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Soph'sMom's Message:

I teach 1st grade and really struggle with a reward system. Last year I used a chart where the students start in the middle and can move their clip up or down (for positive and negative consequences) and then they got a treasure box either daily if they were at the very top or weekly. I am torn about this year because it was a lot to constantly fill the treasure box and then if kids helped out they would always ask for a prize. I just felt that they got dependent on the prizes, skittles, stickers, etc. What do you use that works for your class? I am all about verbal praise and recognition for sure but I just don't know to what extent I should use tangible prizes...

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
cal33 07-20-2012 07:46 PM

I have the 5 color clip chart. If a student gets to the very top they get to bring show and tell. I also allow everyone on green have snack at the back table or with a friend at their desk.

stephanie518 07-17-2012 03:32 PM

I should start by saying that I've used the following ideas for awhile in 3rd grade, but this year I'm moving to 1st and plan to try both with them. I use a clip chart, but use these two other ideas for positive reinforcement:

Popsicle Sticks: I have all of the students names on popsicle sticks in a cup. In the morning, I pull a name, only I look at it, and write the name on a card. I used to put the card in my pocket for the day, then decided to tape it up high above the board as a visual reminder. I tell the class that I'm of course watching everyone's behavior, but in particular I'm paying attention to the person whose name is on the card. Throughout the day, I'll say stuff like "I'm watching the person to see how quickly they can line up!" or "I'm watching how well the person works with their math partner." Basically whatever behavior I want them to do. At the end of the day, if the person was doing the right thing most of the day, I reveal who it was and they get a prize. If they did not earn it, I don't tell the name, and at some point I pull that student aside and let them know they were on my card and why they didn't earn a prize. I found it was manageable to give one small prize a day. (On a side note, at first I just put the popsicle stick in my desk for the day and revealed the stick at the end of the day, but I use the names on sticks for other things, and when I pulled out a boy's name later in the day for something else, he said "well, I guess the teacher's not watching my behavior today!" Oops!)

Happy Notes:
I have small green papers (half sheet) that just say "_______ got a happy note because_____" with room for a date and with a little happy face picture. Periodically (often after finishing a certain subject) I write out a happy note for good behavior, participation, effort, great explanation, etc. I only started using them this year, but my class, who had some major behavior issues, was SO motivated to earn these...way more than prizes. I was initially so shocked. Most kids displayed them in their take home folders or told me about special places at home where they kept all of their happy notes from the year. They're free to make, and take about 20 seconds to write!

&&& 07-16-2012 01:57 PM

Discipline without Stress, Punishment, or Rewards by Dr. Marvin Marshall (got the book from my local library) combined with Whole Brain Teaching (most of the website has free access) techniques does it for me. I was spinning my wheels trying to reward the kids who were doing well just as hard as I consequenced the ones that weren't, and I was going crazy! Plus, it led to "But why did *he* get a prize/ticket/clip up when *I* didn't get one?" The kids weren't motivated to do well unless I was standing over them with a reward and I can't stand rewarding kids for doing things they should be doing anyway--The reward is your education, your pride, your teacher's respect, your classmates' respect. Plus, it was really clear who the 'good kids' and the 'bad kids' were, no matter how much we talked about behavior.

With Dr. Marshall's philosophy, I stress reeeeeally hard that each behavior is a choice and making one bad choice doesn't mean you have to keep making bad choices. I found that instead of the 'bad kids' going into a spiral and plummeting to the bottom of the color chart, they were better able to turn their behavior around. It changed it from "red kids" and "purple kids" to "How can you make a better choice so you and your friends feel better?"

If a kid needs a visual aid to help them with behavior, I use an individual chart. Surprisingly, this doesn't phase the kids too much as long as any rewards are given quietly off to the side. Mostly, the 'bad kid' was annoying them so much that they're just glad he has stopped!

My admin says I have to use a color chart that goes up and down and give away PBS tickets and track them and hold celebrations. I quietly do my own thing (the kids get PBS tickets from their specialists and are thrilled to take them home) and my class behaves and learns, so they leave me alone about it

Miller 07-15-2012 03:37 PM

I'm doing the clip chart as I did last year, but this year I'm going to add some things to it.

1) I got a business card from vistaprint and I made X's along the bottom. I'm giving the kids 1 punch for green, 2 for orange, and 3 for red. When they fill up the card with punches (15 punches), they can pick from my prizes.

2) my prizes are a reward catalog. It's all free stuff. I got my info from blogs and pinterest.

I tried to upload teh "book" but it was too big, here's an example of a reward.

nirvanapepper 07-15-2012 07:01 AM

I just found out about the Whole Brain Teaching this summer and plan on using it this coming year. Within WBT there is a scoreboard. Oe side has a smiley face and the other side has a frowny face. When the majority of the class has followed a procedure, you put a tally on the smiley side. If a rule is not followed a tally goes on the other side. I read that the rule is to never let the number of tallies go +\- 3 for either side. Students work harder when it's "close".
I don't know too much about it, but this is what I gather from just reading a little part of the book.

maps 07-15-2012 06:35 AM

sonjateacher.. I can't keep up with rewards, stickers etc. and any type of paper rewards. I do a couple of things. For the whole class I write the word GAME on the board every morning and at the end of most days we play four corners for the reward. If during the day it gets too noisy I will erase a letter. If there is at least one letter left we play the game if there aren't an letters left on the board at the end of the day there isn't a game and we put our heads down instead. If you are consistent the kids learn that if they want a game they need to stay on task and first graders love to play a game!

