There are so many different ideas out there for classroom management incentives, it can be hard to find what works for you. Once you have your management philosophy in place (click HERE to jump to the first post in this series), you can start adding programs and incentives.
Just a note of caution though - none of these ideas I'm about to share should be the basis of how you run your classroom. And, don't be afraid to change things up if something isn't working! Some years I've used nothing but a good old marble jar, and other years I have needed to try every trick in the book. What you do depends on your students and what they need, but here are a few ideas to take a look at.
This is one of the first things teachers think about when they think behavior programs. Many people like clip charts, and use them effectively. Others don't feel they send the right message. As I said before, you need to do what is right for your students. A clip chart is a leveled system in which students move their "clip" up and down during the day, depending on their behavior. Moving up means positive rewards. Moving down means negative consequences (losing privileges, note home). A benefit to using a clip chart is all students start the day in the middle and have a chance to move up or down. Students can also make better choices and move up the chart if they have struggled that morning or activity and still finish the day in a positive place. The public aspect of the clip chart is something many teachers do not like. Everyone can see where each student is during the day, and being told to "move your clip down" can be embarrassing for students.
This is the link to the ebook from the original "creator" of the clip chart. (Click on the any of the images to follow that link.) If you're going to use a clip chart, start here so you have background into how the chart should work and the thinking behind it.
Clip charts were all the rage a few years ago, but as is true with many things in education, the pendulum has swung and clip charts have fallen out of favor with many people. You can google plenty of posts about why many teachers don't like clip charts. BUT.... a clip chart CAN be a positive experience. Sarah has a wonderful way to make the clip chart focus on POSITIVE behaviors and to really encourage students to put the character traits we all value into action.
I love this idea! If you want to do a clip chart, you can easily make your own, or purchase one from Teachers Pay Teachers. Here's a link to the ones in my store.
This is the newest behavior idea teachers like to use. Brag tags are very simple they are like dog tags that students can earn for just about anything you want. The positives with this system is that it focuses on rewarding the positive - academics and behavior. Students have a way to keep track of what they have earned and have something tangible as a reward. Brag tags can be overwhelming to start with. Prepping and organizing and remembering to hand them out takes time. But many students and teachers LOVE brag tags (some are starting to call them "swag tags" instead.) Angie Olson from Lucky Little Learners is one of the gurus of brag tags.
This is another idea that has been around for a while, but I first heard about it from Kristen over at A Teeny Tiny Teacher. (And if you're not following her blog, do it now - no matter what grade you teach. She is a riot!) She explains her golden tickets in a blog post and makes it really simple. Cut yellow paper and you're done. Decide on your Friday centers or activities or whatever and you're done. Easy to prep, easy to manage and easy to make work for your own class.
This is a great strategy when you need something different for your kiddos, or something for a short period of time that works on one specific thing that drives you batty. Pick a word, any word. You can choose a holiday word, a vocab word, a silly word... whatever you want. Just make sure it has more than 4 or 5 letters or the incentive will be over too quickly. The idea is that students are working to spell the word you (they?) chose. Every time you see them demonstrating whatever skill or behavior you're working on, they earn one letter. When the word is spelled, the class earns a reward. Extra recess, 15 minutes of drawing time, movie and popcorn. It's up to you. You could even do this like hangman and put up blanks instead of letters. Each time students earn a chance to guess one of the letters. You could also use a phrase. Keep track of the letters on your whiteboard or make a quick display somewhere in the room. It's easy and quick! Ashley from One Sharp Bunch has lots of great ideas to go with this theme.
There are lots of ways you can incorporate technology into your behavior incentives, too. Technology is engaging and interactive and can be a motivator for many students. Class Dojo is a very popular online behavior management resource that allows parents to see how their child is doing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image. I tried this program a couple years ago and just didn't feel comfortable with the public aspect of everyone knowing each other's points and seeing them get taken away etc. It was kind of like the clip chart all over again for me. Many teachers love this program though, so if it sounds interesting to you, check it out!
I also just had to share The Primary Techie's take on behavior management, too! Use your technology and build something to earn a reward! She has created Powerpoint files that you can project on the whoteboard and click to add a "piece" of something every time your students demonstrate god behavior. When the item is complete, the class earns a reward. You could create something like this on your own, or purchase her bundle and be set for the year. (Yes, I own it, but this is just my opinion!) Here's what her "Build a Burger" looks like part way through.
Now let's talk about the actual rewards. Once students have earned their reward, what do you do? Catherine over at The Brown Bag Teacher has some great ideas for easy classroom rewards that aren't food.
And Beth from Adventures of a Schoolmarm shares her rewards cards. Perfect for rewards that don't cost a thing!
Did you find an idea that you like? Try it out in your classroom and see what happens. Like I said at the beginning, don't be afraid to change it up or modify it to work for you. If you missed any of my other posts in this series, I've included the links below. And if you have questions or comments, feel free to drop your ideas in the comments below or email me!Classroom management - it all starts with you!
3 Things to do at the beginning of the year
3 classroom management mistakes beginning teachers make