Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tanneropoly: Game On!

Spring fever has hit Room 24.  I've noticed that the number of kiddos finishing their class assignments and homework in study hall has increased and the quality of work seems to be slipping.  We've got a mantra in Room 24:  Hard Work First; Personal Best Always!  Lately, it seems like our mantra has lost its power.  I've got two different camps in my classroom.  There's the group of kids who are so intrinsically motivated that they would never think of doing less than their personal best.  And then there's the other camp.  You know the ones.  They turn in nameless papers with chicken scratch penmanship, incomplete assignments, and shrug their shoulders when you ask for their homework.  I'm not big on extrinsic rewards to motivate 5th graders, but I've softened my stance this Spring:


I stumbled across Homeworkopoly while looking for something that might help me motivate my students.  Hard to believe that, after all my years of teaching, I had never heard of Homeworkopoly!  I am officially in love!  It took me a few hours personalize, print, and laminate my game board and cards, but it was time well spent.  My class loves Tanneropoly as much as I do.  Best of all, the quality of work being turned in is definitely improving.

At the end of the week, students who have done their 'personal best' on both class and homework assignments are 'in the game'.  Each child gets to roll the dice and move around the game board.  The lucky ones land on spaces that reward them with iPad passes, free art or computer time, or a chance to draw from the Community Lunchbox deck.  Cards in the Lunchbox include rewards such as lunch in the classroom, homework passes, and extra recess.  Of course, a student might land on a Chance space.  If that happens, I give them the option of drawing a card or passing as not all Chance cards are rewards.  Last week, Angela drew a Chance card and spent her recess cleaning the desktops in her table group.  She was a great sport about it and several group members even offered to help her.  

Tanneropoly. Is it working because it's a novelty?  Maybe. Two things are certain though: the quality of work has improved and the kids are having fun!  For the time being, I see it as a win-win.  


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