How to Use
1. Determine and teach logistics
Determine the positive behaviors that will allow table groups to earn points. They can be general, but it is also good to have some specific behaviors that will earn points. For example, the first group to complete the transition from group work to independent reading will earn a point. Be sure to explain to the students how points can be earned and post the list in an appropriate area of the classroom.
2. Choose rewards and point values
It is helpful to get student input when determining the rewards. The reward should also be based on the amount of points it will take to earn. Bigger rewards should require more points. These rewards also need to be enjoyable for the entire group. See the lists to the right for examples of rewards.
3. Create visual
A poster or some other type of chart needs to be created to keep track of each table group’s points. The poster or chart should be kept in a place that is visible to students, as well as accessible by the teacher so points can be easily recorded as they are earned.
4. Award points
When table groups are demonstrating the positive behaviors determined above, award points.
5. Declare winners
The first table group to earn the predetermined amount of points wins and earns the reward. In the beginning, it is helpful to use smaller increments, such as the first group to ten points, in order to have more frequent winners and gain student interest.
When to Use
This reward system can be used throughout the entire school year. It needs to be explained at the beginning so that students fully understand how they can earn points and what the points will be used for. It’s important to keep up with the system by regularly awarding points. If it is not implemented consistently, students will quickly lose interest.
Rather than rewarding the table group that meets the point requirement first, groups can use their points to purchase prizes and/or rewards. The teacher must set prize/reward denominations and create a menu or list of choices. Bigger or more exciting prizes/rewards can be worth more points.
Race to the Finish Line
Depending on the age and maturity of students, this system can be adjusted so that after there is one winner (the first to earn set amount of points) all points are erased and the groups must start over at zero. This will end up with some groups earning rewards more frequently than others.
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