Classroom Contests Are Great Tools
That Teachers Should Use!!

Incorporating classroom contests (and of course the contests giveaways) in your classroom programs are a fabulous way of building student motivation and managing your classroom effectively.

Twice a year in my class, we had a contest each of which lasted for one month:
1. A Halloween contest in October.
2. An Easter contest in March or April.

In my class my students always sat in groups of 4-6. In these two classroom contests each group chose their group name, for example "Bloody Ghouls" (Halloween) or "Jackrabbits"(Easter). One person in each group would draw the group name on construction paper (about the size of a hand).

I would divide the month up into stages of about 4 days each (so about 5 stages for the month). On the backboard of the classroom there were pictures (get the decorations at the $ store and reuse them every year) depicting each stage.

Students would receive points for working co-operatively, sharing, working quietly, getting perfect in homework assignments or tests, or bonus points for becoming "Student of the Week", etc. But, they could also lose points for forgetting their homework or library books, being rude, not getting their student agenda signed, etc. Make sure the students are well aware of the points criteria before the contest begins.

Every 4 days,points were added up (you're the scorekeeper) and kept on a hidden pad of paper. If the group received 15 points or more during that stage, their group moved to the next stage/picture. If they didn't they stayed at the same stage. The student of the week moved a group's picture to the next stage.

By the end of the month, the group that reached the end stage or stage closest to the end won the contest. Usually most or all of the groups reached the end, so in that case, the group with the most points won.

Prizes for the winning team were awarded; for example, a bag of Halloween treats for each person in the group or a good sized chocolate bunny for Easter. Of course there were treats for everyone else in the class.

I loved having classroom parties - the students and you deserved it. Any excuse for me to have a party.

I'm sure you know the reasons for having these classroom contests! It was hugely positive experience, great for student motivation - not only getting individual points but mainly getting points as part of a team. They were accountable for themselves as well as others!

As you can imagine, it was always a tremendous success and when I got new students in the fall, they all knew about the contests and begged me to have them again for their year. "We'll see ... depends how well you behave!" (Of course we did).


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