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Mary Seitz


When Mary Seitz taught second and third grade for the South Spencer School System in Rockport, Indiana, her students knew the value of getting their assignments in on time.

"I called my reward system the H.O.T. (Homework On Time) drawing," Seitz recalled. "Students who turned in their homework on time put their names in a jar and I would have a drawing."

The lucky winner received an edible treat such as a lollipop, miniature candy bar, or another sweet. Many of Seitz's favorite rewards were candies discounted after holidays. Borrowing from her days as a full-time teacher, Seitz has carried her "H.O.T." drawings into her post-retirement career as a substitute teacher.

"Now, I use the drawings to motivate reluctant students to finish, to reward students who exhibit wise use of free time, to acknowledge neat work and certain grades, and as a way to say 'nice job' for completing such chores as straightening a desk or cleaning the floor," Seitz explained. "Of course being polite and showing good manners also will get students' names in the jar."

Seitz keeps precut paper and pencils by her H.O.T. container, so students may add their names to the jar when she invites them to do so, or she distributes the paper to the students at their seats.

"I usually have more than one drawing throughout the day and continue adding names to the jar," she told Education World. "Names not drawn stay in the jar for whatever time is appropriate. Sometimes I draw more than one name at a time."

With the eagle eyes of experience, Seitz tries to give every student at least one opportunity to participate in the drawings. She adds, "I 'catch them being good'."

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Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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