Level Up – New trial of Classroom Rewards System

With the implementation of a games based approach to teaching and learning in my classroom this year, classroom behaviour has been excellent. Students are engaged, excited and enjoy taking risks with their learning. They collaborate and support each other, and the learning environment is happy and safe. But things in the playground are a bit different. The students aren’t being as supportive of each other in the yard as they are in the classroom. I’m hearing about name calling and exclusion while the students are outside, and time spent dealing with these issues is eating into learning time. I wanted to find a way to apply the intrinsic motivation to achieve that games based learning has given my students to areas outside the classroom. As a result I have come up with a new “gamified” classroom rewards system that I will be trialling with my grade starting this week.

The new rewards system was created as a way to link the games based learning happening in the classroom to student actions and behaviours outside the classroom in the hope that the students will want to “level up” as they do in games by behaving appropriately in the yard, completing and submitting homework on time, taking care and pride in their work and showing leadership skills when working in teams.

Each student will start off with their “phone”, which has a screen with 15 spaces for “apps” which can be earned at any time. The apps I have created are related to areas I want to focus on with my students, eg Mathletics, Lure of the Labyrinth, team work, leadership, creativity. All of the apps students can earn have points, so if a student submits their homework on time 5 weeks in a row, they get the Homework 5 app to velcro onto their phone. If a student submits their homework on time 10 weeks in a row, they return their Homework 5 app and receive the Homework 10 app instead (levelling up).

I created all of this with Comic Life 2 (Mac version), using all of the great fonts and gradients withing the program. I used no particular colour scheme except for the rainbow gradient – apps with a rainbow background are the highest level app achievable for a given area.

The Master Builder apps are to acknowledge student growth in the use of Google Sketch Up to design and create 3D buildings as part of our economics unit, Picasso apps are for artistic efforts and creativity, the World Ruler apps are to reward students for excellence in our literacy unit “How to Rule the World” based on the book by Klutz and the Splendid Jollygood apps will be used to reward achievement and mastery in Lure of the Labyrinth (the term “splendid jollygood” is a bit of an in-joke with my grade – it is a quote from a monster in the game that my students have taken to using).

I look forward to trialling this new approach to behaviour management outside of the classroom with my grade. I hope that this approach proves to be an intrinsic motivator for my students as they watch their phone fill with apps they have earned through their hard work and positive behaviours at school.

This entry was posted in Gaming, Literacy, Mathematics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Level Up – New trial of Classroom Rewards System

  1. The pictures did not come up with your post and I am interested in seeing them. Could you repost?

  2. Pingback: Level Up – New trial of Classroom Rewards System | Playing to Learn | educational technology for teachers | Scoop.it

  3. Jeannette Kavanagh says:

    Excellent idea and one worth trialling. I work as a coach across a primary and secondary school and I think that your idea could be developed for Yrs 7 and 8. Linking behaviour to rewards is vital and linking it to the competitive nature of some of the most popular games is even better.

  4. diggers27 says:

    I totally agree … excellent idea and definitely could be used for yr 7 & 8 (I spent 20 yrs in a P-12 environment and am now yr 8 coord at a larger school). I have used games in my classroom for years but I love this idea for linking life inside and outside the classroom.
    Thanks for sharing your idea (*u*)

  5. Hi Lynette,
    Just came across your post whilst searching for information that will help me resolve the tension between the intrinsic motivation that games clearly nurture and the extrinsic motivation that comes with the introduction of rewards.
    Wondering how you got on with this project and whether it effected a change in your students’ behaviours?

    • lynettebarr says:

      Hi Ian,
      This project was extremely successful, and saw an end to the issues experienced between students in the yard at the time of writing the original post. I saw an increase in the number of students completing their Mathletics and Project requirements, with improvement in the quality of project work also evident. I found it very effective to award these apps with no prior warning – this stopped students attempting to earn apps by doing the “Hey Miss Barr, look what I’ve done, can I have an app?” thing. Students were very proud of earning apps for their phones and were thrilled to be able to take them home at the end of the year. I look forward to using this classroom rewards system for a full year, as there are some apps that were never awarded as we simply didn’t have the time to cover everything in depth in the final 12 weeks of the year. I think that the apps that students’ were so keen to earn were a representation of their own hard work rather than an extrinsic reward. The apps are, after all, bits of laminated paper with velcro on the back. 🙂

  6. webmaths says:

    Hi Lynette,
    I love this idea and will try it out next year with my junior Maths classes. I already use “Lure of the Labyrinth” but I can see it is so easy to apply to any aspect of a classroom. eg. Work habits, ICT, Problem Solving, Homework, etc. Perhaps printing colour stickers would be easier than velcro? Keep the great ideas coming!
    Regards, Jeff

  7. Pingback: Level Up – New trial of Classroom Rewards...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s