[6 Classroom Tips] Motivate Students with the Perfect Contest

Monday, April 6, 2015 -- Madison Michell

The start of spring can be stressful for both you and your students. By the time the last state exam has been submitted and your nerves finally subside, you’re not sure how there could still be several more months of school ahead. This is the perfect time to rally your students and inspire a little friendly competition with a classroom contest.

As we proudly announce the winners of our own spring contest, the Edmentum Academic Sprints, featuring Study Island, we also want to share our contest ideas and best practices that will help keep the love for learning alive in your classroom!

1. Isolate Areas in Need of Improvement

Determine what subjects or content are the best fit for a contest. For a more literacy-focused contest, the number of books read or minutes spent reading could provide the perfect metric. For a more cross-curricular approach, you could incorporate exit-ticket grades or the number of standards mastered.

At Edmentum, we’ve seen success in motivating students through contests by collecting data from some of our web-based programs. Our most recent contest counted Study Island Blue Ribbons, which are earned when students earn a mastery of 70% in a particular topic.

2. Invite the Whole School to Participate

Share your creative contest ideas with colleagues in the hopes that others also get on board. Get the attention of your administration, and the prizes available to contest winners might also get a boost with a little added funding.

At Edmentum, we created simple flyers to explain contest rules and prizes that can be shared with all teachers on campus. Check out the teacher flyer we launched this spring for a little inspiration.

3. Get Parents Involved

Don’t underestimate the power of having parents on your side. Explain how the contest you created will drive student achievement for their children, and you will see participation soar.

At Edmentum, we share simple ways that parents and other caregivers can help their student be successful. On our latest parent flyer, we incorporated a space to write in a student’s username and password information so that parents always have it on hand for at-home logins to our web-based program.

4. Make It Visual

Whether you choose to incorporate a classroom tracker or have students keep individual data notebooks, they should always be aware of their progress. A contest is a great opportunity to foster independence and create ways for students to take ownership of their own performance.

At Edmentum, we created a printable Blue Ribbon poster for all of our Study Island users and contest participants to easily and independently track their progress.

5. Recognize Progress Often

Periodically, celebrate those at the top of the leaderboard and congratulate students who have made significant gains. Whether it’s a cheer from the class, a note to take home, or an extra privilege given, keep your students motivated by recognizing the small victories.

At Edmentum, we send out regular leaderboard updates to our contest participants. These emails celebrate top-performing schools, and also recognize our amazing nationwide participation.

6. Keep Their Eyes on the Prize!

What’s a good contest without an awesome prize? Seek out businesses in your community that may already have academic incentive programs in place, or reach out to them for donations. As an alternative, consider classroom privileges that will incentivize your students.

At Edmentum, we recognize our winners in a variety of ways. If your students use Study Island, check out this customizable certificate to accompany your own contest prize!

Interested in learning more about our data-driven standards mastery solution, Study Island? Explore Study Island now, and join in on the fun during our next contest!

Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox