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Creative Ideas from Fellow Teachers to Build Your Exact Path Contest

Creative Ideas from Fellow Teachers to Build Your Exact Path Contest

This fall, teachers across the U.S. are designing their own Exact Path contests to motivate students and move them toward their individual growth goals. Many have also shared their fun contest plans with us, and today we’re featuring several of them to inspire your own contest strategy! Below, we tie in their testimonials with two tips for building an exciting and effective Exact Path contest this semester.

Tip #1: Develop a Solid Contest Structure

There are many components to consider when developing a successful contest. Some important questions include:

  • What learning goals will your contest address?
  • Who will compete in the contest (my class, school, district)?
  • How long will the contest run?
  • How will success be measured?

Here are a few ways teachers approached their contest structure.

Tracking Trophies

“I will set up a contest for students to earn as many trophies as possible. We will be working on their learning paths 30 minutes every day. We are competing against our 4th grade class for most trophies. We will also have a top 3 in each classroom.”

– Courtnay Menard, Amazonia Elementary, Missouri

“The contest that I created . . . will last from November 2nd to November 30th. Students will track their trophies by adding feathers to their individual turkey templates. In the end, the student with the most feathers (or trophies) will earn a prize. We will also be competing against the other [math] classes in our middle school building.”

Janelle Tea, McPherson Middle School, Ohio

We loved the idea of monitoring student progress through a holiday-themed tracker! It’s a perfect example of getting your creative juices flowing. Did you know we have various tools to help students track their progress, including a premade class goal thermometer, gameboards, and trophy trackers? Check out all of these resources on our Exact Path toolkit page.

Combining Trophies and Time-on-Task

“I have set up 2 types of challenges for my middle school virtual students. Those students that need a slower pace have weekly time-on-task type challenges. Those that are self-driven workers have one challenge for the 9 weeks with trophies earned as a goal.”

– Tanya Mantooth, Wayne High School, Oklahoma

Different students need different things, and sometimes, your contest can’t be one-size-fits-all. If you find that varied contest structures are needed, don’t be afraid to mix things up.

“The students with the most trophies at the end of the week will have a virtual lunch bunch with the teacher. . . . The contest is running for three weeks. Then we will have a new contest with different goals/plans and a new reward.”

– Michelle Lewis, Grasonville Elementary School, Maryland

If you anticipate a drop-off in momentum during the contest period, consider switching around the structure to keep students on their toes. For example, instead of making one six-week-long contest with a single reward at the end, perhaps your students will respond better to several shorter challenges, each with their own different rewards.

Tip #2: Help Your Students Stay Motivated

Creative ways to keep students engaged remain high priorities this school year. Educators using Exact Path can boost student motivation through all kinds of rewards and incentives. Here are some ideas from teachers currently running their own contest!

Special Recognition from the Teacher

“If the individual student accomplishes the challenge and earns their badge, they will be rewarded with Game Time in Mrs. Williams class. My Language Arts, Math, and Reading teacher will each set up an individual Challenge in their subject. Then on Friday, a specific time will be set up for each subject to join me in my empty classroom for games and snacks.”

– Valerie Williams, Hilldale Elementary, Oklahoma

“Rewards and incentives are much different right now that we are virtual. This makes it difficult to actually give the kids a prize/reward for their hard work. A positive phone call home goes a long way so this is a must. Also, we hold an awards assembly at the end of each quarter. I would like to recognize the students who achieve their goals at this assembly. I'd love to reward our students with a small $5 gift card as well.”

– Amelia Sanchez, Santa Maria Middle School, Arizona

“To motivate and reward students, we can . . . share Exact Path certificates by email and in the mail, and also post announcements with the winners' names on our course news feed on a weekly basis. . . . We will also give the winners some [school] swag, too!”

– Kristina McLaughlin, TRECA Digital Academy, Ohio

Every Monday we do ‘success-a-brations!’ This is a beginning of class motivator where students are recognized for the following: Time Spent in Exact Path, Number of Mastery Tests Passed, and Number of Activities Completed. Students are awarded a certificate that is posted in the [hallway] for all to see . . . [and] given a piece of candy.

– Laura Ogdie, Jinks Middle School, Florida

Individual Prizes and Incentives

“Each class will have a winner and get a free class period where they can choose to read a book, take a nap, play a game. . . etc. They NEVER have free time during class, so this is a great reward for some.”

– Jamie Marak, Coleman Public Schools, Oklahoma

“Teachers will give weekly prizes in class to motivate students . . . homework passes, bonus recess, pajama day, etc.”

– Shaye Hobart, Weddington Christian Academy, North Carolina

Class Parties

“The classroom with the most trophies at the end of the month will receive a donut party.”

– Sarah Roth, Birchcrest Elementary, Nebraska 

“We reward students at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, and 100+ trophies. We start with small incentives like a Tootsie [Pop] or bag of chips and work up to larger rewards like a full-size candy bar or bottle of pop. Our kids who earn 100 or more trophies will get a pizza party at the end of the year.”

– Kimberly Kahn, Keytesville R-III Elementary, Missouri

“I first spoke with parents to plan out the "Big Reward." After all students complete the 25 trophies on the Trophy Tracker, all students, both virtual and in-school, will come together on a Friday or Saturday afternoon for a class party on the baseball field where we can safely social distance. The students are very excited to be all together again!”

– Kristen Moore, New Summit School, Mississippi

Now through December 31, 2020, you can create your own contest and tell us about it via our survey to enter to win our $500 Exact Path contest giveaway. Increase your chances of winning by posting about your contest plans on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Just tag @edmentum, and use #exactpathcontest for additional entries. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!