Sunday, December 2, 2012

Encourage Your Students to Earn Brownie Points-Literally!

Today’s guest post comes from Heather. She has been teaching 3rd grade for over 8 years and has a Masters Degree in Secondary and Professional Studies. She is a regular contributor to Teacher Lingo and to The Mailbox Magazine as a freelance writer. You can often find Heather writing for, where teachers can buy and sell their original lesson plans, worksheets, and more.

Have you ever heard the expression, “Earn brownie points?” This tasty expression can help your students earn a sweet treat for their behavior, no matter what their age may be. Here is how you can implement a fool-proof behavior management strategy that motivates students to always be on their best behavior. First, you have to get your students excited and to “buy in” to the behavior strategy. Create a colorful bulletin board adorned with light and bright colors to draw their curious eyes in! Next, laminate a large, white rectangle which will serve as your brownie that is pre-divided into equal parts using a black permanent marker. Also, place an enticing box of brownie mix next to the display for some added motivation. Yum!

Next, begin to explain how this interactive bulletin board will yield them a delectable dessert. Tell your students that each time they receive a compliment from a teacher outside of the classroom (a gym teacher, administrative assistant, principal, lunch monitor, etc.) for outstanding behavior, effort, responsibility, citizenship, or direction following; you will color in one portion of the pre divided brownie with an erasable brown marker. When the entire “brownie” gets colored, bake brownies at home. Bring them in and pass them out for the class to enjoy during snack time or as a dessert after lunch. After coloring in the entire brownie, erase the colored sections and start all over again!

This behavior management strategy can be modified in a number of ways to work for your younger or older elementary students. You can divide the brownie into only a few parts to make the behavior goal quickly attainable for a challenging class that needs some positive reinforcement or for a classroom full of kindergarten students that are just beginning to learn about the benefits of positive behavior outside of the classroom. You can increase the number of pieces that need to be filled in by month to make the behavior goal more challenging over time.

You can also create a space on the brownie for each student in the class to color in once they receive an individual complement. This works well with older students and should not be limited to just receiving complements for behavior demonstrated outside of the classroom. When you see a student go above and beyond during your own lesson or activity, you can pull them aside to share the positive action you observed and grant them permission to color in their section. Students only receive a baked chocolate treat if all members in the class do their part to earn some recognition for their actions. This method holds all students accountable. Students have one month to earn their brownie piece, otherwise the brownie is wiped clean and the monthly incentive starts over throughout the course of the school year.

You can also choose to limit the students who earn “brownie points” to make the incentive completely exclusive and competitive. Cut the brownie into 10 pieces and allow students to write their names in one of the slots once they earn a complement. As soon as the 10 pieces are claimed, bake brownies for only the 10 students to enjoy and start over so that some other students may also get a chance to snack on something sweet.

This behavior management incentive can be used alone or in conjunction with another positive reward program used school wide or in your classroom. Students will quickly become familiar with the expression, “Earn some brownie points,” and will be excited and eager to do so!

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