I thought finding a new tool to differentiate in the classroom so easy since new tools seem come out every day.  There are so many apps that can be used in the classroom and websites that get better and better, that I thought this would be an easy task.  Then I put into the equation that I am in a rural community with limited internet access and new cell phone service.  Then this assignment grew into an ever bigger challenge.

I loved the ideas behind the augmented apps to incorporate the world around us.  I was excited to try them out on my android phone.  But then I realized that without cell service the apps would not work.  (While we just got cell service within the past month only ACS works here and I do not have an ACS phone.  My T-mobile phone only works when I travel.)  So then I decided to try the cool Fetch! Lunch Rush iPad App only to not find it in the App store.  So I had to go back to my trusty computer to find an internet tool.  Hark!!  I found a tool I just love, Class Dojo.  I was so excited about the site I created a fake class to try it out.  Then I used my 4 dogs as students to reward them with little monsters dojo points for their positive behaviors.  Unfortunately, they did not respond well to the digital rewards.  But I can totally see students loving the program.  This site is an ideal way to track student behavior while giving them instant feedback in the classroom.  While the younger kids would enjoy it most, it is so usable for secondary students too.  It is cool to have the iPad version that links to your computer, students and parents.  I am sold on the positive reinforcement this site offers and opportunity for metacognition.

One of the first applications I would use this site for is to track skills based on individual student need and their SBA results.  I would create target areas for each student and as they complete their individual skill work they will receive dojo points and it will give me a quick tracking device to share with parents.  This tool could help me differentiate the classroom without other students knowing their skill levels.  It allows me to challenge the advanced students and give additional support to those who are struggling all in one place.  I would also use this app to monitor and improve student behavior.  I would set up rewards for scholarly behavior.  This rewards would allow me to target the behavior needs of the students as well as the academic needs.  As a middle school teacher, the idea of getting kids to stay on task has been my biggest challenge.  It would be a great way to keep the students focused and offer rewards for their positive behavior. 

I have shared the site with our local teachers but since it is the end of the school year they were not very interested.  I am hoping to convince our elementary teacher to try it next year.  I have also shared it with our 1 home school family to try as a tool to help them stay on task.   The ClassDojo site has a great share page with resources to introduce it colleagues and students.  And best of all it is free!

Check out this video to learn how to set up your own class and try out Class Dojo.

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