Students Not Serving Sentences

What do you do if a student refuses to serve a sentence?


I had this happening for about two months until I decided that no one could use their powers if there was any sentenced pending.

If they want the benefits, they must also accept the consequences of their acts, and I believe this is part of what Classcraft can help they learn.

I give my students extra credit based on their level at the end of a grading period. So, if you're 6th level, you get 6 extra credit points in the test category. It's not much, but it helps and entices them. Refuse to do your lament? No extra credit for you!

I'm about to start something new as we enter a new grading period. If you have an outstanding lament, you get marked absent and don't earn daily XP (I give 100 XP each day to keep them moving forward, but only to those present) and won't get to participate in Classcraft activities. The main thing here is I have a couple powers that let the students listen to their headphones in class. They LOVE this power and if suddenly you can't listen to your headphones, they won't like that AT ALL.

Hope this helps. I know it sucks when you get the kid mad because they fell in battle. "Just a stupid game. I don't want to play anymore." Sore loser wants out when suddenly losing. There's always at least one.

I had this issue for a while. I started changing passwords, moving students off teams into a "Ghost team," etc. I did get some success out of offering incentives (Minimal XP) for serving a punishment, but really when it came down to it I just had to make sure they did it right away. 

Like Nicholas said, there will probably be a sore loser at some point when you're playing. If they want out, then it stinks, but hopefully it isn't a chain reaction. 

I use the same method as Danilo. I assign the sentence and if it's homework I give a due date. If the sentence isn't served or completed, they cannot use their powers until it is, and they lose 20GP per day late.

I introduced a concept later on in the year where students could exchange Gold for real life rewards or in game bonuses. One of these was "Bribe the Gamemaster." Seems like a bad concept to teach, but if they have the gold to bribe it's because they earned it. For a 100 gold, they could remove a sentence. However, each time they bribed, it went up 50 gold. I kept track of this on a google spreadsheet. So the first time cost 100, second cost 150, third 200, etc. I also allowed students to give gold to other students. There was a 10% fee (so if they gave 500 gold, the other person only got 450) but they gained 10% XP for their kindness (so the person giving earned 50 XP). What I noticed is some students would give their gold to a teammate to help them out. Because if a student didn't fulfill their sentence in time, they would automatically fall in battle (warriors cannot block, only Healers can revive). I never had anyone outright refuse a sentence doing this. They had options. 


Before this, though, I did have two instances where a student didn't complete a sentence. I removed them from their Guild and Classcraft altogether. Since they signed the "contract" and Classcraft was a requirement, they had to do alternative work on their own for partial credit. A parent/teacher/student conference was required to reinstate them. After reinstated, I had far less issues. Even kids who are sore losers see that they are missing out on random events and fun activities because of their negative choices. They self correct quickly.


I also do what Nicholas mentioned and offer extra credit at the end of the grading period. Just remember, be positive! Even when you're dealing out a consequence. If it comes to the extreme of no participation, let them know you WANT them to participate but they have to follow the rules to do so.

IMO, you would have to penalize them via their grades....what other option do you have.

We aren't allowed to penalize behavioral issues with academic consequences.  This means I cannot take points off of late homework.  This actually means  I can't have due dates at all, because even if it's late, I must grade it for full credit.  There isn't a disincentive to turn in work late, so they do it all the time. It's really difficult at quarter and semester. 


Here is how I get around them not doing their sentences: I have a white board up front with the "book of laments" picture above it and I copy the sentences onto the white board with the date they were assigned.  I also include a column for "due," and "final due date."  If it's not done by the first due date (3 days), they lose points (I also rewrite it in red ink).  If it's not done by the second due date (five days after it was assigned), I call home, because in some ways, that's an issue all by itself: they were asked to do something and they didn't.  If it's really a defiance issue, I write them up, too. 


I like the idea of taking gold points.  I might do that. 


I've submitted a request to be able to have a printer-friendly list of the assigned sentences that includes the date it was assigned.  Then I can print it out every day instead of having to rewrite it. I could highlight the past due ones. 

