I love Class Dojo!
When I started teaching, I shied away from using technology because I was not a super-techy person. My inexperience and personal disinterest in most thing technological carried into my classroom.
As it turns out, kids love technology.
So as you may have expected, I have changed my ways and embraced technology. I have used Edmodo, Wordle, Glogster, and finally settled on my personal favorite FREE classroom app: Class Dojo! If you teach, then you have probably heard of or know someone who uses Class Dojo. You’ve got your choice of classroom apps these days, but this one has consistently worked well for my class.
You know I am always looking for things to make my life more efficient at home and at work. Well, this is one of my secrets! I can’t believe I didn’t think to write about it sooner! (FYI- I am not getting paid to promote this app (although that would be awesome! Call me, Dojo 🙂 I simply like to inform you about things that helps me stay on top of life! )
Here are the top 5 reasons you should start using Class Dojo TODAY!
Communication with Parents
This is honestly my biggest reason for using this app. While there are many apps that allow communication with parents, this one multi-tasks a bit more. If you think e-mails are easy, this is easier! Everyone has their phone on them, so the likelihood of your messages being seen and responded to is MUCH higher. Class Dojo works much like Facebook in that there is a “wall” that is public, as well as an option to private message. I send or receive messages to/from individual parents almost daily- setting up conferences, asking if they ate breakfast, telling me that their grandma is dropping off their glasses… you get the idea.
What is really wonderful is that I can quickly send a positive message about a student to their parent, (test score, good behavior, fluent reading, etc) and they receive it immediately! As a parent, wouldn’t it brighten your day to see a little tidbit pop up on your phone about something great your child did? Of course! This communication creates a deeper connection with my students’ parents and paves the way for easy discourse throughout the year.
By January, I start getting messages from parents over the weekends or breaks with pictures of the kids at their various activities. Being able to ask my students about their baseball games or birthday parties all helps in creating a positive classroom environment and community.
In addition to private messages, I can also send out mass messages to all parents, or simply post to the “wall” much like you would to your Facebook. Of course, the biggest perk is the fact that this takes almost no time. I can send messages in seconds and the results are so worth the effort! On the topic of time saving, I no longer have to be logged into my e-mail to communicate with parents. If I am at the grocery store and remember that I neglected to send home a reminder about the project, it’s Class Dojo to the rescue! Just pull up the app in the checkout line and post. I may or may not have done this…
Again, it’s all about building a great classroom environment and experience, and the Class Dojo app will periodically send out pre-made “cards” for holidays or events that you can use. This is an example of a Valentine’s Message that I sent out. These are small, easy things that go a long way in connecting to your class.
Efficiency is the name of the game, people! I am all about a pre-made resource, particularly one that does not require a visit to the copier, and I have not sent home a flier or paper reminder in 2 years. You can post updates, due dates, and reminders all while nursing a baby. Again, may or may not have actually done this…
3. Parent Engagement
It is not always easy to get parents to be involved in your class and support your endeavors in the classroom. Have you ever thought, “man I wish their parents could see what they are doing right now!” You know they all go home to the question, “What did you do in school today?” and respond with, “nothing. ”
This can help with that! I take pictures all the time (with signed permission of the parents) of the kids working in class. We document science labs, cooperative activities, group projects, and presentations. Sometimes, we take a class selfie just for fun! I post these during the school hours so that Moms and Dads at work can get a glimpse into their child’s day, and have received such positive feedback for it. The students love it, too, because they know their parents will see them working hard and doing well in school!
Parents can “like” and comment on posts just like Facebook, and this is where more engagement comes in. They ask questions about the activity, want to know how to do certain things at home, etc. Many are shocked to see how much confidence their child has during certain tasks! It sparks conversations that never may have occurred had they not seen the photos.
4. Behavior Management
This is what most people think of when they hear about Class Dojo-another behavior management tool. I hope that by now you see that there is much more to it, but still, this is one of the main reasons I first began using it.
Here is a sample class setup for Class Dojo. To use for behavior management, enter all of your students’ names. The app will automatically fill in the avatars-the little monsters!- for each kid. I use my phone to keep track of everything and the students know when I have my phone in hand that I am most likely giving out/deducting points.
If you have a smart board in your class, pull this up and have it there during class to mark positive and negative behaviors. Have the students come to the board, click on their monster, and either add or subtract a point.
Points can be given or taken on an individual basis or whole group. Plus, the teacher can personalize the points. For instance, as the year has gone on, my class has been increasingly forgetful with their study guides. I added an “unprepared” button to our class dojo, and that has helped tremendously because they will lose one of their points if they forget it! On the flip side, adding positive behaviors, such as persistence, as a way to gain points has always proven to be motivating as well.
On one of our bulletin boards, I created a Point Club Wall, where students move up the ranks as they increase in point value throughout the year. (20 point club, 30 point club, 50 point club, etc.) Each “club” has a specific reward that students earn when they receive that many points. Grab my Class Dojo Pack HERE. (Includes bulletin board labels, certificates, and more!) Just print, laminate, and glue the labels onto card holders on your board. I use Popsicle sticks with the students’ number on it for them to move to each club. ( By using the number system instead of names, you can reuse next year!) The rewards I use are simple and cheap: homework passes, snacks, sit in rolling chair, bring a pillow for reading time, pick a friend to eat in classroom at lunch, etc. Tailor it to your class!
Additionally, you can assign class rewards when the entire class gets to a certain point value, because Class Dojo counts the points as a whole class as well.
5. Logging the Year
A small, but still really cool, aspect of this app is that if you use it like I have, to post images throughout the year, you will have a mini yearbook by June! I keep referencing Facebook, but it really is the best parallel. If you scroll through your feed it is like a walk through memory lane, right? Same with Dojo! By May, your students look much different than when they walked through your door in September. It is a fun way to accent your end-of -the-year party by highlighting some of the year’s best moments, and see how everyone has changed.
I hope that you give Class Dojo a try! You can look it up in the app store and it is FREE for teachers and parents. This has been a great time saver and multi-tasking tool that enables me to get some schoolwork accomplished while pushing a stroller. What’s better than that? Check it out and let me know what you think!
What it your favorite thing about Class Dojo?