Term 4 can feel like running fast downhill sometimes – it goes so quickly that you can even feel a little out of control. It’s like the next step is not entirely your choice and is more a matter of reckless, unavoidable momentum.
The obstacles in Term 4 are also a little sharper and more hazardous. Student behaviour spikes in Term 4 as weariness creeps in and our own practice becomes less intentional and explicit while we hold on for exams or through Christmas Concert preparations.
But you see, we knew it was coming. And yet, often, we still did little about it.
Inspired by my good friend and an incredible school leader, Ben Slocombe, I decided to steal one of his ideas to stay ahead of the behavioural curve at my last school, Rosebery PS. Just before my anticipated spike in unkind and uncooperative behaviours, I instituted Voigt Dollars – a six week program designed to foster one specific type of behaviour … kindness.
Simply, teachers could send a student with a post-it note to me if they did something kind. I would “rank” these acts for how kind they were and reward extrinsically with a laminated $5, $10 or $20 note (see the notes above). The students would return to their class and bank the money. In the last two days of the school year – often not the most productive days on the calendar anyway – the students could go “shopping” at any time they wish. Here’s the list of things they could buy:
|$25||Mr.Voigt must sing the national anthem to your class.|
|$35||A block of chocolate delivered to your classroom.|
|$40||Extra 15 minutes of recess.|
|$45||Your favourite class game for 20 minutes.|
|$50||An ice cup for everyone in your classroom.|
|$55||Thumb wrestling tournament.|
|$60||Make Christmas cards for some special people.|
|$65||30 minutes of free time.|
|$70||Extra 30 minutes of lunchtime.|
|$75||30 minutes of class games with Mr.Voigt|
|$80||Christmas Bon-Bons for your class.|
|$85||Paint Mr.Voigt’s face in your own design.|
|$95||Become the Principal for an hour.|
|$100||Video in the Multi-Purpose Room (including popcorn).|
|$120||45 minutes of Class disco in the Assembly Area|
Extrinsic rewards for behaviour are not ideal for establishing a deep value for the act, but they are remarkably effective at bringing a target behaviour to attention, particularly for a short time.
Given my firm belief that good teaching is roughly 90% theft, I encourage you to do what I did to Ben – steal away! Great ideas that reflect good research, deployed at just the right time are like gold. And we could all use a kinder, more golden, end to a busy 2016.
Next free WEBINAR – Adam Voigt presents “Making Facebook Work For Your School”
At Real Schools, we are amazed at how many schools are still grappling with just how to use this communicative juggernaut to their advantage, rather than their detriment. I guess it’s about wanting to make it work for good rather than evil! And it definitely can be.
This webinar will show you exactly how … and how not to. By registering, you can expect to find out:
- how to set up and monitor a school Facebook site.
- the posts that work, that engage and that are safe.
- connecting Facebook easily to other social media platforms.
- drastically minimising the time required to manage a Facebook page (the great Facebook “hack” you’ve been looking for!)
- making Facebook a positive space and powerful marketing tool for your school.
This webinar is targeted at school leaders, administrators and teachers of all phases of learning.