Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Table Points & Boo-Ing

Table Points

I've always been blessed to have a rather large classroom--until moving to Florida. I love, love, love my new school, but man my classroom is TINY compared to my other room. I have 25 students and 2 small group tables, meaning my partner and I constantly try to re-arrange to make more space. I definitely believe in table work so students can interact with one another and have deep discussions, but that becomes a problem when you have that *one* kid that just needs to sit by himself. You know the one... the one you get phone calls from concerned parents about--"Ms. Lopez, I know {insert name} just needs some extra love and attention, but I'd rather him not sit by my child." When this happens 3-4 times, you begin to run out of spaces to put that special friend who hasn't learned to control himself. Or the other kids who would talk to a wall, and need a space of their own just for a bit to shut their mouths! cool off and reflect. Yeah. I don't have that extra space. I have do a little dance jig to maneuver from one side of the room to the other. It's like a jigsaw puzzle when I attempt to walk around and check out what the kiddos are doing. But you get the point. Small room, too many friendly friends, and so on.
With that being said, table points work GREAT. I made these last year to go along with my Hollywood theme, and have been using them ever since. At the beginning of each week, table points start over. I tend to use them for situations such as these:
--"I'm looking for the first time to SILENTLY put away these reading journals and get their math materials out on their desks."
--"I'm looking for the tables that are showing me how we do partner discussions... for those tables who are asking appropriate questions and responding respectfully."
--"I'm looking for the table that looks the most organized so they can line up first."
For situations such as "the first table..." that group gets a star next to their table number and the other groups clap. That little clap followed by that little star sure does motivate the other tables! You would think that star was worth a million bucks! When I'm wanting all tables to do group discussions, it is possible 1 or all can earn a star.
First thing Monday morning, right after changing jobs, we look at the Hollywood Star Points and I give $3 to each member of that group, from our classroom Hollywood bucks. Man do those babies get a big grin on their faces!

Boo to You!

Friday was a regular school day. My students were in the middle of their reading assessment while I was calling students up individually for fluency practice, when all of a sudden there was a super loud knock on the door--completely disturbing the quiet testing atmosphere. Not annoyed at all, I opened the door to see no little person standing there, but a bat basket filled with ring-pops and spider rings instead, and a note with a ghost saying we'd been BOO-ed!

 SUCH a fun idea! My students were slightly distracted for a little bit, but once the excitement was over, they were able to focus again with great excitement for the rest of the day. The poem here is too cute, and spreads Halloween cheer around the school. Be sure if you participate at your school to actually put out the little ghost on your door, unless you want to receive 2 buckets of fun, like I did. I thought I was extra special, but then learned I didn't follow the directions. :)
Okay, my friends, be sure to go link up with Joanna for this super fun Saturday linky! :)
Look at my little sweetie here... we sure did have a long day! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. :)

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  1. I find table points very motivating, especially when they seeing displayed like you have it! I love being Boo-ed! We haven't done it at our school for the past two years since our secretary fun! I need to print a copy of the form and remember to start it myself next year! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. I use table points too! They love earning a point!
    A Tall Drink of Water