The idea stems from The Super Improver Story:
Two students have a foot race. The faster student wins and she gets an "A" from the teacher. The slower student loses and gets an "F". Every day, they have the same race. Every day, the result is the same. After a while, the fast student loafs and the slow student quits. Of course! The grading system is unfair and doesn't motivate either kid! The teacher creates a new race. Now, the fast student only gets an "A" when she beats her previous best time. Same with the slow student. Now, each student always runs as hard as possible!Moral: The only fair race is the one you run against yourself.
What is the Super Improver Wall?It is a way of motivating students to improve from wherever they are- it's self-differentiating, which is great!!
Watch this wonderful video from Chris Biffle that describes it all:
Here are some examples from the WBT Midwest Conference:
On the left, you will notice the hierarchy that all kids will move up during the year- starting with Rookie and then (maybe) hitting Living Legend by May or June.
Each level is represented by a different color and they get more complex in size and color as you get near the top (Living Legend can be gold, glittery, larger, etc.- it's a really big deal!)
The Student cards on the right are a bulletin board display with each child's name displayed. The students start the year on white (Rookie) and their name color changes as they receive stars.
10 Stars= Go up one level
How does a student receive a star?
Any time they improve on something! This can be an academic focus, a behavior focus, anything that they did better than before.
I really like this focus- in the past, I have rewarded kids based on good behavior- basically, doing what they ought to be doing by following the rules, working quietly during work time, etc. This was easy for my well-behaved kids and hard for my rule-benders and there wasn't the desire to improve like this wall.
With the Super Improver Wall, kids are always striving to do better- yay! This could be improving their score on a spelling test, mastering a multiplication level, remembering to raise their hand twice that day to participate, etc.
When they show improvement, they receive a star on their name card. This can be as simple as a hand-drawn star by the teacher or an actual star sticker- up to you, but keep it simple :)
Because there are 10 levels and 10 stars equal 1 level, that's 100 stars over the course of the year, so a child could receive no more than 2 stars a day. In reality, they shouldn't receive more than one star a day, otherwise they will hit Living Legend in December..... eeek! I think that with the focus on improvement, though, that will be doable.
Worried about your higher kids that always do well on everything? Have them set their goals for improvement- this discussion will be a great way to help them rise to new challenges, which is sometimes a struggle to always think up on your own :)
What does the Bulletin Board look like during the year?Because kids are in different spots at different times, it will be a hodge-podge of colors and stars. Here are some examples from Chris Rekstad's (WBT guru) classroom:
|Early in the year: notice the hierarchy is on the left and the variety of background colors|
|Later in the year: the kids around the border are "Living Legends" and have their picture taken (ooo!) and get fancy gold paper backgrounds (aaah!). Kids of ALL skill levels are Living Legends (yay!!)|
In this example, their stars are located on index cards with their names on their desks to make it easy for the teacher to walk around and draw a star when he sees improvement. That management technique seemed nice to me, since I don't want to be running back over to the board all of the time and probably couldn't reach the top of my board without standing on a chair!
What do you think of the Super Improver Wall?This was a pretty short intro, but what are your thoughts? Rewarding for improvement instead of expected behavior, having kids motivated to do better, easy-peasy rewards for me to manage (colored paper and hand-drawn stars= no problem!), and having kids at ALL skill levels reach the highest "Living Legend" were the pieces that really got me excited :)
Have you ever used the Super Improver Wall? Do you have examples? Leave your experience in a comment below and we can all learn from you!
I'll be completely honest- I am still loving my Clip Chart, so I am not sure how I will incorporate this idea this year. So many good ideas out there!!!