Motivation without sugar
The students need to be a part of creating the
rules, rewards and consequences. If it is
meaningful to them they are more likely to
participate and they know what to expect.
Children like consistency and they like to know
what is going to happen when they are good and
what is going to happen if they act out.
As a class discuss your class rules. Prompt the children
by asking them what a safe and respectful class looks like. Ask them if Jesus
was to visit what would he want to see from our class? After you have brain
stormed several ideas come up with a list of no more than 3 rules for your
Ask the children what rewards the class should receive if
these rules are followed. Ask the children what should happen if these rules are
not followed. The following are ideas you could suggest to help the children
decide on rewards.
Write the word that is your theme for the lesson.
Erase a letter for bad behavior. If the word is complete at the end of class
give 5 minutes for talking or a game.
Give star bucks for good behavior (tell the
class why you are giving these out) at the end of class or after several Sundays
gather them, and draw out for a prize or privileges.
Privileges could be:
- The line leader on a walk.
- The one who runs a game.
- The one who gets to read a part of the lesson.
- The one who gets a positive call or post card sent
- Free time with you outside of class.
- Make a sticker chart and as a class decide on a goal
you want everyone to reach and the reward.
- Have a picture of an important part of the lesson.
For good behavior, compliment the specific behavior and take off a piece of
the puzzle until the picture is revealed.
- Have a can with the class's name, add flowers for
good behavior, and take away when misbehavior is occuring.
- Make several circles for each child. Every time the
student participates in the lesson or shows good behavior give them a wedge.
Encourage them to fill their "pie" or "pizza" by the end of class. This is a
good way to get classes talking and involved in the lesson more.
- If you feel like you are losing the attention of the
class bring the children back with a prompt (For example: you say "their
promises" they say "are sure")
- Give them a plastic bug and say you are bugging
others, please be quieter.
- Tell them a specific behavior you want them to do,
and every time they do it give them a stickers
- Give out high five
- Decide on a big goal and have a class party
- Give a picture of Jesus with a message "Thanks for
being Christ like in my class!"
- If the class earns a goal tell them you will wear a
goofy hat in sharing time. Basically anything that embarrasses yourself
- Give a Badge that says "I was caught being good!"
- Decide on a student who has been particularly good
and feature them as student of the week. Have the students write on a
special card all of the things they like about this person. It could even be
announced in sharing time.
- Create a game about things from the lessons this
year, prophets, and include several questions on individual students in the
class. You could play this game as a reward and give a personal copy as a
- Have a treasure box that is opened at the end of the
class if there is good behavior. Inside have special objects relating to the
lesson. Have kids guess how these objects relate.
A final thought on rewards!
Rewards change incentives away from the act to the reward itself. When we start
giving rewards for expected standards of behavior, we too often hear, "What will
I get if I'm good?" The giving of rewards for appropriate classroom behavior
implies that such behavior is not inherently worthwhile.
Our goal is to assist students to be self-disciplined and
independent problem-solvers. Yet, rewards set up students to be dependent upon
external stimuli.1 My advice is that if you decide to reward your students with
objects that you make it more often an exception than the rule. Often we don't
put enough emphasis on positive reinforcement.