Raffle & Genius Hour

This is the final activity write-up for Wooly Week 2019, go read that post to find out what other amazing activities we tried in our class over the past two weeks.

Okay, so as far as techniques or activities ideas, this isn’t exactly in line with my normal posts. However, it’s value in engagement is (in my opinion) worth it’s place here. Neither of these things should be used frequently, and honestly I doubt I could be convinced to do them more than once per year. I am really glad I did them, so here’s how you can do it too:

Wooly Week Raffle

One part of Wooly Week is the teacher raffle. All of the prizes are a super, geeky kind of cool that students can’t win and probably wouldn’t want anyway. Things like PD conferences, kids just don’t get how this prize is amazing. So, I built a raffle out of things they would want, and posted in their rooms how to earn tickets and what the prizes would be if they won. To earn tickets students had to participate happily in class to earn up to 9 tickets (one per day), or they could participate in genius hour activities which I will describe after the prizes. Now, I went ahead and asked my principal if she would give me money to buy one shirt for a grand prize, and one sheet of stickers for each of my classes as a class level prize. She agreed, which was amazing, but I would not have spent my own money on this. I try to do as much as I can without spending money. I also came up with some other prizes of my own, and alternate ideas if the stickers and shirt hadn’t panned out:

  • Teacher for the day: This prize allows the recipient to take over class for one day (any day) and has the ability to redirect class to any Spanish related task they want. I do expect that we will be doing something on laptops on the Sr. Wooly site, but that’s fine. When I give them complete control of the class (I’m not, just to be clear, they have to still be working in Spanish) they are immediately invested in what we are doing for the day. Somehow they have stumbled upon all of the power in the room (they haven’t, but they think they have) and 99% of the time they will use their power for good (in my experience). This only costs me my desire to micromanage, which is a proclivity that I’ve been trying to let go of anyway. I have not required advance notice, but you certainly could add fine print. I’m fine reworking my lesson plans after the fact.
  • One Free A: In my room this prize works for any written graded task. I do so many graded activities that no single task will skew their grade if they have real problems, so I’ll totally let that go. Test, quiz, classwork, they get one, whichever one they want.
  • Other ideas I had: Opt out pass, which would allow a student to not to what we are doing as a class one day, but instead can just sit out and read anything from my library. Gimme a game pass, which would leave me in charge of the class, but I’d have to scrap everything and do a game instead whatever I’d had planned. And, of course, I had considered just giving multiple copies of these awards.

Genius Hour

Wooly also came out with six genius hour projects as a way to earn raffle tickets for teachers. Many of them were not good options for me, like making videos, it’s doable but not in any way I could come up with in my elementary groups. What we did do was the baking challenge, where students decorated sugar cookies during class. The cookies came from one student who got tickets for them, but everyone was invited to bring icing in exchange for tickets as well. This was just fun, that’s all.

The other activity we took part in was Flat Billy. I provided students with a copy of Billy and they got a ticket for every picture they took of him out and around our town. The specific prompt was “take me anywhere that makes the Noke a special place.” Then they needed to email me the picture. This was my favorite thing, because I then compiled the pictures into a powerpoint and wrote a story about all the people and places Billy saw during his visit.

When it was time to pull winners, I pulled all of my students into the same room, to pull all the prizes together. Before we did that, I read to them their story of Billy. It was magical, even the classroom teachers sat in the back of the room completely captivated by the story! This was my sign that it was comprehensibly written too. And the kids loved seeing who had taken Billy to what places, and seeing their own pictures included in the story. I’ll be printing this to add to our classroom library for sure!! Next year, when Wooly Week returns, if there is not a flat challenge then I will make my own. It won’t be Billy, because we’ve done him now, but someone else will invade the Noke and we’ll have another story about our awesome city and my fabulous kiddos.

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