Saturday, February 2, 2013

Class Dojo and Gwendolyn Gray



Hi! I'm Brent Williamson, a 5th grade teacher at Danville Middle School, and I wanted to share how I've been using Class Dojo to monitor, reward, and improve student behavior and engagement.

I started using www.classdojo.com with a trial run in December, and the kids loved it, so we went all out with it this semester. Here's the lowdown:



You set up a teacher account, and add all your students. Then, you identify positive and negative behaviors for your students. Throughout the day, you give or take points from the students, who all have cute monster avatars. They rack up the points, and become more motivated and engaged.





I sat my students down, and had them brainstorm what behaviors should earn a point, and what behaviors should lose a point. Here's what we came up with:



Then, we brainstormed a list of rewards. 

I keep the website pulled up, and switch between it and our daily PowerPoint during the day. You can sort them by first or last name (I added a table number to the front of all their last names-now I can sort them by tables instead.) I give points for answering questions in class, Harry Potter style, as well as points for being ready, prepared, and organized. There is a "select random" button which is great for games, or keeping students on their toes during Q&A. The "select mulitple" students function works great as well! 



The students love seeing their avatars. It is by far our most popular reward. They customize their avatars when they earn enough points, and the website gives students their own accounts to log in, check their points, and customize their avatar. They can upload their own image, or any picture they can find, as well as building their own cute monster. The dojo website has lots of great ideas for ways to use the avatars. At the end of each month, I print their avatar (if they've changed it) and put it on our wall.

The data recording/reporting functions on Dojo are amazing. Every point given or taken is meticulously recorded, and can automatically be sent to parents every Friday, with the ability to add comments for individual students on individual days. Parents also receive log-ins, and can check in whenever they want.


ClassDojo is available on multiple platforms. I always keep it pulled up on my overhead computer, but also on my iPad and iPhone as well. It makes it super easy to walk around the room checking homework, move to different parts of the building, or even whip out my phone to give a point for a random act of kindness at an unexpected moment. Whenever we walk down the hall, I pre-select all the students names, and then deselect all the students I see talking. The ones who make it the whole way earn a point. The apps are very responsive. When I give a point on my iPad, the computer makes its usual DING! noise almost immediately. The audible reminders help keep the students focused.



It is a fantastic tool, and has revolutionized my classroom management system, keeping us focused on positive behaviors instead of negative. Now, instead of a few poorly behaved students dragging the rest down, I also have several very well-behaved ones pulling the others up! It keeps my classroom fun, focused, and positive. Go to http://www.classdojo.com/about for more ideas and stories from other teachers.

An a related note, I also use blogger quite a bit in my classroom. I am currently writing a children's fantasy novel, The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray.
"Gwendolyn is a girl living in a painfully dull and boring world. A place where everything exists in shades of grey. But Gwendolyn has the ability to see things that aren't there, to tell stories that never happened, and can imagine the most beautiful colors you could ever want. But her imaginings will no longer confine themselves to the inside of her head, and now she has caught the attention of the Mister Men. With help from her mysterious new friends, Sparrow and Starling, she must go on an adventure through the fantasy realms of her imagination to find out why her reality is so terribly wrong."
It is about three chapters short of being finished, and it is available free to read online here. It is posted in episodes, with new ones being added every Sunday morning. My students all love it, and frequently comment on it with our MyBigCampus fan page. We've looked at Blogger, and I've shown the students how to make a site and write new posts, and it inspired a lot of them to write on their MyBigCampus blog pages. Also, they all have shown a much greater passion for writing in general. So share it with your students, let them read along, leave comments, and share the adventure! Also make sure to follow the book on Facebook where you can contact me with any questions or comments you might have.

And that's it! Gwendolyn Gray and ClassDojo make our classroom fun and exciting every day!

The Challenge

Do you see a way to utilize Class Dojo in your classroom? Do you think it would motivate your students? Class Dojo is free! Create an account and try it in your classroom.

5 comments:

  1. Class Dojo is a GREAT tool! I'm a high school Spanish teacher, and I use it almost on a daily basis to record classroom participation. When a student speaks in Spanish or translates something from Spanish, I record a point in Class Dojo. It makes recording points AND showing students their participation progress very easy.

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  2. Awesome job, Brent! Thanks for participating!

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  3. What a great way to engage students! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Hi Brent - Kalen from ClassDojo here. Thank you so much for sharing your story - our entire team here really appreciates your support.

    I wanted to see if you'd be interested in being featured on our new ClassDojo stories page. We get thousands of emails asking for strong examples of teachers who are using ClassDojo in innovative ways and I think our community could really benefit from hearing your story. If you're interested let me know and kalen@classdojo.com :)

    Thanks again!

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