How do you motivate fifth graders to work hard at test review? You pay them in shiny, lucky, green and gold, Irish coins!
We are fortunate enough in our elementary school to have access to a computer lab with a subscription to Study Island. This site is a great way to reinforce and review all standard-aligned topics in each grade level. When students answer enough questions correctly in a given topic, they earn a blue ribbon.
A few years ago, I realized these virtual blue ribbons could be great motivators! Since our state assessments usually fall anywhere from mid-March to April, I usually tie the blue ribbons to a St. Patrick’s Day theme.
Here’s how it works:
For each new blue ribbon students earn in Study Island, I give them one lucky green coin. They deposit the coin in their envelope on the St. Patrick’s Day bulletin board in our classroom.
I’m not really thrilled with the way the bulletin board looks, but the truth is, my students don’t care how it looks. They truly are so excited to put their coins in their envelopes, appearance doesn’t matter to them. At this point, I am so busy getting ready for state assessments that bulletin boards are the last thing on my mind. (Sad, because I LOVE making beautiful bulletin boards…)
So what do my students do with their coins? At the end of March, I make a dash to the dollar store and stock up on a bunch of fun things to “sell” to my fifth graders. We have a shopping day where they spend their coins. It is really a ton of fun. Plus, it’s a win-win. My students are well-reviewed and prepped for the tests, they will feel confident during those tests, AND they get cool “stuff.”