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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The school year is over! Yeah!

But as you know, teachers' minds immediately turn to what we can do differently next year. Considering the fact that classroom management is one of the biggest challenges teachers face, we are always searching for something that will work.

This year I started using ClassDojo, a classroom management system that has consistently helped me with the behaviors in my classroom. It's very easy to set up whether you're using an Apple or Android device -- there's an app available for both. With this tool, I was able to accomplish the following three goals.

1. Improving Behavior

ClassDojo is simple to use. You set up a class, or classes. Each class has avatars assigned for each of your students. Once your class is set up, you have the ability to award points, affectionately known as "dojos" in my classroom, for positive or negative behavior. You can award individual or multiple students.

The app comes with a list of behaviors, but you can create your own list. That's what I did as the school year wore on (i.e. homework, contest winner, etc.). ClassDojo can be used with your interactive whiteboard, laptops, desktops or smart phones. Students get immediate feedback to their behavior by the distinctive sound made when their avatar is clicked.

I rarely assign negative behavior points. My students know that if they earned a negative, it had to be a big deal. I found that positive points motivate my students and have a greater impact on their behavior. Students love getting "dojo" points! They love hearing the sound of a positive dojo, and dread the sound of a negative one. A positive or negative sound has everyone looking at the board and then getting back to work.

Teachers are a creative bunch and have found a variety of ways to use those points. I buy a prize at a five-dollar store to award the student with the most points at the end of every quarter, and then I reset their bubbles. You choose what's best for you and your students. But even without prizes, I know students enjoy accumulating points.

I introduced ClassDojo to other teachers in my school, and even those who are not tech-savvy use it. When students come to me for Book Club or Math Intervention, I have separate "dojo" classes for each of them. The students respond to ClassDojo.

Credit: ClassDojo

2. Sharing Data

ClassDojo automatically keeps track of the behavior in your classroom by tracking the behaviors that were clicked. You can set it up to create reports that are emailed to the parents. Parents can connect through printed or emailed invites. Once they connect, they receive an email every Friday reminding them to view their child's reports. The parents of my students enjoy receiving the reports because it keeps them in the loop.

The reports are easy to read. You are able to set the range, daily or weekly, that you want to view. The information is provided in a donut that shows the percentage of clicked behaviors and underneath a written version of the data for each day. This data can all be accumulated into end-of-year reports.

ClassDojo recently added Trendspotter, which allows the teacher to look for trends in student behavior. This is a great way to reflect on what is or is not working in your classrooms. For example, you may notice that on Fridays you have the greatest amount of negative points. You can use this data to reflect on why Fridays seem to be difficult, what you can do to change it, and use data from Trendspotter to see if your strategies worked.

Students also have access to their data if you provide them with accounts. Print their login codes, and let them sign in. They can customize their avatars, which they love, and keep track of their dojo points even when they’re not in school.

3. Saving Time

ClassDojo saves time by recording behaviors and accomplishments in the class with just one click. I don't know about you, but I remember a time when I would put checkmarks on the board. Usually I ran out of room, and even worse, it was completely ineffective.

I leave ClassDojo on the Smartboard all day. It's not always visible, but the sound can be heard. Whether I'm working with small groups or greeting students at the door, I have my iPhone in my hand. I'm ready to give out positives or negatives without leaving my seat or entering the classroom. A definite time saver!

ClassDojo recently added some great new features: attendance, a timer, and my favorite: Random. I created a behavior called "deserving random" which I use during our transitions.

You can connect with ClassDojo and its users on Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo and Pinterest. Seeing what others have shared will help you decide whether to make this your go-to classroom management tool for the new school year.

Comments (33)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Vanessa Liburd's picture
Vanessa Liburd
High school French teacher from Hollywood Florida

Lisa, thank you for sharing this app. I am sure that it works wonders in elementary school. However, I teach high school so I am not sure if it would be as effective in high school. One can only try. I am going to see if it will work in my classes starting in the fall. I know that even at the high school level, the students are still trying to please us teachers and they still love positive reinforcements. Once school starts at the end of August, I will let you know if it helps with my classes. Thanks again

Lisa Mims's picture
Lisa Mims
5th grade teacher /Education blogger
Blogger

Yes, please let me know. I don't hear too often how it works with middle and high school. Let the folks at ClassDojo know as well. Thanks!

bambi's picture
bambi
Teacher

Hi,
We have Vivo Miles in our school, it's like class Dojo but for high school.

Becky Fisher's picture
Becky Fisher
Education Consultant

I love ClassDojo. My favorite aspect is how Sam and Liam came up with the idea. Before they started coming up with ideas, they interviewed teachers about any pain points in the classroom. The most commonly discussed issue was classroom management. This gave them the idea to help teachers solve this problem. Currently, they continually add new features based on what teachers need and suggest. Talk about a technology that is made with teachers in mind!

My question to the Edutopia community would be, if you could come up with a technology to solve a pain point in your classroom, what would you want to solve? And what would it look like?

Thanks for posting, Lisa!

Macey's picture

Thanks for sharing. Class Dojo seems like a great idea in solving classroom management difficulties. A device called the Motiv-Aider was brought to my attention recently and (if you are not familiar) it is used to manage behavior as well. It can be used by teachers, students, anyone really, who wants to change their behavior and it works by sending a vibration to the user at a selected interval reminding the user to check their behavior and see if it is what they are supposed to be doing. Using the Motiv-Aider can reduce teacher nagging- since the Motiv-Aider constantly and consistently reminds the user to: stay on task, keep focused, stay quiet during reading time, keep hands/arms to themselves, etc. I think that using the Motiv-Aider alongside Class Dojo could have a great impact on classroom management.

Amanda Giblin's picture

Thank you so much for the information you have provided in regards to the Class Dojo app. My school has been thinking about making this app the new classroom management tool. It is great to have the information that has been provided. As soon as I finished reading this blog I immediately downloaded the app and set up my classrooms. I am going to do a trial run with the last half of the year to prepare myself for what is to come next year, Again thanks so much !!

Lisa Mims's picture
Lisa Mims
5th grade teacher /Education blogger
Blogger

Good luck Amanda! I have to say my parents love this tool! If they look at nothing else, they always check Classdojo to keep track of their child's behavior, positive or negative.

senor's picture

Another great app is Smartnugget. It teaches you a new piece of interesting information every day. It is available on both the Apple App Store and the Android Google Play Store.

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