Harnessing Puzzle Power
Use this idea to encourage good behavior: Cut a large, colorful poster into jigsaw-puzzle pieces. Each day students exhibit a positive behavior you seek, they earn a piece of the puzzle. When the last piece of the puzzle is in place, the entire class earns a reward, such as a popcorn party, a video party, an extra recess, or a week off from homework. You might begin the year by cutting the poster into 6 jigsaw pieces, then gradually increase the number of puzzle pieces required to receive the reward. If you teach young students, you might trace the pieces of the puzzle onto a white paper background on the bulletin board; that way, it will be easier for students to place their puzzle pieces in the correct spot as they build the puzzle.
Provide each student with a checkbook log. Award students checkbook credits each day they follow class rules. Students who do not exhibit good behavior lose credits. Each day, students do the math to balance their checkbooks. From time to time, you might offer opportunities for students to cash in some of their credits by writing a check for a free night of homework or other rewards. This activity reinforces math skills as well as good behavior.
Whats the Secret Word?
Set a goal for the class of zero behavior infractions. Each day students achieve that goal, write a letter of a secret word on the board. When the word is spelled out completely, students earn a reward; invite students to suggest and vote on what that reward will be. You might start the year with shorter words and build up to longer words as the year goes on. You might choose any word, or the words might always be praise words -- such as excellent, wonderful, outstanding, splendid, superb, terrific, astounding, amazing, marvelous If you teach young students, write the letters in the order they appear in the word. If you teach older students, jumble the letters and see identifies the word first.
Reward students for behaviors you want to encourage by creating a grid of squares. If you have 20 students in your class, create a 4 x 5 square grid on an erasable board. Label the squares across the top A, B, C and the squares down the side 1, 2, 3 Create a card for each grid letter and keep those cards in one can; create a card with each grid number and keep those cards in another can. Each day, students who demonstrate appropriate behavior get to write their name in a square on the grid. At the end of the day, draw a letter card from one can (for example, C) and a number card from the other can (for example, 2). The student whose name is in the grids corresponding square (C-2) gets a special reward. If no ones name appears in that square, you might draw again, or no reward might be given on that day.
Article by Linda Starr
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