Throwback Thursday: Algebraic Table Points

My blog has been around for about a year and a half now and one of the best parts about it is that I have this little storehouse of all of my teaching ideas, with little pictures that I can go back to at any time to revisit.  So I thought this was the most perfect time to do just that when I saw Cara from First Grade Parade was having a "Throwback Thursday" linky party.  What a great time to reminisce and join in!

The post I am going to bring back this Thursday is something I have used in my class for quite some time now and it truly invaluable and SIMPLE.....algebraic table points!   This post originally appeared on my blog in December of was literally one of my first posts.  I think I actually wrote it in those frenzied first few days when I started up and wanted to get everything I had ever taught before on the blog ;)


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.


  1. I. LOVE. IT. I remember loving this when you initially posted this!! I use money for my table groups. Each group is assigned a coin so I refer to my groups as nickels, dimes, pennies, and quarters. The groups switch coins every few weeks. Since they're 1st grade, our main goal is recognition and then the value of each coin. We also earn money as a whole class so we can practice value and counting. Like you said, just a small way to get math in on a daily basis!

    I have missed visiting your blog, Stephanie!
    Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes

  2. I love this idea! I am going to use it this year. Thank you so much for your amazingness!

    Crofts' Classroom

  3. I love it too! So creative and it makes the kids think and when the x is valuable I bet it influences how good the kids are that week!
    Kids Math Teacher

  4. Brilliant idea! I could definitely use this with my 4th graders. I love it!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

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