Yesterday, we awarded our first round of the much-coveted ninja badges!

These badges are awarded to students who make improvements on their practice ACT tests.  Here’s how it works.

Every few weeks, we do 10 questions of the reading ACT in British Literature class and 15 questions of the English ACT in college composition.  For the junior level business English class, we do a literature terms quiz because our state test has quite a few literature terms on it.

After they complete the test and we go through the answers, they plot their progress on a personal bar chart. If they maintain or improve their scores from their previous test, BAM!, they earn a ninja badge.

Last year I laminated badges for them to sign and hang around the room. This year I’ve switched to stickers. I purchased blank white circular labels, designed these ninjas on, and then pasted them to a Word document using their label template. Then all I had to do was print them off, and I had a customized sticker.

Some students put their stickers on their folders, while others stuck them to their clothes, proudly wearing their new title around school.

I should mention here that I teach 17- and 18-year-olds. Often we think that students of this age are preparing for college, so we should be serious with our teaching approach.

This is wrong.

Even with older students, teachers should be playful and fun. Even with older students, we should play games and hand out stickers when deserved.  Even with older students, we should be silly sometimes.

And there is no better time to be silly than when practicing for the ACT. While I’m not a proponent of this constant testing of students, I do believe in preparing my students for a major test that could provide them with hundreds or thousands of dollars in scholarships.

Anyone is welcome to use the badges I’ve designed below:

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