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Tips of the trade: 27. Developing a points system

For primary pupils aged seven and up, a points system can incorporate Harry Potter. Group points are awarded to the best group, which encourages children to work together and think of others. At the end of the month, the group with the most points wins a sweet andor a trophy or a Hogwarts House Cup, which can be made or bought. The cup then sits at the best group's table for a month.

For individual points, put each child's name on a large chart with space to add numbers. A spreadsheet is good for this, enlarged to A3 size. Children add points to their name as they collect them. The points can be given for good behaviour or work. Each time you mark work, award a stamp, a sticker or a star, all of which have a different value. For example, stamps could be worth two points, stickers five points and stars 10 points. Display a note of their worth beside the point chart.

If there are no stamps, stickers or time, you can put marks in a circle, for instance '+2', alongside the work, which the children can then add to the chart. Using stamps and points in this way encourages children to look at work they have previously completed that was not corrected with the teacher, so they can check for errors or advice.

At the end of each week, the child with the most points is student of the week and wins a sweetpencil and a certificate, which should be displayed in the classroom for a week, then taken home.

Carol Cooke teaches at Bridge of Weir primary school, Renfrewshire. Have you any useful tips for new teachers? We pay pound;50 for all tips published. Send yours to: susan.young@newsint.co.uk

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