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12 Planning Ideas from Teachers to Inspire Your Exact Path Fall Contest

12 Planning Ideas from Teachers to Inspire Your Exact Path Fall Contest

Now through December 31, educators across the U.S. are designing their own Exact Path contests to keep students engaged and excited about meeting their learning goals, no matter where class is in session (including in quarantine). Just a month into our fall contest, dozens of educators have written in to share with us their contest plans, and it’s not too late to design one of your own for the chance to win one of three $500 gift cards for your classroom.

Let’s dive into two takeaway tips featuring some of our favorite testimonials that are sure to help you build out a successful contest this fall!

Tip #1: Develop a Solid Contest Structure
Identify Your Goals

There are many components to consider when developing a successful contest, and identifying the purpose is central to building buy-in.

Examples of goals include:

  • Boosting interest and excitement before winter break
  • Keeping students learning independently through quarantine periods
  • Meeting growth goals on upcoming assessments
  • Closing skill gaps due to unfinished learning

Here’s one concrete goal an educator tied to her Exact Path contest:

“The goal is to increase our individual students’ winter [NWEA] MAP scores. The contest runs from November 1st to December 5th, and winter MAP starts December 6th.”

– Angela B., Ballentine Elementary School, South Carolina

Determine the Structure

Next, you’ll want to determine the structural elements of your contest to help you reach those goals—this is the who, what, when, where, and how of the way your contest will take place.

Some key questions include:

  • Who will compete in the contest (my class, multiple classes, schoolwide entrants, or districtwide entrants)?
  • How long will the contest run?
  • How will success be measured (Trophies, time-on-task, or completion)?

Let’s take a look at some unique ideas from this fall:

“I am setting up a contest for students to earn as many [Exact Path] Trophies as possible. We will work on our learning paths for 30 minutes three times a week. We are competing against the other two classes in our section for the most Trophies.”

– Jennifer F., South Beauregard Upper Elementary, Louisiana

“I plan to use [Exact Path] for our warmup each class period. The warmup period will last 15 minutes each school day. . . . The contest will be to earn five Trophies each month on an individual basis, then I will give the whole class a reward at the end of each grading quarter if more than half of the class meets the -five-Trophy goal.”    

– Natalie M., Camden Middle School, South Carolina

“I plan to hold a contest for my students each quarter for a goal of 100 minutes of Exact Path for math and reading. I can access their accounts to see the amount of minutes they have spent working on Exact Path.”

– Megan T., Bellbrook Sugarcreek Schools, Ohio

Keep in mind that you can also switch up things to keep students engaged. One teacher shared how she’s starting off with achievable goals and then building up as students gain momentum:

“I am running a monthlong contest for students to earn badges based on how many Trophies they earn. I tiered it by starting off with 5 Trophies, then week two, 7 Trophies. Week three is 9 trophies, and week four is 11 Trophies. The contest is based on individual goals.”

– Melissa B., Motivated Youth Academy, California

One teacher also shared how she’s organizing her contest for her special education classroom:

“Students will complete at least one lesson per week for the [subject] areas on their IEP [Individualized Education Program]. . . . Students will also compete to see who completes the most lessons at 80 percent. A chart will be used to keep up with the number of lessons a student completes for the duration of the contest.”

– Mary Ann C., Lakewood High School, North Carolina


Tip #2: Help Your Students Stay Motivated

Creative ways to keep students engaged remain a high priority this school year. Educators using Exact Path can boost student motivation through all kinds of rewards and incentives, including:

Here are some of our favorite ideas submitted by teachers this semester:

Holiday-Themed Rewards

“We will run a challenge each month with it being holiday themed: turkey in November, tree in December, snowflakes in January, etc. Each student will add parts (feathers, ornaments, snowflakes, etc.) to an individual printout for each student. The top three students in each class will received a goodie. We will base the parts on Trophies earned. One part equals one Trophy.”

– Christy M., Allen Bowden Public Schools, Oklahoma

Class Time Privileges

“The hardest working students will receive free rewards at the end of each week. Rewards include extra gym time, music during class, and video game time.”

– Jason T., West Mifflin Area Middle School, Pennsylvania

Extra Credit

“For all key standards mastered, students will earn extra credit points to earn math game time in my class.”

– Sandy S., Wheatland School District, California

Tiered Prizes

“[We offer] a small reward for 5 Trophies earned (a punch on their punch card); a larger reward for 20 Trophies earned (pick out of the treasure box); [and] a grand prize for the student with the most Trophies at the end of the semester (a king-sized candy of their choice). We may also have a little friendly competition and contest between other 2nd grade classrooms—whose class can earn the most Trophies (Popsicle party at the end of the year).”

– Jacqueline P., Dayton Christian Elementary, Ohio

“Students will earn prizes for the number of trophies they earn: 10 = candy or water bottle sticker, 25 = can of soda or bottle of water, 50 = sit wherever you want in the room, [and] 100 = McDonald's for lunch. Group contest: Class with the most Trophies wins a math vacation ‘free day.’”

– Heather M., Raceland-Worthington Middle School, Kentucky

Multi-Incentive Program

“To motivate students, we will do a daily reward for the top three earners. Overall class winners will receive ‘Smart Cookie’ awards with a cookie party. To motivate students, we will post a scoreboard in our classrooms for the ‘top 10,’ called the leaderboard. For each Trophy earned during the contest, students will put their name in a raffle to win lunch with a teacher!”

– Jennifer F., South Beauregard Upper Elementary, Louisiana

“Students will receive a large prize at the end for being the class winner, such as an Amazon gift card. Along the way to motivate students, they will receive positive emails home and class recognition, including campus recognition.”

– Ashley G., Uplift North Hills Preparatory, Primary School, Texas

Now through December 31, 2021, you can create your own contest and tell us about it via our survey to enter to win our $500 Target gift card giveaway. Increase your chances of winning by posting about your plans on social media. Just tag us on Twitter or Instagram @edmentum and include #ExactPathContest for additional entries; we can’t wait to see what you come up with! For more creative contest ideas, check out teacher entries from last fall, as well as our blog post: 9 Incentives to Motivate Your Students At Home and In School.

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Jiana Khazma

Jiana is a Marketing Specialist on the Edmentum team. She loves supporting the company's #EducatorFirst philosophy through helpful content creation. Jiana previously worked in higher education and holds a B.A. from The University of Texas at Dallas.