I was talking to a friend recently who was concerned about some of the specialists in her school using lollies frequently as a positive reinforcement tool. It got me thinking about what I thought about using lollies for this, and also about what I do in my classroom.
I'm a big fan of stickers. Huge fan!! I have a mini-suitcase full of them. I can't help but buy a few extra packets every time I got to a "cheap shop". I use them as encouragement (read: bribery) for cleaning up the classroom, I use them to say happy birthday, I use them to say "well done" when students do assessment/testing work with me. I love stickers. They are a cheap and easy positive reinforcement of behaviour.
Along with my stickers, my whole school uses a clip chart model for behaviour management. Here is mine:
I got the template from someone a couple of years ago and I have absolutely no idea who it was. If you know please let me know!
Each child has their own peg and they start the day on green. If they make a good choice, they move their peg to blue. Another good choice and they move their peg to purple - then they get a sticker! The best bit, though, is that I bought customised address label stickers from Vistaprint for my "I've been on purple today" stickers. The kids love them. I get a new set each term, and they get so excited to see the new stickers.
I also have a 'treasure box', but I never use it. I had planned to use it many years ago when I first started teaching, but I have found the stickers have been enough for the students I've taught so far. There may come a time when a group of students needs a bit more encouragement/bribery, but so far I haven't needed that.
One thing I don't use as a positive reinforcement is food. Sure, if we have a class celebration we might have some lollies, but I don't like to use lollies as a daily positive reward. We don't have an official policy on this at my school, but as teachers we are meant to be good role models and I don't believe giving lollies to my students everyday is good role modelling. But that's just my two cents!
I'd love to hear about what you do in your classroom for positive reinforcement.