Yep! Your read that title correctly. My middle schoolers were ready for winter break waaaaay before winter break was even close. I needed to get creative when it came to ways to keeping them engaged. Besides just an engaging lesson, I really needed something to keep them on task. Positive rewards were the first thing that came to mind to me!
Around this time, my classes were working on Perspective. They had practiced and expanded off of a room drawing, with the vanishing point in the middle of the square paper, a wall in the back, two walls, a ceiling and a floor. We talked about how the lines go to the vanishing points and then many of the lines stay parallel, for example windows, doors, etc.
I ran out to Five & Below and only spent about $20 on a variety of different things:
Winter socks, Watercolor Paint Sets, Gel Pens, Pencils, Color by Number, Paint by Number, Dry Erase Boards for Lockers, etc.
Obviously buy things that would relate to the age group you teach! My middle schoolers were super excited about these. I also grabbed boxes, wrapping paper, and bows. I wrapped up all the presents and arranged them in two different areas throughout our classroom.
These presents served two purposes in my classroom during the last two weeks of school. The first purpose was that my early finishers were able to choose a seat near either still life and create a still life composition of the presents and the bows. This really helped me to give extra help to those students who were still working on their assignment.
The behavior aspect of this is really what helped me though. When the students came in and asked about the presents, I took some time to explain what I planned to do with them. I told students that there were 12 presents. I had a roll of tickets to hand out during the last days before break. When I noticed good behavior, good effort in class, etc, I would give a student a raffle ticket. Students put the raffle tickets in their binders if they received anyway. There was no limit to how many raffle tickets a student could get but each one would increase their chances of being picked.
On the last day before break, we had a half day. I selected 6 names from each of my 2 classes. When a student’s name was selected, they were able to pick a present and open it.
So yes, the title is read correctly, I totally bribed my students with presents the week before winter break. Would I do it again? You bet! It was highly effective in not only keeping my students engaged but also keeping them on their best behavior, as they knew a positive reward could come from it.
Do you do anything similar in your classroom before a break?! I would love to hear about it!
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