Sometimes I get caught up in the minutae of how I am going to roll out a new classroom student recognition idea. There’s a great program out called Class Dojo and it works really well if you have a plan and you’ve practiced a lot with it. Otherwise, it’s sort of like heading out on vacation in a Ford up on blocks … you don’t go anywhere. How do you get that experience to make it work? I say, jump in and try it. Kids thrive on recognition. For lack of a better analogy, it’s like a pat on the head for them. If you wait until your system is perfect and you’ve spent $1,000’s of dollars on prizes at Oriental Trading Company, you’re going to miss countless opportunities to validate the kids through rewards.
Lesson plans are the all powerful tool for behavioral management but reward systems are almost as valuable. Even if it causes you to stall your routine or your lesson plan flow, you have no idea how much good recognition will do for your kids’ self esteem and learning. Start simple: print a class list and use some randon method of calling on people. When they are correct, RECOGNIZE them! Do it in words, points, whatever you have. I know one teacher who passes out m&m’s. I personally don’t agree with giving sugar as a reward and in some districts, it is fact banned, But she has the right idea. The kid gets a smile on their face and the other kids get motivated to participate. Why wait to implement? Now, here at the end of my thought, what recognition method do you use or could you use in your classroom today or tomorrow?