A Unique Idea for Motivating Good Behavior
by Kristin M. Woolums, M.Ed.
Oh how I wish I knew this little behavior management nugget during my first year of teaching! It’s simple, and it works: Dazzle Points!
What is a Dazzle Point and how does it work?
It’s a tally of how many times I’ve been “dazzled” by good behavior, kindness, compassion, good study habits, or by anything that I consider “dazzling.” On the board, I post the number of Dazzle Points earned throughout the year, and I give rewards for different levels along the way. When I see my students doing the right thing, I add a Dazzle Point to the displayed tally. We set an attainable goal together. (I suggest 10 for the first goal). They work really hard to get to this level.
Once they reach their goal, we brainstorm reward ideas, such as these:
• Extra recess
• Reduced/no homework
• Stuffed animal or pillow day
• Unassigned seats
• Video/movie time
• Free ice cream
• Class pet
I usually do a “heads down/hands up” majority vote to decide. And then I follow through with the reward within the week. After they reach the first level, we set a goal for the second level (I suggest 25), and keep going in this fashion.
There is one catch.
If anyone asks for a Dazzle Point, the tally goes back to zero, and they start all over (tough to do, but stick to your word!).
What constitutes being “dazzled”?
Watch for good behavior in either groups or individuals at recess, carline, or in the cafeteria or classroom. If I see genuine good behavior, I reward the dazzle point on the spot! Here are some of the behaviors for which I reward a Dazzle Point:
• Another teacher’s compliment (automatic dazzle point), but I have to witness the compliment – remember, they can’t ask for a Dazzle Point
• Assisting a student/teacher without being asked.
• Good test results (not necessarily all As, but each student did well for his/her ability)
• Good teamwork at recess
• Good following of procedures
• Good behavior without being prompted
• Good participation in fundraisers, service projects, attendance to school meetings
I don’t reward for each occurrence, since it would lose its effect. After all, the students shouldn’t be rewarded for something they should already be doing!
Why does it work?
Because the kids have say-so in the process, they buy into it even more. They decide to make good behavior choices, they decide the level when they’ll be rewarded, and they decide what the reward will be. Students love hearing these simple words: “I’m dazzled!” because they know I caught them doing the right thing!
For what grades would this work?
This works very well for me in my self-contained fifth-grade classroom, but I’ve had seventh- and eighth-grade students tell me that they wish the middle school teachers used Dazzle Points. This could easily be adapted for elementary grades or for classes that switch between teachers.
Good luck with Dazzle Points!
Kristin M. Woolums, M. Ed., teaches fifth grade at a private school in Atlanta and works at The School Box at Southlake during the summer months.
We’d like to know: How do you motivate positive behavior in your classroom? Leave a comment to share your idea, and you’ll be entered to win a School Box gift card!