Sunday, March 18, 2012

Golden Groups

 In the fall I thought long about a group work "contest" to try to motivate my students to work together more effectively.  The contest idea came from a Language Arts teacher who had seen a teacher at a school in Chicago use a contest strategy in his classroom.  She told me that he would have the top group take a picture with an old basketball trophy and post the picture in the classroom.   

I was so excited about this idea that I wanted to get my hands on a trophy immediately.  I knew I had some of my own trophies but seeing they were boxed up somewhere in a different state I needed to utilize other sources.  I ran down to the school office to talk to the queen of Ebay AKA our secretary  and she helped me get my hands on a vintage track trophy- FOR FREE! Many thanks to the 19?? Chute Middle School track team for winning me this beauty!

When I got the trophy it just had the two gold runners.  I didn't want it to seem like a random track trophy so I added more flair to make it more personalized to group work.  This trophy seems to be an ongoing project because I can't seem to keep the large G in place.  Spring break will be my time to do give a big makeover to the trophy - I am seeing some gold spray paint and some scrap book items being added. 

So I am sure you are wondering how I determine the "golden group".  Remember my group norm marbles?  I keep track of the amount of marbles each group earns throughout a unit/book.  The group with the most marbles earns the honors of being the golden group!  Those students get a "golden group member" pencil (from oriental trading), a picture with the trophy and an invitation to a golden group donut breakfast.

Here are a couple of pictures of my first golden groups!
Sorry I had to blur out their beautiful smiles (privacy reasons). 

The pictures are first displayed outside my door so that the school can see my golden group members.  I love to see students and teachers stop to look at the pictures!

Once a new group has been announced the pictures outside my door are moved to the "Golden Group Hall of Fame" in the back of my room (it is in the background of the group pictures).  After the first golden group unit I realized that I was doing group work too often and the routine of the marbles was getting stale.  I decided to do group work less often so the opportunity to earn marbles seems more special. 

I will be sure to post a new picture when my trophy gets a makeover.  Since the golden G falls off about once a week the trophy is in need of some major cosmetic surgery!


  1. I love this idea! Group work is such a wonderful way to collaborate, but I tend to dread it because my students socialize way too much, so this may help! How often do you take the picture/have the donut party? It is once a month or until the group earns a certain amount of marbles?

  2. Thanks Heather! I have the picture/donut party about once a month. I like the idea of a group striving to reach a certain number of marbles though- I am going keep that idea for when I need to switch it up!