Sunday, July 21, 2013

WBT Book Club-Chapter 21: The Bull's Eye Game

When comparing and contrasting the Bull’s Eye Game to methods I have used and observed when dealing with a challenging student, it does have several qualities that make it worth using when needed.  I teach sixth grade, and strategies that once worked in elementary school, do not work at the middle school level.  During my teaching career, I have taught several students that have refused to complete tasks.  They seem immune to any consequence.  In my opinion, nothing their teachers, including myself, ever did changed their behavior or encouraged them to participate and work for any good length of time.  I have seen students given desk checklists and behavior trackers, candy, stickers, and play money.  I have participated on teams where we discussed behavior with individual students and created behavior plans.  One time, a plan was even created for a student to give him individual “free time” at the end of the day if his behavior “tracker sheet” totaled X number of points per day.  Unfortunately, none of these methods were successful.  Taking into consideration the aforementioned failed plans, I enjoyed reading about the Bull’s Eye Game.  I have never tried this strategy, but I can see the bull’s eye target, itself, making a big statement to the entire class.  Just like playing an electronic game, students love to earn points, so it holds the “fun factor,” too.  

Compared to other methods, I see several important features of the Bull’s Eye Game that were missing in strategies I have previously tried and observed.  First, the child is involved in the assessment.  I like the fact that the student scores him/herself and compares that to what the teacher was thinking.  The closer their score is to the teachers, the more bull’s eye points they score.  Second, this strategy involves frequent student and teacher reflection.  By meeting with the student several times a day, they are really thinking about their actions and overall behavior.  Finally, the Bull’s Eye Game is goal specific.  Small, easily attainable goals are targeted, and the challenging student knows, specifically, what is expected in order to gain points.  In the long run, many small achievements would improve overall work ethic and behavior during class time.  

My only concern at the middle school level is with the stickers.  In my opinion, stickers will not motivate most 11 and 12 year olds.  This could be remedied, though, as our team could easily choose another incentive that would hold more value if necessary. 

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