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Monday, September 9, 2013


Taking on all three kids this year worried me a little. I wasn't sure how I was going to fit everybody into the day. And on top of that, Curly's list of subjects has grown even longer. So I decided to put into practice some good, old classroom management incentives to see what would happen.

The first step is pennies. Each Monday morning every child is given ten pennies. They keep these pennies in one of their school drawers throughout the week. If one of them breaks a rule, the culprit has to give a penny back to me. If he breaks a second rule, a second penny is returned. You get the idea. 

On Friday afternoons, when school is over, the school shop opens. Items purchased from The Dollar Tree were put into bags labelled with prices. They can choose to spend or save their pennies. So far, there's not much saving happening. Then the shop is closed until the next Friday.

Also great math practice!

Each day that all three children keep all of their pennies, they earn a puzzle piece. I took a picture of the kids and blew it up to an 8x10. I then mounted the picture onto a piece of construction paper and cut it into 24 pieces. In theory, it will take them a little over a month to fill in the whole puzzle. At that time, a selection of larger incentives will be placed into a hat, and one will be drawn. These might include a trip to the $2 movie theater, ice cream, a game night, etc. 

The puzzle is kept by the posted school rules.

I was a little hesitant to do something so "school-like," but it's working beautifully. No one wants to lose a penny, and only one child has lost any so far. And the truth is, we all need some incentives, don't we? Sometimes those are intrinsic, but sometimes we need some help. We reward ourselves by buying something new when we lose a little weight, or by taking a trip after a particularly long stretch of work. I mean, even just taking a day off and playing "hookie" is appealing, right?

They aren't really concerned with the larger prizes, yet. So far, they are mostly excited about getting the pennies on Monday and the school store. I like that the puzzle is a longer-term incentive. Right about the time the pennies start to lose their luster, the larger prize should kick in. And that should rejuvenate them for a while.

How about you? Do you use any classroom management techniques in your home? In your home school? In your regular classroom? Any suggestions for fun prizes?

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