Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Free & Easy Classroom Reward Binder . . . Or "How I Replaced The Classroom Treasure Chest FOREVER!"

Happy almost-August folks!  I have NO IDEA how we got here so fast, but HERE. WE. ARE.

It's hard to believe that it was almost a year ago that I made a decision to switch schools AND grade levels.  Crazy, right? 

Oh . . . and did I mention that this decision happened a week before the first day of school??!!  As in, my kindergarten room was pretty much set up and ready to go, I was pumped to be starting my 9th year in kindergarten and have some pretty sweet returning families . . . and then IT happened.

I had an opportunity to teach with my teaching bestie Kerri B. 

Ever since I was pink slipped during budget layoffs years ago and we ended up at different school we ALWAYS said how fun/great/wonderful/fabulous/cool it would be if we could ever teach together again . . .

Well, God's timing sure is funny sometimes!

Anyhow . . . if you had NO IDEA that I was in first grade last year that would be because: 1) I fell off the blogging bandwagon, 2) I hardly had time to take a picture of what we were up to AND 3) I had no idea what I was doing most of the time . . . Okay, maybe just SOME of the time.

Luckily, there were some things that I was able to bring over from kindergarten that I easily used with my FAB FIRSTIES. 

One of those was my classroom reward binder!

Once upon a time I did have a treasure chest, and spent lots of time and money making sure that it was well-stocked with lots of fun trinkets, that there were plenty of choices of things for both boys and girls . . . blah, blah, blah.  Then I heard about having a classroom reward binder with things for my kiddos to choose as a prize that were FREE and I. WAS. SOLD.

I had a binder for many years, but last summer I gave it a lil makeover . . . and I hafta say that it is pretty darn cute. Amiright?

If you aren't familiar with the way a classroom reward binder works, it is SO EASY. 

First, you decide what rewards you would like your class to choose from.  I made 24 different reward choices, but I did not actually put all of those choices in my binder.  I wanted to start the year off with a few choices, and then add some more and keep changing the choices up so that my students would stay excited to pick from the binder.

{Disclaimer: There are SOME rewards in the binder that are ALWAYS a choice that my kiddos just loooooooove and they would be crushed if those choices were taken out . . . choices like Stinky Feet, Thump Bump and Fluffy Friend.}

Next, you need to create your binder.  I printed out the reward choices full-size and put them in page protectors in our classroom reward binder. Anytime a student earns a reward, they know where the binder is and they can flip through and peruse the choices. :)

In the back of the binder I put in baseball card collector sheets.  I found mine at a local sports memorabilia store and was able to buy them by the sheet.  These are the perfect size to store the reward coupons in!  When a student picks a reward, they take the corresponding coupon from the back of the binder. So easy and convenient!  

The coupons serve as a reminder - students sometimes leave their coupon in their pencil box so they remember they have (fill in the blank prize) the next day OR some rewards need a take-home reminder . . . like if they chose Fluffy Friend and want to bring a favorite stuffed animal to school the next day.  Their lil coupon that they take home will be a great reminder at home to pick their stuffed animal and pack it in their backpack.

Finally, you need to have your classroom reward plan in place.  My reward binder corresponds to my classroom behavior chart. Students who move their pin up get a sticker at the end of the day that they put into their work folder on a little chart.  When a student gets 5 stickers, they get to pick a reward.  After they get a reward, they have to work to get 5 more stickers, and so on.  This part can totally be tailored to whatever works best for you and your students.

The point is that rewarding your students can be much, much easier.  And cost-effective.  And fun.

Ready for a cute story?

Once I was gone for a teacher training and one of my ittiest bittiest kiddos went right up to the substitute teacher for that day and announced to him, "I have STINKY FEET!"  Well, that sub was pretty confused and didn't know what to say, so he just tried to ignore the Itty Bitty.  So she said it again . . . "No really, I have STINKY FEET today!"  Finaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally, after some explaining from the other students (and a classroom aide who happened to be in the room), the sub realized that Itty Bitty was trying to tell him that she had a reward called Stinky Feet for the day - which basically meant she got to take her shoes off all day. :)

Interested in making the jump from a treasure chest to a classroom reward binder?  Or perhaps you already are doing the reward binder but it's time for a lil update?  You can check out my Free & Easy Classroom Rewards in my TPT store HERE.

Well, that's it for now.  I'm off to have some delicious BBQ with the family . . . hooray for summer break! :)
Talk to y'all soon!






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