Naughty or Nice

Happy Post-Holidays, or for teachers, a time of rest! … Or planning.

In thinking about gamification, it occurs to me that our holiday is a rather rubric and rules light version of a game:

The game of Santa Claus.

All year parents can remind their children with the possibility that they have not been ‘nice’ and that their rewards later will not be as good than if they had been less ‘naughty’. But how do the parents define ‘nice’? Do they have a classroom management plan, clearly delineating ‘nice’ from ‘naughty’?

What is the ‘game’ of classroom management (“the four R’s of my classroom”)? Do you have points for good behavior?

Do you have an achievement system that can be unlocked? How clear is the system? What is the advantage of a vague system?

For my student teaching and first quarter at my present employment, I enacted a system based on six aspects of society (and have been using these in my game designs and for ease of topic selection in essay writing as well…).

Arts, Government, Science, Economy, Family, Religion

I rename ‘religion’, ‘science’, and ‘government’ to ‘belief’, progress’, and ‘leadership’. Within each of these six categories, by the definitions of the words themselves, come some innate positive aspects to be emulated.

Arts: Think creatively, aspire for greatness and quality, explain more exactly and interpret things better
Leadership: Both following orders, maintaining status norm, being a leader and following the appointed leaders and various odd jobs that government does (trash duty, repairs).
Progress: Science is about innovating and moving forward, always making sure that your next product is better than the past. Turning in half finished works are not a Progress oriented theme.
Economy: Waste not, come prepared to get the job done, be on time.
Family: Respect one another, stand up for each other, provide for others when they are lacking.
Belief: Respect yourself, you can do this, believe in the learning and topic!

Allocating points becomes a bit of an issue in a non electronic format. I appointed individuals to act as the Scribe for their groups and gave out points to the groups for individual behaviors. Scribes that were accurate with the majority of other groups were rewarded.

This vague system was an interesting one for advanced seventh grade students. Implementation at my charter school with classrooms of 3-7 doesn’t work out the same.

On New Years Resolutions:

Along with Santa’s Naughty or Nice list, we have a tradition of improvement: New year’s resolutions. This self selected goal (choice plays a BIG part in a good game: think of your favorite game and the choices it allows) can play a role even in our classrooms. Consider asking your students to have a Resolution themselves!

Form for tracking your resolution:

Depending on the Resolution, there are apps for you smart phone users as well.

Have a safe New Year and stay warm!

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