Can anyone suggest a prize for students that they could "win" but not candy or choc. bar? Open to all ideas, not expensive ones.
What is the contest?
Our school had a citizenship incentive. Throughout the week, teachers would submit names of students who were particulary kind and thoughtful, one of the names would be drawn from a hat and that child got to lead the school in the Pledge of Allegience the following week.
Our school also did a running/walking program. For every quarter mile the child got, a ticket was punched. For every 20 punches the child recieved a small foot shaped plastic charm. For every 100 punches the child's name was read over the intercom and his/her name was put on a big plaque.
The prizes are pretty cheap, but the kids really seem to like them.
Sorry, I should have gone into more detail. It would be for 7th graders. The contest is between themselves or as small groups of like 5. (It would be like spelling-bee type contests or worksheet that they do. (individually or in a group).Last time I gave out candy bars for the lack of a better award. I think it's a poor nutritional habit and I don't want to fall into that. Also, it's for a Sunday-school setting. Most of the kids don't even want to be there. "Their parents make them go"...so they say.
It is a challenge to keep them interested. They seem to like the competative/competition-type things.
My son is only in 4th grade, but his favorite prize is a homework pass. The teacher lets them turn in the pass instead of the homework whenever they choose to use it. (Mom likes this, too, when we have an especially hectic day.)
The other one I like that she does is when she wants to reward them for something small, she gives them a sort of raffle ticket. They write their name on it and put it in a jar. Every Friday she draws out a name (so the more a kid gets rewarded, the better chance he/she has). The prize has been a little bundle of stuff like pencil, bookmark, piece of candy, homework pass, stickers. Some of it is stuff she gets free from business (they have the business logo on it). Sometimes it is stuff parents donate.
But the homework pass, that's the best thing. And free and easy!
How about browsing a Christian bookstore? The one near me has a kid's section with little things like pencils, notepads, stickers, etc with Christian images. I don't know if this would fly for 7th graders though.
I thought of something else, maybe something better for your needs than my other suggestions.
Places like McDonalds will give little cards good for a free ice cream cone or fries or drink or such. At McD's they call the BOG cards (Be Our Guest). Contact the manager or the marketing person at the owner's office (that's my mom's job, that's how I know this). And they are usually pretty willing to give a bunch of those cards to teachers.
You could try www.orientaltrading.com they have alot of small things that could work well as prizes. Stickers, pencils, erasers, stuff like that. And the stuff is pretty inexpensive too.
Thank you all for the advise. I'm just not sure if these 7th graders will be excited about the ideas. Most of the suggestions you offer seem to be for the younger crowd. (Althought, the McD's was a good one!!) Please, keep the ideas coming if possible.
If the school has a "School Store" where the students can buy school supplies, a coupon for whatever money amount to be used there is ideal. Just talk with who is in charge of the store and sign the coupon with your signature so it will not be copied by other students.
Homework amnesty passes are popular. If the students don't have time to do their homework, they fill them out & have an extra day to get it finished.
Our local college (basketball) and hockey team donate tickets for weekend games to the school. They are awarded (in pairs) to students who meet certain performance improvements during the grading period.
"Wear your pajamas to school day" has been a popular incentive in past years.
Free passes to the school dance or tickets for free refreshments at the dance don't cost much.
What are these prizes supposed to be an award for? That would help me make additional suggestions.
This is for a Sunday school class of 7th graders. The prizes don't have to be religious-based. I'm just looking for suggestions other than candy bars.
I understand that it is hard a lot of times to get children truly interested in their studies, weather it's regular school work or Sunday school. But, (and I know I'm the "odd woman out here!) I'm personally against bribing children in order to achieve desired results. There is probably a better way, one in which the children can better appreciate and relate to the lessons that don't require any rewards or incentives. How about giving them a choice of bible verses or stories and letting them write about how it might relate to their personal experiences? Or maybe having a group project with the same type of theme, making it more personal and on the children's level.
I didn't like Sunday school either as a child, it was very boring!! But consider the message being delivered if prizes are being rewarded for learning.
As 7th graders, they are probably able to tell you what sorts of things they might like. They might do even better if they have more input.
Public recognition and special privelages/activities are usually appreciated by people of all ages. Do you have space for an outstanding students board? You could list the names of the kids who have done well. I prefer "done well" rather than % right or something. Some kids will have worked hard for a fairly low score and some kids will have worked hard to simply not fall asleep on Sunday morning, and you want to have a way of congratulating that effort as well.
You might be able to tie in "special" duties to hard work. If the candle lighters for church come out of your Sunday School class, you could give that as a prize for hard work. Be sure parents and the minister are told of this so that they can congraulate the hard workers as well.
If hard work means they go through a book fast, while goofing off means they go through slow, reward finishing the book or chapter or whatever. Once you get to a certain point it might mean a day of board games and popcorn during Sunday School.
Well, this reply went on longer than it should, but FG's response hit home on some things I've been thinking about with my kids.
