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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin TIcket Picks!

Happy Trails Teacher Friends,

It is a rainy Saturday here and the tinkling of the raindrops on the roof is making me want to curl up with a warm blanket and drink a hot cup of coffee!

As we enter the official week of  Halloween, I have been planting the seed of how to keep my kids motivated and engaged while also maintaining routines and structure for learning! As we all know, this week can make the kiddos bonkers (and teachers too). So here is a tip that I have been doing every year in October to help keep my kiddos on-task, listening and following to optimize learning!

Classroom Management Tip: Pumpkin Ticket Pick!

Pumpkin Ticket Picks is an October only theme that I use every year to reinforce the behaviors that I want to see in my classroom. At this time of the year in first grade, we are working on raising our hands and not blurting, self control, whole body listening and eyes on the speaker. I must say it has always worked for me to use tickets to positively reinforce the behaviors I would like to see!

This year instead of using an orange plastic pumpkin, I found this neat blue plastic pumpkin (yes, I said "blue"). I have been using blue tickets so this was a great visual match. Again, depending on the my kiddos, I choose only one or two behaviors that I want to reinforce for my class. This year I have been giving out tickets for  raising our hands (not blurting) and whole body listening behaviors. When I catch students doing these behaviors, I hand out a ticket. Students write their names on the back of the ticket (using best handwriting because if it is written poorly I throw it out). They then  drop it into the pumpkin. At the end of the day (about three times a week), I announce with a big cheer, “What time is it?” and the kiddos say, “It’s pumpkin pick time.”  I build the suspense and make it really dramatic and my ticket picker (yes it is a student job) comes and pulls out a lucky winner. The winner earns quiet free choice the following day. QFC only lasts about 10-15 minutes and exactly what it says...a time for those students to choose an educational game, activity or read a book quietly the room in a place of their choice. It is a great motivator and students work all week to earn this quiet free choice. Students also quickly learn that the more tickets they earn the more chances they have to get picked! A great exposure to probability!

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