Table points are amazingly helpful in my classroom. Each table takes initiative to win points by listening and participating. I’ve discovered over the years that competition works. My 4th graders will compete to get the prize every time. For this reason, I seat my students at tables, not individual desks. This enables them to have elbow room and engage in discussion. I find that group discussion often fills in teaching objectives that I might not have covered in traditional teaching. It works well for every subject, including fostering self-esteem.
Once I seemed comfortable with the table points system I started sharing it with a friend who teaches 12th grade. He agreed my system was good but made a powerful suggestion. He explained a way to get tables interacting with other tables so it is a more universal collaboration. He suggested I name each position around the tables so each table would have a corresponding position and those students would operate as a team sometimes. This is especially helpful when I need a student volunteer from each table. It’s been pandemonium in the past with wildly raising of hands. With my friend’s suggestion, I just say for example “Northwest please get the handout for your table.” It’s exciting when you master an idea so you can tweak it with a new on like this.