Incentives without candy in CA...ideas?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by heavens54, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I am hoping to start my Read Naturally program this week.

    In CA they made it illegal to give candy as rewards. Since every time they passed a story I would give them a small piece of hard candy as an immediate gratification reward, must come up with other things. I do give stickers, and stickers buy things like pencils (ten stickers), erasers(20 stickers), etc up to and including erasers, bubbles, little toys, mostly Oriental trading trinkets. They like those, but for that immediate, besides the stickers, for passing the story that day (after they have practiced the story, so they do earn the reward) do you have any ideas that would work and be legal?

    Someone suggested red vines, which would work when they come to my room, but maybe not if I go to theirs. Ideas, please???:D
     
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  3. Schoolgirl

    Schoolgirl New Member

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    We are also beginning a wellness policy in which we are not to give candy. However, things like sugarless gum is allowed.

    Other things I have used in my classroom:
    animal crackers
    goldfish crackers (any type of cracker really)
    teddy grahams
    fruit snacks
    yo-gos

    It's amazing what kids will do for one fruit snack! :)
    Would your school allow sugarfree candy?

    Hope this helps
     
  4. KinderCali

    KinderCali Rookie

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    healthy incentive ideas

    I give out almonds, walnuts and fruit slices. Sometimes I will even give them a tiny glass of 100% juice. I also brought in dried fruit. Most of this is paid for by a nutrition grant at our school, otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford snacks all the time.
     
  5. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    We are in our 3rd year of a similar wellness program. We are not allowed to give out any food as a reward. If we can tie it to a framework, then we can use it in the classroom.
    In my treat box I pretty much stick to large stickers, erasers (regular and pencil toppers), pencil grips, small games, cards (decks of flash cards or other games), bookmarks, other small items that are donated by parents or that I find at the Dollar Tree. I usually save pencils as gifts for whole class or for my lunch bunch.
     
  6. srh

    srh Devotee

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    The student I tutor (Kinder) always chooses a hand stamp over stickers at the end of a session. I think kids like the idea of having a "tattoo," no matter how temporary it really is! I let him choose from all the stamps I have, some say "Good job!" and others are pics. His favorite, surprisingly, is a Big Bird pic that says, "You're special!"
     
  7. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Pretzels are cheap.
     
  8. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Thanks all. Good ideas.

    Can't do nuts, just too many peanut alergies in our school and the last thing I want to worry about is "where is the epi pen".

    The hand stamp is an intersting idea. I do third grade, usually. Might bring in some second also. Would that age go for the hand stamp?

    I am thinking about a graduated reward list, like first ten stickers you are a yellow star, so you could get a yellow star on your folder and on your hand. Next ten points, red star.

    I have to confess I got this idea from Ebay. They sent me an email yesterday telling me I am now a yellow star Ebayer bc I have ten positive feedbacks. Have to say, I am thrilled to have that yellow star by my name when I bid. When you get 50 positives, you get another color star. So I was thinking about something like that, since they don't get the candy.

    I am not a teacher, but a sub who is doing this program, so I am wanting to be careful to do it right, keep it fun and motivating for the kids. They have a chance to earn, maybe, up to 50 stars in the program, so that would be the top goal, gold star...
     
  9. CBean

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    Good Lord, no wonder we have so many fat kids and obese Americans! Do we really need to teach them that putting something sweet or gooey in your mouth is the way to be rewarded? Let's stick with good ole American materialism and give them trinkets.
    Or... you could reward them time. Give them "points" for being good, being clever, being kind, etc. When the points add up to X number, let them stay in for a recess or lunch "date" with the teacher. Allow them to have computer game time, just talk and kick it with you, play a game like Connect 4, etc.

    I don't remember what color stickers my favorite teacher gave me, but I will never forget getting "STAR TREATMENT". She took a bunch of us to her house for a party once we got enough points or stars or whatever we were earning with our behavior. It was all we could talk about...getting STAR treatment with our teacher. I never brought kids to my house, but I know they love being able to stay in for their special timewhen everyone else had to leave the room. For those that didn't want that, they had the option of cancelling one homework assignment. Kids are also pretty good at coming up with their own rewards as well.

    Good luck, it sounds like you're thinking in the right direction.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Well, this isn't a classroom situation but a program. I spend about 40 minutes a week with each child. They have to practice on their own time. The more they practice, they better they will do. The candy is the instant reward and has worked great up until now.

