It's the end of the year…. you are busy teaching, testing and filling out mountains of endless paperwork and your kids are completely losing interest. How can we blame them, they have worked hard all year and they are super excited for summer (aren't we all). So the big ticket question is:
Yep, I said it, candy. I'm not talking about giving your kids a sugar high just for turning a paper. I'm talking strategic positive reinforcement with ONE skittle, M&M or gummy bear. Y'all, this kids will work crazy hard for just ONE skittle! It's unbelievable!
Now, you can effectively do this in a number of ways. My favorite is to quietly walk around the room during reading or math stations and place one skittle or gummy bear on the desks of the students who are doing EXACTLY what they are supposed to. I think the key here is no leniency. The students need to know that they are ONLY getting rewarded if they are being a model student!
Show and Tell
One of my favorite behavior management tools this year has been Class Dojo. I let my students accumulate their points and use them to buy things. Here's a quick rundown of my store:
Let me tell you, the kids' favorite is BY FAR show and tell. Some of them turn into hoarders and wait and wait and wait until they have enough points to do show and tell. I hadn't really planned this, but my first few show and tellers were girls who brought stuffed animals. They asked me if they could keep their animals on their desk and I told them yes, that was fine as long as it wasn't a distraction (I mean, they did save up 50 points). Well, it turns out the getting to keep they animal on their desk was the best part. After that, everyone wanted to do it!
(Disclaimer: I am pretty strict about the “no distractions” rule, at the first sign of trouble it gets put away.)
For this one I used an actual cookie sheet for an added visual effect, but you could definitely do this without buying anything special! It's the same concept as before. The class is working to get all of the cookies on the cookie sheet to earn their reward. I had eight cookies total, but you could adjust it to fit your needs!
Okay, I saved the best for last. I bought this 24 piece puzzle for $1 at the Dollar Tree. I put a magnet on the back of each piece. Students worked to get all pieces of the puzzle put together to earn their reward. Since this was a 24 piece puzzle, it took them 2-3 weeks to earn their reward. I knew it would take a while, so I let the students pick their reward as an added incentive…. and that's how I ended up with Sparkles, the class fish! 🐠