Category Archives: Behavior Monitoring

Introducing PBIS Tracking with MaxPoints

One of the features that we are most excited about our ClassMax Schools platform offering is our new PBIS tracker called MaxPoints.  With MaxPoints, teachers can record behavior, just as they do on the individual teacher accounts.  The difference is that the positive behaviors have been given a points value.

When students decide to “cash in” their MaxPoints, the admin team can add incentives to the behavior screen.  For example, if a school was going to have an ice cream social that cost 20 points, students can cash in their points and attend the event.  On the admin side, reports can be run by event, which provides a roster for the event.

While there is certainly a time and a place for tracking negative student behaviors and their consequences (mostly to cover ourselves as teachers, if I’m honest…), when we begin to put the emphasis of our attention on the positive behavior seen in the classroom, we start to see dramatic improvements in student engagement and participation in class.  And we all know that when students are engaged and participating, they are LEARNING.

While PBIS can’t solve all of our classroom issues, it can certainly curb the majority of them.  And when the PBIS tracking tool is easy and efficient, teachers are more likely to utilize them in class.  That’s what we try to offer with ClassMax – the ability for a teacher to focus on a student’s positive behaviors, with minimal interruption of instructional time and maximum encouragement to a child.

For more information about our PBIS tracking program or to schedule a demonstration for your school administrators, please email katie@classmaxapp.com. 

3 Ways to Prepare Your Classroom for Success in the 2nd Quarter

While the rest of the world celebrates the arrival of fall with flannel, scarves, and pumpkin-spiced everything, teachers know that the arrival of fall actually signifies a much bigger ending in their classrooms than just summer.  October typically wraps up the first quarter in classroom cadences and with that comes a variety of processes and tasks that only a classroom teacher truly understands.  Bulletin boards are changed with the weather, units of study are often brought to a close, and the dreaded report card hustle begins. There are parent phone calls wondering why their kid is failing even though they have done zero work all quarter and this is the first time you’ve had the parent respond to any type of contact.  We are sending failure reports to admin and student concerns to guidance.  We are re-arranging seating charts based on behavior and maybe even requesting scheduling changes for those students who just need a “fresh start” in a different classroom (bye Felicia…).

With all that chaos, don’t lose sight of these three really important ways that classrooms should be growing and shifting by the end of October:

  1. Your student performance should begin to show an upward trend.  True, Little Timmy still reads three grade levels below where he is supposed to be, but student performance should at least begin to track upwards in October, even for Little Timmy.  Take a look at the results of your first benchmark assessments (probably given in September or early October sometime), but don’t stop there.  Compare those benchmarks with your student progress, either in their grades and assessment scores or in your ClassMax data – or both, if you really want to rock your world.  Who is growing?  Who is not?  Who is (gulp) regressing?  For more information on how to use data to drive rigorous instruction in your classroom, read our article, “Teacher’s Guide: Using Data to Drive Instruction.”
  2. Regroup your students.  Most of us group our kids at the beginning of the school year based on standardized test scores from the previous school year.  In a pinch, that’s a good grouping qualification, but hopefully by the end of October, you are starting to see even a small impact from your own instruction.  Take some time at the end of the first quarter to re-evaluate your student groups.  Perhaps now that you have more data (thanks to ClassMax, wink, wink…), you should be able to group in multiple ways – by performance on standards, by overall grades, by learning types, etc.  Take a look at your data and begin forming meaningful groups for your second quarter of instruction.
  3. Send home behavior reports.  While report cards are a fine mode of parent contact, if you’ve been collecting behavior data on your students, why not attach those reports to report cards as well?  And for fun, go ahead and require the behavior report be brought back in for a completion grade in the 2nd quarter.  This way, you are making meaningful parent contact and covering yourself a bit by sharing what you have seen in your classroom with parents.  (TEACHER TIP: I used to print labels that said “Parent Signature” and “Date” on them and I put those on just about anything – tests, quizzes, behavior reports, etc.  It’s an easy way to make parent contact without… you know… making parent contact…)  Are you an overachieving, going-for-gold-stars teacher?  Go ahead and print a cumulative ClassMax student report and send home EVERYTHING you’ve collected on your students.  (If your school is a PBIS school, you might be interested in our ClassMax Schools platform that tracks behavior with MaxPoints™.)

