How do you feel about prizes or prize boxes?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by otterpop, Jun 26, 2014.

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Do you use a tangible reward system?

  1. Yes, a classroom system

    11 vote(s)
    35.5%
  2. Yes, a school-wide system

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
  3. Yes, both classroom and school-wide

    7 vote(s)
    22.6%
  4. Only for specific students

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
  5. No

    7 vote(s)
    22.6%
  6. None of these answers fit (please explain)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 26, 2014

    How do you feel about prize boxes, or prizes in general, for things like good behavior or other things kids should be doing anyway (attending school, turning in homework, etc)?

    ---

    I'm against these things in theory, because I believe that intrinsic motivation is important, but have found that prizes or rewards work in certain situations. This is true for all grades I've worked with, from PreK-12. I worked with at-risk high school kids once. The administration set up a prize program for students with good attendance. If they attended 5 days in a row, they could get a candy bar, 10 days in a row, a small gift card, and a month, a large gift card or really cool prize (like video games or iPods). The school asked employees to ask businesses for donations. The idea behind it, according to administration, was that these prizes provided an incentive for behavior with the hope that it would eventually become a habit, with no incentive needed. That, I suppose, is the general hope behind every incentive program.

    It just feels lame to be "bribing" kids when they should be behaving anyway, but as we all know, just because they should doesn't mean they will. There are all kinds of books and research on why both are effective, but I'm curious what others' personal views are.

    So... thoughts?
     
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  3. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    i see those things as a way to change kids' habits, then by experiencing success they become more intrinsically motivated to experience it again. In my experience, it does not demotivate kids who are intrinsically motivated to start with, and it does not do much for kids from wealthier families who do not lack for material things. If it helps a particular kid, I'm all for it, but it is not the ideal or a cure-all.
     
  4. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It's a useful motivation in an elementary classroom and especially special education
     
  5. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I'm motivated with gifts too:) One of my favorites was present at a faculty meeting and earn dress down every Monday for @ month. (We can wear jeans on Friday as long as we wear a school t_shirt) I have a treasure box and I'm sewing up crafts to include in my box this summer.
     
  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I have a prize box but the kids only choose from it when they bring in a completed home reading sheet.

    For whole class rewards we do experiences - picnic outside, piñata, extra computer time, play board games, etc.
     
  7. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I agree with Donziejo. Even adults are motivated by prizes. Why else would time share reps offer so many goodies if you ''just listen'' to their 90 minute presentation? :rolleyes:

    It does feel like bribery at times, but it gives the kids something to look forward to and in my experience it has motivated good behavior from pre-K to 6th (i've never worked w/higher grades than that)

    I open my prize box every other week and in order to shop the ''big'' prizes you have to have all stars OR a combination of ONLY greens (good job) and stars (great job) on your behavior sheet. If you have 3 yellows and everything else is a green or star, then you get to shop at the ''small'' prize table.

    Big prizes = happy meal toys, coloring books, plastic necklaces, headbands, bottle of bubbles, various games, jump ropes, etc (so stuff from the dollar store)

    Small toys = colorful pencils, erasers, maybe a single sticker (cheap prizes)
     
  8. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    We are a PBIS school, so students earn "paws" and can cash them in for rewards. Some of the rewards are things like bring a stuffed animal to school, sit in the teachers chair, and other things that are "free." Each classroom comes up with their own menu of rewards.

    The office has prizes available, and teachers can have prizes in their classrooms. Some children are really motivated to work towards a little trinket or book. If it were up to me, I wouldn't have a rewards system, though.
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Yep. I use rewards and prizes. Our early childhood section does not... They actually use a Reggio Emilia approach in EC, but not us in elementary. Many of us in elementary use group points, stickers, punch cards and prizes.
     
  10. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Prizes, to a lesser degree, work in high school. I remember loving a teacher who when you raised your hand to answer a question, he would toss those plastic toys or stickers you get out of a quarter machine to you. You had to catch it, everyone would laugh. It made him fun. He would tell us our assignment and then turn on music. If we started getting loud or off task, the music would start getting quieter and quieter.

