"ClassDojo connects teachers with students and parents to build amazing classroom communities." -Classdojo.com
You can read more about the basics of what ClassDojo is on their website above. It is free for teachers!
This is my first year using Class Dojo, and I love it. I would've tried to use it last year, but it was such a whirlwind, I wouldn't have fully used it how I would've wanted to... although it might've helped some of my behavior problems.
Some teachers choose to project their dojo standings all day/most of the day- I don't do that. I have two main computers I use in the classroom (just for me), and have dojo up on both of them where I have fairly easy access to award/take away points. You can choose to never take away points and just have kids not earn them instead. You may even choose to not have any "skills" (like participation, being on task, etc) worth points, but have them for you and for parents to keep track of (how often does my student participate- or not participate- or call out, etc.). However, that doesn't really provide an incentive to the students.
I have a board in the classroom where students can pick a Dojo avatar that I printed off of their website and cards with point values in 100 increments, from 100-1000. Once students reach that "next level" their avatar goes under that point value. Each week, on Friday, I quickly calculate how many they earned. I call up each student to tell them how many points they earned and what they would like to "spend" them on- like treasure box, lunch with me, candy, stinky feet (no shoes for a day), helper for the week, etc. It's easy to make all the prizes free for you!
These are some of my 'positive' skills: HW completed, accountable talk, teamwork, kind to others, participating, being responsible, on task, following directions. Some of my 'skills that need work': cheating, not trying their best, not using time wisely, not listening attentively, disruption/talking, not working, disrespect, hands on others.
I average giving around 20-35 points per week to students. Some weeks are lower than others if I don't do it as much one day, or higher if I make sure I give a lot of positive reinforcement. The majority of my students will only get a few point deductions for 'skills that need work,' while one or two will get several point deductions.
Many of the points I give are 'whole class,' meaning that if I see the whole class is following directions, it's easier to give them all one point. If I see that half of the class is following directions, I can easily select those on task and give them points while simply not awarding points to the others. I like doing this more often than taking away points, but I do take them away if it's warranted.
You can also give points to groups (or tables), etc. I used it about once or twice, but although it's a great feature for a lot of classrooms, it's not one that I use.
The feedback that I've gotten from the parents is that they love it! Right now I only have 8/14 parents connected, but that's how it's been all year, even after trying a different method to send invites home halfway through the year. I did have one parent join the second time I invited them, and when I got a new student, her mom also joined right away. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind not accepting (because almost everyone has a smartphone, regardless of circumstance), but I don't want to press it. I could even hype it during conferences, but I choose not to at this time. It may be something I choose to do at the beginning of next year.
In the beginning of the year, I printed out forms that parents could fill their information in and return back to me, for me to manually add them. This form also gave a little information about what ClassDojo was. They had the option of choosing their cell or email to log in through their smartphone or computer- or both. When I sent out invites again last month (for those who had yet to join), I input their cell number/email (whichever I had on file) and they got a virtual invite directly from me (which is probably easiest for everyone involved).
I have a student who has 3 adults who are able to see updates- I think that once one parent is invited, that parent can have their significant other/family member added as well, since I did not invite two of those members. I think this is a great way to keep family members close if they live far away, especially deployed parents, etc.
Increased Communication (via Messages)
This could be good or bad ;) In my case, I haven't had any real issues. Sometimes parents will send a message "late" at night, or will send them during weekends, but depending on the circumstances, you can choose to wait until the next business day to respond. I've done both. Some cases parents will ask questions that take 30 seconds to respond to, which I don't mind answering right away, especially since I don't get messages often. You can also choose to turn off push notifications if you don't want to be notified 24/7- you just have to check the app. (I have my push notifications on and it's good for me)
I like that my number isn't attached to our communications, and that there is a record of them.
These are direct messages sent from one parent to me, or vice versa, and the other parents cannot view them. I also have the option of sending a "group message" to everyone, but that still doesn't include all parents in the same message- it just lets me type the message once and send it to all parents, individually.
Increased Communication (Stories)
I love this feature the most, and I think my parents feel the same way. I aim to post a picture a day to add to our class story (all parents can see). Usually they are examples of learning (like anchor charts or student work without names) with details of what we're learning about, or they're pictures of the students (I usually try not to show their face, even though these are family members of the students) doing work or enjoying a class treat/reward. Sometimes I don't post daily, because I forget to post/forget to take a picture/don't feel like it, and it's completely acceptable. I also don't post until school is let out- I don't want to raise any questions from admin or parents about what I do during the workday.
All parents can even "like" stories and comment on them. I don't get many comments anymore, but I did in the beginning of the year. I don't bother with individual stories. I think it's a great feature (it's basically a story thread where only me and that parent can see what I've posted), but I'd rather put my time into the class story instead of both or just the individual story. It could be great to post pictures of student work that you want parents to see, but want to keep.
ClassDojo also has growth mindset videos and other great tools on their website to check out!
Let me know if you have any questions about anything I've shared- I'd be happy to answer them! Do you use ClassDojo? What are your thoughts?