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ClassDojo February 17, 2013

Filed under: education — mrsthomas2 @ 12:20 pm

I started using ClassDojo a few years ago and quickly found that the children in my Year 5 class loved it. It is simple to use, an email and password and you are in.
There is a demo class set up for you to play with and then you make your own class or classes. You can add names individually or import a list, and an avatar is given to each child but you can change them. I let my children choose any avatar as long as it was their house colours. Then you customise behaviours. There are 6 positive and negative behaviours already for you to use- hard work, helping others, on task, participation, persistence and team work. You can then add anything which would be appropriate for your class. I used it for the rest of that year pretty much as it came adding a few behaviours as I thought of them.
This is the great part of ClassDojo. Although the children loved the rewarding ‘ping’ of a point on their avatar, I wondered how long the novelty would last. Then I realised that changing the behaviours would keep them on their toes. There was a point at the beginning of the summer term last year, when I felt that some of my Year 2 class had forgotten my beginning of year rules about listening. ‘Look at the speaker, sit or stand still, don’t talk over anyone else, etc.’ I added these to my ClassDojo behaviours and at the end of the lesson asked the children who they felt had deserved points for these behaviours. I asked them not to think of themselves but to look around and try to think not just who is good, but who did what well. They suggested a few names and had to tell me what they had done and we gave those children the relevant reward points. At the beginning of the next lesson, one child who had constantly found sitting and listening to instructions difficult, announced not so subtly that he was sitting quietly and looking at me. He did manage it for the brief carpet time and got his points at the end when someone suggested his name and his good behaviours.
As the children improved again in their listening skills, I changed the behaviours again. This time I thought about exactly what I wanted to reward the children for and what I wanted to encourage. I kept some of the default behaviours, such as ‘helping others’ and ‘persistence’ but changed the name of some others to reflect our school vocabulary. So we had ‘managing distractions’ instead of ‘on task’ and ‘working together’ instead of ‘teamwork’. This had really made me think. What did I mean by participation? I wanted the children to ‘ask questions’ and ‘share ideas’ so these became two more behaviours to reward. I wanted to encourage them to think for themselves and begin to work more independently of an adult. So ‘thinking and reflecting’ ‘reading and researching’ and ‘working independently’ were added. The children began to ask others before me if they needed help or to think or read before coming to ask. I had a couple who wanted to check everything before they committed pencil to paper, even when they knew what to do. They now began to take the risk without me saying ‘Yes, that’s right.’
Then in Science and Art, I noticed that some children were not really observing. They looked and thought they had seen but it was often cursory and all too quick. So ‘observing carefully’ was added. Soon after I wanted them to record accurately so ‘being accurate’ was added, as was ‘writing and recording neatly’.
We don’t go through these behaviour skills at the end of every lesson, but we do a couple of times a week. I don’t have to ask if they can think of someone who has used these skills any more. The children are keen to show me they have noticed it going on around them. Occasionally a child now comes up and says “Can Ben have a point for being really neat because he is really trying today?” or “Tom didn’t ask you for help today, isn’t that good?” Then we add the points as we go along.
ClassDojo is also available as an app on the iPad and phones, so sometimes I add rewards when I reflect on the behaviours of individuals or the whole class. Or I will add points in their books when I mark them to reflect on the skills I can see they are using. It has made us all think and that is great. I haven’t used the negative behaviour side at all. We are much too busy looking for good things going on around us!


One Response to “ClassDojo”

  1. Hi Fiona – Kalen from ClassDojo here. Thank you so much for taking the time to post about us – our small team here at ClassDojoHQ really appreciates the support!

    If anyone who comes across this post has any questions for us or needs help getting set up with their free account, please don’t hesitate to reach out at Cheers 🙂

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