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pom pom bugsEvery school year I use some type of token system with my class. Since I have students who loop with me for several years, I don’t like to use the same system every year so as not to repeat something that has already been done for students I have again. One year I used poker chips, one year I used money, another year I used stickers and so on. I would hand these items out for good behavior, following procedures, working hard, demonstrating good life principles and so on. Sometimes we would have verbal pop quizzes and I would toss the items to students who answered correctly. Then they could cash these items in for trips to the treasure box or student store at the end of the week.

Even though I introduce the system differently each year, the token system serves the same purpose no matter what item is used: it rewards target behaviors that I want to see continue in class. But a token system is only effective if it has value for the kids.

This year, I am using ‘Behavior Bugs’. Since I have a slew of younger kids this year, I know they will love these, especially since this age loves to collect things. I had a ton of pom poms leftover from last year (like seriously, a bunch; half a pound. Of pom poms. If you haven’t seen a half a pound of pom poms you’re missing out!) and a willing parent volunteer, who really didn’t know what she was getting herself into. I equipped her with the pom poms, a glue gun and wiggle eyes. She glued two eyes on each pom pom to make a bunch of pom pom critters. They are all different colors and there are small, medium and larger ones. I saved a GIANT pom pom and glued it on top of a jar lid then put the rest of the ‘bugs’ into the jar.

I came up with this poem: “We are Behavior Bugs, and we are watching you. We are looking for GREAT choices in everything you do! If we catch you following rules, or working wonderfully, Then one of us you can choose to go home happily!”

I glued this poem on the jar and will introduce these ‘Behavior Bugs’ to my kiddos on the first day of school. When I catch them making good choices, or working extra hard or being a good friend and so on, all target behaviors I want to see in class, I will let them choose a ‘bug’. They can either take the bug home or keep them at school in their collection box. Even though they won’t cash their bugs in at the end of the week, the bug in and of itself is a special, tangible reward that has value to them.

I can’t wait to see how my kiddos respond to this new system! I know they will be excited to collect their ‘bugs’!

Do you implement a token system in your classroom?

Paula has a Masters degree in education with an emphasis on child development and child behavior....

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