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Teacher Week: Taming the Wild~Classroom Management

I'm linking up today with Head Over Heels for Teaching and to Teacher Week- Taming the Wild ~Classroom Management. They say if your kids are truly engaged in appropriate leveled activities and you are well planned and organized then you don't need much classroom management. I agree to an extent but there are just some classes that need some positive reinforcements. I'm here to share a few ways I spark student motivation.

Today I’m going to share some tips for motivating students and using incentives to increase a desired behavior. I've taught for 10 years so over the years, I've had a chance to add tools and tricks to my teaching bag. I use many different tricks and tools and some years I change it up depending on my students.  I'm currently using class dojo as my individualized work habits/behavior motivator but here is also a list of some individual, whole group, and team incentives that I use throughout the year. I also try to use many KAGAN structures and provide many instances for team and class building activities. Teacher Tipster also has some WONDERFUL ideas.

Brownie Points- This is a sweet way to get kids motivated to walking quietly on campus, being polite in the lunchroom and being on their best behavior at specials. This system is used whole group for positive behaviors. The kids love trying to earn brownie points. Each time the class earns a compliment from another teacher or faculty member, they receive a brownie on the cookie sheet. When the cookie sheet is full, the students receive a brownie party to celebrate their great behavior. Click here for a free brownie point header.

Secret Star-Anytime we exit the classroom, I tell my students that I am looking for a secret star to make it to our destination without talking. I pick a card out of my secret star container. I tell my students that I am watching to see if my “secret star” is walking nicely and quietly. My kids love this little task and my line is always silent. When we get back to the classroom, the secret start gets a starburst. If you can’t do candy you could do a sticker, stamp, etc. Since nobody knows who the "Secret Star" is, everybody is usually very quiet in case it might be him or her. If the "Secret Star" is not quiet then I simply state that "My Secret Star did not make it this time." I don't tell who it was. This works wonders for getting the students to walk quietly in the hallways and it's also fun.

Mystery Trash- To keep my floors clean and room tidy, I get my students motivated by playing the game of Mystery Trash. To play, I pick a mystery piece of trash or mystery object out of place. It could even be a chair that needs pushed in or book that needs put in its proper place. As soon as I announce that there is mystery trash, the students race to pick up as much trash as they can find. If they find the mystery object, they get to go to the treasure box or pick from the lollipop tree.

Smarties/Lollipop Tree- When my students make a 100 on an AR test of 100 on a computer program, I allow them to ring a bell and wave around the Smartypants flag. After they parade around the room, they can choose some smarties or a lollipop.  The best part about the lollipop tree is there are some lollipops with a mark at the end. If they are extra lucky and draw with a mark, they visit the treasure box.

Handwriting Hero/ Printing Princess- I don’t get to spend as much time on handwriting practice as I wish. To motivate my students, I use this little incentive. Before writing, I tell my students I am looking for a Printing Princess and Handwriting Hero. I then pick one girl and one boy who had fabulous handwriting for the day. You will be amazed at my student’s handwriting just because they are trying to earn this award. Their work is then displayed for the week on a special wall.

Lucky Ducks- I use lucky ducks for running errands or calling on students to answer questions. I have Popsicle sticks with a picture of a duck and their class number. If their number is drawn then they are the lucky duck.

Magic Necklace- During stations my student know that I’m looking for a friend to earn the magic necklace. My magic necklace happens to be a solar bead necklace. When they wear it in the sun, it changes colors. I choose one person a day.

Care Bears- This is great if you don’t like giving out candy. Sometimes I pass out teddy grahams to students who are “caring” for others or “caring” about their work. It’s also great for my student who is allergic to eggs, nuts, milk, etc.

Knocking my Socks off Board
"You're Knocking my socks off" board that I found from The First Grade Parade works wonders. Thanks to Cara for the fabulous idea. Click on her name to find the FREE stuff. Which ever table  ends up with the sock at the every end of the day gets a special prize inside. It's something simple like ... eat lunch with a buddy... use teacher supplies... etc. 

Behavior BeadsSo what is a behavior bead?   On the first day of school I give my students their "behavior bead" on a ball chain necklace.  I have made many sets this summer for all kinds of things. You can check them out here. There are many FREE ones too!  The kids get so excited about earning and collecting these badges/charms. They are perfect rewards and incentives in the classroom. 

