For some students completing schoolwork and homework is never a problem. Then there are those students who just never seem to be able to finish their work. How can a teacher encourage students to finish work on time and discipline those who don’t finish on time? We know in education that positive discipline works better than negative. Receiving a reward for good behavior, or positive reinforcement speaking is behavior modification terms, has more success than losing a privilege (negative reinforcement). And both positive and negative reinforcement work better than punishment.
With that in mind, a wise classroom teacher will set special rewards for students to earn by completing schoolwork and homework, rather than punishing when students don’t finish. On especially challenging days, Fridays, day before vacation, contract with students that you will offer these rewards if work is completed successfully. Offer these rewards for good behavior reports from substitute teachers. Keep a homework chart and use these as incentives for students who turn in all homework during the week, too.
Please note that I don’t include recess in the list of rewards. Recess is a health necessity, both for students and teachers. I also don’t advocate whole group punishments. I don’t advise using classroom treats as individual rewards. If treats are served, every child should get a treat, regardless of behavior. Each student needs to be rewarded based on what he actually did; students should not be made responsible for each others’ behavior. Students may earn one or more of these activities for a Friday Free Time (beginning after last recess or about an hour before school ends).
-Extra recess time at the end of the day. Those who don’t qualify must sit or stand along a school wall. On nice days, they might take schoolwork with them to complete outside.
-Extra time in the computer lab (students who chose not to comply may not play games; they should be assigned to finish schoolwork or work at certain practice programs).
-Free reading or extra teacher read-aloud time. Students who have earned free time may sit anywhere; those who have not finished must remain at their desks to complete work.
-Free art and drawing time. Set out a variety of art supplies for students to enjoy.
-Game time: Students may play games while workers continue with work.
-Gym time: set out gym equipment and organize a group game. Students who aren’t finished must bring homework or schoolwork.
-Whole group party with treat if everyone can participate: popcorn and movie party, watermelon party for end of school party, pizza party with music and dancing.
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