    When my dad worked at a middle school as a school safety officer, he would bring candy. I used candy ONCE as a student teacher and will never do it again. My mentor teacher rewarded classes with food -- pizza, cake, a breakfast platter, whatever -- or movie days.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2014

    Treasure box was something I used as a new teacher. It's just not something I see a need for in my classroom anymore, and truthfully, I don't think anyone in my K-4 uses one either.
     
  12. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Our school policy forbids teachers from giving out anything.... So, no candy... not even a Band-Aid if someone needs one.... :(
     
  13. time out

    time out Comrade

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    I have a classroom store system where students can purchase fun school supplies with their stamps that they earn for good behavior. I love it because it allows students to make choices about spending or saving. It also lends itself to teaching responsibility.

    In my class, if students lose or damage materials, they have to pay me with their stamps. But on the other hand, students can earn raises for going above and beyond.
     
  14. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Many teachers are just like the students. PD is something we should be going to anyway, but most of us (at my school) expect to be compensated for going. I think a reward system is great for kids, it lets them know their hard work and good behavior isn't going unnoticed. At my school we have a school wide system called Panther Bucks and the kids can go to the Panther Store at the end of the 6 weeks. In my class I have a treasure chest full of stuff from dollar tree.
     
  15. time out

    time out Comrade

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    I love that your school has a store. I remember buying supplies from our high school store but that wasn't the same =)

    Who runs the Panther store? Do teachers take turns or is it only open during certain hours?
     
  16. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Absolutely, I have a reward system. Positive reinforcement is a powerful thing. It rewards children who already do the right thing and motivates those who may not otherwise to do well.
     
  17. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    I have no problem with rewarding student. I have a treat box full of pencils, fun erasers, bracelets and matchbox cars. We are a PBIS school, so students also earn bucks that can be spent at the school store every grading period.
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I don't have a problem with prizes, but I don't use them in my classroom because I don't think the vast majority of the kids are well-behaved enough to deserve a prize. My school uses prizes/incentives/contests to promote attendance, wearing school uniform, etc.

    Every year I taught MS, we did PBIS with lots of prizes, rewards and activities. I've never seen PBIS work effectively in regards to changing the long-term behavior of the problems kids. It simply rewarded the kids who would behave even without an incentive and the borderline kids that weren't that big of a headache to begin with.
     
  19. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I'm not sure how to interpret your mentioning a treasure box ????? I do use one and commented on it. Do you think a reward system is used only for a need? Something for me to think about. My using a reward system and sewing crafts to use motivate me .... I guess I like to have fun as much as the kids, but I consider it more a want then a need
     
  20. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Why should we not expect to be compensated for work outside of contractual hours? If I go to a PD outside of the hours between 7:50 - 3:10; then I deserve compensation. REAL compensation - not a free lunch, a free cooler/lunchbox, a free pen, a free mini calendar etc.
     
  21. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We are a PBIS district; therefore, each site has a PBIS rewards system in place.

    As a teacher, though, I did have a classroom rewards system in full effect.
     
  22. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I use incentives in my room. Honestly it's because I feel the problem student get so much attention, I like being able to recognize those who are doing good things. I teach in a PreK to 6 school and all teachers have some sort of incentive program, some more elaborate than others. I feel like in our push to increase rigor and responsibility we sometimes forget that these are kids. Of course even as an adult I love getting small rewards from time to time. If it's good enough for me, why not my kids?
     
  23. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I love your explanation! :thumb:
     
  24. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Great way to put it.
     
  25. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    I use one

    Yes. I like having a prize box. Most of our teachers do use one. I don't need one for management or behavior,my classroom runs smoothly. But, as PPs have said, it can be an added incentive!! I have found it worked for me in high and low SES schools, prize choice depends on the student!! Earning or being rewarded can be a powerful thing.
     
