The Streak can be established for any part of your classroom that you are noticing your students are struggling with. Originally I designed the Streak to be for cell phones but altered the design to fit the need of my classes. The following post is a how-to guide for establishing a Streak in your classroom. Before I behind, I must note that this is designed for a secondary classroom because a single teacher can easily identify an issue each class is having, versus a grade of teachers at the elementary level. However, I encourage elementary educators to adopt this strategy anyway they are able.
1. Noticing a Problem
As mentioned in the narrative post, the Tacēte Streak was established because students were struggling with shout out, which went against classroom procedures. Instead of giving the students a negative consequence, I promoted competition between the classes. Students need an external push, and sometimes that push is competition.
I would not suggest starting the school year with a streak immediately in mind to implement. Imagine if I came into the class on the first day with a cell phone streak ready to establish, but actually have a group of students that don’t struggle with that, partly because they are middle school students that haven’t gotten phones yet. Therefore, think of anything your students may have been struggling to obtain, whether it is keeping their phones away when they aren’t needed, or one similar to mine, or even something as far as grades. Some students couldn’t care less about grades, but give them a reward for having the highest average, and you may see some results. This is probably the most common purpose I’ve seen for a streak. But you need to make it unique to your classroom and the procedures you have in place. Whatever your issue, think if it is something you can turn into a competition. Once you have that, what are your expectations?
2. Establishing Expectations
Once you’ve established the problem, think of the expectations you want to see. When the problem is one of the classroom procedures, explicitly tell your students the expectations you have in place for them obtaining a day one. When you explicitly tell your students the expectations of the streak, have them posted somewhere, either a poster in the classroom or on a class website.
Before you give expectations to your students, define expectations for yourself. A lot of the process was learn-as-you-go for the Tacēte Streak. I had not thought of the tracking problems my mentor teacher and I encountered. Therefore, establish how you are going to track your streak, whether physical or digital. Below is a list of platforms to track your streak:
- Calendar – have a large desk calendar, or dry-easer calendar in the room for students to see, and mark off the days a class obtains a streak or loses the streak.
- Chalkboard signs – have a moderate size chalkboard for each class to denote the streak for the class and have a student change it at the end of every class.
- Progress Chart with Flippity – If you have not used Flippity, it is a great online tool to create many things, including progress charts. If you have a classroom website, this is a great place to keep your streak without taking up wall space or if you move from classroom to classroom.
In regard to tracking, this does not only mean the streak itself but any consequences that are time sensitive, like picking up the streak.
Consequences can be positive or negative. If we look at the Latin roots of the words, “con” from cum meaning “with,” or “together,” and “sequence” from sequor meaning “follow,” the word literally means “following with,” or “following together.” Neither term expresses the charge of the word. Therefore, the consequence for the class with the highest streak receives a day of games or a something to entice the students. If that long-term goal is not enough motivation for a class, you may need to establish short-term consequences.
Now, not every streak may cause more short-term consequences, like the Tacēte Streak and the three-day pickup rule. You also have to ensure that the consequence matches the spirit of the streak. Since the Tacēte Streak stems from peers ability to contain their interactions with each other during direct instruction, seating charts are an appropriate consequence to establish, since we have free seating implemented in the classroom.
Seating charts are a powerful tool, especially if a class likes their seats. It could be implemented with a cell phone streak to move those always all their phones to more visible spots in the classroom. In my original plan for a cell phone streak, I had after three unwelcomed phones were out, everyone had to turn in their phone for the remainder of the class. Now, this would have to change based on school policies on cell phones. The main point of consequences is that they fit the streak’s purpose and the reward is something you can get the students excited about obtaining by the end of the time frame. Once you have all of these questions answered, you’re ready to implement it into the classroom. If you add any clauses to the streak, express the rationale to your students.
A final note
For anyone interested in implementing the Tacēte Streak because their classes aren’t following the same classroom procedure, I have few words of consideration. First, it gives power to a substitute for a rather chatty classroom. I have subbed for classes that were too loud and I revoked their talking privilege but the talking continued because they did see me as having any power over them. The second and more important note is, it will vary day to day as to what is acceptable for the streak. On days where we have games, we’re a little more lenient because we understand the students are excited. However, during tests or quizzes, classes have lost their streak, because the need to state a second time for students to be quiet while their peers are testing is a serious matter. One of the highest streaks was lost on a test day. The classroom nor the students nor you will be the same every day. It is important to acknowledge your bad days to your students and them to you.