ClassDojo is one of my favorite pieces of electronic technology that I utilize in my classroom! I haven’t heard of very many high school teachers using it in their classrooms, which is why I want to get the news out and share how I use it as a high school English teacher.
What is ClassDojo, you ask? According to a product review on EdSurge, “ClassDojo is an online behavior management system” and it’s purpose is to connect “teachers, parents and students to improve student behavior and build character strengths.”
Ah. Classroom management tracker. Usually by the time students arrive in high school buildings, it is the understanding that students should know how to behave in a classroom. Teachers are no longer concerned the teaching of good, positive behaviors as elementary or middle school teachers may be.
In my mind, every little bit helps to monitor students and their actions in the classroom. I use ClassDojo to track contributions during various types of classroom discussion.
I used to use the app to monitor specific behaviors in the classroom for quarterly participation assessment, but I discontinued this practice at the end of the calendar year in 2019. My opinion on tracking and grading participation or “citizenship” behaviors changed, so I removed this type of grading from my practice.
ClassDojo’s interface is easy to manage. It takes time to set up class rosters and desired behaviors (positive and negative) to then track into the system. The cute and colorful monsters lighten up the mood and the demo class provided is a good model to see how the app works and try out the functions of the program.
Besides characters and the tracking of behaviors, ClassDojo has incorporated a variety of functions, such as student portfolios, a class story for parents to view daily happenings in the classroom, and professional development resources for teachers to spread the love of ClassDojo with others. I haven’t spent time with these because I do not have students or parents connect with the app. I use it to track the behaviors outlined above and then revisit the progress reports for assessment purposes. I tend to revisit ClassDojo during parent/teacher conferences and case-by-case emails with students, parents/guardians, and/or colleague’s associated with the student who may be looking for feedback on the student’s progress.
I have been using ClassDojo for three years. My first teaching position was in a 6-12 building. I taught 7th, 10th, and 12th grade English that year. Teaching students with a wide range of skills, I needed a tool to keep track of how students were participating and behaving in my classroom. ClassDojo was the game changer for this need.
This year I went cold turkey, as I moved to a new teaching position in a new district. I did not use ClassDojo for the first quarter. I was a little discouraged over the summer when I logged on and switched schools on my profile because no other teacher had a profile. I had also been noticing a negative outlook on classroom management apps in my PLN in articles and podcasts. Discouraged and unsure of what to do for keeping track of participation for discussions, it was back to the drawing board.
I printed out seating charts and highlighted them, which proved to be a hassle to keep track of how many times students had participated and talked for Article of the Week discussions.
I burned through legal pads by feverishly taking notes about the different contributions students were making when talking about Of Mice and Men. When assessing discussions, I had to sift through my chicken scratch to figure out what was said when, which turned out to be WAY more time consuming than I had anticipated.
I felt like I was student teaching again by trying to come up with new systems and tricks to be efficient yet observant for how my students were contributing at all abilities and grade levels.
As the quarter came to an end, I realized that something had to change!
With the new quarter, I went into my bag of tricks and found an old friend – ClassDojo.
I’ve loaded up my class rosters and we’re ready to go!
After adding my class rosters, I then added the behaviors I am looking to keep track of during discussions and in the classroom on a daily basis.
ClassDojo allows you to set how many points each behavior adds or subtracts to the student’s running total. Behaviors into two categories – positive and needs work. In my opinion, both of these are positive and model how teachers should approach contributions in classroom discussion.
I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with ClassDojo, and reflecting on this app further.
Updated in 2023 to show how I’m now using ClassDojo in the classroom.