Fitting it all in -- Algebraic Table Points

My wonderful teaching partner, Mrs. Simon, had this amazing idea in her classroom that I have stolen borrowed to use in my own class.  Algebraic table points!!

It was such a simple, yet brilliant idea, that I just HAD to use it in my class.  So, for the past three years or so, it has become a staple for me.  The basic idea is that instead of earning tallies for points (as I had done in the years past) the students earned either x's or + points.  The points area was set up like this:

The x is assigned a value each week.  Sometimes, it is high.  Others weeks, it is low (as shown in the picture, it was only worth 2).

The students then either can earn x's (they can have 2x or 3x or 5x or 9x by the end of the week)  or +'s.  Right now, it has a +0.  If they earn +2, the equation on the board would be x + 2.

X's are earned for whole group, spectacular behavior.  If the table was very quiet when no other table was, they earn an x.  If the table cleaned up really well, they can earn an x.


+ points are earned for a few kids at the table being noticeably good, or for smaller things that the students do each day.

At the end of the week, the equations are solved by the entire class and we discover who won that week.  In my class, they earn money in our classroom economy.

It is just one, small way to get math in on a daily basis.

11 comments

  1. Hi Stephanie:
    I LOVE this. What a great way to sneak in some algebra--with high motivation for the kids to understand it!
    Hooray for you!
    I'm you're newest (delighted) follower...

    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

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  2. Thank you Kim! I love the "sneaking" factor too :)

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  3. I love this idea. I wonder how I could it for my lower elementary students.

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  4. Hi Stephanie:
    Loved it then. Love it now.
    You are one smart cookie!

    (x)(Thanks)

    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

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  5. I saw this post awhile back and started doing it with my 6th graders. They loved it! Earning an x was a big deal for them. After I while I started also doing x squared too (can't get the post to do the exponent!) A few times I think I add parenthesis to increase the values for well behaved tables. One time I even added a y that they had to figure out what the value was. Thank you for sharing this idea, it is fabulous!

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  6. I'm doing an algebra unit at the moment so will definitely try this out. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  7. What a great idea!
    Thank you for sharing :o)

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  8. So would this be too difficult for 3rd grade? I am moving up from kindergarten and my fear is that I will not make things challenging

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  9. I absolutely love this! I will also steal I mean borrow this! Teachers sometimes complain about time and this is a daily/weekly review of a concept!

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  10. I teach in Albania. Love your style, the classroom, the management. Great job! Keep it up!

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