Friday, August 3, 2012

A break from cards...

...but not a break from being crafty!  Yesterday I started to get my classroom set up for the upcoming school year.  It's earlier than I've ever started that process, but I know that there will be lots of changes at school this year, so the sooner I get rolling, the smoother it should go.

Today I've been quite industrious, I think.  Inspired by Pinterest, I took on several projects.  The first project is dubbed Homeworkopoly.  I changed the directions and the board to suit my classroom.  My students will individually earn the right to play on Friday if they have turned in all of their homework for the week on time.  They'll roll just one die since the board is small (and I don't want to hear about taking a second turn for rolling doubles).  The potential rewards are small prizes that are inexpensive or free but are things I know my kids generally like.

Go earns $50 Cat Cash (money in our grade-level economy).  They'll earn this whenever they pass by Go, just like in real Monopoly. 
Free Reading awards kids with the opportunity to free read instead of doing the math warm-up one day.  They always whine about doing the warm-up, so this might be a good motivator to do homework.
Treasure Chest is just the choice of a small prize (pencil, eraser, etc), piece of candy, or $25 Cat Cash.
Lunch Bunch will be the coveted prize for sure!  It gives kids the chance to bring two friends to eat lunch in my room.  Since lunch tables are assigned and stay the same all year, some kids never get to eat with their closest friends.
When they land on Chance, the kids can answer a math problem to earn extra Cat Cash.

I'm storing all of the cards in plastic index card boxes.  I put advertising magnets on the backs.  I still need to make the game pieces, but I'm going to wait until class lists are somewhat more finalized than they are now.  Clothespins would be great if I didn't teach almost 80 students.  I'm going to do small magnets.   (Update: I actually used Staples page flags and had each class period use a different color.  They held up well and weren't going to move if someone bumped into the board.)  I also need to collect questions for the Chance spaces.  I'm going to aim for 30 questions.   The files for the game board are below.  I removed any references to things specific to my school, but you could also update the spaces with school-specific rewards. 

Update (9/2013)- Homeworkopoly got to be too much work for me after one marking term.  It took about 15-20 minutes of class time per week.  If your students are really good independent workers, this might be an option for you.  I found that my students would have questions about their assignment and that would make this process take even longer.  I couldn't justify taking away from instruction with this system.  It was a good motivator for certain kids, recognized those who consistently do what they should, and I had it well organized, but it wasn't working for my class, so I let it go. 

On to project #2.  Here's our classroom "Parking Lot."   My middle schoolers can't drive yet, but they'll all be assigned a parking space.  When I need to do a quick, short exit pass, I can have the kids write their work on post-it notes and stick them to this poster.  Each kid will use their number (based off my alphabetized list, of course) so I can quickly record their scores.  To differentiate this assignment, I can give out different colored post-its and direct the children to answer a certain question based on the color of their post-it.  Then when scoring them, I can score by color.  Easy peasy!  I think it will be quick enough to score one class's answers while the next class is doing the warm-up. 
Another thing I LOVE about today's craftiness is that I used two hideously old fashioned pieces of scrapbooking paper.  They're great for school but not so hot for my own crafts!    

Sorry for the break from the cards, but I was excited to share some things for my classroom! 
Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.


  1. You've clearly put a lot of time, thought, and energy into motivating your students to become productive and responsible! Take a bow, bravo :)

  2. I'm an 8th grade math teacher, and love your version of the board. Do you have it on TPT or anywhere for download/purchase?

    1. I've just embedded it above. I don't sell my stuff. I posted this last summer before I started my teaching blog. You can find the rest of my posts and downloadable files at Thanks for visiting!

  3. Awesome! Thank you, and yea, I was wondering how it went in your class. I am going to try it with my 8th graders who are in Algebra 1, surely they will be able to handle it. But yeah, I only have 48 minutes with them so I will not waste any time on this, but I need some sort of rewards for them.

    1. If you have a relatively trustworthy group of students, you might be able to send them to the board to roll the dice and move in small groups. That would keep them honest about what they rolled because their peers would see. They could make a list of what prizes were earned and you could award them at a time convenient for you. Anyway, I liked the concept but I think it's better suited to elementary school when it might be easier to sneak in a few kids at a time here or there throughout the day.

      This year, I'm spelling out "homework" with my classes. They'll get a letter each time the class has 100% HW completion. It won't be an individual reward, so I like it less, but I'm going to give it a go.


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