At the start of the year, we started filling our jar with pebbles. Each pebble represented a compliment that the class had received from another adult in the building, including teachers, staff, and our principal. It took a long time, but we finally filled the jar for the first time this year, and so the class had a celebration this afternoon.
I let them vote on what they wanted to do and they decided that their celebration would be wearing their pajamas to school and watching a movie in the afternoon. (The only limitation placed on the celebration was that it couldn’t be against school rules, such as bringing personal electronic devices, and it could cost anyone money.)
After a morning of working on math, social studies, writing, and dance, I finished our latest read-aloud selection (The Walls of Cartagena by Julia Durango) and gave the students four options for our movie: Matilda, Bee Movie, Jumanji, or The Lorax. (Three of the choices based on books that many of the students know.) They eventually voted on Jumanji, and so we turned off the lights, pulled down the shades, and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon watching a delightful movie based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg. Then it was time to clean up and head home for the weekend!
We are going to start filling the pebble jar again on Monday. Instead of filling it for compliments, though, we are going to fill it for meeting expectations in the classroom each morning and afternoon. We have nine total expectations in the classroom:
- Be Safe
- Keep hands, feet, and other objects to yourself
- Walk with a purpose
- Give others space
- Be Respectful
- Listen to the speaker
- Use kind words
- Ask for help
- Be Responsible
- Help others and work together
- Use appropriate volume
- Do your own work
The students can earn one pebble for meeting each expectation, for a total possibility of eighteen pebbles a day. As an added incentive, if they meet all nine expectations in the morning, the pebbles are doubled, and the same for the afternoon, which means they could ultimately receive thirty-six pebbles in just one day! After explaining all of this, I will ask the students to set a goal for when they would like to fill the pebble jar again. I am hoping that this will help them stay focused on positive behaviours in the classroom.
How do you encourage others to meet expectations?