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Using Class Dojo with a Classroom Economy System

I heard about Class Dojo partway through the year last year and tried it out, and it became a HUGE tool in my class.  My class needed some sort of cue when their behavior was less than stellar and THRIVED on positive reinforcement.  I am not a fan of public displays for behavior management and so this was difficult for me at first, but my kids needed recognition.  They needed that extrinsic reminder and reinforcement.  I was also excited that I was able to incorporate my individual behavior plans right within this system so I was no longer managing four different plans.  I know a lot of people are familiar with  Class Dojo already, but I thought I’d share specifically how I used it in my class.
First, I modified the behaviors in the system to more accurately reflect what I wanted to recognize my students for.  There are presets available, but part of the power of the program is the ability to customize it to exactly the items you want to focus on.  I used Dojo ALL.THE.TIME. to praise my students so there were a ton of positive behaviors in there.  These are the positive behaviors I used with my students.
I also did use Class Dojo, at times, for consequences.  I know positive reinforcement is the best way to manage behavior, however, as I described my students needed to have something tangible attached to their behaviors, so at times, after multiple reminders, a point would be taken away.  Because parents could also log in to see how their student’s day went, I didn’t want them to only see positives if a child had a rough day.  The ins and outs of positive and negative reinforcement is worthy of its own post so I’ll just leave it at that for now.  Here are the negative behaviors I used in my classroom.
My students earned many points each day.  At the end of the day, the students recorded their points on a chart they kept in their binders.  I walked around and monitored their recordings and honestly never had any issues with students being dishonest.
It was a simple four column chart (the left is cut off in this picture).  Students recorded the date, they wrote daily, their points, and then their new points total.  Students kept their chart in their binders that we used each day.  At the end of the day, I reset all the bubbles in the system so that each day was a fresh start for each child.  A few days a week I would allow students to use their points for rewards.  I didn’t do it all within Class Dojo because I didn’t want it to inaccurately reflect as a problem behavior if I deducted points so we did it all on paper.  This also allowed me to then use the percentages within Class Dojo as a behavior grade since we have to give a letter grade for behavior.
The students and I brainstormed rewards together as a class.  I wanted the students to get involved and to have buy in with the system, and this helped me give them rewards they actually wanted.  We combined some tangible rewards with more classroom-based no money rewards because I think those can be just as desirable as something tangible.  I determined the points value for each reward, however, and explained that part was not negotiable.
The point systems seem high, but that’s because I was constantly awarding points to my students.  I really wanted to focus on the positive and reinforce them for the great things they were doing so many students were earning 10-15 points a day.  The PAWS card was our whole school recognition program.
I hope this gives you a couple ideas on using ClassDojo in your class (maybe a bit differently than you have been).  I’ve continued to use Class Dojo over the last several years in different ways, and I love that you can modify it each year to what works best for you and your students.  I hope you liked this Bright Idea and will check out the other Bright Ideas posts for this month!

I also blogged about how I’ve used student self-portraits and other images instead of Class Dojo monsters.  You can read through my step-by-step tutorial by clicking the link below.

Class Dojo Self-Portraits

31 Comments

  • I always do my daily high scorer gets to pick form the treasure chest! Then I used the data features to track and make sure everyone got a chance at experiencing that! I heart Class Dojo and love what you have done with it to make it more meaningful for your kids!

    Jennifer from
    Simply Kinder

  • Hi there! How often did you reward the students? Was it a daily or weekly thing? Looking forward to reading you response.

  • How did you award the points? Did the students give themselves the points and Dojo was on the smartboard all day or did you do the points yourself? Trying to work the bugs out as to how to give points. I'm desperately trying to get away from my clip chart. I use Dojo when I'm out of the room and I record +/- on my iPad and transfer it to my clip chart. I'm just wondering how others award the points as to not disrupt class too very much but allow the students the joy of giving themselves points. Thanks!!!

    • I teach middle school so I keep dojo on my iPad and leave the sound on. They know the positive sound and the negative sound, they just aren’t sure who’s getting the points until last 3 minutes of class.

  • I have just started using Class Dojo and was wanting to make it work with a class economy. I am loving how you make it work for your class, but I have a question about your 500 points class movie reward. Do the 500 points come from one student or can multiple students chip in on this rewards?

  • I noticed that you have a whole class reward for 500 points. How did you determine that if the reward system is individual?

    • Students save their points to earn a 500 point reward if they would like. I give out a lot of points because I’m always trying to focus on their positive behavior. After a few months, some students have that many.

      • Tessa,
        I love class dojo! how did you manage kids actually getting their points? were they allowed to get up and log them on their own? which computer did they use? did you do this for them?

