Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Basics of Using ClassDojo

July always seems to fly by for my family, especially when we are having picnics, vacations, and lots of pool days! We've been very busy this summer.  Andrew (my 6 month old) and I need to stay busy or else one of us will get fussy, hehe. #busybuddies

Each summer I start thinking about my classroom when August arrives.  I like to reflect on what worked last year and what needs to be changed. As I was reflecting, I started to think about all of the technology that I've implemented in the last two years.  Some of the tech was implemented seamlessly and other tech needs some tweaking before I add it into our daily routine again.  For example, I tried using Edmodo with my second graders, but it just didn't work since we aren't 1-to-1 yet. It is an awesome website and it would be great if we had just a few more iPads or laptops, but I just wasn't able to implement it properly.  If you're curious about Edmodo, I'll be posting about it soon.

Other technology that I added into our routine was much more successful.  The best addition to my classroom was www.classdojo.com.  I've gotten rave reviews about this website from all of my parents, since it's so interactive.  I know many of you have heard of this website before and many of you might already be using it.  However, if you are like all the teachers that I know...sometimes its hard to make a change when you have a system that is already working.  Why make more work for yourself?  I get it! I have to admit, there was a little bit of a learning curve when I switched over to using www.classdojo.com for behavior and communication, but it was so worth it.  I'm hoping that I can help make your transition a little bit easier.

Step 1 - Signing Up/Logging In:


After you've gone through the website's easy steps to create a classroom and you've added your student names to the class, then you can move onto step 2.  However, please pay attention during classroom setup because the website will create a PDF file that has parent letters for each of your students.  These letters will have your student's names and their login information.  You need to download, print, and hand these out to students on back to school night.  This is the only way that parents can access their child's ClassDojo account and monitor their progress, message the teacher, and view classroom posts.  I always save this PDF file because their will always be a few parents that misplace their letter and you'll need to send home another copy for them.  You can also access it on the website if you forget to download or save the PDF.  On your class page where all the names are displayed you would click on settings and "Connect Parents".  That'll take you to a page where you can download the letters again.

Step 2 - Getting Started Each Day:


Here is where it gets tricky...the first time that you open your class page all of your students will have 0 points, but it won't always be like that.  You need to decide how you want your point system to work:

1. You can have the students earn points for the entire year, which means that they never clear their points. I can't imagine how many points some students might have by the end of the year!

2. You can have the students earn points for a week and then you'll clear the points at the end of the week.  This is what my team teacher does and it works great for her because it's less maintenance.  The kids love it too because she gives prizes at the end of the week for the most points earned.

3. You can have the students earn points for a day and then you'll clear the points before the start of a new school day.  This is the method that I use, because I find it easier to view daily success with my young students.  I also believe that each day is a clean slate for my students, so even if they have a horrific Monday and end up with negative points...it won't effect the rest of their week.

Step 3 - Daily Use:


Step 4 -Integrating ClassDojo into Your Classroom Routine


Since I use ClassDojo to monitor points on a daily basis, I updated my old behavior clip chart to match up with the little monsters on the website.  I did this so the students would be familiar with the behavior clip chart just in case the internet wasn't working or if they have a substitute.  At the end of each day, whether they were using ClassDojo displayed on the SmartBoard or they were using my "old-fashioned" behavior clip chart, they mark their points in their agenda.  Yes, I said they mark their points.  Second graders learn to be very responsible and I learn to trust them.  However, if I find that they are being dishonest about their points, then I can easily check their record of points on ClassDojo.

Also, I love that ClassDojo has a free app!!! I've put the app on my cell phone and all of the classroom iPads.  Now when I'm instructing at the small group table I can keep the app open on one of my devices so I can give and take points without saying a word.  It syncs with the SmartBoard display so the entire class will hear the "ding" of points awarded.  Upon hearing the "ding", students working at their centers work harder, because they want to earn a point.  On the flip side - if they hear the "werhhh" sound, then they start working extra hard because they don't want to be the student that lost a point.  At my school I can take my cell phone in the hallway and to assemblies, so that I can give and take points while we are away from the classroom.  I also use the app to take pictures and videos at special events so I can post them to the class story page automatically.  It makes it super simple to share what is going on with the parents.

Tell me what you think.  Do you use ClassDojo?  Do you need help doing anything else on the website?  There are a ton of features that are really awesome and interactive, such as student story pages.  I plan on implementing those this year, so that students can have their own page where they display their work.  Have you used student story yet?  I'd love to hear from you!


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