Do you use ClassDojo in your classroom? If you don’t, trust me you will want to! I teach elementary Spanish; a colleague introduced to ClassDojo. I loved the concept, but wanted to make it more applicable to the Spanish curriculum. Here is a brief overview of ClassDojo, followed by how I use it in my classroom.
What is ClassDojo?
From the ClassDojo website:
ClassDojo is a communication app for the classroom. It connects teachers, parents, and students who use it to share photos, videos, and messages through the school day. They use ClassDojo to work together as a team, share in the classroom experience, and bring big ideas to life in their classrooms and homes.
I initially was drawn to the program as a behavior management tool. I teach 9 classes of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. Therefore, having an app that I can use on an iPad was a huge selling point for me. I say selling, but don’t worry, ClassDojo is FREE! I was very excited to learn that while it is amazing for classroom management, it is so much more. Take a look at this short video that shows how one school implemented ClassDojo:
The first thing I did was to create my classrooms. Typically elementary teachers only have one classroom, but I travel to NINE different classrooms! ClassDojo makes it simple to setup your classroom(s), and even allows you to change student avatars to custom pics (I changed mine to the students’ school photos which was a lifesaver the first few weeks when I was getting to know new kids). Here is what part of my home screen looks like (too many classes to screenshot all at once):
If I click on any of the classes I can see my students’ happy faces (sorry, can’t show you here, but trust me, they’re cute)! 🙂 We don’t give Spanish names at this level, so the names shown are their actual names. As far as setup, there’s nothing different to be done for the Spanish classroom. However, when actually putting it to use, I had to tweak a few things. Read on to see how I implemented ClassDojo into my elementary Spanish classrooms!
Using ClassDojo in the Spanish Classroom
The main way I use the program is as a behavior management tool (but I definitely plan on exploring other features)! My classes are only 30 minutes long, so I can’t afford to waste much of it on managing behavior. In ClassDojo when a student does something good a point is awarded, and a sound is heard. However, if something needs improvement, a point is subtracted and a different sound is heard. There are set behaviors such as “on task”; “helping others”; “off task”; and “shouting out” but you can add your own as well.
In addition to tracking individual points, ClassDojo also awards whole class points. For example, the entire class is working hard, I can click the whole class button and it will give a point to each student (which also adds to the class total). I have different rewards for individuals and for the class as a whole.
Whole Class Reward System
I am a big believer in working as a team, so I like the idea of trying to reach a common goal. I am still testing out how many points are actually attainable, and have told my students that I will reassess during winter break and adjust goals if I think it will be more fair. Rewards include getting to watch Señor Wooly videos (a huge favorite) at 250 points, to a movie day at 1000. In between, classes can earn a free day on iPads, a game day (Spanish games of course), and other non-food rewards.
The kids get very excited when they get close to the next level (points accumulate and prizes are earned as each level is achieved). I don’t give the whole class points at once too often, as I want them to really earn them. Moreover, whenever I add individual points it adds to the whole class total.
One of the ways I love to use whole class points is to motivate kids to clean up at the end of class. I’ll simply say “puntos para todos” and instruct the class that the whole class will receive a point if they clean up and return to their seats by the time I count back from diez (10). It typically works like a charm! I personally do not subtract points from the entire class at once as I don’t feel it is fair to the kids who are working hard (especially at the elementary level).
On Monday I also post a student announcement to Seesaw to each grade indicating how many total points each class has. This allows students to see how close they are to class goals, as well as encourages a bit of friendly competition between classes. So far so good, but I will update after a few months when I have had a better chance to see how it works long term!
Individual Reward System
Again, students can earn or lose points based on their behavior. I have told my kids that they are trying to earn “Dólares de Dojo” and will receive one for each point earned. At the end of each week, I give students their paper dólares which they keep in an envelope in their Spanish folders. While there were tons of options for printable Dojo Dollars, I couldn’t find what I wanted in a Spanish version. So what was I to do but make my own? 😉 I created these that come in $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100 bills:
Every Monday point values on the ClassDojo app (student view) reset to zero. This is simply because I want students to have a fresh start each week and be able to set weekly goals. However, total points/dollars are kept in a spreadsheet that I update for each class each week to add new point totals, and indicate how many were “spent” and how many are still available to spend.
On Fridays I pass out dólares earned for that week, and every 2-3 weeks I offer a “tienda” (store) where students can purchase prizes with their earnings. I have trinkets (stickers, pencils, small toys) for under 20 dólares, as well as larger, intangible prizes such as leading the class in a game up to lunch with me and a friend.I came up with my own lists of possible prizes, and also provided a link to a survey I created allowing students to suggest prizes. I told them if the prizes were reasonable (and feasible!) that I would add them. To see the survey, click here. Here are my current prize lists: individual prizes and class prizes. Our school does not allow food prizes, but if yours does it might be fun to do a churro party or other Spanish related food ideas.
I am pleasantly surprised that so far most students have opted to save their dólares!
I mentioned above that ClassDojo is much more than just giving and taking away points. Additionally, ClassDojo has a toolkit that contains amazing resources. These include a random student selector (great when kids beg to go first!), group maker, timer, noise meter, and more! This is a great timesaver, as well as sanity saver since it does all the work for you. It is also nice that kids can’t blame you for putting them in groups they don’t like. You can even cast from your handheld device so students can see their points change in real time. Have I mentioned that these amazing tools are all FREE? You can check them out by clicking here.
I know it is only October, but I am loving ClassDojo and my students are always super enthusiastic about earning points! Moreover, kids are genuinely concerned when points are deducted. I am constantly looking for new ways to use Dojo, so will definitely share any I find! In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you use Dojo in your classroom! Please leave a comment with tips you might have, and how it is going for you. ¡Gracias!