The badge sheet is used to keep the students motivated. When they receive their 5th badge, they get the next 30 minute computer lab session as free time and putter online as they wish.
For our students, “a break” is the ultimate motivator, so this is the most effective reward we can give.
Badges are given upon the completion of a video tutorial, or working hard for the length of the computer lab session.
At first, the kids weren’t excited about the badges, but once they “filled their card” and got a session off, they were very focused and excited about the badges.
Badge earning is not totally uniform — for more advanced students, if they get sidetracked and work on graphics for their project for more than a week at a time, they won’t earn a new badge until they resume coding. This has proven very effective.
Once the badge sheet has been filled, we have a little (3 second) ceremony, in which the student’s name is called out, they receive a small envelope with a coin (the party store has bags these plastic party favors ). They are given the coin and they may “buy a day off” with it.
This system has worked very well, and lab motivation has skyrocketed.
*Note the star in the upper right corner of the badge sheet, that is extra credit and 4 stars = 1 badge, so extra effort helps the breaks come faster (and staggers the breaks so everyone doesn’t have a day off on the same day).
** The badge sheet also tracks absences, so we can separate an “off day” where almost nothing got done, vs. an absence.
The notes and other information is in the post “The Binder: Bringing it all Together”