I’ve been meaning to write forever about ClassDojo, a solid and user-friendly app for tracking and communicating student behavior. Sorry to be so behind the times on this teacher time saver!
I recently visited with Shenel H., a middle school math teacher in the Houston Public Schools, who shared how she uses ClassDojo in five ways to help her maximize time, track key items, and communicate progress.
1. Tracking points for students. Shenel stands at the door to greet students and track points for supplies and behavior as they walk in the room. The app pushes her to be proactive about recognizing great behavior and class preparation.
2. Recording attendance. While Shenel is ultimately responsible for getting attendance loaded into her district’s official student record-keeping system, she initially tracks in ClassDojo since it is more user-friendly.
3. Student participation. No more popsicle stick jar of student names! The randomizer feature in ClassDojo ensures Shenel can reach all of her students.
4. Family communication. Families with active email addresses can log online to check in on their child’s behavior.
5. Timer feature during lessons. ClassDojo also has a time feature to use and display during class lessons.
Looks good, right? But if your school or district already has a pretty good behavior management system and other trackers in place, you may NOT want to add yet another platform to the list. Beware of Tool Promiscuity!
Here are a few things to keep in mind and help you decide:
ClassDojo points need to be cued up on the Smart Board at all times for students to clearly see their progress (but you can enter ClassDojo points at any time, whether or not the program is visible to students). You’ll need the following to maximize Class Dojo:
- Reliable Internet service
- Reliable hardware, such as a laptop or tablet
- Helpful, but not necessary: a projector or Smart Board
I recently saw this Class Dojo celebration chart in a DC-teacher’s classroom. Way to celebrate your student’s success publicly!
We remain (mostly) philosophically neutral on behavior management and instructional decisions around here, but there are a few features you may want to consider:
- The negative and positive consequences are on the same system. Points students earn can always be taken away. Some gurus on behavior management suggest separate systems for rewards and consequences, so that what’s given is not taken away.
- ClassDojo is a visibly public tracking system. The competition can be motivating for some students, but for others, the public nature of the system may cause behavior to be worse.
Only you know your students, so take these considerations with a grain of salt and do what’s best for your classroom!
Anyone planning to try Class Dojo for the 2014-2015 school year?