One of the programs I’ve mentioned a few times, especially when I talked about my presentation at the Kosovo Learning Summit, is called Class Dojo. It’s a behavior Management and Parent Communication tool that I used last year in student teaching and brought all the way to Prishtina. It’s been so cool to see how my students respond to the technology since it is so lacking in schools, and how parents are using it to stay connected with our class. I had someone ask me about what it is, so I thought I would share a bit here.
What is it? It’s an app and website where I create a class to keep track of student behavior. Each of my kiddos has a “monster” that I can give positive or negative points to, depending on their behavior. I get to change the points and behaviors to whatever fits my class, so if we start having an issue with throwing books across the room tomorrow I can automatically incorporate it into my behavior management. It’s especially helpful for my ESL students who can see the number of points that match their individual character and hear the fun sound associated with positive points!
What makes it different than a regular behavior clip chart or system? For me, the parent communication is the best part about Class Dojo. It’s great for my kids to be motivated to behave so their monster earns a point, but I really appreciate being able to have a direct link my students’ parents. Especially working at an International School where the majority of my parents either speak English as their second language or they don’t even speak English, it’s so helpful to have a way to keep them updated. They get to see how their student is behaving and I don’t have to do any extra work to make sure they see it.
The messaging system is an excellent tool because Kosovar parents are very involved and invested in their children’s education. Many asked for my cell phone number at the beginning of school so they could contact me. Instead, I just sign them up for ClassDojo and we both end up happy! They can message me anytime they want and I keep my privacy. I have a few parents who even message me in Albanian because it’s their only way of having a chance to talk to me. There are enough local teachers at the school to translate for me, so I just make sure to ask someone across the hall when she messages me.
But what about things other than behavior? That’s where Class Stories come in! I can post videos or pictures straight from the app on my phone or iPad to show parents what we are doing in class. Projects, games, group activities, you name it! I can see how many parents view it, like it, and how many use the translate feature for the captions. Dojo has quite a list of languages to translate into, but unfortunately Albanian is not on the list (yet). I have a few parents who speak Turkish that take advantage of that feature though. I get to post reminders for dress up days, parent conferences, and wish them a Happy Halloween all in one place.
As a first year teacher in a new country with multicultural ESL students I have had to do a lot of readjusting, refiguring, and plenty of starting from scratch in my classroom. One thing that has been consistent though is definitely Class Dojo. It’s a program I feel comfortable using that works even if you don’t speak English. International teaching is my path for the forseeable future and no matter what country I’m in, I think Class Dojo will be right there with me!
Three posts in as many days?? It’s a whole new Rhett! (no promises, this is probably just a fluke) Also this probably came off basically as an advertisement for Class Dojo but I got a bit carried away when someone asked me to explain it. Whoops. My next post will be back to normal, talking about life here in Prishtina and potentially our next adventure (we’re thinking Greece!).
Thanks for reading -Rhett