The tradition of having ‘houses’ in English schools stretches back centuries, but it was most recently made famous by the houses of Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter series. (And to which house did Harry belong? We know you know.)
At Richmond the four houses are based on the ancient Greek elements of Earth (Terra), Fire (Ignis), Air (Aer), and Water (Aqua). At the beginning of the year, names were put in a hat (yes, a kind of ‘sorting hat’) and randomly selected, placing each student into a house.
The way the system works is this. Students may accrue points for their houses by producing exemplary homework, by doing diligent class work, by demonstrating good behaviour, and the like. (Points may also be deducted for poor work or behaviour, but we like to accentuate the positive so points are rarely taken away.)
At the end of each week the points for each house are counted and a winner announced. The points are cumulative, and at the conclusion of each term the winning house is rewarded with a prize – a pizza party, a cake, a movie, etc. At the conclusion of the year, the house that has accumulated the most points will be declared the winner and awarded a House Cup.
The system has really been working very well. Some children are doing extra homework in the hopes of gaining more points, behaviour has been excellent (since students hope to be awarded points and definitely do not want to be responsible for losing any for their house), and the kids have been very enthusiastic about their houses.
Keep up the great work, kids, and best of luck to your house in the competitions. Remember to keep working hard in order to win points for your house!