Was I unfair to the students?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Kaley12, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Kaley12

    Kaley12 Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 26, 2014

    Hi everyone,
    Yesterday I played a game with my grade 3 and grade 4 students. It was an activity for our music and drama lesson that I had found online and it seemed cute.

    Basically it's a singing game where students have to try to guess who is "it". Each student takes a turn guessing until someone gets the right person. Whoever wins got a candy for the prize.

    We had time to play about 4 rounds of the game, so 4 students won a candy.

    The number of students who were upset at the end of the period was UNREAL. I had a couple students basically throwing a tantrum because they didn't win - slamming their desk, mouthing off (this is a stupid game, I'm telling my mom, etc).

    Now in general this is a difficult class, and the students who were reacting like this were the more difficult ones. The 'good' students didn't seem upset and got that it was just a game. But I was genuinely shocked at how some of the students responded. I thought everyone would enjoy this activity and it could be a fun game we could play now and then as a little treat when we have 10 minutes here or there.

    Do you think it was wrong to give little candies to those students who won? I played a guessing game in the past with grade 1's, where I would give a little treat to the couple "winners" and I never had a peep from anyone who didn't win. They all thought it was fun. It never occurred to me that OLDER students would have such a hard time.

    In the future if I were to do an activity like this, should I not give any prizes? Or maybe bring enough so everyone gets one in the end? I'm pretty surprised and upset at how the students responded to something I thought they would enjoy and have fun with. I'd appreciate some feedback on whether or not it was unfair to only give treats to the couple kids who won. Thanks!
     
  2.  
  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,716
    Likes Received:
    478

    Mar 26, 2014

    I don't think it was unfair. Not every game can have a winner, so I do not think it is necessary to have a treat for everyone.
     
  4. Rox

    Rox Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    19

    Mar 26, 2014

    I don't think it was unfair, however, I would approach it differently. You didn't do anything wrong, you found a great game that seemed to involve and motivate students.

    I avoid games that result in just one winner. Perhaps have students compete in teams or when students are eliminated, have another activity for them to do instead of just sitting there sulking over their loss. I also avoid giving out candy or material items for rewards. Mostly because of obesity and lack of funds. Try to come up with more creative rewards, such as 5 minutes extra recess, line leader, or free homework pass.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 26, 2014

    Not unfair. They need to suck it up. :)

    I have winners all the time. Sometimes there are treats of some kind (candy, sticker, bookmark) and sometimes I don't give any.
     
  6. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2014
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2014

    don't give in to the tantrums, the kids throwing them will just keep doing it because they knew it will work for you.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,307
    Likes Received:
    887

    Mar 26, 2014

    Absolutely not unfair.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,530
    Likes Received:
    1,642

    Mar 26, 2014

    Not everyone can win every time, and not every game results in participation trophies. They need to learn that.
     
  9. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,091
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 26, 2014

    Not unfair.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    15

    Mar 26, 2014

    I get where this comes from, but I think students need opportunities to fail. Games are usually safe places to teach these types of life-long lessons: not everyone wins.
     
  11. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    4,896
    Likes Received:
    5

    Mar 26, 2014

    It's not unfair.

    I had a few of my students play a board game. One student kept muttering under his breath about how stupid the game was (he was losing). I asked him what he considers the most important thing to think about when playing games and in his most devious voice he said, "WINNING!". Now this is a student who I will be having him participate in games where I know there is a good chance that he will lose in order for him to learn how to be a good sport.
     
  12. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    919
    Likes Received:
    40

    Mar 26, 2014

    Usually I give one piece to everybody, and allow winners to pick two pieces. Only because I teach at a school and district where it is unofficial policy that everybody always wins, and if they don't, the teacher is the loser who will hear it from mommas.
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    1,152

    Mar 26, 2014

    Not unfair at all. Kids need to learn how to lose (or at least not win) and not pout about it. When they get older, they even need to learn how to lose in an unfair way, because life is unfair sometimes.
    But in this case, you did nothing wrong.

    Maybe do a little discussion about winning, losing, having a great attitude either way? That we play to play, it's not always about the prize?
     
  14. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2014

    NOT unfair...I don't think an everyone wins/gets a prize mindset is good for kids to have. There ARE times when someone is better than you at something!
     
  15. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    38

    Mar 26, 2014

    Def not unfair. Wait until they get to HS. I once had an entire lesson where I would make 75% of the class complete stupid, off-topic tasks (like "create 3 paper snowflakes) in return for candy, but every time they did it, I would instead reward the OTHER 25% with candy (lesson on mercantilism) and promise that they'd get the reward "next time." I never did give them anything, but they kept falling for it. :p They were shocked.... but they remembered the point! :D
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Mar 26, 2014

    Not unfair, but I wouldn't give candy.
     