    Personally I don't think kids get fat on one or two hard candies a week, but the carb and fat loaded lunch they serve in the cafeteria and the big bag of chips they bring from home for lunch and the lack of any exercise whatsoever in their lives...but that's just me.
     
  11. Erin Elizabeth

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    I was not aware that giving food as reward was illegal in California. Is it in the education code?
     
  12. AngelHead

    AngelHead Comrade

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    I'm pretty sure everything is illegal in California except breathing and making laws.
     
  13. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Using food as a reward is something many of us do to ourselves as adults, and wish we didn't. I don't think rewarding a student for reading with food is a good idea. It isn't related.

    My personal philosophy doesn't include rewarding and punishing kids, so I don't have any ideas for another reward.

    I believe many schools and districts have wellness programs that preclude bringing treats to school for parties and using food as a reward.

    Regarding the frequency of junk food making kids fat, consider that before the bans, a class might have between 10 - 29 birthday parties with cupcakes, daily reading, writing, math, behaving that brought a candy, and the cafeteria food already mentioned. The idea that they only get the one or two hard candies brought by one teacher isn't accurate.
     
  14. AngelHead

    AngelHead Comrade

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    So how do you keep order? Let's say a kid calls another kid a name or hits another kid, do you just ignore it and expect it to go away?
     
  15. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    It would be accurate in our district. Before the law went into effect birthday parties were still not allowed. I allowed (and still do) parents to donate a book to the classroom library in their child's name. We put a little donated by sticker in it. The cafeteria lunches have always been (since I can remember to when I was in school here) carefully planned out and any "junk food" was kept at a minimum.
    Handing out candy as a treat for an exceptional job well done was also hard to get in my class. I personally don't think one Skittle is going to make a child fat. We need to teach children healthy eating habits, and a treat every once in a while isn't going to effect those habits. Now, a treat for every single thing that is done will effect those healthy habits. I know junk food can become a problem, but our students need to be taught moderation.
     
  16. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Good points here. The birthday party thing was getting out of control. Not only the calories but the time involved. In most of the classrooms that I sub for, there is very little time to deviate from the lesson plans in order to stay on plan. Most classrooms that I sub for very seldom used food as a reward. For one, it is expensive. So the treat really was a treat and reward and sometimes fun. I think sometimes with all this legislation going on, we are losing any kind of fun and spontenaity for the kids. I am talking K through 3 here. I think older kids don't need a candy when they bring in their hw...

    Back to question at hand, I have about 50 children a week practice their stories and pass them. This is for reading fluency. In the past, they got a treat. Any more ideas for a reward? Stickers will do, but it just isn't the same...
     
  17. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I use stickers w/incentive chart. When the chart is full, they go to the prize box, which is full of stuff donated by parents - little junkie things and a few treasures, but they love it and cheer for each other when someone gets to go to the prize box.

    I will give candy as a behavior reward at times - they never know when. "I see John and Mary are following my directions. Thank you." And they get ONE skittle or m&m, which for some reason thrills them. It is so funny how the rest of the class shapes up immediately! Non-food prizes, well, Wal Mart has party favors that are pretty cheap, you could give out a bead as a reward, and when they have a certain amount they could make something like a bracelet. ??? They are just so thrilled with any thing.
     
  18. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Sometimes McDonald's will give away outdated happy meal prizes. Some stores in our town will give away outdated stickers or touristy items once a season is over. Never hurts to ask! Good luck. You could also collect used books, and after they read a few books they get a trip to the "bookstore" to get a free book. This really worked for me one year. They went crazy to own their own used book.
     
  19. Heart2Heart

    Heart2Heart Rookie

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    I have given the following as rewards over the years:

    1. puzzle books
    2. coloring books
    3. colored pencils
    4. markers
    5. coupons donated from McDonald's
    6. Stuff animals(that I had from my children or Mardi Gras)
    7. hair accessories for the girls such as ribbons, head bands
    8. combs and brushes for the hair
    9. coin purses, wallets
    10. jacks and jump ropes
    11. journal books
    12. small photo albums(they love this)
    13. small telephone books(they love this)
    14. fribees
    15. balls(football, basketball, tennis ball) *must be really good
    16. paint sets(they love this)
     
  20. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Have a 100 piece puzzle with big pieces and give the child a puzzle piece to put on the puzzle ---a class project. OR can be individual.

    Put the puzzle together and draw around each piece and start with an outline puzzle. Give the corner pieces out first and border pieces to get it moving faster.
     
