I'm not a teacher who rewards her students for every little thing, because I want my students to know that doing the right thing is expected from them, with or without a treat. However, I do sparingly use a little positive reinforcement to encourage exceptionally good behavior. In my classroom there is no bigger treat that getting to go the treasure chest. I love my treasure chest, because it really does look like an old pirate chest, and that alone makes my students think it is amazing.
It is a really big deal to go to the treasure chest, because only one group a week gets to choose something from the treasure chest. This involves one of my favorite behavior management strategies, which is so simple yet effective. Throughout the week, I give points to any group/table whenever the group is doing something particularly well. For example, I may give Group Three a point during work time for doing an awesome job of using accountable talk, or if Group One has cleaned up their area particularly well, and that type of thing. I love doing this, because even though it's just a tally mark, my students will do almost anything for a point. Then at the end of the week, the table with the most points gets to go to my treasure chest.
However, keeping my treasure chest full started becoming a problem. Every year I used to spend a little too much money at Oriental Trading
and similar places filling up my treasure chest with goodies, but when I
started teaching two groups of students I just couldn't afford to keep
up the habit. As I shared a few weeks ago, I started making Treasure Chest Reward cards on Vista Print, which is a wonderful and inexpensive way to fill my treasure chest with rewards that students love!
Last summer I hand-wrote random prizes on the backs of the cards and sealed them all in an envelope. (I like sealing them, because it added an extra element of surprise for my students.) I don't know why, but it seemed like it took me FOREVER to fill out the cards last year, and I have been procrastinating starting the task this year. It's one of those little things I just didn't want to do. Fortunately, I had an "ah ha" moment today and created these ultra handy little labels. Now, I can just print them on Avery return address labels and stick them on the cards. I've uploaded my file to Google Docs, so you can grab your own copy if you think it'd help you out too. I've left them in Word, so you can edit them to best fit your classroom.
Don't you just love little time savers that you can use year after year!