Today I started back in my classroom decorating and sorting papers, tests, etc. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (Not really…)
As much as I love going back to school, I have a severe love/hate relationship with decorating my classroom. Because I teach Middle School through early High School, my students are at a really odd age where they love the super-decorated classrooms, but they don’t want them to be childish. Last I checked teacher supply stores don’t carry said classroom decor – you know what I mean. Woodland animals, insects, even the hippest chalkboard themed decor can really be a turn off for a 12-17 year old.
As a result, I have started making *most* (not all) of my own classroom decor. It was out of necessity. I will give you a tour of my classroom when it is finished, but as of right now, it is not.
One of the items that I was forced into making was a fun system to reward the students for doing well and encourage them to keep pushing forward. As long as it is not overdone, every single teenager loves getting a sticker. Trust me, they do not love getting a sticker on every single assignment. That borders on embarrassing! But my 12-17 year old students absolutely love being acknowledged for a job well done. They like letting their friends know in a passive-aggressive sort of silent way. Something else I have noticed about 12-17 year olds is they love any excuse to get out of their seats.
Alright, MS & HS teachers, remember those old sticker charts that you used in elementary school for good behavior? Well, I have revamped them for high school!
Introducing… drum roll, please… the Success Chart!! These babies are great!
Every time a student gets a certain percentage on a test, quiz, or project grade, they are awarded a sticker of their choice to add to their success chart – which is of course, located in the front of the room. At the end of the year, those who make it to the final row of their charts receive a small reward – like a lollipop. Those who complete the charts by the end of the year – get a candy bar of their choice! It’s a big deal. 🙂
And the stickers… There is delightful mayhem when it is comes to these stickers. I have boys in my class who regularly request that I shop for certain types of stickers. (The 16 year old crowd is particularly fond of the bees and penguins.) My students make patterns with their stickers. They try to make all of the stickers on their chart blue. They try to get all of the stickers to be the exact same turkey for all 42 slots. And competition is fierce to see who has the most stickers.
Adding a sticker to their chart is seriously something they look forward to! It is a bad day for me if I forget to announce the recipients of the stickers or run out of the current favorite sticker.
Yes, I know the students enjoy getting out of their seats. I know they enjoy maybe “wasting” a few minutes of class and getting some candy. But I also know that my students study just a little harder because they want that sticker. I know that my students are a little more disappointed with their lack of studying when they miss a sticker, and it encourages them to work a little harder next time.
I have also seen this inspire students to encourage those who don’t get stickers as frequently. Some of the students have studied with those who don’t do as well, so they can get a sticker next time. There are cheers and high-fives for those who do well, and the thrill of finishing a chart at the end of the year.
Overall, the Success Charts have been successful in my classroom. 🙂
If you really love the Success Chart idea, check them out at TeachersPayTeachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Success-Charts-2733227