As your second quarter kicks off, save yourself some time to focus on instruction – shocking, I know – by ending the first quarter successfully.  A little upfront work can make for a much smoother quarter and a much happier teacher.

Pumpkin spiced lattes help, too.

How to Use the Data Editor in ClassMax

The Data Editor is a busy teacher’s best friend in the classroom because it allows you to go back in and delete data you might have erroneously recorded during class, make changes to data you recorded during class, change the dates and times of data recorded in class, and even add data after the fact.  Watch this quick video tutorial to learn how to use the Data Editor in ClassMax:

How to Use the Notes Feature of ClassMax

If you’re anything like me, you have 10,000 sticky notes stuck to your teacher desk in your classroom.  These are usually things that pop up in the course of my school day that I intend to put into my files or record-keeping after school has ended.  Join me in ditching those sticky notes and utilize the note-taking feature of ClassMax.  Watch the video tutorial below to learn how.

August Updates

We have been busy making ClassMax even more useful and purposeful this summer and are happy to announce three new updates that might make your teacher lives a little easier.

  1. Color-Coded Behavior Reports – Thanks to feedback from a very helpful teacher user, we now have color-coded behavior reports, making it easy to see negative behavior, positive behavior, and consequences at a glance.  
  2. Archiving Classes – Now, it is easier than ever to archive class periods from your Settings menu by going to Settings and then Periods.  From here, you can archive classes when you are done with them or unarchive them with a simple click.  
  3. Live Chat Support – With our new live chat support on the dashboard now, you can reach out to ClassMax even during your instructional time to get quick responses and continue on your teaching way!  

We hope you’ll enjoy these new features and that it makes your teacher day a little bit easier!

Student Behavior Tracking: Why Consequences are Important in Your Classroom

One of the hardest parts of being a new teacher for myself was appropriate consequences for behavior issues in my classroom.  I would get angry and would assign a consequence according to my anger level.  This resulted in unbalanced, unpredictable consequences in my classroom.  Phone out in class for the 5th time in the class period?  Then you’d get a 5th verbal warning in the class period.  But a kid who got up out of his desk without permission, even to throw away trash or something equally silly, I would irrationally move their seat or (only one time!) send them out of the classroom.  And because discipline was unbalance and unpredictable, you can bet that my reputation among students and my peer teachers was that I was unbalanced and unpredictable as a teacher.

In truth, I was assigning consequences from a place of emotion and personal preference (I don’t really care if kids chew gum, but, personally, I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to walk around the room while I’m teaching).  Over the years, I finally got ahold of assigning consequences to inappropriate behavior after a conversation with my mom, of all people.  My mom was a banker, not an educator.  But she was a pretty darn good mother, who turned out two successful daughters over her lifetime, and it was a simple suggestion from her that reframed how I approached consequences in my classroom and, ultimately, how I built it into our ClassMax platform.

“Katie,” she said.  “No matter the behavior, attitude, or offense of a student, you must stay level headed and consistent.”

Level headed and consistent.  Imagine that in a middle school classroom…

From then on, my discipline was much more systematic than emotional and I saw the immediate positive response from my students.  Now, I used a set order of consequences.

  • 1st offense: Verbal warning
  • 2nd offense: Seat moved
  • 3rd offense: Phone call or email to parent after class
  • 4th offense: Removed from classroom
  • 5th offense: Detention/Lunch Detention/Referral (however my school handles it at that time)

The problem was that no matter how organized and formulated my consequences were in a list taped to my computer screen, when I was in the heat of a disciplinary action, I had a hard time monitoring my own responses.  Had I already given a warning?  Did I call home last time?  Was this the third or fourth time I had an issue with that student?  I quickly realized that good recording keeping was a big factor in effective discipline in my classroom.

Teacher Tip:  Need different consequences and behaviors?  They are customizable in your settings!

When we started building out the behavior tracking component of ClassMax, we naturally built in a positive and negative behavior tracker.  Isn’t that what most behavior tracking programs have?  But that wasn’t enough for me to be “level headed and consistent.”  So, I also made sure we had a consequence tracker, as well.  Now, when I assigned the behavior, I had my list of behavior consequences, in order, right in my hands on my phone or tablet.  And if I couldn’t remember previous behaviors or consequences, a quick check of the student behavior report or notes told me everything I needed to know.  And it took SECONDS.  This allowed not only my record keeping and data tracking to stay current, but it ensured that I was consistent in my reaction to behaviors.

