Our school has a school-wide reward system from the good people at PBIS. We have little slips of paper called rising stars. You write a kids name it and what you caught them doing well. Each classroom is responsible for doing something with them. In 7th and 8th grade, we put them in a big box and draw names for Fun Friday each week.
In my classroom, I give out Rising Stars. Last year, I gave out little carnival/prize tickets. I handed them out students, they wrote their names on them and turned them for a prize drawing at the end of the quarter. I did that briefly this year.
Do I believe in rewards? Not really.
However, I don't really expect students to just come to school and learn either. Do you just go to work and work? No, you get a pay check. You get health insurance. You get all kinds of things for working.
What do our students get? They get an education. However, in terms of the development of middle school students, not many make that connection. I don't expect them to either.
Students often tell me that my class is a lot of work. That we are always doing something. I respond yep.
My thought is that if I keep them engaged in activities and gaining knowledge they don't have time to realize all the work they are doing until after the fact.
I also try to do some fun things in my class. We've done Minute to Win It games. They love Stack Attack but Caddy Stack was too hard. We play Boggle, which does have some educational value. Today, I ordered pizza for a small group that helped with 6th grade tutorials.
There needs to be balance in schools between working your butt off to get an education and having some fun to get students to keep coming back.
R is for Rewards.