Sunday, October 27, 2013

Part II: Follow up => Reward and competition vs. cooperation

There was no class the week after I promised the reward. (Students had the day off; teachers had Institute day — I was at #SOTF13.) Two days ago I realized I needed to follow through with my promise of reward. Do I bake cookies the night before, buy lollipops at Paul's Place on my lunch break, or get stickers? I realized ten minutes before the gang was coming that I didn't have time for these options (I had even written it front and center on the board to remind myself). So I quickly found a Google image that would suffice as a mini-medalion, and printed seven of them on one piece of card stock. I had a plan.

As they entered, she said right away, "Don't you have something for us today? Don't you have something because we made the three circles?" I smiled. I called the names of the seven students one by one, gave them each a high five as they formed a line standing and facing the others. They were happy and proud. I asked the group why they thought they were up there. Most recalled the challenge. I made sure to compliment the ones not up there on the important things I saw them experimenting with as well in TurtleArt. We did a review of the Arc bloc and got back to work. 

My favorite part of this story is told in the following images:

Her's — A wrinkled mess by end of class,
sweaty and faded from hand holding
One of the other six's — Something legible to share with
others at home

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Introduction to a Reward: Competition vs. Cooperation

I just re-watched Tom Shadyac's documentary I Am. I remember introducing a reward to my last grade one class of the day yesterday, Friday before Fall break. I bribed.
"I will give a reward to anyone who can make at least three different sized circles." 
 We were using TurtleArt and we had done some hand motions to determine the difference between 180° and 360°, and we had modeled the abstract concept of large and small radii. At the end of the 40 minutes about eight kids out of about twenty had their names on the board under reward. I recall one child, a bit unsure, claiming she just couldn't do it. This child often catches my attention. She is determined and whines out loud wanting me close by, but not in an annoying way because she doesn't give up. She was the first to figure it out. Then she coached her neighbor and his name went up on the reward list too. A child mid-way across the room complained that so and so next to him was copying his work. For a brief second I saw what was at play. It had never crossed her mind. I reminded that coaching isn't cheating so long as the coach doesn't touch the other person's computer. His neighbor's name was soon on the reward board too. As for the others, they were investigating plenty of other things of course.