Devise a system of group rewards
Use a kitchen timer (the type on which you twist the dial to a certain time interval and a bell sounds when it finishes the timing). Tell the students that you will be evaluating their behavior at the very moment that the bell sounds. Set the timer for any time between one minute and twenty minutes (shorter times for classes that misbehave more often). Do not let the students see the timer. You want the sounding of the bell to be a surprise. In this way, they are never sure when the "ding" will occur, and must stay on task and behave well at all times for fear that they might be off task or misbehaving when the bell sounds.
Upon hearing the bell, assess the behavior of the youngsters at that very moment. You can give each well behaved, on-task student (when the bell sounded) a point toward some prize, or give the whole group zero to 3 points depending on the percentage of students who were attentive, compliant, hardworking, and otherwise well behaved. A predetermined prize/priviledge is earned when the group attains a certain preset number of points (make the amount to be earned a low total at first to give them success and encourage more compliance).
When the bell sounds, evaluate the group's behavior during the interval between bells. Award 0-3 points depending on their performance during that time period.
Use two kitchen timers set randomly. Have two different types so that the sounds of the bells are different. Use one to assess group behavior at the very instant that the bell rings. Use the other timer to assess behavior between bells. This double bell procedure provides double the incentive to behave well.
Obtain a jelly jar and a large bag of marbles. Drop a marble into the jar whenever your class pleases you. Drop marbles when they are attending well, being helpful and polite, after having walked quietly in the hallway, etc. When you can run a ruler across the top of the jar and knock a marble onto the floor, your class has earned a predetermined prize or priviledge. Increase the size of the jar as the year progresses until you are trying to fill one of those big pickle jars from the cafeteria.
Obtain a scale and some light weights (e.g., washers, bottle caps). Designate one side of the scale to be for the recognition of positive behavior. Designate the other side to be for emphasizing your disappointment with the group. Students attempt to keep the scale in balance or weighted to the positive side. Weights can be added spontaneously (remember to focus on the positive), or whenever a bell sounds or period/activity is nearly over.
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