I have been in the early childhood education field for over 15 years and everyday I am learning something new! If there is one thing I remember most from every CDA class I teach, it is that we all learn best from one another. A few years ago, I was introduced to Class Dojo and it has really helped with my classroom management. Although there are many important components to your classes at , classroom management is something that comes with experience. Even the most seasoned teachers, including those with their CDA, rely on one another for tips and ideas, which is how I learned about Class Dojo.
Class Dojo is an online/web-based service that is completely free and available to everyone all over the world. You can download the app for free and connect it to your online account. If you are fortunate enough to have a smart board or some other projector/projection capability, it can really enhance its purpose, but it is not necessary.
You start by entering all of your student’s names. Class Dojo will randomly select an avatar (a funky monster icon) for each of your students. You then invite parents and guardians to link to their child’s account. Invitations can be printed for free, or you can invite parents via email or text. You then award points to students on behaviors or expectations that YOU set. Some examples are, cleaning up after-self, raising hand to ask questions, sharing, Follow directions the first time, etc. You can also create negative points, for things such as biting, hitting, not following classroom rules, etc.
Students earn points for various reasons that you determine as their teacher. Throughout random times of the day, I show the students what their Dojo Point total is so they can see their points adding up. If you use your phone, turn up the sound so that when points are awarded, you can hear the “ding” alerting students that they are doing the right thing and are earning points.
At the end of the day, week, or month (whichever you choose), you can reward the students. I personally have a classroom “menu” from which students can choose. Some things that are included in my menu are: Free Dress Down Day, Homework Pass, Extra Recess, Choose from Prize Box, Extra Computer Time, and Assignment Pass. You can come up with any rewards you desire! It is sometimes great to let the students come up with their own rewards. Take a class vote and teach a mini math lesson on calculating the votes!
There are many other components on Class Dojo that are useful to teachers, but my other personal favorite is the parent connection. It is a quick, easy, paperless way to reach out to all parents at once. Helpful reminders such as holidays or school closings, special events at your center, homework reminders, trip reminders, or you can even send personal/individual reminders such as, “Please send more diapers!”
If you have experience with Class Dojo, or are willing to give it a try, let us know how it is working out! When completing your assignments at be sure to discuss your experience with Dojo, especially when addressing Parent Communication, Planning a Safe Environment, and you can even use it to track student behaviors. Class Dojo can work for any CDA candidate in the early childhood field!
By Instructor Tiffany