In a classroom, it is easy for things to become chaotic and messy.  But especially in the middle of the chaos, there has to be level headed and consistent discipline.  It’s how we set our boundaries as teachers, how we claim control of our classrooms, and how we teach children to be better people.  Let ClassMax help you become that steadfast, calm voice of reason.  After all, we can use all the help we can get, right?!

*****

Find more information on our behavior tracking here.

A Day With ClassMax

Ever wondered what it’s like to use ClassMax in your classroom?  Follow along as our co-founder, Katie Brown, takes you through a day in her classroom with ClassMax in hand.  Be sure to have something to write with as you watch.  You’re going to want to take notes!

Using Data with ClassMax Groupings

I went to a training today for my district and throughout the entire training, they were talking about using standards tracking to form differentiated student groupings for instruction.  And my little ClassMax heart soared because not only can ClassMax effectively and efficiently track observable standards-based performance in students, but it can also give you a place to organize your students into groupings of all kinds, maximizing your classroom success.

(Cue the angels singing…)

The student grouping feature lives on the class dashboard.

When I first created ClassMax, I envisioned this grouping feature with very basic usage because that’s how I was using it in my classroom.  I had three groups:  Enrichment, Grade-Level, and Low.  But the more I have sat and thought about how I can use this feature in my classroom this year, the more ideas I have come up with!

  

Today at my training, I thought about grouping students based on standards performance.  Let’s say I give an assessment and I have a handful (okay, maybe TWO hands full…) of kids who bomb the assessment on a particular standard.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to group those kids in ClassMax and then recall their grouping in a single click, whenever or wherever you needed?  I’d basically only have to look at the data report once (which is all I can take, really…) and form my ClassMax groups from those results.  From then on, anytime I need to see my data results, I simply click the standard group and see who is in it.

I could be sitting in a data meeting with my admin and someone might say, “Hmm… I wonder how many of Mrs. Brown’s kids struggled with RL.1.3…” and I could be like, “Oh, it was 8.  And their names are….”  AND THEY’D ALL BOW DOWN AND THEN GIVE ME A PUPPY.

Would I have that data without ClassMax?  Of course.  ClassMax is just putting it at my fingertips.

Then, let’s say later I am working in a small group with that group of kids who scored low in RL.1.3.  I could pull that group up on ClassMax and have that open in front of me to record their standards progress on the spot as we work.  And since we are all rockstar teachers, let’s now pretend that the entire small group has reached the next level on the standards scale.  I can record progress for an entire group in one click, too.  CLICK, CLICK, DONE.

Another way I plan to use groups in ClassMax is for seating assignments.  I use tables in my classroom, so kids work with their table groups every day.  Why not have a table group listed?  And when the entire table is acting out of control, I can just record their behavior for the entire table in just one click.  Or, if they are all working well together and I see them progressing up the standards scale, I can mark that collectively, too.  CLICK, CLICK, DONE.

You can use groupings to help track your special needs learners, too.  I teach primarily low-performing ESE students.  Often times, there are at least a handful of my kids who receive push-in or pull-out services through my language arts class.  With ClassMax, I can put these students into a group and when they receive their services, I can simply select the entire group and assign them an accommodation usage.  Instantly, I have tracked that entire group for their accommodations and it took two clicks.  CLICK, CLICK, DONE.

Lastly, let’s say I am having my students work on group projects.  If I make a ClassMax group for each project group, I can easily track who is working with whom, what their topic is for their project (I named my groups based on their project topic), what level they are on their standards, and if I have assigned any accommodations to the group.  I can even use the notes feature to assign comments about the group’s performance to use the next time I am working with them.  CLICK, CLICK, DONE.

My biggest fear about ClassMax is that people will look at it’s simplicity and think, “Eh.”  But the simplicity is by design.  The intention of ClassMax is that it can be used to YOUR level of need.  You can simply record student data or you can use ClassMax to meet even greater needs.

I have spent this entire preplanning week thinking of ways I can make ClassMax work harder for me.  What can I do with this tool?  And to be honest, there’s not much it CAN’T do because of it’s simplicity.  I can really use it however I dream up and I think that’s becoming one of my favorite, unintentional features that we offer.

Teacher on, teacher friends.  

Katie Brown

8th Grade Language Arts Teacher and ClassMax Founder