Here is one of my classroom management secrets… a scrapbooking punch and notepaper. Sound crazy? It works. The supplies are small and fit in my sub bag of tricks easily. And it was inexpensive… I got my punches in a dollar bin at Michael’s Craft Store.
The whole system is so simple to use as well. Just hand out a piece of notepaper to each student. I have also used index cards and sticky notes, but any small piece of paper will work. The students keep them on their desk. If you’re going to be there more than one day, you might want to tape it down. Make sure the students put their name on it. I give them a minute to do it decoratively. Since the punches will only go around the outside, they have the whole inside to decorate.
Then when students are working well, listening well, are especially helpful, I go around and give them a punch… with the scrapbooking punch of course. I try not to announce, “Hey, if you do this, you’ll get a punch.” I try to reward quietly, and pretty soon others notice you rewarding and tend to change their behavior accordingly.
I also try to be generous with the punches early in the day to inspire even the challenging students that they are capable of earning them. Now, they do have to do something good for the punch… don’t give them out just because. But when everyone feels like they have chance to earn a reward, they all seem to try a little harder for you.
Then at the end of the day, I find out who has the most punches. Usually it will be a group of students, and I will do a number cut off. And then all students who got that number of punches, get to choose from my treasure bag. You can choose your reward… just make sure it is something the teacher would be OK with. Remember food is not OK, and limit free time rewards.
So get punching and watch the difference. I’d love to hear other stories of teachers who have used similar strategies.