The Positive Reinforcement Classroom for Middles

I remember being in 1st grade and having the behavior wall. It had all these little card holders, each one had a students name on it. The inside of each card holder had three cards green, yellow, and red. Each day we started with our cards on green. If it was still green at the end of the day, we got a star sticker to put on it! However, if we had a behavior issue we switched our card to yellow, and then red. At any time during the day, we could see who the "good" students were, and who the "bad" students were. At the beginning of each day, by looking at the stickers, we could see who the "great" students were. I loved this when I was in first grade!  Now, as a teacher who knows that all kids are good kids, I hate it.

I really started to find out how much I did not like negative reinforcement during my undergrad time. I went into some schools that only focused on the negative; stop talking, pay attention, keep your hands to yourself. Finally, my last placement in student teaching, I ended up under a great teacher who taught me about positive reinforcement. Not just praise, but where everyone walks away with a "star" and feeling like a "great" student. That method is now used in my class as a little something my students like to call "PPs". Also known as: Positive Points.

Every student in my classroom can earn positive points. They can start earning them as soon as they enter the room.  The following contains the information I give the students at the beginning of each year, for ways to earn Positive Points.

This system is really just me verbally assigning them points, and they keep track of them. They record the amount, date, and a short reason each time they receive points.  At the end of each nine weeks I open up shop, and they can cash in their points!They have to cash out most of their points. I allow 500 points to rollover each nine weeks. When they cash out, they turn in their tracking sheet to me and "purchase" the items they would like from the store. They purchase a coupon that has what they bought on it. My bag of coupons can be seen to the right.

Here is what my "store" currently has:

The items listed vary each year. I base the rewards based on what my students like. They also can buy individual time with the class pets! All of these items increase in value every nine weeks. I expect behavior to improve as the school year advances. Increasing value each nine weeks, helps to keep the student's challenging their self with positive behavior. Keeping track of positive points is optional, but I have never had a 7th or 8th grader who did not participate.

I am a huge fan of this system, it works for me!  When you reward one student for doing well, those around him will start to do the same to earn points. I have learned that focusing mostly on the ones who are doing right, instead of the ones who are not, it has made for a happier classroom. Do you have a similar system you use in your classroom? I would love to hear about it, leave me a comment.

Thanks for reading!


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