I’m a fan of having a positive reward system! Do I indulge my students with a treasure box, NO! Believe me, parents appreciate it and I don’t have to waste my money on cheap toys that break (It is a win, win for both of us). Can my students earn privileges for good behavior? Of course! Not only do they get a lot of verbal feedback about how awesome they are, but they can also earn rewards for their good behavior. (If you give a compliment, be specific and direct i.e. Susie I loved the way you lined up so quickly and quietly!)
Last year to reward my students for good behavior, I used a ticket system. I loved and hated it. I loved that my students would follow the rules to hopefully earn a “blue” ticket, but I never knew if they were doing it for the ticket, or because it was the right thing to do. I would say in the beginning it was to earn the ticket, but when the tickets came out less frequently during the middle and end of the year, I knew my students were no longer doing it because of the “ticket.”
I have seen the ticket system work in two different ways. You can decide what would work best for you and your students!
For both options you will need to create a chart of possible choices that your students can choose. Rewards I used were, Froggy, Ringo and Bob (these were are classroom stuffed animals), teachers chair, master of the beanbag, line leader, class DJ, free centers and happy phone call.
1. Label a jar “tickets”
2. Place in a spot that is easily accessible
3. Make sure when a student receives a ticket they write their name on the back and turn it into the jar (at an appropriate time).
4. On Friday, pull out 5 names.
5. These friends would get to choose one choice from the list.
*Teaches probability, the more tickets you have in the jar, the more likely you will get picked!
1. One small container for every child
2. When a child receives a ticket, they place their name on the back and place it in their container.
3. Students when they receive enough tickets, may make purchases in the beginning of the day for one of the choices off the list. (You will need to assign different values for the options.)
*Teaches the value of saving and purchasing!
However, I do believe in having consequences for students who choose to make poor choices in my classroom. I’m very clear all year long that we have two choices, to make a good choice or a poor choice. If you choose to make a poor choice, there will be a consequence. I enjoy the card system!
Each child has four different colors (I use grey/purple, green, yellow, red). Each color means something different. When a student pulls their first card, it means I made a poor choice and I need to change my behavior. If they pull to the yellow card, it means I lose my recess and I will get a note sent home. If I pull to the red card, it means I need to stop what I am doing and think, and a phone call home (either during school or right after school). I usually gave a nonverbal warning, verbal warning, then I will have a student pull a card, then repeat. Some offenses call for an immediate pulling of a card or two cards, I won’t explain the reasons but I am sure you can use your imaginations.
I know the push in education has been to give students constant positive praise, however, how many bosses do you know give positive praise to their employees for showing up to work or handing in their work on time? If you know one, let me know! I have yet to meet a boss that gives constant positive praise to their employees. As educators it is our job, to not only educate our students, but also to prepare them for the real world. What happens if you get caught speeding? If you are lucky you might get off with a warning, but most of us will get a speeding ticket to discourage us from speeding again. A speeding ticket is a form of a negative consequence. We need to show our kiddos that there are both positive and negative consequences!