Friday, May 3, 2013

My Favorite (Easy!) Ways To Reward Good Behavior

Angela Watson over at The Cornerstone for Teachers has such a fabulous website and blog. She was a lifeline for me during my first year of teaching! I got my idea for a ticket system from here (link to her blog post below). Here's how it works:

First, you need to create the tokens. This could be something simple like small round game pieces that you write a number on with a permanent marker. I took foam paper from the craft store and cut it into 1-inch squares and wrote numbers on them with a sharpie. I found this to last well. Each child will need roughly 15 tokens.

Assign each student a PIN (Personal Identification Number). Many teachers use this already to organize files, have students write their number on papers they turn in, etc.

Next, find a divided container (craft stores/craft sections of stores have them for jewelry making, etc. Or you could use a tackle box-type container). Place each students tickets in a compartment.

My ticket organizer

(another example of divided container)

Here's the fun part: Use it to reward behavior all day long! Anytime a student is following a rule, ask them to draw a ticket. They can go to the ticket container, pull out a ticket with their name on it and place it in a jar, a bag, or whatever place you have designated for drawn tickets. It doesn't have to be complicated, I used a recycled plastic coffee can! This is especially great giving quick, positive recognition, especially to those students who need some positive reinforcement :)

It's up to you how to reward students who have gotten tickets. I used to draw two tickets at the end of each day to pull a small prize from my prize box. I made it my own policy that anyone who had a ticket could receive a prize, even if they had broken a rule that day. I wanted it to be a purely positive thing. That's your choice, but make it clear to students either way before you begin this system so they know what to expect. Once a student's ticket is drawn, it goes back into the divider. However, these tickets can be used to draw names for all kinds of things such as:

Line leader
Table washer (my kids really liked doing this!)
Restroom monitor
Paper Passer
Run an errand
Assist the teacher during a lesson

The possibilities are endless! This can also be used to monitor hallway behavior (i.e. "Samantha you are following hallway procedures, please get a ticket when we return to the room"). Once students know you are "handing out" tickets, they perk up a bit!

Now, there are a few other easy (easy!!) ways to reward behavior that take even less effort than making at ticket system. Here are a few I have used (they aren't my original ideas, they've been floating around the teacher world for awhile...but they work!)

If you want to reward individual students, but are short on time (or need something you can use immediately or on special days of the year) try pre-made tickets! You can get the kind that has duplicate tickets so you can call out numbers for prizes, or you can allow students to turn in a ticket (or a certain number of tickets) for a prize such as a homework pass. This can admittedly get expensive, but it's great to have a roll of these on hand for days that the kids are just "off", or they just need a little extra incentive (think: end of school year, afternoons on testing days, party days, etc.)

 If you want to recognize whole class positive behavior, try marbles! I kept a bucket of marbles and dropped one or two in a clear container for different positive behaviors such as:  whole class was on-task, good behavior during lunch or special ares, or just because I love 'em! When the container is full, the class gets to pick something fun to do like watch or movie or extra recess. I would make the container big enough that it takes them awhile to reach their goal, but not so long that they lose interest. This would vary depending on grade level and your students' needs.

Tip: This sounds obvious, but if flat marbles (shown above) are what you have on hand, you may want to add more than one or two marbles to your container at a time because it takes a lot longer to fill up a container with these.

Also, you can use the marble system if you have multiple classes (departmentalized elementary, or middle/high school). Just make a separate container for each class and buy more marbles.

Hope you found these ideas helpful!

Click here for Angela's Easy Ticket System Blog

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