Why do we love tombola? The prizes are mostly useless and often undesirable yet we love tombola. Is it the attraction the spinning box, the lightly ‘sellotaped’ raffle tickets or the lone tin of pineapple rings? Perhaps is it the ‘delving’, the dipping, the anticipation of winning. It is surprising what motivates human beings. We will part with our hard earned simply for the opportunity to draw out a ticket.
In the classroom I have been extending the tombola theory and experimenting with sparkly boxes. Instead of presenting students with the work that they need to complete I have been chunking it up, placing different tasks into different boxes and inviting students to draw them out. The boxes have different levels ‘easy’, ‘medium’ and ‘hard’ and these levels of difficulty are rewarded with appropriate reward. Instead of battling with Trevor to focus on his work the mood and motivation has changed. Now the desire to delve is playing havoc with his desire to disrupt. The boxes motivate and focus the learning. They reveal the mysteries of the lesson, appear to give the child power over what is being studied and are thoroughly satisfying and sparkly.