I’ve been working on linking a karate belt style ranking system into my classroom next year. It’s been an interesting process and I’m finding that all of the pieces are starting to fall into place. The ‘belts’ are neckties or bow ties of different colors. One practice with status symbols (badges, ranks) is that it has to be visible to all the other players. With this in mind I have a 3 pronged approach. 

First is that the ranks will be listed on the wall (see the picture at the top). The rankings (white tie, white Bow, etc…) are in order and have a ribbon hanging from each in the matching color. Each student will create a ‘code name’ for FERPA reasons; the ranks don’t necessarily link to their grade but I do t want to risk it. The code name will be written on the clothes pin (I am planning on printing the code name on a sticker with their avatar type color pattern). This clothes pin will move to the next ranking as the students move up. The second part of this is that we will have a Rabk promotion ceremony on Fridays to recognize all of the code names that have ranked up. Third, students will receive a sticker that matches their new rank. They can choose to display their rank if they so choose by putting the sticker in their laptops (we are a 1-1 school) or AVID binders (which are required). 

Another element of the ranking system I am excited about (and a bit nervous) is that students will need to ‘test’ to achieve the new rank. This is similar to belt tests in karate. First, students will need a minimum XP count before testing for a given rank (i.e. 1500XP to test for a yellow tie). This is an impediment meant to keep students from trying to race through the rankings in order to get the rewards. In my US History class to achieve a new rank students will have to achieve a minimum pass score (80%) on a content quiz and pass a skills based test – for example identifying primary or secondary sources, determining source validity, or writing a strong thesis statement. 

There are privileges that come with the ranks too. I am still working on these, but some will be XP multipliers, gold bonuses, access to the Bow tie Lounge (a little area set aside in my room with a comfy chair or two), and power cards. Students that achieve a Black Bow tie, score an A on the end of course exam, and compete in the Regional National History Day competition will become ‘Legendary Agents’ (title might change) and get their picture on the wall in a Hall of Fame!

I’m still polishing the details but this is starting to one together. I’m also excited to see that it is tying into my narrative, avatar type system, power card plan, XP Grading, Blended Learning/Flipped Class and the various tech requirements. I would love to hear thoughts and suggests!

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