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Changing reward system in the middle of the semester?
« on: April 15, 2019, 02:28:41 pm »
Hey all.

I just started teaching with EPIK in February. The reward system I came up with was handing out dollars to kids who participated, etc etc. Then at the end of every month, students can buy things like snacks, seat changes, a snack party and more. However, I found that it doesn't work that well (at least for me).  Many of the same students raise their hands to participate and get a bunch of dollars by the end. When students aren't behaving there's not that much of a punishment I had in place. I had the idea to take away the dollars, but I easily forget who gets them after a week or two. Printing out the dollars also wastes a bunch of paper, plus buying all those snacks puts a dent in my wallet :cry: There are other things I have problems with as I started it and I wanted to change it to just giving students simple points in my book by their name if they're good and taking them away if they're bad without outwardly telling them.

At first, I was thinking of waiting until the beginning of the new semester to implement this, but I wanted to do this now. Is it okay to switch up a reward system in the middle of the semester if it's not working? Or should I just wait until the end like I originally planned.

Thank you all!
« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 02:47:26 pm by content_peach »

Re: Changing reward system in the middle of the semester
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 03:01:32 pm »
I don't think changing the whole system in the middle of the semester is the best idea, because students who didn't care before probably still won't care after, so it will just create more work for you. You also do not want to take anything back that you promised the students who do behave well.  However, I would say that you can change the reward at the end of the month to something that they want more, or change the frequency. Students get bored easily and will not be as motivated for only a snack....a month later.

I never did an individual reward system, but I did class rewards because peer pressure works well (I was at a small middle school with only 1 class per grade, so the following might not work as well at a larger school or if you have to change classrooms). I custom made a giant monopoly board game and if the students behaved they would get a chance to roll the dice. I set certain point levels with candy, snacks etc, and the students made their goal a movie day. So each class I would begin by letting a student roll the dice, if the class earned it. If the class was not behaving the class before, I would start class as normal without the dice roll.

There would also be the go to jail, community chest etc. Go to jail was only for if the class was really bad and meant no rolls for 2-3 more classes. Community chest meant high points, but the students had to write something for me; answer to a question, how they are feeling, weather etc. Chance was for silly things like everyone must sing the ABC song....(this was middle school)

It worked well because the students really wanted to watch a movie and it gave a more exciting start to the class than...ok class let's open your books...

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Re: Changing reward system in the middle of the semester?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 03:11:05 pm »
One of the things I do to avoid calling on only the kids who raise their hands is Magic Boxes. The kids write their names on small slips of paper, which goes into a small box. Then, when it's time for questions to be answer et. al. I draw from Magic Box. I also use it to form teams etc. Other teachers use sticks with numbers on them and then each student is assigned a number and you draw numbers. This means one set of sticks rather than a box for each homeroom.  You'll spread out the goods. Also, if the kids aren't sure if their name is going to be called, they may be a bit more attentive as they don't want to embarrass themselves by not knowing what's going on. And another thing...If the same kids get chosen all the time (those that raise their hands constantly) the others do tend to lose focus.

You may not need to change your system but just how you're working it.

Good luck.