I just read and highly recommend Ron Clark's End of Molasses Classes. In the book he talks about how all the students at his Academy are divided into houses, like in Harry Potter, in which they compete with each other and lift each other up to their house expectations. I thought about doing this when I first read the Harry Potter books but never tried it. I really think I would like to try this with my classes this year. Each class would come up with their own house identity and earn house points by completing homework assignments, class participation, and encouraging each other during class. They will be able to earn points outside of class if other teachers or I witness them doing something above and beyond a typical middle school student. Points also would be deducted for behavior, lack of effort, disrespect, or anything negative. I thought I could have the house points posted somewhere to encourage the competition. At the end of the nine weeks they would get some sort of award, which is something I can't really decide would be. Maybe a free day in which the class decides what to do. Does anyone do this in their classes? I would appreciate any thoughts on this idea.
I like this idea a lot, I thought of something like this my first year to try and get kids to turn in work. But I like the idea of including behavior. I think it will cause students to police themselves to some extent, not wanting to hurt their "team." I would including things like attendance if that is an issue at your school, I know it is at mine. Also have to worry about certain advantages that some classes may have over others, for example if you have an honors class as opposed to an inclusion class, my thoughts here would be it may push you to praise behavior in the inclusion class more so to keep them closer in points with the others but I do not see that as a bad thing. Many of those kids only hear negatives anyway. This has me thinking, something I will mull over for the next week before school starts. Let me know if you put pen to paper and come up with a solid format. Maybe the joy of it would be that there would be no "Rules" you do something good you get rewarded and your team is rewarded.
Sorry if this sounds like rambling!