Some (Cheap and Easy) Discipline Ideas

by Kelli Lewis

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As the winter break grows closer, attention spans grow shorter. Looking for some fresh discipline ideas to get you through “the most wonderful time of the year”? Try these easy ideas to keep your little elves out of mischief.

Think About It

First of all, think of the times of day that seem to be trickiest when it comes to self-control (your students’, not yours :-). Do they need a little incentive to get quiet after transitions? Do they need to remember to do their homework more often? Do they need to use that handwriting you know they are capable of but usually choose to not use? Do they need to be better at staying quiet in the hallways?

Second, decide on a way to encourage your students. One motivating (and easily replicated) discipline strategy involves students collecting things (see ideas below) and then trading said “things” for small rewards or privileges. Here are a few easy ideas:

Show Me the Money

Plastic money coins (I found them at The School Box) are always a big hit, and using/counting money also incorporates the standards for several elementary grade levels. You could also use play money bills, or even print your own money bills with your face on them!

Paper Trail

If you’d rather not purchase money, you can simply cut small colored circles or squares out of construction paper. If you choose this option, just be sure that students can’t reproduce or make them themselves. Add your signature or stamp to each one to make them uniquely yours.

Chart It, Baby!

If small coins or bits of paper prove to be a distraction for little hands, create charts for each student instead. The charts can follow behavior daily, weekly or monthly–whatever works for your group. Stamp students’ charts each time they do something deserving and then cross them out as they trade them in for a reward.

Speaking of Rewards…

Finally, decide on the privileges you want students to choose and allocate different “values” to each reward. (A homework pass may “cost” more than wearing a hat to school, for example.) Here are some ideas of things your students could “purchase” with their coins/paper/chart rewards:

  • free ice cream pass
  • eat lunch with a friend
  • draw on the board/smartboard
  • play games in the afternoon
  • wear slippers for the day (remember to bring tennis shoes for P.E.)
  • wear a hat for the day
  • bring a small stuffed animal to sit at your desk while you work
  • extra computer time
  • wear sunglasses to school
  • write with a colored pen all day
  • sit at the teacher’s desk, special table in the room…or the floor!

Hopefully these ideas will help keep your classroom (and you!) merry and bright during the next few busy weeks. Happy Holidays!

Kelli Lewis is a grad student at The University of Georgia who volunteers her great ideas for the benefit of all of us here at A Learning Experience.



Filed under Behavior Management, Discipline

2 responses to “Some (Cheap and Easy) Discipline Ideas

  1. Kay Wallin

    The school where I did my student teaching had a unique approach to this. They are the RS Rockets, so before school started this year, they planned a school-wide campaign to improve behavior. The campaign is called SOAR (Students Obey and Respect). Every aspect of school ties in to the theme. Videos and skits (with staff members) were shown the first week of school about various aspects of expected school behavior (cafeteria, classroom, hallway, etc.). Connections classes (math lab, PE) become places like Mathosphere or Planet Fitness. Individual classes can earn meteorites (jars of pompoms) that can be traded in for class rewards. It is a fun campaign, and the students seemed to enjoy it just as much as the staff. . .and there has been an improvement in overall behavior.

  2. Like Kay, my school is the RS Raptors. We earn raptor bucks. When someone is doing a great job in the hallway, special, lunch etc, teachers hand out raptor bucks . Then we collect them and when our class gets to 25 we vote on reward. I like the wear sunglasses to school. We haven’t tried that one. I also pass out gold coins in my classroom. Students get to go to the treat/sticker jar for 3 coins, and the treasure box for 5. If they get 20 coins you get to eat lunch with the teacher and I buy them dessert.