Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ursula Update

Before winter break, I blogged about our new class motivator Ursula:

A few weeks went by and as a class, they didn't earn any pieces.  I could tell most of my class was getting frustrated because it was always 2 or 3 students who didn't do their work and ruined it for the whole class.

Their homework is a reading log, 30 minutes of reading a night and one double sided math sheet that reviews what they learned in class the week before.  They get their homework on Friday and it's due the following Friday, so there is truly no reason it shouldn't get done.

One particularly difficult student kept arguing how the homework simply couldn't get done because of outside commitments.  Now, I've talked with the family about this and the student isn't truthful about the work.  If there's time for video games, there's time for homework.  No excuses.

So we had a class discussion of who has extra curricular activities (sports, church, music, family time, etc.)  Every student raised his or her hand, so we talked about making time for what's important...and that includes homework.  I made the connection with sports and how homework is like practice.  If you don't practice, you won't do as well as you can on game days.  That seemed to resonate with many of my students.

We voted how we wanted to change Ursula.  I suggested a table team reward and that was vetoed by the tables where students aren't doing their work.  Thirty out of my thirty one students wanted Ursula to be on an individual basis so they were only accountable for themselves.

For the next ten weeks, they have to turn in their fully completed homework eighty percent of the time.  (8/10 seems fairly generous).  If they do this, they get to join our lunch party.  One student asked what would happen if she turned in all of her homework (as she's done the entire year), so I said those students would get an extra reward.

I love that they're so motivated now!  

We added our first piece:

Isn't she lovely?

I talked with them about how everyone was still invited, just some students already used one of their two "freebie" weeks.  I hope this really turns around the homework slide we've been noticing!  

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