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For many years, teachers have had ‘treasure boxes’ in their classrooms to reward students for behavior, grades and much more. But when you’re on a tight budget, filling your box with desirable prizes can become difficult. Here are a few treasures that you might want to use in your classroom:
1. School Supplies
Each year, students are asked to bring in school supplies for the year. Sadly, there will always be some students that cannot afford the newest school supplies or even the basics. If you load your treasure box with school supplies, you are allowing students to get something that they need and that will benefit them throughout the school day. At the beginning of the school year, office supply stores often put the basic schools supplies on sale for just pennies! Examples include: pencils, scissors, erasers, notebooks, folders, markers and crayons.
2. Assignment Passes and Extensions
Give your students the chance to pass up a homework assignment or gain an extension on a take-home project. Simply print out homework passes so that students can skip a homework assignment. You can make different passes worth more if you are doing a points-based reward system in your classroom. Be sure to sign any passes that you make in order to keep them original (not that any of your little darlins are counterfeit artists, but I’m just sayin’…).
3. Extra Time Certificates
Sometimes students just need to spend a little more time one-on-one with the teacher to feel special. One way to do this is to have certificates that students can cash in to have lunch with the teacher. Also, students might want to have more time to spend at the library, on the computer or at centers. Why not give your students the opportunity to spend 5 or 10 more minutes doing something that they enjoy?
4. Parent Donations
If your school allows you to do so, ask your classroom parents to donate prizes to the treasure box. Give them a list of school supplies, small candies, stickers and other items that could be used in your box. Hopefully, you will have helpful parents to help you stuff your treasure box. It never hurts to ask!
Sometimes toys are not appropriate for your treasure box because they distract the children, and they can get pricey. Get creative and think of prizes that could come out of your imagination instead of out of your wallet!
Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at the University of Georgia, currently working on a Masters in Early Childhood Education.