Smiley face stamps, colourful pins, animated sticker charts and excel spread-sheets have all been ways that teachers have used to display and monitor classroom behaviour. But keeping track of student behaviour can be difficult and time consuming.With many of us teaching large numbers of different students, keeping tabs of all students all of the time can be a head-melting experience. Reporting on student behaviour can be even more difficult because of the range of different behaviours shown by students, and the lack of statistics to keep you informed of how students are behaving over time. Class Charts is a new online system for reporting on student behaviour using an innovative classroom seating design and an intuitive reporting interface.
The technology was initially thought up by Duncan Wilson, a creative teacher with an original idea. In preparation for a school inspection he used PowerPoint to create seating charts for each of his classes, and added photos and data to keep him aware of student’s needs. The school leaders saw this practice and implemented it whole school – a total of 800 classes. The creation of these seating charts in PowerPoint took two weeks, but the inspectors identified them as outstanding practice – and from there Class Charts was born.
At its basic level, Class Charts can be used to create a graphical seating overview of which students are in your class. Each student is represented by a photo or image, listing personal information, reading age, and other customizable fields. Seating arrangements can be individually made using a drag and drop mechanism, and pupil information can either be imported or added in manually using copy and paste. By using this seating display, taking attendance is a simple process. Each student can be clicked on to report whether they are attending or not. This information is saved into the reporting section, and it is easy to see which students are continuously absent. These seating plans can be viewed and edited on any web enabled device such as laptops, PCs or iPads.
Aside from this basic functionality, the meaty part of the technology is its behaviour management. By using the layout of the classroom and the photos of students, each student can be given positive and negative behavioural points during the class. These can be for being kind, staying on task, progressing well, perseverance and sharing. Alternatively, negative points can be doled out for students who are arguing, being chatty, displaying rudeness and shouting out. These behaviours are fully customizable making it easy to create a bespoke behavioural management report for each class. These reports can show behaviour from a specific time period, and optional notes can be added to keep track of any important incidents. At the end of each class, comprehensive behaviour graphs show how each student has performed, and students themselves can view their scores though gaining access using private pupil codes.
Duncan Wilson, Director at EduKey, developers of Class Charts, explains the benefits of Class Charts: “Seating charts are a simple classroom management tool which have a large impact, and research shows that by using seating charts teacher effectiveness and student attainment are significantly improved. The seating charts in Class Charts show student photos and key data so teachers are aware of student needs at a glance. The behaviour management side of the application provides a simple yet powerful tool to track behaviour incidents in the classroom and provides statistics over time in a very visual manner as charts.”
What makes Class Chart stand out is not only this reporting functionality, but also its collaborative aspect. All of the class seating charts can be shared with other teachers, allowing collaborative reporting with colleagues to track and analyse student behaviour over time. Each teacher can be made aware of important student information, not only about their behaviour, but also their special educational needs, free school meals and educational targets.
The Class Chart interface is divided up into ‘Classes’, ‘Activity’, ‘Pupils’ and ‘Rooms’. The ‘Classes’ section lists all of your classes set up on the system, with your room layout and pupil information. The reporting functionality is accessible via this section, where pie and bar charts show a breakdown of behaviour scores for each student. The reporting functionality gives both single student and classroom graphical views of student behaviour and attendance. A summary of all positive and negative behaviour for the class is also displayed which can be very helpful in identifying patterns of behaviour. Multiple classes are also simple to set up, letting you use the technology with many different seating arrangements and student behavioural types. There is also an option to engage parents with the behaviour of their child in school by providing them with a secure log in code.
Duncan explains the benefits of Class Charts for behavioural management: “The key to good behaviour in the classroom is getting the simple things right and ensuring classroom interactions are conducive for learning. The seating charts in Class Charts help with controlling a class because the teacher is imposing their authority before the lesson begins, and the positive and negative (optional) behaviour management allows students, teachers and parents to see behaviour over time and react accordingly. Behaviour is also linked to setting work at the correct level, by differentiating a lesson a teacher can ensure that all work is set at a level that is achievable yet challenging for all students – Class Charts helps with this because teachers are aware of key student data (e.g. reading age) at a glance.”
Thinking briefly about security, and sensitive information being leaked, Class Charts uses the industry standard SSL encryption for all data transfers, and the company itself is registered with the Data Commissioner. We were very impressed with the layout and easy functionality of Class Charts and would recommend teachers to try it with their class. Class Charts is 100% free and has recently won the prestigious NDLE2013 award. It is available to download from their site.