What’s Old is New Again

 

It seems like yesterday that I was thumbing through my Girl Scout Handbook to see which badges I could earn easily.  I would do the activities that were required, and my mom would have to “sign off” that I did them.  (Truth being,  I probably bugged her so much about initialing that I completed something, that she just signed it so I would shut up.)

I couldn’t wait for the scout meetings when they would present the badges and I would, once again, hound my mother until she sewed the new badge on my sash.  I don’t think that I earned a lot of badges, but I was proud of the ones I had.

As I blogged, about earlier, I am still trying different ways to motivate my students to do enrichment activities.  The individual folders and the personalized contracts have not been successful, so I am now going to implement the digital badge system in my math class.  I have been looking on line to see when and how this all has started, and of course, my eyes went to the Wikipedia article.  It seems that this idea has been around for a few years (yes, it is based on the “old-fashioned” badges used by the military and scouts) and that it should help motivate students to want to earn badges based on  learning experiences created by the teacher.

I have found a great resource on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It is a booklet of math projects for lower school students and each project has a rubric to go along with it.  As I read through the projects, I was impressed how each one of them was interesting, fun, and presented a challenge.  It is geared for all students because it is interest-based.

I am going to introduce this to the students next week. I have set up a file in my room with each activity in a separate folder.  The students can choose any activity to complete. Their grade will be based on the rubric that accompanies the task, and they must obtain a certain score in order to successfully earn the badge.  Several of my students have volunteered to create the badges using the website openbadges.me.

I am going to make this a required activity in that IF the student wants to earn an “A” in my class for the nine weeks they will have to complete a certain amount of badge activities.  I am doing this because most of my students never do any “extra credit”.  They just do the minimum and never challenge themselves to do more.  In my opinion, this is not a good habit for them.  As they get older, they will have to be self-motivated and maybe I can “train” them to always do a little more in school. I really hate to connect a grade to this, but I feel I have to so that all of the students will participate.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this topic?

 

 

 

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Teacher-Twenty-One

February 2014
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