MGAE Conference 2014 - Classroom Management

So Ms. K and I were talking at Starbucks today about all things art education.. when I told her about my classroom management system this year. She was intrigued by what I had to say and suggested creating a blog post exclusively about it to share with all of you -- so here we are! :)
**Side note before we get started: MGAE Conference stands for (Ms. Gram Art Education).. didn't want to confuse anyone. ;)

Upon reviewing my first post.. I realized I really didn't have much more to say... so I'm just going to straight copy and paste this.. then add some commentary to the end.

This year I also decided I wanted to change up my classroom management system. For the past two years I'd been doing the 'ART' letters on my board. When a class was disruptive or talking too loudly, they lost their 'A'. If the behavior continued, they lost their 'R' and their right to talk. Then if they lost their 'T', they lost the rest of their art lesson that day and had to clean up early.
Last year I even took it a step further and tracked what letter classes ended up on at the end of class. Then at the end of the year as an added incentive.. the class with the most greens won an art party (which ended up being an ice cream party - yeaaa needless to say I gained some weight). Unfortunately although it started out as an effective classroom management system, it lost steam as the year went on. Whole classes ended up losing letters because of a few students.. and classes who left many times on yellow and/or red figured they weren't going to win the art party anyway and gave up caring.
Well not this year! I'm over the 'whole class' model of classroom management as well as end of the year incentives! So this year I'm doing a table group point system on class dojo!
I've set up my class dojo account with 6 classes (one for each grade level). Then inside each class I've added 6 "students" (my table colors). When students are doing well (come into the room quietly, participate, use good manners, work hard, share well, clean-up ON TIME, etc...) they can earn dojo points! When they do the opposite, they can lose dojo points! *I also love class dojo because you can download it as an app on your phone.. so you can give and take away points from kids even when you aren't at your computer!!
So whhhhhyyy do the kids care if they win points or not? Great question!! Because now when we do art centers (if they finish their projects early or I decide to have a centers day), they can only pick from centers that they can "afford" with their dojo points! Hehehehee! Ingenious!
Naturally all of my super awesome centers (window drawing, jewelry, modeling clay, origami, etc) require a larger number of points.. while some of my less exciting ones require less (weaving, pattern blocks, etc). Table points reset at the end of the week so the next time my group see's me, they have a fresh opportunity to win points!
Now there is no more class vs class competitions, waiting until the end of the year to be rewarded, and no more buying prizes! Instead the kids are rewarded weekly with new art opportunities and experiences!
Point values are listed on each center.

The only thing I want to add is HOW AWESOME this classroom management system has been for me thus far. When I walk into my classroom these days, 70% of the time every student has their head down on their table and are waiting quietly to get started (they know this is a way to get points). IT IS AMAZING.
The main thing with this system is that you have to stay absolutely committed to giving/taking away points! You cannot let anything slide and when students are being awesome you have to recognize that immediately -- this is why I use the app from my phone.
Ways students earn points: Going to their tables quietly and putting their head down at the beginning of class, volunteering to answer questions, having manners (this is so important to me), sharing really well, being helpful to other students, cleaning up WHEN I ask them to (not 2 minutes later), being the first table to clean up (correctly), working relatively quietly, staying on task, and at line-up the whole class can earn a point if line up is very quick and quiet.
Ways students lose points: Coming into my classroom loudly, fighting (usually over not sharing), getting off task, being way too loud when working, not cleaning up when asked, talking after I've asked for their attention (I say "class", they say "yes".. then if anyone speaks it's a point off), taking too long to clean up, excessive talking during lineup, etc.

Now to answer the big question:
Q: Do you project the class dojo screen on your LCD projector throughout the whole class?
A: No. I definitely have it up at the beginning of class when students walk in (this reminds them.. 'Oh yea.. I wanna earn points').. but as far as the rest of the class time it just depends. If I'm showing a PowerPoint or using my projector for anything else.. then no I can't.. but that doesn't mean I stop giving/taking away points. In fact it's almost even better this way! My phone still makes the noise when I give or take away points, so my kids hear that.. then ask me "What table lost a point?!" I like responding with - "It doesn't matter.. if you're table is following directions.. then it wasn't you."
This gets EVERY table back on task and working at a reasonable noise level REALLLL fast. :)

If you have any other questions.. please feel free to comment below! 

1 comment

  1. I love the concept of "gamification" in the classroom and having students "level up" to earn things. This is absolutely brilliant!