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FOCUS on Classroom Management: Week 4 - Use Praise Effectively. Use Rewards Selectively.

"Way to go, Jesse!" "I knew you could do it!" "Look at how this spelling test score improved from last week!" "You have been working so quietly during math today. Thank you." Some of the best rewards you can give your students will come from your own words or actions. A smile, a wink, a "high-five", or a word of praise will go far with students.

Effective praise is given to students who are creating progress in the classroom. Effective praise is given to students who are making strong efforts not only in subject areas, but also for those who are managing themselves in a constructive manner. Effective praise is given to students who are succeeding because they are trying. By doing this, you help students know that in the future they can continue to succeed as long as they put in the effort. And finally, effective praise is given in very sincere, genuine, specific and upbeat verbal and non-verbal communication.

So, when you see good things happening in your room, embrace it! Acknowledge it! These things help reinforce the behavior you desire. Write a small note to a student and leave it on his/her desk thanking that student for a job well done. Surprise a parent with a POSITIVE phone call or e-mail. They'll be grateful you went the extra mile.

Ideally, we want each of our students to be able to manage their own behavior, be responsible for it and intrinsically want to always be their best. From our own experience, we believe a balance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation works best. Do not overuse rewards. Be selective in how you utilize extrinsic motivation in the classroom.

Would you like to recognize a student who is "putting their best foot forward"? Here's an idea! Surprise a new student each week by placing the "Silver Sneaker"* on his/her desk. Buy an old sneaker from a thrift store and spray paint it silver. This will become an icon that students will want to see on their desk sometime during the year! Roll up our Silver Sneaker certificate* and tuck it inside the sneaker. The silver sneaker should stay on the corner of that student's desk during the entire week, reminding him/her and the rest of the class how "stepping up" to good behavior is appreciated!

Silver Sneaker Certificate*

Action Thought:

  • How can I make my praise more effective in the classroom?
  • How will my students know that I am sincere when I praise their efforts?
  • How can I help them feel successful?
  • What techniques will I use to reward students?

*The Silver Sneaker certificate is given to you, our on-line seminar participant. You may make as many copies as you would like for your classroom use. This reproducible, and many others for managing a classroom can be found in Surviving Your First Year (or Any Year!) of Teaching and Loving It! by Kris Thurgood & Kim Christopherson, available at the A to Z Teacher Stuff store.

NEXT: Seek Help When Needed - Week 5

Seminar Outline:

Welcome to FOCUS on Classroom Management

F - Focus Attention on You! - Week 1
O - Out and About in the Room - Week 2
C - Cuing Students: Verbal and Non-Verbal - Week 3
U - Use Praise Effectively; Use Rewards Selectively - Week 4
S - Seek Help When Needed - Week 5

25 Children. One Classroom. You are the Teacher. ARE YOU READY?!

A wealth of experience is waiting for you in Surviving Your First Year (or Any Year!) of Teaching and Loving It!. This great guide, authored by Kris Thurgood and Kim Christopherson, has helped thousands of teachers understand the four essentials for running a successful classroom and begin experiencing the joys of teaching. The eBook, which includes nearly 50 ready-to-use reproducibles, can be ordered and downloaded RIGHT NOW for only $9.95! Your satisfaction is guaranteed.


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