Monday, August 18, 2014

Keeping Table Groups on Point

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 recently posted this picture on Instagram and was asked if I had any information on my blog about my table points system.  I quickly realized that I didn't have this info on this little old blog and decided that I should write a post about it!

In case you were wondering, the brag tags shown above are from Miss Nelson and Alison Rose.  Brag tags are not related to my points system. 

So, let's talk table points!

Table points are my preferred method of recognizing students in small groups.  I have individual, small group, and whole group rewards 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 said points is to collectively motivate the students 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 quietly (at the appropriate voice level), transitioning quickly (slow transitions are my pet peeve), following directions, and/or packing up at the end of the total and complete silence.  That's right, total and complete's the calm before the dismissal storm.

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.

Table point winners are declared at the end of each day.  Confession-some days are sooo hectic that we don't have time to declare a winner.  In this case, the points simply carry over into a new day and the kids are always fine with that...I teach them early on to "roll with it." So, what can they earn?

1.  They may be the first ones dismissed for recess the following day (seems so small, but it means the world to a 7 year old, and it costs me nothing).

2.  They might be given the privilege of sitting on the carpet/floor during writing time the following day and get to use our fancy clipboards as they write. 

3.  They might be offered something like a new glue stick, two brand new crayons of their choice, and so forth.  I just take these items from our supply bins.

4.  The table point winners might be given a few extra "Good Tickets"  to place in our class ticket tub (I use raffle tickets purchased at Walmart).  In this case, these students have earned bonus entries into our weekly drawing for special privileges. 

They rewards aren't big or over the top, but the kids never tire of them, and, more importantly, they cost me nothing. This is one of the reasons I love primary so much, it doesn't take much to please them, they are happy with the little things!

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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