  26. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    :eek: That sounds terrible. Why can't teachers give out things? I can understand the candy part, but c'mon, what kids don't love stickers? What about stamps? I had some teachers that would use rubber stamps on our papers that would have a little picture and a "Good Job" written, or they'd stamp our hands (though I'm sure some admins would frown upon that because a child may be allergic/sensitive to the ink :()
     
  27. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My first year I used a prize box that students could choose out of each time they improved on their IEP goals. My CT for student teaching had done this. I found that they were just as motivated by being able to keep track of their progress on a sticker chart, and that was intrinsic. I no longer do the prize box.

    We have a school wide PBIS system where all students can earn incentives, and I support this in my class. Our kids earn "tiger paws" for good behavior. I have no problem with this system at all, because it's open to everyone. I do feel torn on individual behavior plans where students can earn prizes for basically not hitting anyone or making it through a 30 minute period with no tantrums. Their general behavior can be horrible, but hey at least they managed to not be violent that day. I have a hard time watching those kids get all these extra special rewards and attention while other students behave every day and would never get extra prizes or rewards. I know someone is going to say the whole accommodations thing and it's just like some kids need glasses, etc, but severe behaviors are harder for me to wrap my head around. I always wonder what happens to those students when they get older, and how are we setting them up for success in the future? You can wear your glasses to your job, but your job is not going to let you have a break every 3 minutes or give you a bonus every time you attempt something.
     
  28. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    I wanted to take a look at this question from a different perspective, so I asked myself:

    How do you feel about getting a paycheck for doing things you should be doing anyway (contributing to the good of society, helping your fellow citizens, contributing to the welfare of the next generation)?


    Personally, I feel that intrinsic motivation is important, but find that getting a monetary reward is icing on the cake.
     
  29. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    Yes, I feel like you took the thoughts out of my head directly!!
     
  30. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I agree that getting a paycheck is why we do what we do. However, we all went to school too. Paid for it even. In college, no one gave us rewards for showing up to class; the reward was the good grade and knowing that it would lead to a (hopefully) good job in the future.
     
  31. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    From Michael Linsin (Smart Classroom Management):

    "Anything that whiffs of bribery should be avoided. No doubt about it. Promising a reward if your students do this or that—or don’t do this or that—creates a Pandora’s box of new problems and doesn’t change behavior in the long run.

    Simply by cutting incentives of this nature out of your program, it will not only calm and mature your students, and begin fueling their intrinsic motivation, but it will make your teaching life gloriously easier.

    This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to throw away your prize box or stop giving out pencils and stickers altogether. In fact, when presented in a certain way, they can indeed help improve behavior—albeit in an indirect but much more authentic way.

    The key is in the giving.

    Instead of doling out prizes based on what you receive in return (i.e. good behavior), you’ll hand them out for no reason at all. In other words, they become no longer an incentive in the traditional sense, but a free gift.

    “Hey, before you leave for the day, I’ve got cool pencils for everyone!”

    It’s a simple way of showing your love and appreciation for your class. Nothing more. But here’s the thing. Small gestures like this, along with the personality you bring with you to the classroom, and a few other things, will cause your class to reciprocate that love."
     
  32. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I marked stars next to names on a whiteboard as an incentive when I taught preschool. They meant absolutely nothing... they didn't get a prize or anything for getting a certain number, and I erased them at the end of the day. However, the kids were really motivated when there was an opportunity to earn one, and I sent home notes sometimes if a child had a really good day.

    I love getting a prize as much as anyone else though. :)
     
  33. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    :love: I love this. Thanks for posting it!
     
  34. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    The store is ran by non classroom teachers, such as Inclusion teachers, sometimes specials teachers.
     
  35. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Well I was referring to the belief that we are supposed to be in it for the students, not for the cash. My district expects hard workers and lets us know ahead of time that we will be working long hours with no pay for overtime...but I digress

    Lol I am not giving out free gifts for no reason as Mr. Michael Linsin...getting everything for free is all my kids know and it's what their parents beat into their heads. They are all living off the government as it is. School is kind of like a job, at least that's how I felt when I was a kid, and I got paid in strawberry candies lol
     
  36. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I'm a firm believer in prizes, but not for doing what you're supposed to do anyway. I reserve prizes for students who go above and beyond.
     

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