Distance learning can be hard to do, especially when you don’t have the right tools.
When I first heard that my school would be Distance Learning or doing a Hybrid Model, I panicked. I panicked because I wasn’t sure what the school year would look like and what resources I would be using.
I was relieved when I heard that my school was going to be using ClassDojo. In fact, I was excited! Because last summer I was the first one to implement it in my district. This was BEFORE everything happened.
When I first used ClassDojo, I absolutely fell in love with it! It allowed me to communicate with parents without giving out my personal number. I was able to notify parents right away of any closures. In general, it greatly improved my Parent Communication.
Then March came. The tool that I had used for Parent Communication was suddenly used for something else entirely!
I used it for Distance Learning.
Practically overnight I was able to use this platform as a way to teach. I conducted “Circle Time” and Read Alouds. All within a day or two of being notified that we would not be going back to school.
ClassDojo was my number one tool while Distance Learning.
And like a lot of other Districts, my District is using it for Parent Communication. This week was the first week back for Teachers. And I got to see first hand what it was like for New Teachers and Veteran Teachers to learn this resource in the middle of the chaos. It can be overwhelming.
That is why I decided to create this post. I want to help those teachers who have either never used ClassDojo or have used it but need some extra ideas on how to make it work for Distance Learning. Therefore, here are 6 ways on how to use ClassDojo and some extra tips for using it while Distance Learning.
(This post may contain affiliate or external links. Meaning I get a commision if you purchase anything through my links at no cost to you. Read full disclosure here.)
Setting Up Your Class or Classes
When you first create a ClassDojo account you will need to set up your classes. This will help you stay organized if you have different classes or if you have different groups of kids coming in on different days. You can do that by doing the following:
Creating a New Class
In order to create new class, hit the “New Class” button as shown below.
Setting Up Your Class
Next, fill out the information for your class such as the “Class Name” and “Grade.” Then click “Create Class” when you have filled out the information.
- Distance Learning Tip: You can create more than one class to help you organize. This can be especially helpful if you are doing a Hybrid Model. Instead of making one class, you can separate your class based on which day they attend school. (See example below)
Adding Students to Your Class
Now you are going to want to add students to your class. In order to do this, click the “Add Student” button. When you input the names you have to put first and last names.
After we have created students for our class, we can start giving them points. I love this option and I used it A LOT with my students inside and out of the classroom. This will be a great tool to help students monitor their behavior and desired outcome. So let’s get started!
Deciding Who Gets the Points
First, click on the student you want to give the point to. You can also give the whole class points by clicking the “Whole Class” button.
Giving Students Points
Next, you will see different tasks that students can get points for. The little numbers in the green circle are how many points each task is worth. Now click on which task the student did in order to receive a point.
Likewise, if you want to change which skills students are working on you can click on the “Edit Skills” button. Here you can click on the one that you want to change.
Here you can change the emoji of the task by clicking the drop menu and selecting the desired emoji. You can also change the name of the task by changing the text by the “Name” section. (For example: “Staying on Task”)
Now you can change how many points that task is worth. Click on the Drop Down Arrow next to the “Point weight” to change how many points the task is worth. Finally Click the “Save” button.
Taking Away Points
On the other hand, you can also take away points when students participate in a negative task. To access this, click the “Needs Work” tab.
I love to create new tasks based on what my class is doing well, and what we need to work on. For example, if my students are having a hard time “Raising their Hand” then I would make that task worth more points than the rest of the tasks.
Therefore they get extra points for working on it and sometimes I even make it their “Secret Mission” for the week!
You can also change the point value to “0” for things you just want to document. For instance, how many times a student goes to the bathroom or visits the nurse.
- Distance Learning Tip: You can use points as an incentive for your class. For example, if they get to a certain amount of points they can get a pajama day, no homework pass, or a crazy hat day! I have even more ideas about what Distance Learning Rewards you can do with your class using ClassDojo.
(You can even do this with ClassDojo by clicking on the top right corner on “Redeem Points” and then entering how many points in the “How Many” section. Also you can put the reward they got in the “Note” section.)
Putting Your Students into Groups
Another amazing thing about ClassDojo is that you can put your students into groups. This was a lifesaver when I would break students into small groups and needed to keep track of who was together. I also was able to give the group points based on the tasks or outcomes they completed. This is how you can create groups:
First click on the “Groups” Tab.
Next, create a group by clicking on the “Add Group” button.
Now, name your group by typing the Group Name in the “Group Name” section. After that, you can click on the monsters you want to be in the group and click “Create Group.”
(I find it helpful to plan these out ahead of time. Because you can add one person to more than one group and not realize it.)
- Distance Learning Tip: You can make these groups based on which kids you see which day while using the Hybrid Model.
- Distance Learning Tip: You can make these groups for small groups that you pull out at different times of the day.
(Remember: Students can belong to multiple groups, so you can create different Groups for throughout the day. Example: “Math Group 1,” “Reading Group 1,” etc.)
Portfolios are an awesome way to assign work to students. Especially younger students who can’t read or write yet. I used this section to assign a quick task after a lesson or Read Aloud. Here is how it works:
Setting up “Portfolios”
Click on the “Portfolios” tab at the top of the page.
Creating an Activity
Next, click on “Create Activity” button to create an assignment.
Next, give your Assignment a Title by typing in the “Title” section. Next, type the instructions you wish to give your students in order to complete the assignment.
There are several ways a student can complete or “Respond” to the assignment. They can type it out through “Text.” Students can also take a short “Video” of their response. You can also have them take a “Photo” or picture of something (like a worksheet or project). Or students can respond with a “Drawing.”