I like the public list. I simply don't have the board space for it though (and not all of my classes use Classcraft, so then I'd have to field questions). If you penalize them by taking away privileges in the game, would that still pass by your school's rules?

When students haven't paid their sentence, I do not let them use their powers. Then on Fridays we have something where students invent things, and if they don't have their sentences finished by that day they do not participate.

Last year my 8th graders were not too keen on completing their sentences and it was like pulling teeth! Nearly all of my sentences were writing assignments. This year, I am going to try and make it a sentence they have to do during class, such a clean all the tables for 2 weeks, or stay behind 10 seconds after the bell. This way, I hope to be able to keep them accountable for their sentences. A plus is that soon the students may start reminding them without me having to. However, I do keep a real "Book of Laments" and it is easy to just incorporate it into my end of class procedures. 

Colin, what are some powers you give the kids?  I use removing a sentence as a power for one of the roles. Students can purchase things for other students.  For example, if one of the kids has the power to switch seats, s/he can buy it for another kid on the team. The reasoning is, if you can get a consequence for another student's bad behavior, you should also be able to receive rewards from your teammates too - everyone succeeds or fails together.  

But I'm having trouble coming up with powers that don't rely on actual things they can purchase.  They aren't interested in being able to switch seats.  And a lot of the powers suggested by other teachers or Classcraft support involve homework and due dates.  We don't have homework or due dates.  Kids at our school are allowed to turn in their assignments as late as they want for full credit, even projects.  And I don't give out homework because they don't do it anyway.

I would love to hear what is in your book of laments and what grade you teach.

Most of my tasks are things like:

  • Push in lab chairs for three days
  • straighten desks for three days
  • Do attendance three days
  • Be the smart board remote person (they're in charge of pushing A/V mute)
  • Post the bell work for the day

What is your email Tina?  I can send you my list.

Hey Katherine,

As far as powers go, I use some of the defaults (Headphones, eating in class)

Here are some other examples: 

  • Invisibility (Mage) - If late [within reason, 5 minutes or less], can be counted as on time. Can also use invisibility to use a pass if that privilege has been lost (due to a sentence for example).
  • Each class has a skill that lets them use notes on a test for a short period of time
  • Answers or hints to questions on a test
  • Remove late penalties or retake test grades for full credit
  • Blessing of Experience (Healer) - can copy a single XP event and give it to another guild mate. So if on a random event someone got a bonus 1000 XP (Gift of the Gamemaster) the healer can copy it and give it to someone else in the group (not the person who originally received it and not themselves)

I know many of those won't apply to, so identify your need. What are they motivated by? What could give them an edge in class? What will encourage positive behavior on the individual or promote teamwork? I'd be interested to know more about how your classes are structured or issues you typically encounter. I might be able to suggest some ideas.

Since my students are adults and I teach history (in a normal classroom so no lab clean-up), I can't use a lot of sentences like staying after to clean up.  Another professor will be coming in within minutes anyway!  And we are not allowed to contact parents in most cases, even if the student is still in High School. 

So what I do is let the students set the sentences at the start of the term.  This helps a lot.  I let them know the guidelines are that sentences should be things to help them get back on track.  When my students fall in battle, it is generally due to failing or simply not doing an assignment.  It's very rarely if ever behavioral.  If I do have behavioral issues such as cursing or yelling in class or plagiarism, I deal with that through our college's Student Incident Report instead.  I'm required to.  

Letting students set sentences to be the things THEY know will motivate them to get back on track helps a lot.  But if a student doesn't serve a sentence, as some others have mentioned here, I just change their password so they cannot access their character.  Since my powers have real benefits in class (extensions, revisions, exam hints, notes on exams), this matters to them.  And it really motivates them to complete the sentence so they can access those things again!  :-) 

I think you could easily let High School students set sentences too.  Middle school might be too young, but you might be able to let them set a few of them so they fell engaged and responsible!

I offer to commute their sentence into XP and GP... and deduct 4000 XP and 400 GP for each lament not served.  Most quickly decide they'll serve the lament.

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