Here are a few ideas:
*Honor Roll
*Perfect Attendance
*Star Student
*Caught Being Good
*Good Manners
* Sight Word Master
* Lost a Tooth

So easy to make!
2. Cut and Laminate
3. Punch holes ( I'm off to buy a smaller hole punch tomorrow)
4. Put on ball chain necklaces ( you can purchase on etsy, craft stores, Hobby Lobby)

How do you display your necklaces? 
Last year I had the tags on little hooks grouped by tables. I had four tables so each hook had about 5 necklaces.
In the past, I have displayed them on a large cork board. Each necklace hangs from a thumbtack with the student’s number above the thumbtack.

Here is a CD cabinet without the selves. I used this my first year as a  holder.

The possibilities are endless.  You can go all out or use something simple that works for you. I’d love to see pictures of your displays. Link up on Saturday Snapshots.

When do your students wear their necklaces?
Each day, students wear their chains if they choose.  At the end of the day when they go pack up their belongings..they hang their Behavior Beads back on the hooks!  The next morning when students come in they are able to put on their chains first thing in the morning. I don’t make them wear the necklaces daily. Some love to and others prefer to keep them on the hook.  I’ve seen some teachers just allow students to wear necklaces on Fridays or assemblies. Again it’s up to you.

When do they earn tags?
Two years ago I used a behavior clip chart in my classroom and every time a student ended on OUTSTANDING they earned a jewel for their clip.  Once they had 5 jewels, they earned a behavior bead/tag/badge. Last year I used class dojo. Once they had 25 points they earned a new tag. I had many different levels of tags. I also gave out tags for mastering math facts, sight words, good handwriting, displaying good character traits, and many others.  I’m excited to use my FREE 7 Habits this year.

How do you know whose necklace is whose?
I number at least one tag. It’s usually the first tag I give them. However, this year I will be making a custom tag with each child’s name on it. 

How do I implement them?
Simply print on cardstock, laminate and cut. I’ve made them very easy to cut. I used a paper cutter and it was so fast. I punch a hole using a small punch size found at Hobby Lobby ( $3.99)

Where do you store the extra tags?
You can buy a compartment storage container at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. I love Tara’s picture.

Where did you find the chains?
You can find them at Etsy, online and Hobby Lobby. I bought my chains at Hobby Lobby for $7.99. If you have coupon... it’s even cheaper.  

If you have any more questions about Behavior Beads/Badges please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.  I'm off to check out the other fun Monday Made Its.

Sorry I know this was a LONG post. I'm off to check out some other great ideas.


  1. So many great ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing them with us all =) I so wish I could have a lollipop tree for my kids but maybe I could just alter it a little and make it a teacher reward instead of a student reward? haha

    Lifelong Learners in Prep

    1. Thanks ... I just like the looks of it too! Usually the janitor and other siblings eat them all.

  2. Wow! So many fabulous ideas! Thanks so much for sharing :) Can't wait to use these.

    Fluent in Fourth

  3. Love the Mystery Trash! That is being implemented this year. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love the behavior beads, need them too! Gosh, I love all your ideas, I just wish I had more MONEY!!

    Ms. Chae Charges In

  5. So many ideas...I tried using starbursts one year as an incentive...and ate them all when the kids weren't looking. I have now banned myself from purchasing them for that reason. I'm sure I can come up with another cutesy idea with another candy I hate. :)

  6. How is that calendar board attached?? I love it and would love to know where you got it??!! What is inside the three picture areas to the left?
    Thanks so much!!
    ~ Kristin

  7. Wow, what a great set of ideas! I bought some of your brag tags and can't wait to use them!!!


  8. YAHOO! Love the Behavior Beads!!! You are so crafty and creative with them and I've enjoyed working on them with you this summer. Tomorrow night is create night in the office!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  9. I love the handwriting hero and printing princess idea! We do dictations instead of spelling tests in my classroom and handwriting is so important! Maybe this could be an incentive to write a little neater!

    Oh and I love the brag tags...I really want to do them, but with everything going on this year, I might jump on board after winter break or do them next year. I think they are so awesome!!

    Bitty Bilinguals

  10. I think I am just going to print this post out..geez you make me work !!! Thank you it's great ideas!
    Being the QUEEN BEE isn't Easy

  11. Wow!! What an amazing post of ideas! I just love your brag tags too!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  12. WOW! What wonderful ideas...thanks for sharing! :)

  13. I LOVE ALL OF IT!!! The whole post is jammed pack with ideas! I am a huge advocate of student incentives-it's all the little things that make students get excited and your class has something for EVERYONE! I've used Mystery Trash before and isn't amazing how quick they race to pick it up??!! I love your Secret Star, Lucky Duck, and your *behavior beads*-what a great system for your students! Thanks so much for linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching


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