Saturday, July 21, 2012

Competition as Motivation

Here's one more idea that I picked up from Cassandra. It's making classroom activities into a competition. I teach my students some new vocabulary every week. I introduce twelve new words each week. However, some of the words are sometimes known. I'll spend the first day just introducing the first six words. I'll write the first syllable of each word on the whiteboard. I'll give all of the students access to the vocabulary list. Now, here's an example of how I make learning new vocabulary competitive.

I will point out which word I'm looking for them to spell and then, I'll count to three. After I count to three, hands will shoot up. But, the reason why hands are shooting up is because they get points for answering correctly. After a student has achieved ten points, they get a prize. I'll give them a piece of candy.

At least one problem with this is that later on in the week, when I mention definitions and ask students to state the word that the definition corresponds to, some students just shoot up their hands without having an idea of what they want to say. So, ahead of time, I mention that any students who shoot up their hands, but have nothing to say, or just constantly raise their hands and shoot random guesses will be excluded from the current and next round.

As students state the correct answer, I write their name on the whiteboard, and put a tally next to their name. After the competition is done for the day, I take a picture of the points on my phone, but if you have time, you could just as easily write them down.

I didn't explain in entirety what I do to teach new vocabulary to my students. I only wanted to explain how I make it competitive. So, there you have it.

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