Writing prompts for the school- and a small reward.

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by Ms.Jasztal, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Sep 26, 2007

    The kids have two mandated writing prompts every month, two days in a row... for the school. Tomorrow is expository and Friday is narrative.

    I almost want to give them a piece of candy when they write. I NEVER give candy. It would be like a Jolly Rancher or mint. It would be to show my appreciation that they are putting forth effort on something important (and something I get kind of down about to an extent, too, because some kids really struggle with it at the beginning months of the year).

    Do you think this is a good idea?
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I don't see how a mint would be too bad. I know on testing days last year the kiddos were given little candies like Jolly Ranchers and mints. I wish your kiddos luck!!
     
  4. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I think they'll be okay. I am relaying expectations first-5 paragraphs, 2 pages, details, details, details... and I will draw a big smiley face on the board.

    How many monthly hoolalas have I encountered? I think this is the 57th time? Four years teaching. :)
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Do you get the NEA magazine?? Great article about peppermints given before test improve test scores. Seriously :)

    Now you can feel good about giving candy - I am buying a giant bag of peppermints this weekend.
     
  6. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    I've given peppermints the past 2 years during testing. I read somewhere that the peppermint increases brain activity or something. I tell the kids that as well. It could be a placebo (?) effect to ease nerves as far as I'm concerned. Anything to calm them a bit.
     
  7. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Yes, I've heard about the improvements when you give peppermints! We'll see how it goes! :)
     
  8. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2007

    We give peppermints also, the only drawback...peppermint drool on the test booklets!:haha:
     
  9. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    They liked it. :)

    I'd say about half of them TRULY impressed me. That's ok, considering we're only in the second month of school and they haven't had too much writing prompt experience... yet. :)
     
  10. TampaTeacher

    TampaTeacher Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2007

    Thanks for the great peppermint idea. Who would have guessed? :)
     
  11. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    I think the peppermint is supposed to settle their stomachs.
     
  12. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Most did well on the prompts, especially a few students who got off to a really slow start prior to that writing experience. A few really surprised me- in a good way. :)
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    That's always nice when the students surprise you in those good ways. :)
     
  14. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Somehow... they are asking about the mints for the next time they have the prompt. It must have been a great thing! :)
     
  15. GrandHighWitch

    GrandHighWitch Companion

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    I don't think giving a small piece of candy for something like that is a bad thing. I've been having trouble getting my whole class to stay on task during independent reading while I conference with individual students like I'm required to do, so I have started walking around the room on random days during independent reading and discretely giving Sweettarts to each child who is following our guidelines for independent reading. I don't make a big deal out of it, but I'm hoping that even though I do it discretely, the other kids will figure it out and stay on task the next time in hopes of getting a treat too. But since it's not an every day thing, they don't just expect it - it's a special reward.
     
  16. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I may do that for reading centers sometime, too. Something small sometimes motivates a student... and one piece of candy cannot harm someone, of course. One piece also cannot make them extremely hyper... or so I hope. :)
     
  17. GrandHighWitch

    GrandHighWitch Companion

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    I don't think so. :) My independent reading time is right before lunch, so I figure they're on a sugar LOW by then anyway.

    Praise just isn't enough for some kids, but they'll sure work for a piece of candy! LOL
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 21, 2007

    Peppermints, yes! I too don't care diddly whether it's placebo or a real effect: one's own expectations play such a role in good thinking (of which test taking is merely a symptom).

    Ms.J, have you told the kids their results yet? If not, what about passing out peppermints while you tell them how pleased you are?

    GrandHighWitch, do you suppose there could be something Pavlovian going on here? Maybe one could train the kids to associate praise with candy, then cut back on the candy and still get a good result from the praise?
     
  19. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    They saw their results and were very excited!! :) Most, not all, did VERY well. They share their writings monthly in an Open Mic session. I am going to pass out peppermints tomorrow for writer's workshop so they feel excited about starting an expository paper about a topic they choose.

    Hmm... the Pavlovian take on this is interesting to think about.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 21, 2007

    NJ has a new nutrition policy:The following may not be served, sold or given out free as promotion anywhere on school policy at any time before the end of the school day:

    o Foods of minimal nutritional value, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This includes a ban on soda.

    o Items listing sugar in any form as the first ingredient.

    o All forms of candy.
     

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