  21. confused

    confused New Member

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    I didn't know they don't allow candy in California classrooms. Are you sure this is true?
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Cheapest reward: Homemade pipeclear stick figures/men.
     
  23. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    What are pipeclear stick figures? Sounds interesting.
     
  24. Ms.S60074

    Ms.S60074 Rookie

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    My district has also banned any food item in the classroom. The only exception is prior approval, and this is based off of if the item has nutritional value (i.e. majority of calories are not of fat or sugar). This is difficult in the world of middle schoolers as that immediate reinforcement of something to put in their mouth is hard to shy away from. I've actually started working with handfuls of Cheerios. It is especially affective for the periods right before lunch. We are also on a token economy system on our team (i.e. paper money=awards, hall passes, and other long term incentives).
     
  25. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I have to confess, reading this question left me with the sinking feeling it's a bait to argue about rewards/punishments. But! Here's a genuine answer anyway.

    Say a third grader hits another third grader in my class. I would immediately get on their level and physically stop the altercation. I'd state what I saw and that in our class, it is not ok to hurt each other. If they were wildly upset, I'd separate them for a cool-off period. If they were calm enough to discuss it, I'd give them both a chance to state their side of the story, and then I'd ask each what her responsibility in the situation was. If it turns out it was one-sided (one victim, one bully), the bully would come up with a way to make it up to the victim (with or without suggestions from the victim). If it was really a "two to tango" situation, then a set of reparations would be made between the two. If no resolution could be agreed upon, they'd have to agree to disagree and we'd take it up again at a later time. If it was a pattern between these two, or in the class in general, we'd have a situation to resolve together. I'd bring them together and state the problem (we can't hurt each other in our class, and although everyone knows the rule, it is being broken) and we'd come up with a plan.

    If the rest of the class had to sit waiting and watching while this happened, I'd ask them to come up with reparation ideas for the big disruption. In my mind, negotiating with respect like this is a learning moment in itself.
     
  26. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    I've had good luck in the past just asking parents to donate their childrens' gently used McDonald Land type toys. The first year I got bags and bags of them, enough to last 2 years and many still in the original packages.

    Yard sales are also a good source for buying childrens' books at a cheap price, also tiny stuffed animals. (I always throw them in the washing machine before placing them in the prize box).

    They also enjoy passes for homework and free time. the price is right!
     
  27. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I'm confused by the original post. Are you looking just for types of rewards? Is this your class or are you a floating teacher?

    I think that rewarding the kids immediately is good in the beginning, to elicit a behavior, but intermittent reinforcement would be good too.

    Could you make a chart and when they reach a certain number of points, checks, stars, whatever you can have some type of special prize... how about bookmarks?
     
  28. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Basically it is a pull out program, about 4 to 6 from each of ten classes. They read a story for me (cold, no practice) and then practice in two days, then read for me again, and read it 30 words faster, 3 or fewer mistakes. For them to do well, they must practice. I do well when it is kept fun and full of motivation for the kids. They love the candy, pencils, stickers, erasers that they get for stickers they have earned. So, just looking for new ideas. The candy is a lot cheaper than Oriental Trading for all the incentives.
     
  29. ElementaryJane

    ElementaryJane Rookie

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    You could take the opportunity to stop rewarding them. To paraphrase someone paraphrased by Alfie Kohn: "The Pizza Hut book-it scheme produces fat kids who don't like to read"

    I'm with changeofcareer, here - I don't use rewards or punishments, either.

    I recommend "Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire" by Rafe Esquith and "Choice Theory" by William Glasser for those of you interested in operating a classroom without rewards or punishments.
     
  30. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Districts may have outlawed candy, but it's not actually a law, even in California!

    I do not use rewards in this way either-- I think it's much more important to instill the feeling that intrinsic rewards provide. I've been in classrooms which use both, including those which use candy for everything from turning in good work to bringing back a note from home to just being at school each day of a week! But amazingly, students can still enjoy learning (and/or demonstrate expected behavior) WITHOUT dangling a sweet reward if front of them. If there was not already a lot of fun and laughter in my classroom, I'd say kids might need something to "break it up." In that case, working for a tootsie roll is one way to go. But I never started it, and have never felt the need. I do give plenty of encouragement and appropriate praise, and so far, that works well and keeps parents happy. (It also makes our celebration days--when parents put together party activities such as for Valentine's Day--more special, since sweet treats are enjoyed without excluding any of the students.)
     
