Managing a class

I have one very wiggly class. I had been setting up my plans so that we moved locations every three to five minutes, and so that the focus changed at least that often, but it was wearing me out. And since I don’t have a classroom of my own, it was hard to set up and to have all the different items I needed every time.

Last week, I introduced a point system. I’m hoping that someone knows where I got it. I used to use it with some middle school and younger high school groups.

In essence, it pits the skills and behavior of the class against the teacher. I put up a simple scoresheet: Class/Sra. Whaley. Right now if they respond immediately to one of my teacher calls – anything from “cinco dedos” (the school system), to “nachos/salsa,” to “hola hola/coca cola” or “ACHOO/salud” – or if the spy (thanks, Erica Peplinski) tells me someone was speaking Spanish outside class, or if they do something truly amazing, they get a point. If they don’t respond immediately, blurt out irrelevant English, or if two start wrestling (honestly, they are like adorable puppies), I get a point. This group is very competitive, and since I can look very disappointed when they all behave perfectly, they think it’s really funny and work hard to get me looking like a sore loser. I may have to talk about that later and morph into being a well-adjusted game-player, since I don’t want them to think it’s appropriate to have a facial teacher-tantrum when I don’t get my way.

The class earns the number of points that they have over the teacher. If I have five and they have seven, they get two points. It’s pretty easy to control it so that they earn limited points each time. Their payoff will be that when their class has a certain number of stickers – one sticker per point – they will be able to listen to our entire playlist of songs in a row, or play games for 15 minutes, or other choices that I have created.

What is this called? It works beautifully for a wiggly, competitive group.

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3 responses to “Managing a class

  1. I know that Annabelle Allen uses points with her class but she awards whatever amount she feels like. She said that she had seen Joe Dziedzic use points in his class and modified it 🙂

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    • Yes…I can really award any number I want, but it looks to the kids as though they have to keep ahead of me this way. It’s a running scoresheet. I know it came from someone’s official system.

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  2. I’m not sure of the origins of it either, Michele! I had the most success with it when I was subbing in elementary classes and less success at the MS and HS levels. But the elem kids LOVED it!!

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