        • Sometimes I’ll tell students to go give themselves a point from my computer. This is especially true while I’m across the room working in small groups. However, I generally give them myself from my computer, a tablet I often bring from home, or from my phone on the app.

    • That’s such a loaded question. By recognizing and rewarding the desired behavior, the idea is that the undesired behaviors will diminish and the desired behaviors will increase.

  • I love the idea of using DOJO, but I am confused on a couple things.. Do you leave the Dojo screen on your whiteboard/smart board all day, so students see their points? Also, if someone loses a point because of undesired behaviors, do you bring it to their attention in some way immediately? I guess I’m not sure how effective this is if left for them to see at the end of the day? Also, I like the idea of students tracking their progress in their binders. Again, for them to track their own progress, are their dojos projected on the board for them to see their days earned points so they can record in their binders? Or told to them? Thank you for any help you can offer..
    Mandy D.

    • Everyone uses Dojo in the way that works for them, their students, and their classroom environment. The way I use it may not be the way others use it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective for either one of us.

      I do not project the screen all day long. Usually 2-3 times a day I’ll put it up for students to see where they’re at. They’re motivated by the positive “ding” so when they hear someone getting it, they don’t know if it’s them or not, but if they’re not doing the right thing, they often quickly change their ways.

      If students are having a point removed I almost always let them know that either as I’m doing it or just before. I want them to know that their exact behavior is not okay. With that said, I don’t often remove points as I think that positive reinforcement is much more beneficial.

      I’m not understanding the point behind your question asking if it’s projected or told to them. Does it matter? However students are notified, and however works for an individual teacher, works for them. For me, they’re projected for about 3 minutes as students record and then I erase them.

      I can’t help but feel defensive based on your comments and that you are trying to make accusations. These questions seem very specific and that the system is unadaptable in any way. I’m not sure where these questions are coming from, or why.

  • Can you tell me how the students know how many points to record each day? If I remember correctly Class Dojo displays the total cumulative number of points for each student. To get a daily report you would have to go into a separate report for each child. Please share if there is an easier way as I would really like my students to keep a daily record. Thank you for your help =)

    • We reset the points each day so then at the end of the day what is displayed is what they have earned for just that day. Resetting the points doesn’t erase them from the history so I can still use the reports for tracking and the parents can still see what happened each day. Does that help?

  • I used this exactly the same with my students! How do you get the dojo points to disappear once they spend their points? Do you individually delete out 75 points? Or did you figure out a way to keep track of it? That is what I struggle with most on Dojo.

    • I’m sorry it has taken me so long to reply. Your comment got lost in a sea of spam and I’ve just found it.

      I delete students points each day (nearly) using the “reset bubbles” button. It still keeps track of the student data internally, but allows students to start each day fresh. Daily students record their point totals on the log shown in the post. They add their points for the day and then write the new total. When they “spend” their points, I subtract it out. It works pretty much like a check register.

      I hope this helps!

      • How do you subtract them out of the system without them showing as negative behavior?

        • I’m sorry for the delay in responding. Your comment got lost in a sea of spam! I reset the points each day after they had recorded. So, then, it wasn’t a negative behavior and they really kept tracking on their individual page. Does that help?

  • I really enjoy how you are using the paper log as I think it really helps in using math in real life like money. I teach resource room so my students in each group vary and I have them 30-60 minutes at a time but not really more than 90 per day. Since I have such a short time with them and they don’t all come to all subject areas I am trying to decide how this might work woth my limited time. Hmmmm, love it though! If I ever teach self-contained or gen ed I will probably use the idea if I can’t find a way to modify it to work for my current class! I also love the start from acratch each day thing. I might try to get an iPad since I teach small groups all the time so I am never at my computer and my phone is too small to display all the kids at once so I lose valuable teaching time and the pace of the lesson.

    Got me thinking again! Thanks!

  • I love this! Just wondering, what grade do you teach? I will be teaching second grade this year. I’ve used Class Dojo before, but have struggled with attaching points to prizes because of tracking.

    • This post was written when I was teaching third grade. The kids did fine tracking their own points at that age. However, in first and second I’ve not done the economy system because of tracking and students’ inability to wait as long for rewards due to age.

  • I know this post is severeal years old, but do you have any examples of sample letters you would send to parents explaining this system? If so, would you be willing to share?

    • At this point, most of the families have already been familiar with the system. I do send a letter but it just basically explains that I focus on positive reinforcement, students get rewards for points, and we can use it to communicate. I include it as part of my beginning of the year letter- not stand alone- so I don’t have it as a sample, sorry!

    • There are a lot of free class dojo resources on tpt! I found an editable letter for the parents that I sent home at the beginning of the year.

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