In my previous post titled “Ready for 2014-2015“, I mentioned my desire to change my reward system from a once every six weeks reward to a weekly reward for each grade level. I mentioned using Class Dojo to keep up with two behaviors (respectful and disrespectful) in the 15 classes I see each week and then using Morning Announcements on Monday to reveal which class in each grade level had the most points. The struggle I have had is trying to come up with rewards that are not too expensive but would be motivating to students. I looked at Teachers Pay Teachers and a myriad of Pinterest Boards. Most of the rewards I found that do not cost anything (hat pass, eat with the teacher, no homework, take off your shoes, etc.) do not work in my setting because the students are only with me for 45 minutes. I finally decided on seven rewards:
1. Skip the keyboarding practice time for free time
2. During keyboarding practice time, choose a funny video from my Symbaloo webmix for the entire class to watch at the end of the period.
3. Choose a small prize from the treasure chest.
4. Choose a large prize from the Prize Drawer.
5. Receive a computer token that can be turned in on any day that allows them to skip the lesson and do a creative project of their choice.
6. Choose a coloring page from the colAR Mix app to color and animate. I will videotape it to post to their blog.
7. The entire class skips keyboarding practice and can check out the iPods.
Then the question became, how to decide which reward the student would receive. I thought about creating videos and generating QR Codes for them. The codes would be printed on cards. When the winning class came to the lab, I would draw a number from my coffee can. The student who was assigned to that numbered computer would choose a card and scan the code to determine their prize. That would require a lot of time to create the videos using Keynote, screen capture them and edit them in iMovie, then upload them to Youtube, generate the QR Code, print out the cards, laminate them…you get my point! I played around with the idea of creating a Symbaloo webmix of the Youtube videos revealing the prizes. I could make the tiles generic looking and easily move them from place to place. The student would click on one tile and the video would reveal the prize. That method would still require me to create all the videos and upload them to Youtube. Then I remembered a roulette wheel I created last year to use in Morning Announcements to choose a Brain Gym activity for the morning, which reminded me of a post on FreeTech4Teachers detailing the use of a random name picker on ClassTools. I headed over to ClassTools.net and typed “wheel” in the search box. Up popped the Random Name Picker. It was very easy to edit and add my list. I was able to increase the chances of certain prizes by adding the name in more than once. You can even edit your list later by assigning a password. Just make sure you write down or save the unique URL generated by your Random Name Picker. I embedded the wheel on my blog. I initially embedded it on the home page and made it sticky (that means it will stay at the top of my posts), but thought it would be better sitting on a page of its own.