Reward based PowerTeaching has revolutionized some classrooms by emphasizing student cooperation in middle school.
In an eighth grade math class at Southwest Middle School, teacher Kari Abelseth has her students organized into small teams. She gives seemingly cryptic instructions while reaching into two cups and withdrawing a popsicle stick from each.
“Person number two,” she read from one stick. “From ‘Do the Math’,” she read from the other.
Do the Math is one of the teams of students. “I let them pick their own team names,” Abelseth said. “It’s more fun that way.”
In Rapid City’s five middle schools, teachers have been using the technique of PowerTeaching for the past year and a half. The program was created by the Success for All Foundation and is funded by a three year grant.
In Abelseth’s class, she projects math problem on the board, giving teams time to solve it. Using the popsicle sticks, she calls upon a student from a particular team to present the answer. She then rewards the team points for correct answers, explaination of their work, and teamwork. Once a team accrues 90 points, they are a Super Team, with special rewards and privileges.