Our class uses a system of rules that encourages the students to be SMART! Each letter in the word "smart" stands for an important rule in our classroom. In fourth grade, we also talk a lot about rights and responsibilities. Read below to find out more!
When a student breaks one of our classroom rules (like forgetting homework, talking out of turn, pushing, etc.) they are told to sign the clipboard. One signature on the clipboard equals five minutes of recess time (where we talk about the rule that was broken and ways to follow it in the future). Students who have less than the maximum signatures allowed each month (the level each month gets lowered as we go through the year) are invited to participate in a little reward activity at the end of that month (such as an extra recess, some free time, a class game, a short video, a special treat, etc.). Students who have the maximum signatures each month are not invited to participate in the monthly reward. Instead, they use this time to write a letter to me, one to their principal, and one to their parents about why they missed the monthly reward activity and how they plan to make sure they don't miss it the next month. This clipboard system not only helps each student become more responsible for their actions but also holds them accountable for their choices.
In addition to holding the monthly reward activities, I also use a motivational ticket system in my classroom. When I see a student doing an exemplar job following the rules (like working really hard, exhibiting a positive attitude, helping a classmate, etc.) I tell them to "take a ticket." This phrase is also written on the top of students' exceptional homework assignments, project, quizzes, and tests. When students are awarded a ticket, they rip one off the roll, write their name on the back, and put it in the ticket jar. Every Friday, I draw two random ticket winners. These students get to pick a little prize from our classroom prize box (things like bouncy balls, notepads, pencils, erasers, cards, crayons, etc.). I remind the students that they won't win every week; however, the harder they work on their assignments and the more respectful they are in the classroom, the more chances to win they will earn. This system uses extrinsic rewards to help develop the intrinsic qualities of goodness, consideration, and responsibility. Teaching them to be helpful, prepared students in the classroom trains them to ultimately become kind, capable citizens in our society.