Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teacher Week: Taming the Wild! :)

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 13... TAMING THE WILD!
This week I found a couple wonderful posts about rewards. One lead to another and I spent an entire morning reading about this.  I started at Fairy Dust Teaching.  Sally's  post discusses the difference between rewards and bribes. Here is a little synopsis about how distinguishes the two :
FiFi the poodle is running wildly out the front door and down the street. (Hey – sometimes it could be a student. . . .)
  • SCENARIO 1:  You call to FiFi and say “Stop!  Sit down Fifi!”  Fifi obeys you and sits down.  You go and give Fifi a doggie treat.  You just rewarded Fifi for correct behavior (doing the right thing).  Fifi has been compensated for doing what you asked.
  • SCENARIO 2:  You call to FiFi and say “Stop! Sit down FiFi!”  But FiFi keeps running.  You call your command again.  No response from FiFi.  You are worried about her safety so you rush to get a treat and anxiously say, “Look FiFi, come to me and you can have a treat!”   FiFi stops running from you and turns around to come for the treat. You are bribing FiFi into doing what you want her too.  You have just persuaded Fifi.
Do you see the difference?  Let’s break it down even further.  How does it look in the classroom:
Rewards are used to REINFORCE appropriate behavior.  A student is asked to complete a paper first thing each morning.  The student complies and does as he was asked.  He is rewarded for his appropriate action with a trip to the treasure chest on Friday.

Bribes are used to persuade students to do what you want them to.  But here is the catch.
Say for example, this same student is asked to complete a paper first thing each morning.  The student does not do the work and even worse, distracts other students from their work.  The teacher is at his wits end with the lack of work being done.  “Hey!”  he says to this student, “If you finish your work every morning this week – we will have a movie on Friday.”  The student responds (with a sparkle in the eye) “Can I pick it?”  “Sure” replies the teacher.

  • The student was bribed into doing the appropriate behavior.
  • The student DID NOT demonstrate any personal motivation to do what is expected.
  • Respect and responsibility are completely missing from this situation.  In fact, the student was ignoring the teacher’s instructions outright.
  • While rewarding students has it pitfalls, it does demand that the student is demonstrating personal responsibility to do the right thing.   This is a good thing.
    Whereas bribing actually REINFORCES that the student does not need to do the right thing to get what they want.  They can manipulate and hassle the teacher into rewarding them for doing the wrong thing!

    I got just as much out of the comments back and forth after Sally's post.

    SO then- trying to learn more,  I headed over to Matt Gomez's post  Reward Free Year.  Which took me to his post I Lied, We Do Have TreasureThese posts both  have really interesting insights that got me thinking about what I want my room to look like.  (And to think that before I read any of them, I thought I knew! HA!) 

    After all of that- it seems really wrong to show you this:

     BUT... they are REWARDS! So don't worry!  A skittle never disappoints.  (That should be a T shirt, don't you think?) Every once in a while, you just need something fun- or a little brain kiss.   Plus, they "happy up " my room, too, which is always a good thing.   The bucket if FULL of the little round blue glass pieces from the Dollar Tree.  After we read How Full is Your Bucket, I give everyone a little blue "water drop" to keep in a pocket or by the bed to help remember to fill lots of buckets.  The smiles are just left over lollypops with no purpose except that filling buckets makes people smile.  The  lupines are from my very own fabulous  Lupine Lady friend Betty in Texas- who sent the whole class each a bouquet of lupines last year.

    The first few days of school, I take everyone's picture holding the cards "I" and "can."  We do a little interactive writing activity about some things we all can do in the classroom. I keep this up all year. It's just another way to talk about some simple class/life rules.

    These little friends are my Boo Boo Bear- SO cuddly and always sure to help someone who is hurt or sad feel better;  2 soft elephants to listen with their big ears to anything that needs to be shared, a squishy ball to squeeze and get out frustrations, and my  Favorite Things Lotion , to rub and rub into hands when thinking about how to act. And my newest favorite find - a pen that projects the Superman image from the end of it!  YAY!  (The Superman pen has really very little to do with management- It was just irresistible. OK- maybe if Superman is watching our class and is proud and sends his symbol- that would be kind of awesome!)

     (On my list- a new camera....sorry the pictures are so bad.) Here is a better picture of the lotion-

    Since our elementary school used to be a middle school, our kids have lockers outside the classroom to keep their coats, boots, bags...  It isn't ideal to say the least.  I have the class divided into 2 groups- The Alligators and the Bears ( Last year was group 1 and group 2 which was not fun- so I did A and B words instead.) I grouped them so that every other student will be getting his/her things from the locker at the same time.  This gives the kids more space on both sides of them.  I also use these groups for bathroom breaks. (Bathrooms are also down the hall. I MISS having one in the classroom.  No sink in the room, either.)

    Notice little Quiet Mouse over the light switch.  I have him all over the room in different places to remind everyone to use quiet inside voices.  I had a real tiny mouse (well- not REAL- but a fake little toy mouse) that I used to use, but he disappeared...  So now I just made lots of different sizes of him from

    This is my magic basket.  I keep my warm fuzzies , my scented lip gloss, and my SH spray in it .  And you never know when you may need a wand.  Seriously.

    I have used/do use anything for hallway travel. I like to change it up.  Sometimes at the door before we go, I do a magic POOF over everyone to quiet them down.  Some days require a "SUPER POOF." There are birthday poofs, Monday poofs- any number of poofs.   We use 1,2,3, Eyes on me. 1,2, Eyes on you!  We use Hips and Lips (one hand on your hip, one finger over your lips), Bubbles and Tails (keep a bubble in your mouth and make your hands into a tail behind you)... 

    Sometimes I give everyone a spray of this special "SH" spray ( AKA water and fun glitter in a squirt bottle).

     A dab of Skittles lip balm A magic, "quiet dot" on the back of a hand works wonders in the hall.  They love smelling it! It's fun for something special and different.
    My heart basket is one more management idea I use. I keep it right by the door and the children can put in notes, lunch money,  or anything I am supposed to be getting as they come in.  Each child has a folder that goes back and forth from home and lots of times notes are in there- but in case they have something for me, they know they can put it in the heart.

     I have done individual student management cards if a student needs it- earning smile faces on notes home for mom and dad, but I don't do a whole class management system. I do feel like using Whole Brain Teaching has helped my kids stay involved and focused more than ever.

    Our school has Do-Rights - which are pieces of paper with our class moose on it- and if a student is caught doing something right, he/she gets one to take to the office and put it in a big box. Once a month, the Principal draws a winner from each grade to get a certificate.  These pieces of paper are like gold for some reason.  The kids love them. They are so proud taking them to the office. 

    Thank you for sharing my ideas!  Have a wonderful day!

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