Good incentives/rewards for middle schoolers?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by jamoehope, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 2, 2011

    I am going to teach one period of individual studies this year in a middle school. Individual studies is a class where the high functioning special ed. students can go to get help on homework and classwork from their general ed. classrooms.

    I am wondering about what incentives might motivate the students to be responsible about bringing their work, completing it, and avoiding disruptive behaviors and also what systems you use to give incentives.

    I taught elementary students for two years and I found last year when I started in a middle school part-time that I was not sure what might incentivize the middle school students. To me they are not as easy to figure out as the younger students.

    Here are some guesses I have on things middle schoolers might want:

    Specifically in my classroom:
    • Coupons to restaurants (Ie. McDonalds)
    • Limited time to draw or work on a preferred project
    • Read a book or magazine they like
    • Limited time to visit with friends (if they're not working too)
    • party at end of semester for specific amount of whole class points

    Also with general ed. teachers who agree to it:
    • no homework pass
    • extra credit
    • leave class early to lunch or break
    • visit a classroom the student likes
    • help out somewhere on campus

    What do you think?

    What systems do you use? (Ie. do you reward daily, weekly, monthly, individually, by groups, or whole class?)


    Thank you!
     
  2.  
  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 2, 2011

    I'm not sure how many teachers will want a student leaving class early. I know it would annoy me as a teacher since I use all of my class time from bell to bell. :2cents:
     
  4. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 2, 2011

    I totally agree with your sentiment; this only worked with some of the teachers last year. I used it for the student to get to go only 1 to 2 minutes early to limit time lost.

    Interestingly, when he couldn't leave early (ie. in PE), the student in question was proud he earned the right to earn early even if he hadn't.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 2, 2011

    Another class type award (or even small groups) could be a "game day" in which the students are allowed to play board games if they reach the goal you set. Our kids *love* playing Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Pictionary and card games. Dominoes are also a big hit. There is a lot to be said about the social lessons they learn while playing those games, too. Many of the kids don't do those types of activities at home.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 2, 2011

    I still love playing Apples to Apples :lol:
     
  7. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 2, 2011

    I still love playing board games too. :)

    How often do you have something like a "game day?" I wouldn't want to have it too often to keep the focus on work but some students need more immediate rewards...
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 2, 2011

    I think things like limited time to work on something of their choice or to help in a classroom would be good immediate rewards. I know there's a lot of debate about homework passes. I know my teacher gave them out for kids who participated in the bake sale class fundraiser so they basically got one for a whole semester and it was limited on what they could use it on. The kids loved it because it was great for those students who just had an oops moment when normally they're very good about turning in homework.
     
  9. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 2, 2011

    I like that idea a lot too but I'm thinking that to limit the time, if the student really has no homework or classwork to do, I'll have backup work to do like reading comprehension, math, or writing at the student's level. I have a lot of supplementary materials so I think I can organize that. Then when he finishes the extra work he can do the preferred activities.

    Do you think if "game day" were spread out to once a month per semester, that would keep the kids motivated month to month as opposed to having wait the whole semester? Or would that be too often?

    How often do you incentivize your students?
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Aug 2, 2011

    Month to month would probably be better than once a semester. Or what about once a quarter. Having just graduated from college I can say semesters are LONG and sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel :lol:

    I'm waiting to figure out incentives until I'm able to meet with some of the teachers and see how things work at the school. I like to do a trivia game each week and the student who wins gets to pick a prize out of the mystery bag, which could be an extra bathroom pass, limited homework pass, small toy, book that needs to be given away, etc... My history teacher in high school did something similar and it was so silly but we all loved it! He had a newborn so he put baby toys in and other weird things.
     
  11. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 4, 2011

    I like the month to month idea and the trivia game. I could relate the game to things I know some of the students are learning since I'm pushing into their classrooms also. Or I could relate to things they should know in general.

    Another question: if I use points to determine if the students earn the class wide rewards, how many points a day should I give per period? Unlimited? Up to 15? We will be in school 43 days for the first quarter and 45 days for the second quarter for a total of 87 days.
     
  12. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 4, 2011

    Try letting them earn a review based game time for only about five minutes or so a couple of times a week.
     
  13. KateL

    KateL Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 5, 2011

    How about Fred Jones' idea of PAT (preferred activity time)? The class earns points throughout the week for good behavior. The more points, the more time they get to choose activities on Friday (games, drawing, etc). The students probably won't have much homework by Friday, if they've been keeping up with it all week, so the prospect of 15-20 minutes of free-choice time could motivate them. There are a lot more details on this in the book Tools for Teaching.
     
  14. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 5, 2011

    Kate, have you used this method? I loved it when I read Tools for Teaching, but now that I've thought about implementing it, it seems rather complicated. Even though I love the theory of classes earning fun time every week, it feels like it would be an awful lot to keep up with. But I want to be able to do Fun Fridays!
     
  15. KateL

    KateL Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 5, 2011

    No, I don't, but one of the English teachers at the middle school I taught at did. She just kept track of the points each class period earned and had English-related games for the students to play at the end of class on Friday (Apples to Apples and such). Since the points were by class, it wasn't nearly as hard to keep up with as doing individual points. And for a special ed study hall class like the OP describes, it might be enough of an incentive to keep the students working all week.
     
  16. jamoehope

    jamoehope Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2011

    I have the Tools for Teaching book and haven't yet implemented PAT. Maybe I will try it this year. I think though that I will have some sort of ongoing reinforcement daily even if we have some kind of fun activity at the end of the week. Sometimes these kids need more immediate feedback and reinforcement.

    I am thinking of something really short at the end of the period like a joke, puzzle, or a silly article from the Onion (selected without inappropriate language, of course).
     
  17. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    610
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2011

    I like things that don't cost us teachers $$, so last year our team used raffle tickets and a couple of times per 9 wks we pulled 10-15 tickets and the winners got to choose from things like passes to sit with a friend at lunch (the students are assigned to sit with their homeroom class at lunch), lunch and a movie, and homework passes (all the teachers on the team agreed to this). For those students that didn't when they could trade in their raffle tickets for a school wide function later in the year.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 400 (members: 0, guests: 386, robots: 14)
test