacher has an idea of where holes in content understanding occur.  Not only will teachers have an opportunity to access which students answered correctly and the fastest, but a breakdown of specific questions/student response is available.  Want to use in a kindergarten classroom or with students who need visual/language support?  Kahoot uses color and shape visuals for their answer choices.

What an opportunity for reteaching either through whole class, small group, or one-to-one conferencing.  By utilizing this formative assessment tool, teachers can collect information to help guide their instruction that students will actually enjoy.  Below is a  video tutorial on how to get started, create, and assess using Kahoot.  As always please leave a comment and share any ideas/suggestions for Kahoot use.



Quick Check Tool for Assessment and….FUN!!!

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Now that the new school year is underway, beginning of the year benchmarking, to assess where students are academically, are common practices throughout many districts.  While teachers realize the importance of this information to guide instruction, students are realizing that yes, the school year has officially started and summer break is over.  Many teachers may already be experiencing the child’s attitude towards learning.  Most have already determined which student will need extra “coaxing” to get their best work and effort in the classroom.  I know I struggled with looking for strategies and resources that would get my students excited about learning, but still meet my instructional expectations in the classroom.  Once I found the free jewel, Padlet, I immediately added it to my Teacher Toolbox.

For those that are not familiar with this web tool, Padlet serves as an online bulletin board.  This is a location where students can post their questions, responses, thoughts, and resources for all with the link to have easy access.  This tool became an engaging way to have students complete exit slips, quick formative assessment checks, and other learning opportunities within daily lessons.

I remember using a calendar, assigning every student a number, and throughout the day having my students record various pieces of information on sticky notes to add to the calendar.  This system worked great.  I could check for understanding, gauge where student interests lie, find wholes in my instruction, etc.  While this worked great for helping me plan the next day’s whole group and small group instruction, I was in a mess if I lost that bundle of sticky notes.  Padlet works the same way, but all I need is access to the link.  All my information is right there, and if I forget my students’ sticky notes at school, no problem.  Instructional decisions at home can still be made!

There are many other uses for Padlet other than exit slips.  Some are, but not limited to:

  • pre-assessments before units
  • quick checks during units
  • possible compilation of “important facts each day” to be added to a unit Padlet to be used as a study guide at end of unit
  • number box/number name collection
  • practice for spelling/vocabulary patterns
  • collection of ideas on topics
  • “wonder wall” to promote inquiry
  • location for group members to share resources, links, images, facts for group projects
  • online portfolio for students to add links to mastered standards
  • weekly learning/reading logs

These are just a few ideas on Padlet’s use.  There have been concerns on how to utilize this tool if the students have access to only one computer  or tablet in the classroom.  Could you set this activity up as a center or rotation throughout the day?

Do you know what is really exciting?  Having administrators model web tool use in their faculty/ professional development meetings.  One building is reading the FANTABULOUS book, Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by the dynamic Dave Burgess.  She created a Padlet for teachers to share how they were incorporating components of their book study into their classroom teaching.  Not only did she model how easy it is to use, but also how valuable a sharing resource this tool can be.  Other teachers suggested using this tool, across the district, to help guide other discussions as well.  Here is a snapshot of this book study padlet:


Are you interested in getting started?   Here is a quick tutorial.  As always, please leave comments and /or suggestions on how you are using this versatile Web Tool in your classroom!!