Wednesday, April 10

every time someone says a pun, a cat dies

-Jack Handy [Or someone like him?  Or possibly I made that up? Or maybe it's something my mom used to whisper in my ear as I fell asleep?]

I was raised anti-pun.  Some people are raised catholic, others lutheran- me?  Anti-pun.  [And okay, okay.  Religious, too].  

Anyway, the point of all this is: I know better.  My puns are never punny.  [Instead of funny.  See how you're not laughing?  Exactly my point.]  But the other day I was talking to a fellow teaching intern and she told me about a reward system she's implemented in her classroom.  Her last name is Brown and she hands out, "Brownie Bucks" for good behavior.

I try to emphasize positive student behavior over negative, but know that sometimes my, "Please stop talking.  Like really, freeze your mouth,"s, outweigh my praise.  Which is ludicrous because my students are terribly awesome.  So I started brainstorming options for my classes. see where this is going, don't you?

Here's how I presented the idea to my classes:

"This has the potential to be the dumbest teacher idea I've had to date, but I'm going for it regardless.  Ready?" And then I explained.

They get the intelligently-named, "Seagull Bucks" for awesome behavior, such as: being especially nice to each other, offering brilliant comments, working hard, submitting beautiful homework responses, etc.  My students didn't even wait for me to explain what they received with the bucks before they started shouting compliments at each other and making eyes at me.  "My, Jace, you looking dashing today!" [Shifty eyes at me...] and, "Why Mrs. Gull- don't you look nice!... do I get one now?"

When the compliment-off ceased, I explained the following: periodically, we will have a drawing.  The prizes consist of candy, teacherly rewards [ex: replacing the next book report with a quick and painless book talk with me], and...drum roll....whatever weird things happen to be in the trunk of my car that day.  Which will likely be a blender, waffle-maker and comforter that doesn't fit my bed because...

I never finished doing my wedding returns.  And, oh yeah, I got married almost four years ago.  [This is a lesson about things I simply don't make a priority.] 

My students love hearing about my moronic doings, so this fact tickled them.  And man--they are really into securing the blender and waffle-maker.  I also told them I'd offer whatever fruit I hadn't eaten that week, like bananas that are a couple days past my banana-specific preferences.  Or, hey, how about I sift through my junk drawers and offer up loose pencils and staple refills?  

Basically, this is a way I can combine spring cleaning + classroom management.   If you, too, have weird junk you'd like to get rid of--my students are not discriminatory about prizes.  They just want to win.  So, yeah, I'll take those old roller-skates off your hands.  And, sure, let's throw in a gently-used bar of hand soap!

I am strangely giddy about this whole thing.  

I mean, I can just hear it: "Man I sure hope I win that half-empty tube of cortisone cream!  Pick me, Mrs. Gull!"

Oh, the little things.


1 comment:

  1. You kill me!! I wish you were my teacher in high school! What an awesome idea. That totally motivates a bunch of crazy teenagers.i hope they hire you next year! Maybe they have??...