Thursday, August 18, 2011

Give Students a Punch… No, Not THAT Kind!

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.


  1. Good idea :)

    Sometimes the class I'm in will do group points or individual points. One class I was in did raffle tickets and at the end of the day I got to draw 3 raffle tickets and give prizes. I guess a sub could actually do that too as you can buy them in the store.

    Normally my classes are good though and I reward those that have been outstanding like doing things without me asking. If the whole class has been excellent, then we do either madlib or silent ball the last few minutes of school, that way I'm not taking away from teaching time.

  2. I've done raffle tickets before too. That would also work well as a sub. Great idea!

  3. Such a fabulous idea, Rachel. I am off to find some punches and will be adding this to my bag of sub tricks!! Thanks so much for sharing:) Happy weekend to you:)
    Good Morning Mrs Rubie

  4. Rachel, this is terrific. I plan to share with all my teachers!

  5. As a sub, I have come up with a similar strategy using tape. Any kind of colourful tape (I use masking tape) will work fine. Before students arrive, I put 2 pieces of tape in the top, most accessible corner of their desk. I write a note on the board (along with my greeting) instructing them NOT to touch or ask about the tape, and promising them that I will explain it when everyone is here.

    When a student is off task, they lose a piece of tape. When they are on task they can earn tape back (max 2). The second piece is a little harder to earn than the first. I've tried 2 ways that both seem to work: At the end of the day 1) all students that still have any amount of tape get a treat (I only use this strategy when the teacher uses treats regularly in their class), those with 2 pieces write their name on their tape and put it into a jar for a draw to win something from my prize bag; 2) all students put their name on their tape for a draw, regardless of how many they have, and throughout the day I give opportunities to earn extra entries into the draw. Of course I try to ensure every student has at least 1 piece by the end of the day, but it is not always possible.

    When I return to a class another time, students always remember me and ask "are we gonna do the tape?!"


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...