Class Dojo Made Me a Better Teacher

Class Dojo.  I know, I know.  Everyone that uses Class Dojo has blogged about it, and if you're not using it, you're completely over hearing about how wonderful Class Dojo is.
But

I wanted to tell you how Class Dojo has made me a better teacher.

The thing about Class Dojo is that for it to work, kids have to be excited about earning points.  Which they can't be if you're only taking away points.  Class Dojo has pushed me to focus much more on positive behaviors much more than negative behaviors.  If I really want to punish my class, I can say something super mean like this:

"Oh, Sarah and Colin, I love how you came in and got started right away.  Go give yourself two points on Class Dojo!"

It tortures the kiddos who weren't working.  And I'm focusing on positive behavior.  Exactly what we need to be doing.  (And, bonus? No work for me.  The kids are all trained on how to use it, and I do nothing. )
Do I take away points?  Absolutely.  But it's been very effective to ignore some negative behaviors and instead reward positive behaviors.  I give points for lots of things and mix it up to keep them on their toes.  I give to individual students, tables, and the whole class.

Super messy table?  Give the clean table next to them a point.

Kids off task?  Give the table that's working a point.

Talkative student?  Give the quiet student sitting next to him or her a point.

Somebody not paying attention?  Give a student a point for modeling good listening skills.

Everybody turned in their homework? Point.

Another teacher mentions the class was great in the hallway? Point.
True Story:
My teaching partner and I had just had our classes switch.  We were standing between our classrooms having a quick conference on a student's behavior.
My partner with Moxie: (Insert puzzled look) "Why are your kids all running to get to their desks?"
Me: "Because they think they might get a point."

Focusing on negative behaviors is never going to get you that.


p.s. How cute are those little monster avatars from Class Dojo? They're so fun!

**UPDATE**
I've gotten several comments and e-mails asking about what I do with the points and how I manage it.  Every other Friday (probably most of you would be able to manage every Friday, but I found every two weeks works well for me) I pay out our Dojo points.  I was initially using those little carnival type tickets, but we were going through tons of them.  So now I give them "tens" tickets and they use the regular little carnival tickets for the ones.  (23 points-two tens tickets and 3 little ones tickets).

What do they use them for?
I have list of coupons they can purchase for privileges in our classroom: shoes off, furry friend, hat in class, cushy seat (cheap chair cushion from Walmart),  sit with a friend at lunch, etc.  They can also purchase a "fancy" pencil (just pencils I get from Dollar Tree).  The boys love the fancy pencils.  Didn't see that one coming.  Except for the pencils, all of this stuff is free for me and doesn't create a "will work for toys" mentality.


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25 comments

  1. If you love class dojo, I am sure to love it too!
    Why wouldn't I want to have these little cute critters in the classroom!
    Checking it out right now!
    Thanks Megan!
    Julie

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have found that recently I have been only focusing on the negative. I needed reminded that often focusing on the positive is the better way to go!! Thanks! I will break out our class dojo again with that goal in mind.

    Brittany
    Stickers and Stamps

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  3. I've read about Class Dojo here and there, but I haven't investigated it enough yet. Does your school do a lot of switching between classes? Or do you students mostly stay in your room aside from specials? We switch every 50 minutes with most students moving here or there around the room. I'm wondering if it would work to set up with multiple classes in it?

    Christy
    Teaching In Oz

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  4. I learned about Class Dojo at the eTech conference and I want to implement it. After reading this, I DEFINITELY am! Thanks for sharing :)

    Amelia
    wherethewildthingslearn

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  5. I LOVE dojo! It has made such a positive impact. My friend said this is a new generation of students with so much invested in technology and what a great way for me to get caught up and get onto the same page!

    Bex

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  6. I feel really in the dark, I have never heard of it, but it sounds like something I need to check out. Thank you!

    Kelly
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

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  7. I do keep hearing about it - but I love it! Sounds like such a fun way to manage behavior. Sounds like your kids really love it! If I had a smart board I'd be all over it!

    Christy @ Teaching in Oz, I think you can manage different classes!

