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The Power of Positive Reinforcement

"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." - Peggy O'Mara

I absolutely love this quote!  During my first semester of graduate school, I read Choice Words by Peter Johnston and remember asking my student teachers to go out and get it right away! If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so! This book is quite simple, actually...but really helps you reflect on the effects your words have on your children.  I have also encouraged my students' parents to buy it...a must read for sure!  So...I can't decide which I'm more passionate about: positive reinforcement or instructional technology?!  They both enhance the teaching and learning experience on so many levels...

Each year, I have tried new strategies I've seen here and there (I will admit, many from Pinterest, ha ha!), but I will have to say I have always used what I call the "SUPER System!"  Each day, students' clips start out on GOOD...and when I see students exhibiting "What SUPER looks like," I ask them to move their clip up to SUPER!  My kinders are very, very concerned about "getting to SUPER" throughout the day.  I take pictures of them sitting criss cross, raising a quiet hand, using walking feet, etc., photoshop the pictures by "cutting them out," and label each one with a simple phrase (ex: Walking Feet).  We review these over and over (esp. throughout the first few weeks).  If you are looking for a new "system," I suggest taking pictures of your students exhibiting these behaviors (makes this more meaningful to them - they like to see themselves represented!), embedding them in a PowerPoint, SMART Notebook, or Activ Flip chart, and reviewing it each day.  I like the phrases corresponding with each visual to be short and sweet (literally)!

You can download the behavior plan I give each child's parents at the beginning of the year as well as each "level" (shown above) from my TPT store by clicking my TPT button.  I printed them on colored card stock and took them to Office Depot to get them laminated (their lamination is the real deal and really lasts)!

I have also seen the "BINGO" board floating around on Pinterest and decided to try it out this year...and, this is by far the most popular incentive in my classroom!  I laminated it and have students go up and write their name on it when they are doing a SUPER job in work stations, guided reading, and the list goes on!  At the end of the day, I magically select a square and that student gets treasure box or lunch with Mrs. Reinhardt the following day!  I think the key to this incentive (and really any incentive) is referring to it frequently throughout the day to "keep it alive!"

My kinders also really like earning "Table Points" throughout the day...during my first year, I had bowls on each table and I would walk around and award beads for specific, positive behavior(s); however, after about ten"spills" I decided to change things up a bit - ha!  Again, when I "catch" a student or table group using their good reader/writer strategies, kind words, etc...they get to go up to the board and record tally marks next to their table color.  We count the table points each Friday and the table who wins gets to select/view a web cam of their choice (they love the animal cams on the San Diego Zoo website), treasure box, or lunch with Mrs. Reinhardt the following week!  Below, you will see one of my kinders recording tallies for her table (I think it is important to have them record the tallies - gives them ownership):

Alright, Peeps!  I want to hear all about what you're doing in your room!  I know you have some great strategies!  I think I better get to bed before I fall asleep on my computer...


  1. I love the reward you have for table points: webcam! That's awesome! I know a lot of teachers struggle with incentive rewards that don't cost us a ton of money.

    How do you pick the Bingo Board winner?

  2. Thanks, Jessica! They love San Diego Zoo's webcams (a baby panda was recently born)! I draw a letter/number combination out of a jar or "magically" select a square by closing my eyes and placing my magic wand in a square (they especially love this)!