Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2018


Handy management and portfolio tool can promote student growth

Subjects & skills

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (147 Reviews)
Privacy (See details)

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Pros: This free site offers many features to document, manage, and improve student behavior and learning.

Cons: Some kids could interpret the behavior tracking as a system of extrinsic rewards and punishments, especially when the information is displayed publicly.

Bottom Line: With thoughtful implementation, it can help teachers and parents support students' growth through goal-setting, feedback, and celebration.

ClassDojo is a tool that teachers can use in class from start to finish. Begin with a short Think-Pair-Share activity, using the timer and noise manager to keep the discussion on track and respectful. Next, assign an activity for student portfolios: Let them draw out a challenge 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. Once or twice during the lesson, send a quick positive message or image to a parent. This is a great way to strengthen the home-school connection, celebrate classroom successes, and document student learning over time. Don't forget to add pictures to your class story to keep parents in the loop. You might even want to record yourself explaining assignments, so parents can help at home. 

Throughout the class, award points to positively reinforce individuals or groups for meeting or exceeding expectations, or send gentle reminders to students or groups who need them. Be careful to ensure that individuals aren't publicly singled out in negative ways: Consider privately using the app to track student behavior. 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. Having all these options built into one handy tool cuts down on the need for multiple products and gives teachers lots of data to inform instruction.

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ClassDojo is an online classroom management platform where teachers can record and track student behavior, facilitate classroom activities, curate student portfolios, and communicate with parents. Student sign-in is simple with a QR code, link, or Google account. From the teacher dashboard, teachers can create original activities or use the toolkit to post class announcements, conduct warm-ups, 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.

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, text, images, or drawings; once approved, these are documented in portfolios that follow students from year to year. Newer features include templates where teachers can add five-minute lessons to the class story; here, topics such as growth mindset and perseverance give students a chance to learn valuable social and emotional skills. On the school-to-home side, parents can create accounts to see behavioral and academic progress as well as to communicate with the teacher via a messenger tab. Teachers can also choose to share classroom events and photos, giving families a chance to feel more connected to the classroom. 

Many teachers see ClassDojo as a transformational tool in their efforts toward employing better classroom management. This type of real-time, classwide communication can help make behavior and learning expectations more clear and concrete for students. At the same time, it's important to note that some features may not be for everyone. 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.

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

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The interface makes managing classroom behavior and activities easy for teachers, and kids will like the options for submitting to portfolios. Long-term success will depend on consistent use.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

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 Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Portfolio activities in the form of text, videos, photos, or drawings enable teachers to reach learners who struggle with traditional assessments. There's plenty of support, including a FAQ page and helpful videos.

Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 147 reviews) (147 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Danielle B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
P.S 69 Daniel D Tompkins School
Staten Island, United States
ClassDojo is an amazing communication tool for students and teachers. I love that I can post videos and photographs while students are working in class. The parents love to see the students in real-time and it makes them feel comfortable.
ClassDojo also has a built in digital portfolio for students to upload and showcase their work. I do not use it yet - but I constantly use it to photograph the students and keep in touch with parents. It is also a great motivator because it is a point system. Students love earning points and winning prizes!
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