Website review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2020

ClassDojo

Exemplar bridge between home and school also aids learning

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 151 reviews
Privacy rating
90%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
K–6
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration, Character & SEL

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Pros: Free site offers many interactive features to document, manage, and boost behavior, learning, and parent communication.

Cons: Behavior point system could prove problematic if used punitively and/or publicly.

Bottom Line: With thoughtful implementation, ClassDojo can help teachers and parents support students' growth through goal-setting, formative assessment, communication, and celebration.

ClassDojo is a tool that teachers can use in class from start to finish. Begin by displaying a welcome activity as students enter the room. Then, with a short Think-Pair-Share activity, use the timer and noise manager to keep the discussion on track and respectful. Next, assign an activity for student portfolios: Let kids draw out a challenging math problem, record a video discussing the novel they're reading, write a hypothesis for a science lab, or snap a picture of a completed assignment for teacher feedback. If you want to engage kids in critical thinking, consider assigning one or more Conundrum activities, and use them as a basis for class discussions on issues that do not have clear-cut answers. Throughout the class, award points to positively reinforce individuals or groups for meeting or exceeding expectations. Be careful to ensure that individuals aren't publicly singled out in negative ways: Consider privately using the app to track student behavior if you choose to use it at all. Close out the class with a five-minute growth mindset activity, giving kids a chance to wind down and reflect on their learning for the day.

Once or twice during the lesson, send a quick positive message or image to a child's parent or guardian. This is a great way to strengthen the school-to-home connection, celebrate classroom successes, and document student learning over time. Don't forget to add pictures to your Class Story to keep the grown-ups in the loop. Being able to see their children in action can help them feel like a part of their child's day. As with any parent communication platform, it's important to remember that it's possible some parents don't have easy access to tech and/or may not be super comfortable using tech, so find out what support parents might need to use the platform effectively.

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ClassDojo is an online classroom management platform and app where teachers can record and track student behavior, facilitate classroom activities, curate student portfolios, and engage in school-to-home communication. Student sign-in is simple with a class code, QR code, or username. From the teacher dashboard, teachers can create original activities or use the toolkit to post class announcements, assign from the library, create random groups, and more. Depending on how they choose to set things up, teachers can share information privately or publicly, often displayed to the class on a screen or interactive whiteboard. It's possible to translate messages home into 30+ languages.

Along with points awarded or deducted for customizable positive and negative behaviors, teachers can assign activities to students to submit in the form of videos, audio, text, files, images, or drawings; once approved, these are documented in portfolios that follow students from year to year. Newer features include Conundrums, SEL-focused, short, hypothetical situations that students respond to via a response sheet. On the home-to-school side, parents or guardians can create accounts to see behavioral and academic progress as well as to message teachers. Teachers can also choose to share classroom events and photos, giving families a chance to feel more connected to the classroom. Families who wish to bring the ClassDojo features into their household can purchase a yearly subscription that allows them to set goals and award or deduct points for their kids for things that the parents choose, such as completing homework or doing chores. 

Teachers may find that ClassDojo is a transformational tool in their efforts toward fostering stronger parent engagement. This type of real-time communication with students, groups, or the whole class can help make behavior and learning expectations more clear and concrete for students and families. And the ability to translate messages into more than 30 languages allows all parents to get involved and stay informed. Plus, teachers can assign activities to the whole class, groups, or individual students, which allows for differentiation. 

It's important to note that the point system for behavior management could be problematic -- and even damaging -- depending on how a teacher uses it. Teachers should be sure to emphasize positive reinforcement and use the tool's public features in ways that support students' privacy and dignity. Even in light of teachers' best efforts, some students might still interpret the system in more of an extrinsic way. The program's effectiveness depends largely on responsible and consistent use. Thankfully, teachers don't have to display the point system or use it at all.

In terms of ClassDojo's learning management, communication, and SEL features, they can promote a wider picture of students' daily experiences and provide transparency for teachers, students, and families. While teacher feedback for student behavior is useful, these additional features allow stakeholders to see a larger picture of progress over time, perhaps enabling them to see the connections between student behavior and learning successes. In addition, the chance for students to demonstrate learning and receive meaningful feedback in nontraditional ways may help teachers to better evaluate a student's progress. Overall, the program can be a valuable way to keep instruction more whole-child focused, as a complement to a school's attention toward student academic skills and assessment.

Overall Rating

Engagement

The features make connecting with parents individually or as a classroom community easy, kids will love the monster avatars, and everyone will appreciate the student portfolios.

Pedagogy

It's a powerful tool for monitoring students' growth, setting goals, and communicating with parents. Teachers will need to set the right tone and use the platform responsibly and ethically.

Support

There's a strong community, solid onboarding materials, extensions, and a translation feature for messaging. More accessibility features would be great.


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

Community Rating

(See all 151 reviews) (151 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Heather D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Isleton Elementary School
Isleton, United States
Wonderful for Teacher - Family Communication
My overall opinion of this as a teaching tool is that it is great addition to lessons on growth mindset, connecting with families to help continuation of learning at home, and for students to be able to share their learning with the teacher. The app also allows the teacher to use it to send out short direct instructional videos, how-to tutorials, and read alouds. I am looking forward to seeing the worksheet addition they are adding this fall. It would be nice to be able to share interactive documents ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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