Select the option that represents how you want students to complete the assignment.
Assigning an Activity
Now you can decide if the whole class gets the assignment or just some of the students. To complete this, click on the drop down arrow and select “Whole Class” or individual students by clicking on them.
Finally, you can click on the “Assign” button on the bottom left.
- Differentiation Tip: You can have students respond in different ways based on their academic skills. This can be done by creating the same assignment multiple times but choosing different ways students complete the assignment. You can also change the instructions of the assignment to differentiate instruction.)
Responding to a Submitted Activity
Once a student completes an assignment you can click on it and leave a response in the “Write a Comment” section. You can also send it back as a draft or approve it for completion.
- Distance Learning Tip: Assign students to draw or write a response as an “Exit Ticket.”
- Distance Learning Tip: Have younger students draw a response or verbally answer with a video if they do not know how to read or write fluently yet.
Next we are going to talk about the “Class Story.” “Class Story” is what I like to refer to as the “Facebook” of ClassDojo. It allows you to communicate with parents by making a post. Within the post you can attach pictures, videos, and even files. Parents can also comment on these posts just like in Facebook.
Here is how to get started with “Class Story:”
Creating a Post in “Class Story”
First, click on the “Class Story” tab on the top of the page.
Next you can type in what you want parents to read in your post in the “What’s happening in your classroom?” section.
Now you can attach a photo in the post by clicking on the “Photo” button. You can click the “browse” link to attach a photo from your computer. Or you can go into your “Camera Roll” on your phone and attach a picture.
I like to attach a photo of the classroom, a newsletter or announcement that I sent out, or some pictures of projects we created in class. That way families know exactly what we did that day.
You can also attach a file (for example, like a newsletter) to the post by clicking on “File.”
I use this to attach newsletters that I have made for my families, worksheets for them to print out, or other important documents.
ClassDojo also has the option to record a short video and to post it. To do this, just click the “Record” button. I should warn you though, you only have 8 minutes of recording time. There will be a timer that appears to count down so you know how much time is left.
So if you are expecting to make a video longer that 8 minutes, I recommend making it a youtube video and just attaching the link within the text of the post.
For example option was great though for short read alouds, or welcoming families to the site.
Creating an Event
Another option within ClassDojo is to create an “Event.” An example of an event would be circle time, read alouds, etc.
To create an event click on the “Event” button.
Then Give your event a Title by typing in the “Title” box. Next, you’re going to need to schedule when you want your event to be. So decide the date and time, as well as the ending date and time.
You may also want to type in a description in the “Description” box so your families and parents know what to expect.
You can also change the emoji and color by clicking on them in the “Theme” section.
The next section is the “Reminders” section. This is when your families will get a notification reminding them about the event. Click on which time you would like your parents to be notified about the event.
When you have finished your event, Click on the “Create” button to post the event to your feed.
- Distance Learning Tip: Make a Google Hangout Event in your Google Calendar. Then Copy and Paste the link to the Event Description to make it into a virtual meet.
- Distance Learning Tip: If you are using Google Classroom, Copy and Paste your Google Classroom Hangout Link to your Event Description to make it easier for families to access on the first day of school.
The last section on ClassDojo is “Messages.” Messages is like “Messenger” on Facebook. It allows you to MSG your families directly. It also allows families to get in contact with you without giving your personal number out.
I love “Messages” because I was able to reach parents who did not answer a phone call or to answer some distance learning questions. I was also able to schedule Parent Teacher Conferences through “Messages.”
Here is how you can get started with “Messages:”
First, click on the “Messages” tab on the top of the page.
Next, click on the student’s family that you wish to talk to. Or click on “All Parents” to send the same msg to all of your families.
Now you can type in the msg you want to send by typing in the “Message” box. You can also attach a file by clicking on the Paperclip button. You can also send a photo by clicking on the Picture button.
Next you can either click “Send” to send the message to your parents right away. Or you can Click on the Drop Down Arrow on the Send button to Schedule when you would like to send the MSG to parent(s).
This can be extremely helpful if you are answering MSGS late at night and want to schedule them in the morning during Office Hours.
There is so much to ClassDojo and this is only some of the basics you can do with it. I know learning a new platform can be hard, especially while implementing it during Distance Learning. That’s why I created a specific BONUS Section for other ways you can use ClassDojo while Distance Learning (or in the classroom).
BONUS: Other Ways to Use ClassDojo
Distance Learning Tip: You can Link a Kahoot! Challenge in the “Class Story” as a way to review material for homework. Or as an exit ticket.
(For example, I love sending my students Sight Word Challenges on Kahoot! where they have to identify the sight word.)
Distance Learning Tip: You can Link a GoNoodle in the “Class Story” as a Brain Break to get your students moving.
Distance Learning Tip: Another awesome idea I’ve seen is to Link a “Youtube” video to the “Class Story” to go over material.
(I personally do this with a lot of Jack Hartman videos)
Distance Learning Tip: Something that I didn’t even realize until recently, is that you can post the link from your Google Classroom to your ClassDojo Story. You can also do this with assignments, announcements, and more!
And that is some of my Distance Learning tips! If you want to learn more, or you want to have a “How To” handout, you can subscribe to my Newsletter and get access to this “ClassDojo For Distance Learning Handout” I made.
Let’s Wrap it up!
Overall I know that post was super long. However, I hope it gave you some tips or ideas on how you can use ClassDojo in your Classroom this upcoming Fall.
What other ways can you use ClassDojo for Distance Learning? Any tips that I missed? Please comment below so we can help each other have a great year Distance Learning!
The Present Teacher
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