Tech Tools

Tech Tool Highlight #7: Class Dojo

Image source: http://www.classdojo.com

What is Class Dojo?

Class Dojo is a platform whereby teachers can engage families and create a more connected educational experience. Families can have a better understanding of what happens daily in their child’s classroom. Teachers can easily communicate messages in a split second. Students can build their own portfolios. According to the Class Dojo website, ninety-five percent of U.S. schools use Class Dojo to engage kids and connect with families. Ninety-five percent prompts at least looking into it. So, let’s take a look. Shall we?

Class Dojo’s mission is to connect teachers, students, and parents to build an all-inclusive learning environment. By doing so, Class Dojo strives to…

  • Create a positive culture through the encouragement of positive behavior.
  • Give students a voice: students can share their learning by adding their own photos and videos to their portfolios.
  • Share photo and video moments with parents to create a more connected experience.

Furthermore, you have Class Dojo’s guarantee that it will be “free for teachers, forever.” The platform is compatible with iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and any computer, and always built with privacy in mind.

Let’s get set up!

Image source: http://www.classdojo.com

Note! This is addressing the teacher login. Read on for how to connect students and parents.

Hop on over to https://www.classdojo.com/ and sign up for an account. After finalizing the typical account procedures, you’ll find yourself ready to set up your classes. Click the large blue plus sign and personalize the course title and grade. Now, click on the “Options” dropdown menu in the top right, then “Edit class” and let’s see what we can do:

Add skills: There are a variety of skills already in place, (“Working hard,” “Participating,”) but you have the option to delete these. You can add positive and “Needs work” skills, altering the skills and point values to your class. You have the options of allowing parents to see all points, only positive points, or no points at all.

Class Dojo in the World Language classroom: A competitive game changer.

I tailor the skills to create a cumulative speaking grade over the course of a week. Here’s my breakdown:

  • +3 points for an answer completely spoken in French
  • +2 points for an answer in “Franglais” (part-French, part-English)
  • +1 point for a good effort
  • -1 point for being chatty in English
  • -1 point for avoiding speaking

I had to add the last category because some students decided to go on strike and not speak at all or were painfully shy, thus maintaining a 100% average over the course of the week for doing nothing. Points are put in during or immediately after class so students can see where their average sits. A pleasant ring sounds for positive points but an ominous noise will stop students dead in their tracks from chatting, wondering if they were the guilty -1 point party. I encourage students to continually check their averages and increase their speaking toward the end of the week if they are not satisfied with their standing grade.

Image source: http://www.classdojo.com

Add students: You have the option of copying and pasting an entire student list, adding them individually by first and last name, or finding a student. If the student is already in another teacher’s Class Dojo class at your school, then he or she will appear once you begin typing their name. You will also be able to see the teacher’s name, enabling you to easily connect with other Class Dojo teachers at your school.

Invite students and parents: Students can connect with your class via text message, QR code, or their Google account. You can also download respective student and parent invites for their own personalized codes. Additionally, you can invite parents via phone number or email.

No one is left out: features for everyone.

Here’s a brief breakdown by user of great features built into Class Dojo:

Teachers:

  • Set quiet hours to tell families when you are busy. (Change under “Account Settings” and “Messaging.”)
  • Class Dojo Toolkit (Available through the app.) Click on the class and you’ll see the “Toolkit” icon on the bottom of your screen with various options:
    • Classroom Directions App: No more repeating yourself! Easily display directions.
    • Random Group Generator: Group students by pairs, threes, fours, or more.
    • Classroom Music: Choose from two playlists: “Focus” or “Active.”
    • Classroom Noise Monitor: Show students the noise meter through the app and encourage them to self-manage.
    • Think Pair Share: Add questions or topics and pair students to discuss.
    • Random Student Selector: We don’t mean to as teachers, but sometimes we fall into calling on the same students. Use this tool to switch things up!
    • Classroom Timer: Students can have the constant visual of how much time remains.
    • Today: Display announcements or morning messages for students to see as soon as they log into their account.
  • Dojocast: Your phone acts as a remote that connects with your computer. Click here to see more on how to sync your phone and computer.
  • Organize by classes and then further by folders, such as “Exit Tickets.”

Students:

  • Student stories: These student-led digital portfolios are the ultimate tool within Class Dojo for student ownership. Students can create their online portfolio to showcase their work, approved first by their teacher which is then ready to share with parents. For privacy, parents can only see their child’s portfolio.
  • Students can add photos, videos, drawings, annotate images, add to the journaling section, and upload files to their portfolios.
  • No more remembering passwords! Login is simple with a QR code scan.
Image source: http://www.classdojo.com

“You see all the different activities […] Now you get to be a part of something you normally wouldn’t be able to because you’re at work.” -Edison Elementary parent (Westland, MI)

Parents:

  • Join by using any device.
  • Messages can be translated into 35+ languages.
  • Leave encouraging messages for their child within the student’s digital portfolio.
  • Cherish beautiful moments: “Her teacher captured a moment last year, one of my favorites, when she was in first grade. She was on the playground making a wish with a dandelion. That’s one of mama’s favorites. I’m going to keep that.” -Edison Elementary parent (Westland, MI)

“In order for education to truly happen, it has to be mom and dad, family member, whoever is working with that child […] for success to happen.” -Edison Elementary teacher (Westland, MI)

Class Dojo is a powerful tool that can help unite all parties involved in a child’s education. The ease in which teachers can connect and vary their class activities is easily facilitated by the app. Parents will now be able to have a visual they can save and cherish to accompany that story of “What did you do in school today?” on the car ride home. Let’s not also forget the student empowerment that can come by giving our students a platform to express themselves, share, and take pride in their work.

If you haven’t already tried Class Dojo, I encourage you to apply it in your classroom today! The ability to edit the “Skills” will make it easy to tailor the app to your content. Want to share Class Dojo with other teachers? Click https://www.classdojo.com/resources/ for resources and FAQs and spread the word!