Team Challenges

Have you tried a team challenge on textivate?

You can do this during class time or between classes, or from one week to the next. (Just make sure to set an appropriate end time for the challenge.)

It's dead easy to do. Simply create a challenge based on one or more of your resources, split the class into as many teams as you like, and tell each member of each team to use their team name as their "scoreboard name". In the example above I've rather unimaginatively used "Team 1" to "Team 4", but you can use whatever names you like -- just make sure the students type them in correctly...

What you end up with is a team challenge where students can return to the scoreboard between activities and see how well their team is doing. If you are doing this in class, you can set it up so that the scoreboard is on display on a projector or IWB, with auto-refresh turned on, so that the scoreboard automatically updates every 30 seconds or so. (You can only do this if you are logged in and the challenge was created by you.)

A challenge is a great way of encouraging students to re-read a text in lots of different ways, increasing their exposure to repetitions of core structures, vocabulary, etc, and it provides extrinsic motivation to engage in the many activities -- i.e. to score points and beat the other teams! 

One of the benefits of a team competition is that all team members can feel that they are contributing to the overall team score, even if they, personally, are not the brightest and would quickly lose heart if they saw that their scores were very low while other students in the class were racing ahead. This would work particularly well if you set up "vertical" teams, where every team has a range of ability, and preferably equal numbers. (Having said that, allowing for varying numbers of team members might also be a good way of redressing the balance between groups of students with different abilities.)

Here's a link to the challenge featured in the image above. Why not join a team and contribute?

http://www.textivate.com/challenge.php?id=iycjn10

(BTW, if you feel that the text featured in the example above is not the sort of content you would like to expose your students to, well, that is not a problem -- you can make your challenge based on whatever text and / or vocab items you want to expose them to.)

Here's a quote from a user of textivate (a TPRS teacher) commenting on team challenges on facebook:

"The challenge gets everyone engaged. We do it as teams. My classroom gets so quiet you can hear a pin drop and then there is raucous uproar when someone on a team dumps a chunk of points. The kids get so intense. It is a great wrap up activity after a story has been told and I've done everything I want to with actors and re-tells, etc. this is my final push and we end with a bang!"

:0)