Keeping Table Groups on Point {Using Table Points to Reward Small Groups}

Table points are a great way to recognize students' efforts in a small group capacity. They are also a great way to motivate students to work together as a team. 

I love using table points to recognize students in small groups. I have individual, small group, and whole group reward systems in my classroom.  I realize I am not the inventor of table points, and that there are lots of ways one can utilize table points in a classroom, but I do hope that you find this post helpful and/or informative. :)

What are table points?
Well, they are just that, points that are awarded to each of the table groups in my classroom.  The purpose of awarding points is to collectively motivate the students at each table group to stay focused and on task at all times.

Earning points
The students can earn points for practically anything, but I most frequently award them for working at the appropriate voice level, transitioning quickly (slow transitions are my pet peeve), following directions, responding to attention getters, and/or packing up at the end of the day.

The students know that they have to work cooperatively to ensure that these things are being done and when they see me standing by the table point display on the whiteboard, with a marker in hand, they quickly remind each other to "get with the program."

Keeping track of points
There is nothing fancy or complicated about how I track the table points.  Take a look!

Since the display is on the whiteboard, I simply assign tally mark points throughout the day.  The kids can see where their table is at compared to other groups and most of the time, this motivates the groups to work a little harder and do what they are supposed to throughout the day.

You can grab this free display HERE.  Simply print, laminate, and attach to your whiteboard. I used magnetic tape, but good ol' Scotch tape would work too.

Table point winners are declared at the end of each day AND at the end of each week.

At the end of the day, the winning table group earns a sticker.  It's a small token, but it's a big deal. They are always excited to see which sticker they get that day, and they seem to love any and all sticker designs.

At the beginning of the year, I gave my students a sticker book.  Confession, I got the sticker book idea from my genius colleague. So, each student has a blank sticker book. Each time they earn a sticker, they add it to their book.  Which they loooooooove doing.

The sticker book is not fancy.  It's simply made with photocopy paper and card stock.  I laminated several sheets of card stock and then cut each one into fourths.  I used the laminated card stock for the front and back covers of the sticker books.  I filled each book with about 7 or 8 pieces of white photocopy paper (also cut into fourths so each page was the same size as the laminated covers).  Finally, I placed a 2x4 inch address label to the front so that the students could label their books themselves.

This is my example below, but the students wrote the same title on their sticker books. They also decorated the edge of the label. Oh, and they got to use markers.  Another big deal.  ;)  Finally, I gave them a "free" sticker and they placed it on the cover.

So, as mentioned, at the end of each day, the table group with the most points is awarded a sticker.  I do this by having them place their hand on top of their head.  Then, I walk around and place a sticker on the hand that is on top of their head. This saves a lot of time (we don't have to wait for indecisive 7 year olds to weigh their options), and the kids like being surprised.

Over time, their sticker books begin to look a little something like this.

At the end of each week, we tally up all the table points from the week. The table with the most points is declared the winner, and the students at that table group gets to pick a classroom privilege coupon. The coupons below are from Libby Dryfuse.  Click here to see them on TPT

Using stickers and privilege coupons as rewards are great because they are both easy to manage.  The privileges don't cost me anything, and stickers are super cheap. I stock up in the Target Dollar Spot and Michaels craft store.  Every once in a while, I splurge on fun sets from Lakeshore too.

In my experience, table points work.  Kids are competitive by nature and they want to please me and their classmates with whom they share a small space.  Put more succinctly, they want their team to win and they usually do their part to help their table earn those points.

How do you reward small groups in your classroom?


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