• The Tatted Teacher

The Bank Is For MORE Than Money

As an "advanced" student in high school, I remember freaking out about a 90 on a test...I remember studying for hours, only to get a 70 on a test that I truly thought I was going to ace...I remember having 'that' teacher who refused to let me turn in that one assignment a day late because she was 'teaching me responsibility.' I remember those days well.

Even though I sound like I hated high school. I LOVED it! I loved the atmosphere, the consistency, the schedule, the friends, and even most of my teachers. But, looking back on my high school (and even college years), there is one thing I wish my teachers would have implemented: a banked points system.

Fast forward 20 years after high school, I am now a high school English teacher. Living them dream! I honestly look forward to coming to school almost every day :-)

I have been teaching for 11 years; during these last two years, I have worked hard creating a system that allows me to teach concepts in multiple ways through multiple methods on multiple days. Really, this is how learning should they are able to see the content through different mediums, methods, and viewpoints.

So, these last two years I have been creating a system I call "Banked Points." Not a fancy name, I know. BUT, the goal is to create a system that ALL kids (special ed, regular ed, AND advanced ed) can benefit from.

The premise is simple: I created a Google Sheet that houses all my class rosters. I have one sheet for each roster.

As the students earn 'extra points,' I add them to this sheet. It is updated in real time, so they are always able to see how many points they have available. They can earn points in A LOT of different ways... Here are some ways they can earn them in my room:

  1. Asking great questions in class. If they ask a question that SHOWS they are trying to understand a concept, or they ask a question that REQUIRED knowledge of a concept, I might give them a few points...

  2. Winning a review game of "GimKit," "Kahoot," or another quiz game...

  3. Being one of the first people to get a 100 or a 90-100 on a quiz or test...

  4. Helping a friend understand a concept...

  5. Doing an 'extra assignment' to show mastery of a concept

  6. Actually read an entire set of directions or watch a complete YouTube study guide lol

There are a ton of ways you could offer these points...Once they earn the points, they are theirs to use AS.THEY.PLEASE. As long as it is an assignment or quiz I have created (as opposed to a state or district assignment or test), they can use their points. So, say they earn a 70 on a quiz, and they have 100 banked points. They could use 30 of their 100 points to make that 70 a 100... As a student and teacher, I see huge benefits to this...I remember when I was in high school, that 70 would have wrecked me. It would have wrecked me because I KNEW I could have done better, or I could have shown my learning in another way (because we all hopefully know that we don't all learn the same way or in the same time frame). If I would have had a banked points system to play with, I would have not been near as nervous about assessments knowing I had a 'safety blanket' to work with. The GREAT thing is that THEY are responsible for creating that safety blanket. I just don't give them points...they earn them...and they earn them by taking control of their learning and working for them... Since I teach cyclically, they end up seeing all our content in different ways. So, in reality, when they use banked points, they usually end up using those points on another assignment that deals with the same content they struggled with in the first place.

So, once they earn the points, how do they use them? My district uses Canvas, so I have created a discussion post where they post their requests.

They go to their period's thread, and they reply to my post with the assignment they want adjusted and how many points they want added to it. When I add those points to the assignment, I delete their discussion post so they know I added the points (also so I know I have added them lol). I then go and deduct those points from the Google Sheet.

The funny thing is: the kids who usually get the most points don't actually use them. They just like having them in case they forget an assignment, don't do as great on a test or quiz as they thought they would, or are SUPER slammed with extracurriculars and work and school that they want to use their accrued points to substitute for an assignment or parts of an assignment. This is cool with me because, again, I teach cyclically and they are going to see that content again...

That's the basics of my "Banked Points" system...hope someone finds it useful! :-)

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