Working as a team can be hard. There are always the students who do the right thing. On the other hand, there are always those students who seem to know exactly what to do to push your buttons and do the opposite of what you’ve asked. Teamwork can be a tricky concept for students to grasp. At a young age, children are learning to cooperate and share with their friends. Creating a whole class reward system can really invest those students in “getting on the team” and helping to work together towards a common goal. Here are a few ideas:
Place a real cookie sheet on the board or somewhere visible in the classroom. Create fake brownies using brown construction paper, etc. Laminate and place magnets on the back. Show the students what it looks like and sounds like to earn a brownie. Give examples so students have clear expectations of how they can show teamwork. Each time the entire class works together and follows directions, place a brownie on the tray! Celebrate! Make it a huge deal! Let them know how proud you are to see them working together! Once you fill the tray, think of a fun reward the students can earn. To make it more personal, have the students come up with their own appropriate rewards to go in the bank of possibilities.
In our class, we have a 100% jar. We bought tiny basketballs and a miniature hoop. Each time the students are displaying teamwork, the class earns a “slam dunk.” Once the hoop is full, we earn a playground party! We let the students choose what their reward will be. We have clear expectations of what it looks like to show teamwork and how they can earn basketballs!
Mr. Potato Head
Just like the “Brownie Points,” you can build a Mr. Potato Head, earning pieces along the way. Tell the students what it takes to earn a piece. Once you have added every piece to Mr. Potato Head, your students earn a reward! It’s up to you if you want the system to be both positive and negative. You can take pieces away for students who display un-sportsman like conduct in the classroom. Those friends who did the right thing will be motivated to help those students step it up and show some teamwork.