If you’ve tried motivating kids with candy, lottery tickets, cheesy toys from the Treasure Chest, you know the problem. Junky trinkets:

  • work for a week or two and then pupils want more
  • make other kids jealous
  • are soon lost
  • turn students into junk beggars
  • spawn “what will you give me” when you ask for assistance
  • massively deceive students into thinking that the purpose of school is to win junk... and thus, they miss the wonders of improving in reading, writing, math, critical thinking.

The reward for academic and social growth should be intrinsic, the experience of growth itself... not extrinsic, winning handfuls of gimcrackery.


As a whole class motivator, set up a large, 10 x 10 Starries Grid.  Explain that when you see improvement, you’ll add a star to the display.  100 Starries unlocks the next game, Super Improver®.  Average about 5 Stars per day, taking about a month to complete the grid.

Initial experiments indicate that you can use the remarkable power of Starries to not only reward for whole class improvement but also to reward Beloved Rascals (BRs) for micro-improvements. "Jack, you really showed growth in how you're teaching your neighbor. Keep it up and maybe you'll win the entire class a Starry!" Put your BRs in a position they've never been in ... Class Benefactor! If you have a large percentage of Rascals, then 50% of the Starries should go to individual kids for personal growth.


For details on this remarkable game, jin our Super Improver group and watch the Facebook Live : Starries with Chris “Coach B” Biffle.

Also, don't miss reading about it in Chapter 9 of Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids: 2nd Edition.