As a former teacher I understand the comment that I hear when many teachers state that a student “won’t work for anything” or “nothing works consistently”. Sometimes it seems that students are just being naughty just to be naughty. Well in fact, there is a reason for all misbehavior. Students are either misbehaving to 1. Get Something or 2.Avoid Something. Two reasons…….Really?! Yes, studies have shown that the function of all behaviors is either to get something or avoid it all together.  So think about your most difficult student. Maybe he/she is the one who crawls under desks, makes obnoxious noises, or they may be the dreaded “runner”. Now think about when he/she initiates these behaviors. Is it when you all are about to begin Math, Reading, etc? Is it when you are working with another student or addressing the whole group? What did the student try to gain or avoid in each situation? Now that you have thought about that, let’s try to put some things in place that will meet this need and give the student the motivation to be successful at doing that needs to be done in class.

I am a firm believer in If/Then statements and finding the one positive in the sea of negatives. If a student completes a task, then they get the reinforcer. Example: A student is constantly blurting out answers without raising their hand first. You tell them that if they can raise their hand to answer during your whole group time, then they can get 5 minutes of computer time (approved sites only, of course).   Now here’s the hard part: During the 30 minute whole group lesson the student blurted out 5 times, but remembered 1 time to raise their hand. It’s easy to overlook that 1 time they did the right thing because they did it incorrectly so many times, but it’s a critical factor in changing behaviors. Look hard for that one time that it is done correctly and praise that student like they have never been praised before. The little things lead to big changes.

For the student to work towards the motivator it has to be something they want and something you as the teacher can live with. Don’t promise to bring McDonald’s everyday for a week when you know that’s probably not going to happen. Below is a list of things that are FREE and low cost for the student and you can choose from. These things can change daily or multiple times within the day. The goal is to start out overdoing so that it becomes innate in the student to follow the class norms. Using If/Then statements work the Avoider and the Seeker.

If a parent would like an outside counselor to see their child, I am available to help come up with plans at home and at school in collaboration with teachers. Don’t hesitate to call me for a free consultation.

Build Relationships, Meet students where they are, and watch changes occur!

A List of Reward Ideas
Effort has been given to provide a combination of reward ideas suited for both primary and intermediate students.

1.    Sit at the teacher’s desk.

2.    Take care of the class animals for the day.

3.    Have lunch with your favorite person.

4.    Have lunch with the principal.

5.    Join another class for indoor recess.

6.    Have the teacher phone parents to tell them what a great kid you are.

7.    Draw on the chalkboard.

8.    Be first in line.

9.    Do only half an assignment.

10.  Choose any class job for the week.

11.  Choose the music for lunch. Bring in a tape.

12.  Take a tape recorder home for the night.

13.  Use colored chalk.

14.  Do all the class jobs for the day.

15.  Invite a visitor from outside the school.

16.  Get a drink whenever you want.

17.  Use the pencil sharpener any time.

18.  No early morning work.

19.  Take a class pet home overnight.

20.  Be a helper in the room with younger children.

21.  Help the custodian.

22.  Help the secretary.

23.  Help the librarian.

24.  Stay in at recess to play a game with a friend.

25.  Use stamps and ink.

26.  Invite a friend from another class into the room for lunch.

27.  Use the teacher’s chair.

28.  Work in the lunchroom.

29.  Take a class game home for the night.

30.  Choose a book for the teacher to read to the class.

31.  Move your desk to a chosen location.

32.  Keep an animal on your desk–stuffed or not stuffed.

33.  No homework pass.

34.  Lunch with the teacher.

35.  Operate the projector.

36.  Use the couch or beanbag chair for the day.

37.  Go to another class for lunch.

38.  Use the computer.

39.  Be the first to eat.

40.  Use the tape recorder and tape a story.

41.  Have a special sharing time to teach something to the class, set up a display etc.

42.  Be leader of a class game.

43.  Go to the centre or your choice during play centre time.

44.  Extra centre time or extra recess.

45.  Read to a younger child.

46.  Read to someone else.

47.  Get first pick of recess equipment.

48.  Get a fun worksheet.

49.  Choose a movie for the class to watch.