Monday, July 14, 2014

Class Competition

This past year, I introduced a competition to my Geometry classes.  I don't remember exactly what prompted me to do so.  I know that toward the beginning of the year, things were not going as I'd hoped.  This is largely because I need to work on my classroom management.  My big goal for this summer is to read up about classroom management and be prepared to use some new techniques and have definite procedures in mind.  (I had these things ready to go when I began teaching two years ago, but what I planned didn't work out.  The students are different from ones I had in the past, and the school's discipline structure works differently than how I'd planned.  I just never went back and updated my plan.)

I set up a new poster above the computers so that students would not interfere with it.  When they did something good, they earned a point.  I showed that they'd earned a point by placing a stamp on the poster for that particular class period.  I defined the "good" things they could do to earn points, and I adjusted them throughout the year.  At the end of the year, they could earn points for the whole class completing their homework from the previous night, for me not having to stop the class to address misbehavior, and for a perfect clean-up.  Some days I did better keeping track of these than others.  In the third quarter, I made up a grid to help me keep track of points throughout an entire week, and I posted the points earned at the end of the week.  This grid served as a much needed to reminder to reflect on whether or not my classes had achieved these things.

The coveted prize for the winning class was one homework pass for each student.  Homework passes are not easily earned.  I only give homework passes to students that complete all of their homework for an entire quarter, and this year I also gave out homework passes to students that earned a 100% on a test (because it did not happen frequently this year).  By the fourth quarter though, the competition ended because I would then be handing out homework passes that couldn't be used.  The students were disappointed.  I should have found another reward, but I had so much else on my mind that I just didn't.  Now that it's summer and I'm slightly refreshed, I suppose I could have just gone through my grades and made-up an old missing homework, and gave some other reward to the students that had perfect homework. 

Next year I will implement the class competition again.  I will do a better job of reminding students about the competition.  I will make a "How do we earn points?" poster.  I will carry the competition through to the end.  I will ask students reflective questions about their performance.  In this new year, I hope to use the competition effectively.

2 comments:

  1. I always thought about using homework passes but what if the students always do their homework? Do you give them extra credit if they never use them? Or maybe they can be used in some type of raffle? Just brainstorming...thanks for making me think.

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    1. I haven't done anything like that with the leftover homework passes. Thanks for the ideas though! For the students that make it all the way to the end of the year without missing a single homework, I give them an award. I plan to elaborate on this in a future post.

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