student who has been allowed to substitute television and video games for reading may show a short attention span and little interest in classroom task. However, you will not have influence over the child’s access to video. Page 104 Tools for Teaching second edition by Fred Jones
According to the book study we did at the district level “Leave me alone mom, I am learning ” this may not be entirely correct. Many video games today have very in depth storytelling. The players actions but in the story can affect the outcome of the story. By changing the ways a student responds to information, a teacher can see an increase in attention spans. I agree with Leo Laporte as simply reading information is no longer good enough for me. I want to tag, bookmark, share, in rework information in addition to reading it. For example this book, I’ve had a very boring to try to read it as my summer reading until I started liking about it and sharing ideas. I think blaming TV and video games and the Internet and everything else is a crutch that educators use instead of being the lifelong learners we claim we want students to be.
The problem with these traditional and rather “seat of the pants” incentive systems was that the same seven or eight kids always got to paint the murals and work on the science projects. They were the “smarties” who finished early. Everyone else work till the bell rang. (page 109 Tools For Teaching Second Edition by Fred Jones)
I agree with this statement. It is not only the smart kids. I remember my third grade teacher using SRA as an incentive. Even though I was very bright I had trouble finishing my work, because I had a undiagnosed vision problem an undiagnosed learning disability. Though the learning disability was probably less of an issue because she’s so one that triggered it, by forcing me to use my nondominant hand. I distinctly remember the day midway through the school year, when she made fun of me for still being in the red the section. Well I could not finish my work early, because I could not see the floor to copy down the problems. No matter what incentive program we use we need to be aware that students not finishing work may have a medical cause that we are not qualified to diagnose or treat.
I like the idea of students being able to move to their projects after correctly completing five math problems in a row. For most students, this would increase both speed and accuracy. It would only work in situations where the concept being taught was right or wrong and easily checked.
We sometimes build and incentives for students to dawdle. My first year teaching, we were given TAKS practice tests to administer each week. They started out short, maybe 10 math problems or one reading passage with questions. The kicker was we had to give them as much time as it took to complete the test. The kids knew this. With the class I had a normal math test of 10 – 15 problems might take 30 or 45 minutes. With these TAKS a practice test, the kids would take from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM. Just before lunch like a miracle everyone finished. After lunch they had recess, specials, 15 minutes “class time”, and then dismissal. Throughout the year as the test got longer they consistently finished at 1130 AM. They knew exactly what they were doing. Because of this policy, I only could teach four days a week.
I like the idea of a preferred activity for a day to day keeping everyone on task method of managing the class. I hope our teachers and administrators keep the incentive program that he had for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades last year. Students could earn privileges like eating lunch with a friend, eating lunch with the principal, worrying an mp 3 player to school for use during independent work, and no uniform days. Students who earned scores above a certain level were given these privileges. Students who started out with scores significantly below this level but it also earn these privileges by improving their scores by over previous scores. This way students who started out failing had stepping stones to get to that passing level.