With my favorite holiday approaching (I absolutely LOVE Halloween), I have been spending countless hours and dollars at the dollar store and party shops. I have come to realize that these places are little gold mines for positive reinforcement!
I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement and absolutely adore that my little kiddies respond so well to praise! They work so hard and appreciate the compliments that are shared with them every 2 to 3 minutes! Hehe! If you walk down the cycle one hallway you will hear constant praise and displays of affection. "You're a star!" "WOW!" "You're Amazing!" "I love how great you're working!" "Give yourself a pat on the shoulder!" etc... etc... etc.. They LOVE it and I LOVE praising them and focusing on the positive.
As I am most certain that anyone reading this post feels exactly the same way, I thought I'd share some adorable ideas with you! Keep in mind that if you are unable to find any of these items, they can be easily recreated by a crafty person (which most of us teachers are).
The kiddies absolutely love these! Gold Medals for great workers! I also like to give these out for kind acts and positive behavior. They are so proud to walk around with their medal and show it to everyone. It also generates a lot of attention from other teachers and peers. They almost always stop and congratulate the student on their medal and ask about why they received it. The students share the reason and thus this reinforces the positive behavior and instills a sense of great pride for the student. These little treasures are oh so cute and cost $1.00 for a pack of 4. How can you go wrong?!
Another great find are these amazing giant ribbons! I love that they say winner because the word can represent so many different meanings. The kiddies often associate winning with sports, games and more specifically with being "the best"or "number 1" at certain tasks or activities. I think it's important for students to understand that being a winner can mean so much more than coming in first or scoring the most goals. They should know that hard work is rewarding and that when they put great effort into their work, they can achieve great successes. I also think that it's crucial for students to distinguish the importance of making wise choices with regards to their actions and behavior. They are also winners when they make a positive choice or decision. These ribbons certainly make a statement! Once again they receive a great amount of positive attention when sporting these sweet "little" ribbons and are often asked to share why they have received them.
Finally, I must share the most amusing positive reinforcement tool that I have had the pleasure to use in my classroom. When a student does a great job, I shake this little toy and it's like a mini party for the student! The noise generates interest from fellow students and the confetti adds a nice little touch! The students react well to this form of praise and tend to join in by clapping or saying "good job". I love how my kiddies are so supportive of one another and demonstrate genuine pride and happiness when a classmate succeeds! I believe it has much to do with the "bucket filling" http://www.amazon.ca/Have-You-Filled-Bucket-Today/dp/0978507517 that the first grade teacher implemented last year and plan on applying this concept again this year. Mrs. Leslie Rocks! (http://www.firstgradefrenzy.com/)
I hope these ideas can be of some use to at least some of you out there! Enjoy, and keep praising those kiddies. A favorite quote of mine states: "They may not remember what you taught them, but will always remember how you made them feel." What better way to treat them, than to make them feel special, proud, exceptional, and most importantly happy.