Communication Strategy: ClassDojo!

Article by Dora Daniels

Who wants to spend a lot of time on the phone or sending tons of parent emails during their plan time or after school? Is there a way to get around this and still have open communication with parents? The answer is yes. It is ClassDojo!

As a teacher, we are always looking for ways to stay connected with our parents, even when we struggle to find the time to do this. The majority of our parents have access to a cell phone or to email. ClassDojo gives the opportunity for parents to sign up and log into their child’s account and see daily what is happening in their students’ classrooms. For many students, they will also create a student account so that they can visually see how they are progressing with their dojo points.

With ClassDojo, the teacher can award positive feedback for the students daily. Students can get points for being on task, being a leader, turning in homework, working hard, etc. The students could also lose points for different things as well. However, if this seems too negative, it can be turned into a positive piece as well. For example, parents may see why the student has lost a point, such as for missing homework. This gives parents a chance to discuss the issue with the student because they have seen it in the ClassDojo report. Maybe they can help to get that missing assignment submitted. And, at this point, the teacher still has not made one phone call home or sent an email.

One of the biggest things students worry about is always participating and getting incorrect answers in the classroom. With ClassDojo students have the opportunity to be rewarded for a bank of different reasons. It could be from positive behavior in the hallway to helping out in the classroom. Teachers are able to create reasons why students should get points. Therefore, every students in the classroom has the opportunity to earn points which in turn creates a positive learning environment every student wants to be in.

You can also use ClassDojo for a friendly competition in the classroom. Some ideas could be having students on teams and the team at the end of the week wins an incentive. You can have them do individual competitions, too. In my personal experience, I would have a friendly competition within my classroom weekly. So the top three students who had the most Dojo points for the week would be able to choose from a prize. Again, I know that teachers don’t want to spend a lot of money so I would use free prizes: sit where you want for a day, free homework pass, extra credit points, or since I taught math, write with a pen for a day (which was a big deal for a lot of students because they were only allowed to write with a pencil in my class).

Throughout all of this, students have a voice in their ClassDojo. Students tend to take ownership when there is accountability. They like to see why they receive a point not for grades but instead for positive actions in the classroom. Students soon realize that that it is not always about being the one with the right answer or the one with the best score on a test to get recognized for positive behavior. They begin to show leadership, they help others, and they make sure that they turn in their homework on time — all of which earns them points. At the beginning of the year, teachers like to set classroom rules and expectations as a class so that the students take ownership in the rules. These could translate into your ClassDojo as well. Students could help determine what are the ways that they could earn and lose points. This way they have a say in the points system.

One last positive communication piece that ClassDojo provides for us as a teacher is the ability to share photos with parents. Parents love to see what is happening in the classroom and engaging activities, so being able to share a photo with them allows them to see engaging experiences.

As a teacher, you always want to make sure that you have a positive learning environment. ClassDojo certainly will do this. I can tell you that my students were so excited (even at a Middle School level) and they wanted to earn points. They could not wait for me to update the growth board to show the new leaders! They also loved being able to go home at night and share the good news with their parents on why they got the points they did.

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