Pies and Math!!

It seems as if I am making at least a pie a week right now. No, I am not a baker but a math teacher. This year our administrator purchased a math program called BuzzMath for us to use with our math students especially our RTI students. I didn’t want this to count towards students overall math grade as I use standards based grading. So I decided to get students motivated to want to work on BuzzMath I would need an incentive system in place.

I asked students in the RTI classes what they would like to work for and they helped me come up with a list. I then decided that for every 15 stars a student earns that they would get a reward. This list applies to all seventh grade students.  Here is our list:

15 stars = 1 pick out of prize bag

30 stars = 2 picks out of prize bag

45 stars = 3 picks out of prize bag or a Debbie treat

60 stars = 4 picks out of prize bag or a Debbie treat along with 1 treat out of prize bag

75 stars = MA day playing games that are math related or homeroom playing games that are math related

90 stars = bring your own snack, coupon to do half of an assignment

105 stars =ice cream bar

120 stars =bring a friend in for lunch

135 stars =play any game on Ipad for 25 minutes

150 stars = Mrs. Martin will make you a pie

165 stars = a bag of candy

Students were also told that if they completed all the stars for seventh grade that I would take them out to eat to anywhere they wanted in town.  I was not sure when we began this how far students would get or if they would even work towards these prizes. Well, I am now at 9 pies made as of 5/14/14. That might not seem like a lot but it is. When a student gets a pie others try that much hard to get more stars. We have had to come up with prizes for stars past 150. I have not had anyone complete all the 7th grade stars but some are very close.

Have I motivated my students to want to work on math? YES!!! I have had teachers tell me that students want to do just BuzzMath during homeroom time when they should be working on homework. I have students competing with other students to see who can get stars faster.

Some may say that we shouldn’t give incentives get students working but what does it hurt??? Just my checkbook!!! Everyone works harder when there are incentives. I have never seen students work so hard at math and try to figure out concepts that they are struggling with more than I have this year. I have already had sixth grade parents tell me that their child is eager to get to seventh grade math so that they can earn a pie.

If all it takes is me making a pie for students to work on math and enjoy what they are doing then so be it!!! I will make 10 pies a day if this is what works.

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About martinsarah

7th grade math teacher in Iowa

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