  17. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2014

    I agree with this, except I wouldn't give a homework pass as a reward. That is only giving students the message that homework is not worth doing and is something that they should try to avoid.
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,296
    Likes Received:
    782

    Mar 26, 2014

    Was your activity unfair? No.
    Did the behavior of your students show poor sportsmanship? Yes

    I have taught 3rd and 4th grades for over a decade, and I did find one of the best things I changed was stopping giving out prizes to the winners. It creates a lot of problems, and what a relief when we just played those games for fun. My suggestion, don't give out individual prizes for games you play with grades 3 and 4. My experience has shown, there are far less problems with no prizes but to have fun.
     
  19. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,136
    Likes Received:
    165

    Mar 26, 2014

    Before I play any game I always made it a point to teach the kids about sore losers and sore winners and how neither are allowed in the room. Sore losers weren't allowed to play games, it taught them to learn how to suck it up and learn they weren't going to win every time. If I had a sore winner (and this was rare) I wouldn't give them a prize. It teaches good sportsmanship.

    I'd usually give a small piece of candy or a pencil to ONLY the winners. You did nothing wrong. Just set your expectations before you start a game and have the rules of what you won't tolerate VERY clear. Every student doesn't have to participate if they can't get with it.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 26, 2014

    This is just crazy. I don't think I could buy into this unwritten policy. Mommas could complain away. Guess if administration said something I would stop all related things...no prizes, no rewards, no recognition. I'd choose this before giving everyone a piece of candy. Gosh. :|

    (I don't mean this AT you.)
     
  21. Kaley12

    Kaley12 Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 27, 2014

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the responses. It's very reassuring to hear that other teachers don't find it unfair. I was starting to worry that maybe it wasn't the right approach to do an activity where only a few students could get prizes.

    I think the handful of students that complained were so loud and immature about it (like I had previously mentioned, they were sulking, complaining, and making quite a little scene) that it overpowered the rest of the class who took it in stride. I like the idea of discussing good/poor sports - if I get a reaction like that again those students will not be allowed to participate.
    Thanks again everyone :)
     
  22. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Mar 27, 2014

    One of the biggest problems with our society is entitlement! Kids need a dose of reality- you lose sometimes.
     
  23. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,061
    Likes Received:
    538

    Mar 27, 2014

    Not unfair at all! Kids need to learn how to lose and that you don't always get what you want.

    With my class last year we had to talk about how when the other person wins, it's not because they are a cheater, it's because they WON and you didn't.
     
  24. live

    live Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    2

    Mar 27, 2014

    Today we had someone from the business field come in to teach the kids about economics. He made a couple of strong points that seemed to resonate with my students:
    1. He would never hire someone who does not work well with others.
    2. There are winners, and there are losers (his words). You work hard and learn so you're on the losing end as little as possible.

    Later when we were playing an end-of-day game, my typically highly-competitive kids would get "out" and say, "aw man, but that's okay!" or "good job everyone!" Even my student who occasionally mumbles and cries when he loses. It was so scripted, but it was good and reassuring to see it in practice.

    Kids seriously need to learn how to lose. They need to learn how to get back on their feet after disappointment, otherwise they'll just back out whenever things get tough.

    You did nothing wrong.
     
  25. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 27, 2014

    This behavior of win or lose will show up when they play sports. Teaching them that the game and fun is the goal will help them later in life.
     
  26. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    2

    Mar 29, 2014

    Life is not fair. You do not always get to win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes things happen and you just need to get over it and move on.
    Students need to experience both success and failure.

    I don't give candy in my class but still, you did nothing wrong.
     
  27. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,809
    Likes Received:
    190

    Mar 29, 2014

    I read through this quick.... agree need to learn that lesson of not everyone wins.

    We had on Duck Dynasty (love him or hate him....the father Phil) was saying the same thing...can you imagine the Olympics where everyone gets a gold? He was talking to one of his sons about not everyone can win!

    I always say did you try your best? That's all we can do, but sometimes somebody's best may be a little better so we just have practice a little more.

    I always think of these...
    “When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win”
    Ed Macauley quotes ( Basketball Player, b.1928)

    “You always have to give 100 percent, because if you don't, someone, someplace, will give 100 percent and will beat you when you meet.”

    Ed Macauley quotes ( Basketball Player, b.1928)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. TeacherNY,
  2. ready2learn
Total: 241 (members: 5, guests: 213, robots: 23)
test