by Kelli Lewis
Looking for some fresh ideas for your classroom discipline plan? Check out these two unique takes on positive reinforcement.
IDEA ONE: Plastic Money Coins
Here’s How It Works:
- Students have a strip of Velcro at the top of their desks.
- The teacher places coins, all of different worth (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters) on their Velcro strip if they are caught doing the right thing. (These coins can be found at many school supply stores, such as The School Box.)
- The teacher rewards them for doing their homework, for raising their hand to answer a question, walking quietly down the hallway, etc.
- Money can also sometimes be taken away when a student isn’t doing the right thing, but this should occur very seldom.
- At the end of each day, students count the coins on their Velcro strip and tell the teacher their amount as she records it on her money chart. The students place their money for the day in their “billfold” (can simply be a Ziploc bag) in their desk.
- And now here’s the fun part! On Fridays, students cash in their coins at the class store (for trinkets, erasers, stickers, etc.), or they can save them for another Friday. This begins to teach students the meaning of money and saving for a bigger goal.
An Added Bonus? Children become adept at counting and using money (which is a standard for lower elementary grades).
Beginner’s Tip: To get the children used to the concept of money (and the coins’ values), begin with just pennies, then progressively add the bigger coins.
IDEA TWO: Positive Points
Here’s How It Works:
- The students’ desks are placed together to make tables (shoot for about three to five tables total, depending on the amount of students).
- Each table has a name and a bucket in the middle that contains Popsicle sticks (positive points). During the day, the teacher finds the quietest table, the table that is the quickest to get quiet, etc., and she gives that table a stick/positive point.
- Students aren’t allowed to touch the sticks. If someone does, a stick is removed from their table. This is the only way sticks are removed.
- The students have to work together as a team to get one, and everyone suffers if one student gets one taken away.
- At the end of each day, the teacher counts the sticks aloud as a class. The class discusses greater than and less than. They also determine which table had the most sticks. The teacher then rewards each student at the winning table with a gummy worm (or any other reward the teacher decides).
- The teacher collects all of the sticks at the end of the day, and the process starts over for the next day.
Happy planning for your class in the fall!
Kelli Lewis is an Early Childhood Education graduate student at the University of Georgia.