Getting the Most Out of Ticket Jar

I received free products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for sharing my thoughts on this blog.

As a teacher, I have found that the more positive praise I do, the less negative I have to deal with. One of the best systems I have used is my ticket jar system. Most people have probably heard of a form of this. I do ticket jar every Friday. It’s a good system for me because it can be individual incentive and group incentive. Here are 3 tips we’ve come up with:

All Roads Lead to Rome: At first it seems like I have tons of different positive incentives, table points, house points, class rock party points, class activity time points, individual tickets. It is true, but the beauty is that these “different” systems all come back to tickets. (That will make things so much easier on you as a teacher., I promise)

Here is an example: My students sit in tables. They earn points for their table by transitioning quickly, working well together during a project, all turning in certain assignments. At the end of the day, whichever table has the most points, each person gets 2 tickets.  (Table points convert to tickets!)

Another example: If I have an important paper that I need signed and brought back, I use tickets to bribe students to take it home, get it signed, and brought back. Works every time!

Let Ticket Jar Feed Itself: I encourage students to make donations of toys they don’t want or random items that their parents are willing to buy at the dollar store. When they make a donation, I give them a ticket just for donating. Also, I promise them that I will put their ticket back if I pull it on that item. Mindy didn’t do this her first year and ran out of cool prizes really fast. Then she had no budget (of course!) for replenishing it, so it didn’t have near the power to motivate her students.

Be Cheap: It can be expensive handing out things each week. Here are a few tips on that too:

  1. Get students to donate (as mentioned above).
  2. Collect “cool rocks” on all your vacations, hikings, adventures, whatever. I teach 6th grade and they are really into a neat rock!
  3. Oriental Trading Company: They have cheap bundles of items. You can buy big mixed packets or a specific item that you know will be a winner. I recently bought a huge bag of sticky hands for less than ten bucks and I am pretty sure it will last the whole year!
  4. Dollar Stores and Thrift Stores: Dollar stores often have packs of pencils or candy. Just figure out the unit price to decide if it’s a good deal! If you get something from a thrift store, make sure it is clean or better yet, still packaged!
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And Then There Were Two!

I’m super excited to announce that my sister, Lauralee, will be joining Squarehead Teachers! She’s got lots of teaching experience, including dual immersion in Spanish. She’s written curriculum for various groups and will be a fabulous addition to this blog!

Sight Words Graphing

There’s nothing like killing 2 birds with one stone! I feel like this printable does that, so I’m pretty jazzed. First, kids read the sight words (clearly a win!), then they use the quantity of each word to make a simple graph (win-win!). Might be a good whole class activity or a page to send home and do as a “parent-student” practice. It’s very similar to the page I made for St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!

Let’s connect! Catch me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter! 🙂

Current Homework & Important Papers (CHIP) Folder (Guest Post)

Graphic3CHIP stands for “current homework and important papers.”

One pocket is for current homework that students have been assigned. The other pocket is for important papers (reference sheets that we use frequently, reading  passages that we are working on, group work info, etc.). Nothing else goes in this folder so that it doesn’t get cluttered. I use the boomerang folder for assignments that have been graded and papers for their parents and pretty much anything that is in their take home mailbox. This system has been helpful in keeping my students organized.

Click here to see the full-size PDF: chip-folder-cover-pdf.

About the author:
Lauralee specializes in dual immersion (English/Spanish) and math education. She currently teaches sixth grade. She enjoys travelling and spending time with family.

3 Years Old!

This blog is now 3 years old! Happy birthday, Squarehead Teachers!  Stay tuned! A celebratory giveaway is coming very soon!

happy birthday squarehead teachers

Here are some of my favorite posts from the past 3 years:

47 Questions New Teachers Should Ask

30 Most Important Classroom Procedures

Aesop’s Fables Collection (free worksheets)

Desk Fairy Printables

The Secret Way to De-Clutter Your Classroom!

I’m on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Hello friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying all the ideas and freebies I post here on my blog! I feel great that I’ve been able to help so many hard-working teachers and parents. I am ready for a new challenge!  I’m going to start adding new materials to my store over at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Of course, I’ll still continue to add things to this blog, but I hope you’ll poke around on my TpT store as well!  (There’s already a new freebie waiting for you!) Thank you!

Visit my store button

 

Teacher Appreciation Poster Idea – Cinco de Mayo Theme

My friend recently shared this picture with me:

Teacher Appreciation Week - Cinco de Mayo

Their school celebrated teacher appreciation week the same week as Cinco de Mayo. I love how the parent who helped coordinate this poster combined the Cinco de Mayo and teacher appreciation themes! And what kid can resist taking a picture with a fake mustache!? 🙂

Send me photos of fun teacher appreciation ideas! Email them to squarehead teachers at gmail dot com.

Alter Your World by Recognizing Innovative Teachers

Here’s a cool opportunity from Altitude Summit:

“We have partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who supports teachers and celebrates innovation in education, to bring our Alt community a fantastic opportunity. During the next two weeks, we hope you will join us in a contest to celebrate just that and participate for a chance to win a ticket to Alt Summer for yourself and $500 cash for a deserving teacher.

Between May 1st and May 15th, you have three ways to appreciate an educator in your life who is using social media in innovative ways in the classroom. If you’re an educator, we’d love to hear how you are using social media.”

Click here to read more.