Last semester I wrote about some issues I was having with
behavior management. The problem was that I needed a system that gave me
options for rewarding positive behavior and punishing negative behavior. The
system also needed to be developmentally appropriate for the students in my
class—many of whom already think that the occupational classes are “childish.”
Thanks to the input from many of you all, I developed a plan
that I felt would be an improvement in all areas. I am sharing the plan I came
up with so that it could possibly help some of you. Feel free to take and
Students are rewarded for following all class rules,
participating in class and completing class assignments. If they follow these
basic expectations, each student earns $7.50 of classroom money every day.
Student can lose money for things like being late, “renting” pens or other
supplies from me or not meeting class expectations. The money that the students
accrue can be cashed in for a number of rewards. Taking a water break, eating
in class, charging a cell phone, listening to music and choosing a seat in
class are some of the more frequently purchased rewards.
The system has been a huge success. I am kicking myself for
not keeping more accurate data of student behavior before the system, but
anecdotal observations would certainly support that the new system has improved
student behavior. I can personally add that my happiness and satisfaction in
the classroom has increased dramatically. Now, I can focus more on rewarding
student behavior, and I have options for punishing behaviors.
For example, to punish a certain behavior I can allow a
student to earn money for the day while restricting his ability to purchase
rewards for one day. Also, I can restrict a student to earning only a portion
or none of his paycheck due to misbehavior in class. Depending on the severity
of misbehavior, students can also incur a fine in addition to losing the day’s
paycheck. To cut down on the paperwork involved, each student tracks his own
“bank account.” I check the accounts weekly to make sure the students are
keeping an accurate record.
I had to make a couple of adjustments to my classroom
environment in order to make this system work. First, all students have an
assigned seat. In the past, I had given students an assigned seat for the first
week of school until I learned names, and then they were allowed to sit
anywhere. Since choosing a seat is now a reward, assigned seats are always in
I also had to change the ways students look at certain
assumed privileges. Instead of being allowed to get water from the fountain
whenever they wanted, students now have to earn that privilege. In general,
just think of anything that your students enjoy doing and set the system up so
that students can earn these privileges. I would also recommend starting a
system like this at the beginning of a semester or beginning of the year if
possible. If you suddenly take away all of the things students are used to
having, the system will be more punitive than positive.
Feel free to use this system or modify it for your
classroom. I hope to keep adding to the rewards list to keep it fresh and the
students continually motivated to earn new things. I would love to hear any
creative ideas for reinforcers that students can earn. Have your found any
activity or privilege to be especially reinforcing in your class?