Using ClassDojo to reinforce 21st century skills in PBL

I haven’t used ClassDojo since the beginning of last year. I didn’t think that I would need to use it again, since I’m working at a selective school, and I naively believed that these young people would be 100% engaged 100% of the time. Oops. I was wrong. No one is going to be engaged all of the time, and that’s the same with kids at selective schools, Well, if I’m entirely honest they are super on task when doing something independent – but collaborative tasks seem to bring out the chatty in my year 10. For the first three projects this year I tried to encourage them along with shushing, and then a bit of serious bitch face mode, but mostly it had little effect. To give a bit of context, I don’t have my own classroom anymore, so I can’t really move the furniture around to suit our project work – no more matching the physical space to the learning for me. This means that group work is more side-by-side work, with students being very close to others not in their teams, and you know what that means – off task chatter. After a bit of a think, I decided to go back to ClassDojo.

Year 10 parent-teacher interviews are coming up at the beginning of next term, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to test out the report feature in ClassDojo too. I’ve promised my students that I will be printing out individual reports to show their parents their behaviour in class – both the good, and the bad. This certainly got their attention! If parents are happy with what they see, I can organise for them to set up their own ClassDojo account, so they can track their child’s performance – nice, huh?

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There are a few cool new features in ClassDojo that make it perfect for Project Based Learning. Here they are:

Flexible points for behaviours:

I can now change the point value for different behaviours – previously it was just one point per behaviour. Now I can make the 21st century skills we’re focused on worth more – for example, this project we’re assessing collaboration and creative and critical thinking, and these three skills I’ve made worth 5 points. Students have been given a BIE rubric for each skill, so they know what I am looking for. Other behaviours like being on task, or participating are worth 1 or 2 points.

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I use a timer a lot in my class, so having it built into ClassDojo is super convenient. I use the timer for things like changing the furniture (thanks Cameron Paterson), speed dating style activities and timed writing activities.

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This doesn’t replace my formal attendance check using Sentral, but it does mean that when I allocate points to the whole class, it doesn’t go to absent students. Winning!

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Random student selector:

This is my favourite new feature. Basically you click ‘random’ and it just brings up a randomly selected student’s name ready to receive, or lose points. So cool because it reminds me to look at those students who I might miss, plus also helps me ‘catch’ kids doing the right thing. Finally, it is a cool formative assessment tool like Dylan Wiliam uses his paddlepop sticks – if the student whose name got picked randomly is doing the right thing, the whole class gets a point, if not, no one gets one. The trick is to keep the student’s name anonymous, so there’s no finger-pointing if points aren’t awarded.

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The app:

OK, so this has been around for ages, but now it is seamless. Today I was outside of the class working with team representatives, and I could give points and the students in the classroom could see the points going up (or down) on the IWB. I even went to see a colleague in the staff room and was awarding points from there – needless to say, my students were pretty impressed. Haha. Having the app on my phone frees me up to walk around the room and work with students, and also to see what they’re up to, and award points accordingly. So cool.

I’m super happy with how ClassDojo has been helping year 10 stay focused, and feel that their 21st century skills are being developed and rewarded each lesson. Tech win!


2 thoughts on “Using ClassDojo to reinforce 21st century skills in PBL

  1. Hi Bianca! Jenna here from ClassDojo 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to write this thoughtful and helpful post. We really appreciate the support. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out!

  2. I’m pretty sure my daughter’s teacher is using this. My daughter is annoyed by the random points though, because it appears they’re being awarded to that student only and one student got 3 points in a week. A good lesson in chance and probability, but a bit hard for an 8 year old to swallow. 🙂 Thanks for the post, it’s good to understand more about it.

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