One of the most popular blogs I’ve ever written is the FIRST classroom management blog on class points I posted in August of 2016. Since that first month, several years ago, it has been viewed 7,565 times… I think it is very important, and LONG over due that I tell you how I drastically changed, reimagined and revamped this system (1.5 years ago), and for the better!
When I say “drastically” changed, it really only involved erasing one word from my whiteboard, but it completely altered the system and my original intention which was “class vs. teacher” points. Now, points are still given, they are still arbitrary and frequent, the point giving is still filled with joyous praise when they’re thrown up on the board, but now, I don’t give myself points. Ever.
I have noticed absolutely zero change in student investment in the system, and if anything, I may even say that they’re more invested than before. The answer as to why, is SIMPLE. Students only care about their class points. The whole “class” is still receiving those points for effort. It is still focused on the successes of the community as a whole, but it is giving THEM, the students in my class, the power. THEY are the power holders. This is so important. All of this came from me moving to my current school Bricolage Academy. It was a push from a workshop from Responsive Classroom, my principal, and the mission of our school: to focus on fighting the master narrative and systemic racism in our classes on a daily basis…
The teacher is already such a power holder in the classroom. When using a teacher vs. student point system for management it only perpetuates this idea that we are the only power holders. When we eliminate the “teacher” points, it puts the power into the student’s hands. They still earn points in the same way, but when they’re not meeting the expectations, they just don’t earn points. I used to say that when I gave myself points it wasn’t punitive because it was a game and a competition, but it really IS punitive! That is exactly what it is. HA! sigh… I love learning and growing… I am not deleting my old post. I think it is important for me , and ALL of us to see how I grow as an educator through the years and how my thinking, teaching, and ideas change!
Students are super excited this year since they had me last year, and they know very well what happens when their class reaches 1000 points. A big ol’ fiesta! They’re already thinking of the many suggestions they’ll give for our fiesta time! My favorite so far is an “inca cola” party since that is my call response this year “hola hola, inca cola”!
How lucky am I to do what I do!? How lucky are we!?
So, if you are using a teacher vs. class point system, I challenge you… I challenge you to rethink it… put the power into their hands, erase your name and let me know if you see a change…. I am confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and the best part is you’ll be simultaneously boosting the morale, community, and individual confidence of the kiddos in your space!
Thanks to my patrons for voting for me to write this post as it really is long over due. I am grateful for your voices, support, and encouragement!
Much love always, and until next time,
La Maestra Loca