    Kate
    Second Grade Sparkle

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  8. I want to do Class Dojo really, really bad but our technology isn't compatible or something because I can't get it to work! :( Do you have it up on an interactive white board?
    Kim

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  9. I started using Class Dojo at the beginning of this year. It worked at first but then the kids started loosing interest. What do you do to keep them motivated? What do you do with the points they earn and how often to you re-start points?

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  10. Thank you so much for letting me know about Class Dojo. I started it today. My kids loved it and were so excited to see themselves getting points. Now I'm with Kimmie I would like to know. What do you do with the points they earn and how often do restart points? I just gave the student that got the most points a prize. But I felt bad for all the others that earned points too.
    ☀Rikki

    The Hive

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  11. Hi ladies! Thanks for all the Dojo Love! I updated my post to include information about how the kids use the points the earn in Class Dojo.

    Megan

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  13. I need to check out Dojo. I have heard so many great things about it. I am your newest follower, coming over from Tonya's.

    Terri
    The First Grade Princess

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  14. I use it as well and love hearing what other people do in terms of the rewards--thanks for sharing this. I love that you have kids give themselves points as well--awesome idea!

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  16. I used Class Dojo for a month to see how I would like it. I think it is a wonderful app, but there are some bugs in the software that drove me crazy. I couldn't always see the entire popup window when I was resetting the points (might be a browser issue). I tried to match the Dojo points with my colored card system, and it was MORE work for me! In addition, I don't have a dedicated computer to award Dojo points, so I was always having to stop what I was doing to say, "Ok, you get a Dojo point for being on task", sign on to Class Dojo, and interrupt what I was doing to award the point. I also noticed that the kids didn't see the Dojo points displayed, like they do with the color cards, so they didn't always know how many points they had. It was a constant state of "how many points do I have?" all day long! So I tabled it until next year. I will have to look and see how it will fit in with what I want to do.

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  17. I used Class Dojo for a month to see how I would like it. I think it is a wonderful app, but there are some bugs in the software that drove me crazy. I couldn't always see the entire popup window when I was resetting the points (might be a browser issue). I tried to match the Dojo points with my colored card system, and it was MORE work for me! In addition, I don't have a dedicated computer to award Dojo points, so I was always having to stop what I was doing to say, "Ok, you get a Dojo point for being on task", sign on to Class Dojo, and interrupt what I was doing to award the point. I also noticed that the kids didn't see the Dojo points displayed, like they do with the color cards, so they didn't always know how many points they had. It was a constant state of "how many points do I have?" all day long! So I tabled it until next year. I will have to look and see how it will fit in with what I want to do.

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  18. Hi Megan - 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 kaleng@classdojo.com Cheers :)

    @I Love 2nd Grade - Sounds like a computer resolution issue - can you shoot us an email at hello@classdojo.com so we can get this resolved for you right away?

    Cheers!

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  19. I'm interested in doing this for my middle school (7th and 8th grade) Resource Room class but am worried it won't keep these kids motivated. Any suggestions on what some good rewards would be? I just started teaching and most of my experience is with elementary school so I'm a little worried about keeping the kids motivated at this age!

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  20. I'm interested in doing this for my middle school (7th and 8th grade) Resource Room class but am worried it won't keep these kids motivated. Any suggestions on what some good rewards would be? I just started teaching and most of my experience is with elementary school so I'm a little worried about keeping the kids motivated at this age!

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  21. I'm an 8th grade resource teacher and I'm anxious to try this out. It seems like it would be great for project monitoring. With the behavior plans I have now I give out home work passes, computer time, listening to music time, and reading time.

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  22. I'm a music teacher and for the past few years I've done "points" for my fourth and fifth grade classes. I'm thinking about using dojo to keep track of these points next year. I only know a little bit about dojo - do you think I can do it by class instead of by student? Also, is there a reset button for when your kids cash in points or do you have to keep track of it in your head? Thanks for the inspiration!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lori-There is a reset button. You can reset whenever you like!

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  23. I have found that my students love getting to change their avatar, so I have added this as a reward. It's actually motivating them more than treasure box! And it costs nothing!

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