  31. Mrs_B

    Mrs_B Comrade

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    Here's an idea:
    I sub for 3rd grade release pretty regularly and many of them hate to do the cursive practice sheets they always have to do. Last week I brought my easy button (from Staples) and allowed them to press it when they finished the sheet. They got a big kick out of it and a few of the real stragglers actually finished! One teacher even noticed and said "SHE finished??!!"

    I've also made origami blow-up balls for the kids. It's easy.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The take-home point, I think, is that just about everybody likes to be noticed and affirmed; candies are a way to do that, but there are others.
     
  33. AngelHead

    AngelHead Comrade

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    We don't have to debate I was just wondering how you could possibly keep order. You must have a very reasonable group of kiddos. My kindergarteners last year would have walked all over me if I didn't use rewards and punishment.

    I do think that rewards and punishment can also be a learning experience. In real life there are rewards and punishment for making good decisions and bad decisions. But I also wonder what you mean by "a set of reparations", sounds like another term for punishment but I don't know because you weren't specific about what would actually happen to an unruly child other than reasoning with them and "dealing with it later". If you get a smart, unruly child who figures out he's not going to get in trouble when he's bad, the jig's going to be up.

    I've just noticed that you are a student teacher. I wonder how you will feel about rewards and punishment in a few years, or after one year with a group like I had last year. Good luck!
     
  34. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I think the immediate gratification has to stop eventually and the goal be towards intrinsic motivation, I know it's easier said and done, but how about giving out a big prize such as a book....... you can get them fairly inexpensive at Wal Mart, or the bargain tables of bookstores.
     
  35. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    Angelhead, I agree with you totally.

    Changeofcareer, you have a great system going for you, and your heart is definately in the right place. However, I think most teachers have a certain amount of curriculum to present, and your system would not work for me or any of my colleagues for that matter. In an ideal world, taking the time to talk things out to that extent would be lovely, but not practical in the real world. I would like nothing better but to teach character education and practice social skills for a good amount of time in class, but unfortunately we are accountable for spending X amount of minutes on math, technology, social studies, language arts, etc.

    I also wonder whether you'll feel the same way in a few years after you've experienced a difficult group of children.

    I can tell you really care about the kids, and I am sure that with more experience, you'll find that you might have to use different approaches depending on the group you've been dealt! :)
     
  36. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I agree. My students don't get many prizes. I don't reward for every little thing. They don't ask either. I do have my students use conversations to work out their problems with each other if I can. I will not, however, be interrupted during my teaching to have students do this. If it happens when I'm teaching, the students pull a stick (that's part of my behavior management program). If we need to discuss it later we will. If it's something like hitting or kicking, we go straight to the vprincipal who will then deal with it. Period. I will not tolerate that type of behavior from anyone. I also have a major behavior problem child in my class this year. He hits, throws fits in the floor, spits, yells, and whines. I can put up with a lot, but when another student is in danger I take care of it. This is the first year I have ever taken a student to the principal to sit in the "time out" room (more or less ISS).
    Anyway... I've digressed.
    Back to rewards....
     
  37. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I hear you all when you say I may change my mind when faced with reality. I try not to have one-size-fits-all opinions, but I really have to try (my natural tendency is toward all-or-nothing so I have to consciously choose not to go down that path).

    However, I'm a real reformer at heart. I have a vision of a public school system that isn't handcuffed by mandatory minutes on subject and treats teachers as creative professionals who know how to get the job done given their class's particular circumstances.

    My personal philosophy does not work well with all kids. That's why I've found an alternative public school (parents choose to come here) for kids with whom this way does work. We also have paid aides in K-5 and parent participation is mandatory. It's a constructivist developmental school, and I love it. But, like I said, it isn't perfect and it isn't for every kid.

    I admire teachers who face big classes alone and manage to keep the learning alive. I don't envy them, though! I'd rather see a system that meets individual needs better than ours does.
     
  38. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    changeofcareer,

    Have you thought about becoming a prinicipal down the road.... sounds like your ideas are good.
     
  39. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Thanks ! :)
    Baby steps for me, though. I'm not even a real teacher yet. And some of my friends who are (or were, Before Kids) teachers predict for me: bloody head from banging on brick wall. Hmph.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Frizz, was it you who posted about Rafe Esquith's Teach As Though Your Hair's On Fire? I just read it - very, very good stuff that bears on the issues being raised here.

    change, Esquith's approach will give you aid and comfort.
     
  41. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Wasn't me TG, but now I'm interested in learning more.
     

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