May 12, 2004
I work in a Title I school with a high poverty rate. Many of our students need an extraordinary amount of structure and motivation. I have developed a ticket/point system for my class. Each group of 4-5 students is assigned a color name (red, blue, purple, etc.) The students work together with their group to maintain good behavior (listening, staying on task, having materials ready, etc.) They receive points for doing these things in a quiet and timely manner. I record the points under their group name on the board. I also give them tickets in the hallway for 'Having their 4 things ready.' These are: 1) Mouth is closed. 2) Hands by your side. 3) Feet are quiet. 4) Eyes are straight ahead. I remind students to get these 4 things ready when we line up by raising my hand and signaling the number 4 with my fingers. The students repeat this until everyone is quiet with their 4 things ready. Students put their tickets in their pockets or give it to a group member when we arrive at our destination. We collect the tickets at the end of the day. I write the number of tickets each group received under their color group. (It helps speed up the counting process if students place tickets in groups of two on one student's desk in their group.) At the end of the week, I add up all of the points and award the winning group with a homework pass, a soda pass, and a snack pass (meaning they have one free homework assignment and can purchase a snack or drink from the cafeteria). This has worked considerably well for my students. Students who are difficult to manage can be separated from the grouping of desks but remain in a group of their own. For example, they may not be physically beside someone who they would disrupt, but they can figuratively be in the same group with them. I set a goal of 100 points for these hard to manage students. If they can reach the goal, they will also receive the prizes. This has helped my group of students learn to work together and to use peer pressure for a positive outcome.