My idealistic side agrees with you Flowergirl, that prizes send the wrong message. My own son comes home from school with all sorts of prizes. There's the raffle ticket thing I mentioned, names in a bowl for good behavior, winner drawn out on Friday. He's come home with that prize bundle twice. The use their Accelerated Reader points to "buy" prizes couple times a year. They also use behavior raffle tickets to accumulate them and have an auction at the end of each grading period. Those prizes range from candy to dollar store toys to school supplies and more, whatever the teacher gets donated. Not to mention the loot bags from a holiday party. A lot of this stuff is donated from parents or businesses, but still, more educational stuff could be donated.
This was beginning to bother me, the materialism of the whole thing, the lost classroom time to "buy" this stuff, the bribery for learning and, worse, for good behavior. And it will carry over to home, where I don't typically reward my kids for doing what is expected. DS has given me the line "what do I get for it" when I tell him to do something. (How about a thank you, the satisfaction of a job well done and free room and board?) So I was talking to DS about this, asked him if he would still do his work and behave if he didn't get these prizes. He's had teachers who don't do this sort of reward and he still did just fine. I asked him what he thought of it all.
He agreed he would do what he should without prizes. And he admitted that he thinks it is fun to get the prizes. Then he had a point I hadn't thought of. Last year his teacher didn't do prizes. This year's, obviously, does. Both teachers are about the same age/experience (older than me). DS said there are couple of the same kids from last in this years class. Last year they were "trouble makers" in his words, didn't do the work, acted up, the teacher had to stop the lesson. DS was frustrated in the class because of the interuptions/distractions of those kids. This year, he said those kids really want the prizes and will behave better in order to get them! So he said if it makes those kids behave, he likes the teacher giving prizes. He said prizes make it easier for the rest of the class because those kids behave.
Sad sign of the time, I guess. After talking to DS, I decided to not let it bother me. It apparently makes his learning environment better. Since raising kids with internal motivation to behave is beyond the teachers control (one of those lessons parents are still responsible for), she should just do whatever works in her classroom!
Yes, I understand there are of course circumstances as you provided an example of Stephanie, which if I read correctly, you agree is SAD. It's sad to really think that our kids have that attitude, "what do I get for it," because it's TRUE! My son does it too, and his school is FULL of incentives and prizes, for NOTHING! Well, for what I consider to be "nothing." Too many of us find that it's easier to let the children become (and possibly stay) extrinsically motivated, everything is a means to an end. Nothing has the value it should it seems today, personal satisfaction and growth are left behind for Hershey bars and gel pen prizes for completing homework or behaving. It's a shame, and I'm starting to believe that it's only getting worse!
The problem in this case is even more difficult. In a regular school setting, most kids have a bit of external motivation and social motivation to pass/excell in school. If you don't, you will get held back or your hopes of becoming a doctor are diminished.
This, however, is a Sunday School class. The social pressures are significantly different here. The world doesn't care how well you do on a Sunday school test. In addition, religious studies have a lot of philosophy and introspection. This is often a completley new and uncharted way of thinking for 13 year olds. And something which a person can very easily ask "why bother" or "who cares". It would be fantastic if our society did bother and did care, but for the most part, it doesn't. When the parents of the 13 year old do bother and do care, but the rest of the world doesn't, you often find a child in a prime rebelion state. Now, teach that kid!
Mammamia, I wish you the best of luck. Yours isn't an easy position in the church, in fact it is one of the hardest.
Really, I didn't expect all this liberation over incentives. You are right, Duckie, it is very hard to motivate these kids in this particular setting. I agree to an extent over regular schooling, but I think many of you have gone way out beyond the scope of my request for advice. My DH and I do not pay our children an allowance or grant them prizes and tokens for household chores, honor-roll grades or things of that nature. We believe and motivate them that chores, grades and family/household participation, in their regular every day life, makes them admirable and more responsible people as they grow older. But give me a break someone....I'm talking about a block of 1 hour out of 168 per week in a child's life..
I'm sorry, Mammamia. We weren't debating you or your situation. We understood your questions was about that one hour and a specific class, not parenting practices. We didn't mean any offense. The question just brought up some of our own thoughts regarding how our kids are learning and we got off on a tangent.
I hope you got some answers that help, or made you think of something that will help. What if ... you divide the class into two or three teams, award points for acheivements, and a small prize for the team that wins. You can even award prizes for everyone, maybe different for each place, if you want to just give the kids something for their participation. They just like competition, ya know, puts a little edge on anything for kids that age.
Oh Stephanie, I wasn't offended. Actually, I was quite interested in the responses. As I did prior to my initial post and will probably continue, the prizes are awarded in a competative situation. (ie. like a timed worksheet:the fastest 5 or boys against the girls on a multiple-choice test.) I see the "competition" flavor to the class does keep them interested. I'm just looking to come up with a pool of "trinkets" without breaking the bank. I've got a stash of sugarless chewing gum, chapsticks, tootsie pops, trading cards....
I appreciate your thoughtfulness :)