Category Archives: Classroom Management

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 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.

Creating ClassMax Seating Charts for Non-Traditional Seating

The seating chart feature of ClassMax is great for organizing a traditional classroom.  In the “Fixed” seating chart mode, you can automatically arrange students by first or last name, in ascending or descending order.  It makes creating a seating chart a breeze.

If you want to arrange students in a different method, you can simply click over to the “Flexible” seating chart mode and you are able to move your student icons around into a seating chart that better fits your classroom.  

But what if you have tables or untraditional seating?  In my classroom, I have tables of all shapes and sizes and I often move these tables around for different activities, depending on the needs of my lesson.  I came up with an alternative way to use ClassMax seating charts for my style of classroom and thought I would share with you today.

I selected to work in the “Flexible” mode first.  Then, I selected the number of rows equivalent to the number of tables in my classroom.  For example, I have six tables in my class, so I selected six rows on the seating chart. Next, I dragged and dropped students into their correct table (or “row”).  

Now, my seating charts show up as a list of which students are sitting at which table.  It makes finding who is not sitting in their correct seat (did I mention I’m a middle school teacher???) super quick.  And it also makes it easy for me to input data and information for a table group. I can either go to my groupings list, where I keep groups by table, or I can simply go down the row in my seating chart and input whatever I need to track.  

Saves time and helps me keep a little sanity in my school day!