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musicmeg222 04-18-2019 11:45 AM

Incentives or Rewards for 6th graders
I am a special education teacher who does both inclusion and resource for 6th graders. I took over the position for a teacher who had to move in the middle of the school year. The students have had many different subs for several months. When I first started in March, the behavior was out of control. I understand it's been difficult for these students as they have had different subs and a variety of people in charge and in control of their classroom.

Overall, the behavior has been improving. Sometimes I still have some students not following directions or out of their seat when they are told to sit down.

Should I provide incentives to encourage better behavior or even rewards for those students who are following classroom rules and listening to directions? I'm not sure if this is something I should consider or not. I'm not even sure what types of incentives or little things 6th graders would enjoy.

I'm looking for opinions and suggestions. What do you guys think? If it's a good idea, should I start with incentives to help make the behaviors even better and then move to rewards as the good behaviors continue? What things should I provide? I'm looking for something somewhat cheap, but enjoyable by students in 6th grade.

Let me know! <!--daffodil-->

Amy L 04-18-2019 02:08 PM

How about just doing a 'fun friday' with clear guidelines for participation? Could keep track of on task behavior, completion, social behavior. Or a whole-class movie, earning marbles or something when behavior warrants. Or, I read a lot about class dojo. Don't know anything about it, but many love it.
Keep it simple, and remember you're almost at the end of the year~

Haley23 04-18-2019 04:28 PM

Back when I taught K-6, I allowed my older groups to earn 5 minutes of free i pad time at the end of each lesson. I taught in 45 minute blocks and had several severe behavior issues in my room. On top of that, kids that were often separated into different gen ed rooms because they set each other off were together in my room, 3 feet away from each other with no role models.

It was worth it to me to give up 5 minutes of instructional time to get a solid 40 minutes of lesson time in each day, vs. actually having far less time spending the entire 45 minutes dealing with behavior. A "fun Friday" type of thing wouldn't have worked for these students- they needed something more immediate. They didn't have the skills to really regulate their behavior on a Monday thinking ahead to a reward 5 days from then.

I picked the most disruptive behaviors to use the system with. I told students they needed to be in their seats, have hands and feet to themselves, and raise their hand to speak. Each student started the group with 3 tally marks (with the most severe students, I might start with more as to make the reward attainable). If I saw one of the behaviors I mentioned, I simply erased a tally. I didn't say anything, which meant instructional time wasn't lost correcting them, and they didn't need to "save face" by arguing with me. I simply erased it and moved on. Those with at least one tally left earned the free tech time at the end of the period. Those who didn't wrote sentences about what they'd do next time. Students with all 3 tallies earned a PBIS ticket as well.

The key is of course to be consistent. Don't get caught in the trap of giving warnings- don't say "I'm going to take a tally next time you..." You have to be consistent the entire time. Along the same lines, you have to be consistent with providing the reward. I made sure to stop the lesson 5 minutes early each and every day even though there were days when I would have loved 1 or 2 minutes more to wrap things up.

My school had 1:1 i pads at the time (now chromebooks). If your school doesn't have tech like that, consider letting them have 5 minutes of phone time (I'm sure they all have them), 5 minutes of free time where they can talk or draw, etc. Maybe even ask them what they'd be interested in working for.

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