Stars for good behaviour
Level: Kids of all levels
Location: Connected classroom
Aim: Better classroom management
My star chart for good behaviour was looking a bit dog-eared so I decided to look for some Digital Play that would replace it and I found this game:
What is the game?
It’s quite simple really. You pick up the plane using the mouse, drag it into the air and throw it (see above), releasing the mouse when you want to let go of the plane. You then get to see how many stars you collected on the way, how far you threw it, bonuses you accumulated and finally how much money this earnt you (see below right). As you progress in the game you earn more and more money which can buy you upgrades (see below left). There are levels in this game too. Each single level takes place in a different city in the world (see at the bottom of the post) and you have to throw the paper plane from one end to the other taking many goes to do so.
How did I use it?
I used the game as a reward for work done and good behaviour much in the same way as my now defunct star chart did (my learners voted for this to take its place). Having an IWB (interactive Whiteboard) helped as I could then present it in a mush bigger way and also have my learners use the pen instead of the mouse to play. They were also given a chart (Download it from the link at the bottom of this post) to record their scores. By recording their scores they could not only compete against each other in the short term but also themselves in the long term. Top scores were kept by only recording a personal score if it was higher than their last score. Of course, in any one throw they might score low on distance but high on stars so some time was needed after to scan the scores and make the necessary notes. Play the game and you’ll see what I mean.
There is also the upgrade system (above left). You can either do this yourself as you see fit or engage your learners in negotiation over which upgrade you should spend money on. If you spend it on fuel then you can press travel further in flight by pressing the space bar. Generally I do this myself to avoid complications.
When do I use it?
The trick is, though, not to overuse it in class. Use it too many times and you not only tend to lose control a bit (the learners do tend to get excited over the game) but you may also wear the game out. that is if you overplay it your learners may lose interest in it. I’ve found that I’ve started to use the game as a reward in a few ways:
Completed Homework – At the beginning of the class I ask learners to put their homework on the desk and form a line at the board. In this way everyone who did the homework gets rewarded immediately. While they take it in turns to play the game I mark the homework with the learner next to me. That way I can encourage them to self correct. Those that didn’t do the homework have to do it while the others are playing. They can’t copy and they see that by not doing the homework they lose out on the fun.
Classwork completed – The first one to finish an exercise from the course book or work book gets to have one go. The learner who tries the hardest also gets to have a go when they’ve finished. This is my way of striking a balance between always rewarding the achievers (fast finishers) and those that may struggle and usually never finish first but should be rewarded for their effort. This kind of means the middle range kids may be receiving a little prejudice but if you can see a way around this then please say by posting a comment.
Good behaviour – Although the star chart has been retired it’s still a good idea to keep a record of good behaviour. In my case it’s a happy and sad face on the board. Each time someone misbehaves they get a letter of their name spelt out and marks if they have misbehaved so much that their whole name is spelt out – Spanish names tend to be quite long though. If they are good they either get letters deleted from their name under the sad face or begin to get it spelt out under the happy face. I’m sure everyone has a different system. this can get a little confusing ( is ‘Mar’ spelt under the sad face Marta or Marc?) until you are used to it.
There are of course lots of games like this that you could use in a similar way. Read about some of these and maybe play a few by reading our ‘incentive to work’ games post.
Download the Flight Chart.