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Classroom Management: House points

This house points system was used for classroom management as part of my first school placement.

The concept of class ‘houses’ provides social benefits to the children, as it ensures that all children are part of a team – this is represented in the house crests that they work collaboratively to design. It promotes teamwork and inclusion, as children must work together for the group to be successful. Peers are great motivators and this system encourages children to support each other in displaying good behaviour!

Being part of a group also ensures that the children in the class who struggle with behaviour aren’t individually highlighted to their classmates, if they have not managed to earn points.

The jars provide a visual, tangible representation of good behaviour, so they help the children to easily understand how their house is doing - plus they're a constant reminder of the value placed on good behaviour in the class!

So how does it work?

  • Each of the five tables in the class are assigned a ‘house’ name. The names are Buí, Dearg, Glas, Gorm and Oráiste. The houses have corresponding coloured jars to which ‘points’ are added during the week - I've used painted stones to represent the points. The children work as a group to design their house crest, which hangs above the jars.

  • Points are given to reward good behaviour, examples of which would have been discussed as a class and displayed in the classroom. This system is based on positive reinforcement so points are only ever given, not taken away. Positive reinforcement is important for emphasising what good behaviour is, and I don’t believe in punishing children by removing points due to the embarrassment it can cause and possible social issues with their peers.

  • At the end of the week, the children count the number of points in their jar. The house with the most points are awarded the house cup, which they get to display on their table for the following week. Additionally, the winning table are rewarded by being given the role of the teacher’s helpers for that week. (I'm personally not a fan of rewarding the children with store-bought prizes)

  • A running total of all the points earned by the class is also kept, and tracked using a number line above the house jars. This ensures that all children are kept motivated, even when it is apparent their house won’t win that particular week. As a class we decide on our target number and the reward we will receive on reaching the target. It is a long-term goal so will take a number of weeks to reach.

  • The number strip encourages a whole-class effort, as well as teaching the children to work towards long-term goals. This is definitely important for keeping the class motivated and engaged with this system!


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