Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In the Classroom: The Point Games

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin 

Most students think "I can learn all I need to know by living." While it IS true that we as humans learn much from our life experiences, I would argue that we learn even more when we experience life both in the flesh and on the page. In short: we grow from exposure to life experiences, whether first-hand or second-hand.

My goal as a teacher is to help students experience life through a variety of lenses, to figure out who and what they are, to help them grow. But the sad truth is: sometimes, students don't read. At all. Well, at least not for pleasure.  This year, I tried to think up of fun and creative ways to get my students reading. And so, I give you:

The Point Games

Following along the same general idea as The Hunger Games, The Point Games requires students to compete for prizes and classroom glory. Because AR points constitute 10% of a student’s overall grade, all students have to compete in The Point Games.

Students are put into “districts” based on their class sections. The goal is for each member of a District to read books and get AR points, which will collectively go toward the District’s total point count.

Drawn by The Amazing Kody

At the end of each Nine Weeks, the District with the most points gets to select 10 new books to add to the classroom library. Here is where the lottery comes in:

5 books are to be chosen by the Top 5 Scorers in the District, and the other 5 are to be chosen by members of the District who are selected at random. This way, students who don’t get as many points during the Nine Weeks have a chance to select books for the library.

Like The Hunger Games, The Point Games comes with its own twists and turns. Though I will not be giving out penalties, I will be giving out prizes at random throughout the year. Leaders in each District could win anything from a novel, an author-signed book, or a gift card to Books A Million.

What do you think of this idea?
Have any suggestions?
Leave me a message in the comments below.

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