Of course you have! My very first year, I allowed junior high kids to take a piece of candy with them when the left and smaller children to get a sticker if they had done a good job. However, I soon found out that these systems were more headaches than they were worth for me. Students can be so fussy when they haven’t “earned” candy or a sticker or couldn’t get the one that they wanted.
Some years ago, I started using paper incentive charts instead and it worked beautifully! Initially, students only earned points for returning speech/language homework. If they had a certain number of stickers on their incentive charts by the end of the year, they earned a party (popcorn party for the little ones and a pizza party for the older crowd). I’m not sure which the students bought into more, the idea of an end-of-the-year reward party or being able to see their points accumulating and being in competition with their friends! Either way, I found a system that worked.
But then, I thought: How can I make this even better? 2 years ago, I started incorporating other ways to earn points/stickers on the chart to reinforce behaviors I wanted to see repeated in the future, including:
- 1 point = arriving on time
- 1 point = for each of the required materials you bring to speech
- 2 points = stating what you are working on
- 2 points = explaining the concept you are working on
- 5 points = identifying use of your goal in class
- 10 points = homework
(Click here to get more info on the points system here). The beautiful thing about this is that I give EXTRA points for anything I want to, including being encouraging of a peer, making a connection to something learned in a class, sharing a related experience that happened outside of school, etc.! Students were learning how to learn 😀
Students were also working harder than before! I rewarded them for their efforts by letting them raid the prize box and choose an end of term prize every quarter when report cards were released (such as a full sized candy bar, nice school supplies, or a small trinket).
This was going great but after I made over my office last year (click here to see the “before” and watch the video below for the “after”), the paper chart just didn’t fit my decor! (I know, so superficial). However, necessity is the mother of invention and that gave me an idea. To go with the sleek new clinical look of my office, I decided to make an electronic version of my points chart. Using Google Spreadsheets, I created a sheet and corresponding chart that work beautifully together. When I add points on the spreadsheet, students see their bars on the chart fill up like magic!
My re-modeled (clinical style) office and the points chart on display:
Demonstration of the points chart:
Since making the above youtube video demonstrating this, I found that I could even just use one device instead of two (as mentioned in the video) to make this magic happen; my computer allows me to display a different screen on the computer than the one shown on the TV when they are connected. Of course, if you don’t have access to a TV or projector (I know, I am very lucky in that regard), you can still use your computer and phone, or computer and tablet, or tablet and phone, etc. to make this magic happen. 🙂
Now, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just have the template without having to set it up? Well, okay!
Do me a favor and follow my blog first though 😉
Then, CLICK HERE TO GET THE TEMPLATE and click “use template” in the upper right hand corner! (Colors are completely customizable. I just went with my school’s colors in the video but you can easily change that).