For individuals ; I have a time out book(has a cover and is closed so no one coming into the room can see who has signed the book), inside there are three columns, the first column is green and I have their name already in there (ready to go and learn), 2nd column is yellow (warning.. slow down and think about your choices) , 3rd column red (there will be a consequence). Everyday we start a new day and their name is in green, if they break a rule they sign their name in the yellow column ( warning), if a rule is broken again they sign their name in red column ( no game). So, when we have the game at the end of the day I always pick up the time-out book and check for names. After awhile the kids start taking responsibility for their mistakes and they automatically put their heads down while the rest of the class plays the game. Being consistent this works very well and by the first of the year the time-out book is hardly written in. Also, the kids sign the book so it is a great tool to use for parent conferences.
Also, we call Fridays.... "Fun-Fantastic Fridays". If your work for the week is completed with quality and your not in the time -out book then I give them about 45 minutes free choice time. Over the years I have bought some really cool things for them to play with to make it more enticing to get their work done.

Savvy 07-15-2012 05:53 AM

I have mixed feelings about prizes. I definitely don't think that kids should be receiving tangible prizes on a daily basis. At my school, we are not allowed to use color charts or anything else that publicly displays behavior. I like to give students opportunities to earn privileges that don't cost money. (have lunch with the teacher, computer time, eat lunch with a friend, read to a buddy, etc.) I think that giving out prizes too often makes them lose their value and also tells kids that this is what they should expect from teachers. It can lead to students not wanting to listen because they don't get a prize. I give out prizes randomly and unannounced. Then I let students know why they are getting a prize. Again, I don't do this very often.

One very big problem that I've had in the past was that another teacher would give students prizes everytime they were in his class, but not all students earned the prize. So the students that didn't receive a prize would come back to class with poor attitudes and very negative behavior although I had nothing to do with them getting/not getting a prize. I came to loathe the days that I sent my students to this teacher.

funhaha 07-15-2012 04:13 AM

IMO, I think that any "reward" system works as long as the teacher implementing it has strong classroom management.

With that being said, I too use a chart that children start in the middle on a clothespin and move up or down. I believe it has 7 colors. I do NOT give daily prizes. I do not think that because a child does what they SHOULD be doing they get rewarded. My reward chart is NOT based on treasure box prizes.

Here's how my reward chart works:

*Daily their behavior is marked on their daily calendar so the parents see it and can question

*If they move up, they get a 'caught ya being good slip" the next day (I give it the next day because by the end of a day, a child that moves up can move down of course). This slip goes in a jar and on Fridays I pick 2 names from that jar and those 2 children on Fridays go to the treasure box (the more slips you have the better chance)

*Children get 25 minutes of Fun Friday if they have stayed at the middle color or above for at least 3 days a week. So children with 2 negative color changes do not get it. That's incentive too.

*Children that reach the top have me ringing a bell to announce it, and get a sparkly color jewel for their clothespin. Once they get 10 jewel they get a "color" clothespin

*Children that go "off the chart" (still did good once they went beyond the top) get a postcard to send home, a special pencil with a flag on top, and an "off the top" t-shirt to wear the rest of the day, and then wear home.

If a child moves down one level- it's just a warning level. If they move down two, a postcard goes home about that behavior and what consequence they received. If it moves down to the worst level (red), they get an office referral, and 1 red means no Fun Friday.

BUT, I make it hard to get outstanding. The middle level is for being good and ready to learn (it says ready to learn on it), because that is what they're supposed to do. If they are doing their work, that is what they should be doing and I don't move them up for it. They get moved up for ABOVE AND BEYOND behavior. Helping someone without being asked. Being the first one ready because they were paying attention. I do not get Outstanding often, and I rarely get Off the Charts. Children know they have to work for it and I don't just give it out to keep them behaved.

I've created all of the postcards, brochures for parents, the large behavior chart poster and everything. Last year was the first year I used this program, and it was the best behaved year. If you want me to send you pictures of what I created, email me at:
heatam # comcast . net

But you also have to be firm in handling it too

sonjateacher 07-14-2012 08:24 PM

I haven't really done tangible prizes except for random stickers. I just can't keep up with it (both time-wise and money-wise). However, I do whole-group prizes of extra recess time or center time or a movie based on a book we've read.

We have a whole-school system PBS system though, and the kids get little paper awards for exceeding expectations. They do respond to those a lot.

Soph'sMom 07-14-2012 07:36 PM

I teach 1st grade and really struggle with a reward system. Last year I used a chart where the students start in the middle and can move their clip up or down (for positive and negative consequences) and then they got a treasure box either daily if they were at the very top or weekly. I am torn about this year because it was a lot to constantly fill the treasure box and then if kids helped out they would always ask for a prize. I just felt that they got dependent on the prizes, skittles, stickers, etc. What do you use that works for your class? I am all about verbal praise and recognition for sure but I just don't know to what extent I should use tangible prizes...

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