30 day challenge ideas
Carrie L., Michigan
A while back a few teachers have mentioned that they have done 30 day challenges with students. Practicing or a specific project for 30 straight days. I’d like to do this with our students in May and June as a way to keep students motivated and challenged and also in the summer.
Can those teachers that have done this type of challenge let me know what worked for you?
Merilee D., Utah
I did the 30-day challenge last summer, where they had to practice 30 days straight, and start all over if they missed a day. They had fun with this, and I believe 3 or 4 of them (out of 10) got it. I am planning on doing it again this summer as a way to keep some motivation going, they have already talked about it again, saying “I am going to get it this time.” Since I have a smaller number of students, and I knew only a few would likely get it accomplished, I told them they get to go to lunch (their choice) with me as a prize. I know for some people they go out of town often, so it is really hard to do it consistently for 30 days, but I still give small rewards on a weekly basis for practicing 5 days a week. Good luck!
Carol P., Michigan
I think it was 32 days. Melinda and I did it with our students last year leading up to a recital. We timed it so that the 32nd day was the day before the recital. My husband is a graphic artist and he designed a sort of poster about it with our logo etc. We had all the students who were willing to commit sign it and we hung it in the studio. I also signed and committed to practice for 32 days in a row. I think all of my students succeeded, I can’t speak for Melinda. I plan to do it again this year leading up to our June recital date. I think it’s a great idea and the kids thought it was fun.
Carrie L., Michigan
What types of prizes do teachers do for this type of challenge?
I need something that is motivating but also not too much as we could potentially have 100 students join in the challenge.. : )
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I did this last fall and had quite a few students participate and succeed. I asked the parents to supply any prize they felt appropriate. One other requirement I gave was that if they didn’t bring the playlist to any lesson during the challenge (for any reason), they were disqualified. It was another way of communicating the importance of the playlist.
Joan H., Ontario
Re: the prize question…I offered ballots each week for various things, and so each student had the potential to “earn” up to 8 ballots each week. At the end of the 30 day period, I drew 3 names for 3 prizes – I did gift cards for Chapters/Indigo. I pointed out they could increase their odds of winning one of the gift cards by earning as many ballots as possible each week. This kept the prizes simple, and potential motivation was clearly there for some, more than others! I was thrilled to see 3 of the most diligent students win the prizes 🙂
Nicole O., California
I started the 32 day challenge with my students over a year ago and I have a handful that have extended it by 32 day increments. Right now, I have one student nearing 400 days of practice. I keep the poster up year round and encourage new students to start their first month of practice with a 32 day challenge. I’ve had students finish their 32 days, earn their prize and never want to do it again. And still others use it as a way of getting back on track when they lose focus.
I haven’t offered any prizes for them completing their days. I do encourage parents to discuss an appropriate prize for their child that they will give upon completion, but many families opted out of the prize idea entirely and simply use the challenge as a way of staying connected to practice.
I find it’s a great way to unite the whole studio. Students see names on the board and are rooting for kids they don’t even know. And they’re bummed when a name comes off the board or all the marks are gone because the student has to start over. Parents love to see that other kids are doing it and it gives them confidence that their kid can do it too.
Shelly E., Utah
Ok, I feel inspired to do a “May Mad Dash Challenge”. I will ask all my students to practice every day in May (we also have a recital coming up in June). I’m going to have those who want to commit and then post it on my board in my studio too. Questions:
What if a student gets sick or some other unusual thing happens? I’m assuming you let them make up the time some other time during the week?
I’m thinking I’ll let the parent determine the prize. I was also thinking it would be fun to have a 1st 2nd and 3rd place winners to see who could round up the most minutes by the end of May (a race or “mad dash” sort of). I like this idea but it would be challenging for those who are 6 years old and only in level one to do as many minutes as someone who is 11 years old and in level 7.
Carrie L., Michigan
I’m looking for ways to create a board. Do most people have a sheet that they have students write their names on and then scratch out if they don’t meet the challenge? How do you work the calculating of it.
I would like to keep it very simple with simple prizes or something like an ice cream party at the end.. any other ideas?
I had my husband design a poster with our logo and the words “32 day challenge”. I took the design to Staples and had them print it on a larger poster sized heavy gage paper. We had all our “challenge” students sign it and we hung it in the studio where everyone could see it. It was a big success.
Kristina H., Australia
Thank you so much, this is a great idea. You have inspired me. I am having a concert in 4 weeks time. So I have decided to do a 30 day practice challenge to inspire lots of preparation for the upcoming concert.
I have put large cardboard posters on my glass window. I ruled lots of rows, and if students choose to participate I put their name in a row and the name of the two songs they are playing for the concert (this then also helps me prepare my program). They then come every week and put a sticker up for each day they have practiced (I have colored pencils out to let them decorate their row as well if they like). We will see how many get all the stickers (I bought music stickers, they were $2 for about 100 of them). Even all my adults are keen to do this challenge.
I have decided to give a movie ticket to the most practiced. Movie tickets are only about $12 and a good incentive. I will probably give edible consolation prizes to those who almost made it. If I have a few who made it, I may have to rethink my prize, so I will not announce the prize until the end. I will award the prize at my concert.