Positive reinforcement is the best classroom management you can use. You also need to be consistent with your promises and any consequences you mention. Many classrooms have reward systems and over the years, I have tried a variety of suggestions. Some suggestions you may have heard about or seen are: group points, behaviour charts/logs, reward systems, and a few more. I have combined systems I have used in the past and found a way to make it work for my class. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have a very energetic, talkative all boys class. They are great kids and are very easily distracted by each other.

 

At the beginning of the year, I introduced Ms. G bucks to my grade 5/6 class. I used the WORD business card template and used a variety of denominations to help the boys with their multiplication and addition skills. I also initial each buck I give out in a colour marker. The bucks were and are given out for students following classroom routines, handing in paperwork, anything I want the rest of the class to do. I sometimes give them out for handing in homework. It is amazing to see how quickly the students will pay attention when I mention I am giving out Ms. G bucks.

 

The students helped me to develop a list of what they can buy with the bucks. This is where the program is different from many out there and the kids did buy into the concept of program. They were involved in decision making process; I didn’t tell them what happened with the money, they told me. The kids made suggestions and if it was feasible, I would add it (but some suggestions had to be guided). For example, the kids suggested buying the ability to be a teacher for the day; we tweaked that and end up with being teacher for a lesson. All ideas were included; the students’ ideas were realistic, and again, some needed to be guided. However, I did add pencils/erasers; when students can get a new pencil/eraser the next day; you will find many are left on the floor or in the hallway. Not anymore!

 

I also left the ability to fine students to the teacher’s discretion. Fines to students happen after a couple of reminders, routines are still not followed. Fines are usually used to remind students of the rules. Consequences for inappropriate behaviour are based on the behaviour, not fines.

 

Although the students have only bought pencils and erasers with their bucks, this program has worked out very well. The excitement of saving up the money and being able to buy something big is really building in the class. At first, the class was saving for a field trip but not anymore.

 

You may use this idea as is but I would suggest adjusting the program to suit your students and style. As I mentioned at the beginning, this idea came from a combination of a variety of systems utilized in the past and some I have heard about. Some programs have points recorded on a large chart for the whole class to see and some are recorded by the teacher, with students also tracking points. You have to know your students. My class has students who like to separate themselves from the others and therefore individual bucks works great. Also, with individual bucks, you will find students from every table will be more focused which helps focus the attention of the rest of the class.

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