Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tricks of the Trade: Individual and Class Incentives

Let me start this post by informing you that my eyes are dilated right now after a trip to the eye doctor, so please excuse any typos.

It's Thursday again and next school year is around the corner, so what better time to talk about how to reward our future students.  That's why this week's theme is...

Individual Sticker Charts

For the last two years, I gave my students individual sticker charts to keep in their Homework Folders.  At the end of each day, any student who did not get his or her name written on the board for misbehaving got a sticker.

The pros of the chart were that the students were motivated to earn stickers and were sad when they got notes home instead.  Also, the parents LOVED the daily feedback on their children's behavior.  Plus, I had a documented record of all of my students' behavior.

The cons of the system were that it was time consuming to give out stickers every day.  Also, the system was too black and white.  Students either got a sticker or they did not.  It was often hard for me to be consistent.

The reason I still decided to share this system is because it can work for some people and some classes.  I am actually still going to use a daily chart, but this year it will be different.  Keep reading to find out how.  

Marble Jars

A classroom marble jar is a tried and true incentive system for many teachers.  In my classroom I not only use a whole class jar, but also multiple jars for team incentives.  Each team has their own color-coded marble jar that matches their table's supply caddy.  Throughout the week, I reward teams marbles for things like being the first ones ready, working quietly, cooperating well etc.  At the end of the week all the members from the team with the most marbles get to pick a prize from the prize bucket.  However, if a student on the winning team did not earn a sticker on his or her behavior chart two or more days that week, then he or she does not get to pick a prize.  That way my individual incentives connect to my team ones.

In addition to the winning team members getting prizes at the end of the week, the whole class gets the satisfaction of seeing the team marbles added to the class jar.  The class jar can also be filled independently of the team jars when the class gets compliments from other teachers or from me.

Then, when the class jar is filled up to a certain line, the whole class gets to vote on a celebration.  In the past, celebrations have included extra recess, a movie and popcorn party, a reading party, game time etc.

Plans for Next Year

Clip Chart
Looking forward to next year, I have decided to make some major changes to my behavior management system.  Some things were just not working for me or the students.  That being said, I found this awesome clip chart and incentive system at Teaching with Love and Laughter.  Lori has it set up where the students can move up and down all day.  If they end the week they have made it to the top of the chart twice, they earn a gem to go on their clip.  Once they get six gems their clip is retired to the Hall of Fame and they get a new one.  Click the picture to learn more.
Teaching with Love and Laughter
This is my work in progress.  I plan to attach each page to a ribbon like Lori did.  I am hoping it will be super cute.

Instead of a sticker chart, I plan to have students use this daily chart to color in where they ended the day.  The pin for this chart comes from Beth Ann, but I am not 100% who first created this chart.  If it's you or you know who did, let me know, so I can give credit.  

I also plan to start using tickets as an incentive.  I am going to try what Jessica does with her students.  You can read more about her system by clicking the button below.

Joy in the Journey

Also, at the end of the day, I will give out different numbers of tickets for the top 3 levels of the clip chart.  I found this idea from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  You can read more about it on her post by clicking the picture.


Instead of relying solely on my somewhat lame prize bucket, I have decided to start using coupons as rewards.  I used some during student teaching and discovered how motivating they were.  Now, I am ready to start using them in my own classroom.  Here are some sources for awesome classroom coupons.  There are millions of others on Pinterest.

Seusstastic Classroom
Overall, I am super excited about trying so many new things.  In the end, I know it's not the system, but the teacher, who has to manage the class and that incentives are not everything.  Students need internal motivation and self-control.  However, my personal struggle is consistency and as I already shared, my previous system of behavior management did not facilitate consistency.  I am feeling confident that this new one will be much better primarily because the clip chart allows for both downward and upward movement.  I love the idea of the positive reinforcement for students who consistently behave well.  I would much rather praise and encourage good behavior than to focus on negative behavior.

Hope you enjoyed my tricks of the trade.  Grab the button and link up to share yours!

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