How to Win Interclass Competitions

Many schools have interclass competitions for all sorts of events: readathons, jogathons, fundraiser competitions, school spirit days.

I am not insanely competitive, and I don’t push my class to win everything. Winning takes a lot of dedication from the teacher, students, and families. I think it’s best to put that kind of energy into educational goals.

Here are the five tips I developed when G3 decided to win the school readathon.

1.  Set your goal high, and make it measurable. Yes, your goal is to be the best, but what do you think it will take to win? It’s only an estimate, but quantifying really helps. Your class can revise the estimate as early results come in.

2.  Set the goal for individual contributions. The competition is organized by class, but you’ll have to figure out what each person needs to do. Often, I find that the per-person goal is fairly low. Watch out for this—it makes people think they don’t have to do anything. As with most things in life, a few students will carry the rest. The next tip increases the numbers in the few, the proud…

3.  Reward individuals. Decide on a reward for individuals in your class who work hard to achieve the goal. For our readathon, we decided on an Oreo party for everyone who got their log signed each night and read a minimum number of minutes. Participation soared!

4.  Encourage the kids to motivate each other. My students and I identified a surprising pitfall in our quest for the readathon championship: the reading itself wasn’t so hard, but remembering to put the signed reading log in your backpack each night was. My students called each other to remind them to put their signed reading logs in their backpack each night. (Bonus: G3 parents got phone numbers for other G3 students.)

5.  Communicate with families. In most interclass competitions, parents’ support is essential to success, for example: signing the reading log, making sure the school T-shirt is laundered, making cans of food available to donate. The class performs better when the teacher forms a partnership with parents.  I sent emails at critical points in our quest for the championship.

When G3 won the school readathon, we invited our families to help us celebrate during the last few minutes of the school day. Families who couldn’t attend were encouraged to hold their own celebrations at home.  I think it’s an important life lesson for my students to learn how to create lifetime memories celebrating their accomplishments. This helps kids internalize goals and intrinsic rewards. Those benefits last a lifetime!

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Posted in Classroom Management,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Feb 28, 2012


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